What’s it like to be the mayor of a small town? Especially when that “town” happens to be the Universal Studios Lot and all of the encompassing theme parks? Well, Ron Meyer would know, as he is the Chief Operating Officer of Universal Studios since August 1, 1995. In fact, he is the longest serving chief of a major motion picture company in the history of Hollywood. I was fortunate enough to hear Mr. Meyer speak at a question and answer intern luncheon yesterday. I walked in impressed…I walked away inspired.
My question for him: What kind of legacy do you want to leave for NBC Universal?
Mr. Meyer said that he was “proud of creating the right culture.” He said that before he came into his position there was an “Enter at Your Own Risk” policy that chided employees away from developing camaraderie. But since Mr. Meyer has stepped in, Universal Studios feels like an engaging place where teamwork is not only welcomed, but encouraged, in order to enhance this already thriving company.
There were some other sound-bites that stuck with me:
2. “Don’t make assumptions. Whether it’s checking whether they put ketchup or mayonnaise on a tuna sandwich—even the little things matter and it matters that you get it right.”
3. “Pursue your career vigorously. There are going to be a lot of no’s—but all you need is one yes.”
4. “Everyone can learn a skill. We can all learn to do anything and everything if you apply yourself.”
5. “Every day people are making it. You have to find your own way to make it. You can’t allow no to be the final answer.”
6. “Each time you make a movie, you’re creating a new brand. Like Coke. You have to hope people drink it.”
7. “I’m an optimist about this business.”
It was an absolute pleasure hearing Mr. Meyer impart some of his wisdom with the other interns and myself today. It is my hope that I can feature an interview with Mr. Meyer on this blog—asking him about how he has been able to find happiness in such a prestigious position and with such a lasting company.
There are always people that come and go in our lives who have the potential to make a profound difference. We all have certain individuals that we admire. So if we have the opportunity to meet them, talk to them, and seek their advice as a mentor—then why not ask? Sending that email, asking in the 10 seconds we are given—it can be the make or break moment that we have to seize each and every time.
Don’t be afraid to speak up when you meet the right people who are doing the right thing with their lives.
The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook