Intake from Outtakes: Kirk Perry

For the last two years, we’ve had the privilege of filming interviews to help the University of Cincinnati Lindner College of Business honor their alumni. We interview the award winners along with a few people who know them well and want to celebrate them. 

It gives us a chance to hear what it sounds like when people succeed in business and maintain a reputation for being good people to work with and work for. 

This year, one of the honorees, the winner of the Outstanding Business Achievement Award, is Kirk Perry, a former Procter and Gamble executive who now serves as the President of Brand Solutions at Google. 

Things we learned:

Treat people like they may be called upon someday to talk about you in front of cameras.

It’s an impressive feat to have co-workers who describe you as having high expectations but also being “quick with praise.” When we interviewed Julie Eddleman, Perry’s co-worker at both P&G and Google, she described a range of good things Perry did as a leader. His friend and former co-worker, Jim Bechtold, told stories of the kind of care Perry distributes throughout the organizations where he words and the restaurants he frequents. Compassion is a currency that grows in value. 

Pursue things that are in that sweet spot just outside what you’ve done before and in line with what you’ve always wanted to try. 

While describing his career trajectory, Perry talks about how each move felt like something that seemed both impossible and possible, familiar and challenging all at the same time. His interview was a reminder of what it looks like to choose challenges that seem daunting right before they become a victory. 

Don’t settle for how the story is “supposed to go.”

At the beginning of his education at the University of Cincinnati, Perry was worn out from trying to get an education and pay for an education all at the same time. There’s a way this story could have gone, and does go, for many students, where the financial stress wins the day and people give up long-term dreams for shorter-term solutions. People would understand, and even applaud Perry if he had gone another way. It would have made sense. Thankfully, with the help of a mentor, he was able to change the story….

Don’t settle for how other people’s stories are “supposed to go” either.

Perry’s story changed for the better when his professor stepped in and advocated for him to receive a scholarship so he could work less during school and study more. Ilse Hawkins not only called out his potential but connected him to the resources he needed to reach it. Hearing their two sides to the same story was a reminder of how valuable it is to pay attention to those around us and help them get to where they hope to go.