Lawrence Jackson speaks with a group of business students at the University of Oregon

Life Lessons from a CEO

"I have not seen such a group of energized, talented, and hungry students in my thirty-year business career. There is something special going on in Eugene." said visiting executive Lawrence Jackson, former president and CEO of procurement for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., after spending the day at the Lundquist College of Business. In a presentation to undergraduates, faculty, and staff, Jackson touched on many topics: why coming from an underrepresented minority group can be advantage in today's global business world; what it means to stay true to one's roots while reaching for new goals; and how lifelong professional bonds can be forged by taking on what Jackson calls "foxhole" assignments--the tough jobs in less desirable locations. Many of his listeners were members of the college's Building Business Leaders cohort and its sibling organization, the CEO Network--initiatives designed to enable students of color to pursue business and professional success. For business major Michael Martinez, Jackson's story served to strengthen and confirm his own ambitions. "Hearing Lawrence gave me confidence--if I ever doubt myself--that I can do it," said Martinez. View Jackson and students in a Facebook photo album.