Home » News » Liberty + Leadership Podcast – Bobby Tudor on the Culture of Success

Liberty + Leadership Podcast – Bobby Tudor on the Culture of Success

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Bobby Tudor ’81 is a former professional basketball player, investment banker and leader in the energy industry. He is currently CEO of the investment bank Artemis Energy Partners and is chairman of the Houston Energy Transition Initiative of the Greater Houston Partnership. He was the founder and CEO of THP (Tudor, Pickering, Holt, & Co.). Prior to forming TPH, he was a Partner at Goldman Sachs and a leader of its worldwide energy practice. Bobby received a degree in English and Legal Studies from Rice University and holds a law degree from Tulane. He now serves on the Rice University Board of Trustees. Bobby is a 1981 alumnus of TFAS’s Public Policy and Economics program in Washington, D.C.

In this week’s Liberty and Leadership Podcast, Roger and Bobby discuss the lessons he learned playing college basketball at Rice University, putting his law degree to work at Goldman Sachs, channeling his entrepreneurial spirit into founding numerous companies, the positive elements of investment banking, and how building a culture of success is critical for any organization.

The Liberty + Leadership Podcast is hosted by TFAS President Roger Ream ’76 and produced by kglobal. If you have a comment or question for the show, please drop us an email at podcast@TFAS.org.

 


Episode Transcript

The transcript below is lightly edited for clarity.

Roger Ream [00:00:00] Hello and welcome. I’m Roger Ream and this is the Liberty and Leadership Podcast, a conversation with TFAS alumni who are making a real impact in politics, public policy, government, business, philanthropy, law, and the media. Today, I’m excited to be joined by Bobby Tudor, CEO of Artemis Energy Partners and retired founder and CEO of Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co., a widely recognized company for energy investment banking. When it comes to energy practice, Bobby is an expert. Bobby and I will chat today about his work at Goldman Sachs, in the field of energy investment banking and his role in helping Houston become a leader in the global energy transition. We’ll also talk some about his work at the Houston Energy Transition Initiative. And perhaps if we have time, we’ll hear about his career in the world of basketball, both in college and as a professional. Bobby, thanks for joining me. I’m looking forward to catching up.

Bobby Tudor [00:01:08] My pleasure, Roger. Very happy to be here.

Roger Ream [00:01:11] Well, in knowing about your career and in the various things you’ve done throughout your life, the word that just blares out loudly is success. You had success at Rice academically and in sports and basketball in particular, success in Goldman Sachs and in your investment banking career. It’s something that makes us proud, since you’re a TFAS alum, and we hope that we played some small role in that direction. But let’s talk a little bit about your time at Rice as a basketball player. How did you hear about The Fund for American Studies when you were there?

Bobby Tudor [00:01:54] You know, I think I saw it pinned up on a bulletin board in career services or something like that. I was interested in a summer program. You know, when you’re a college athlete, your summers are pretty occupied, actually, because you spend the whole time training. And it wasn’t really until my final summer that I had enough of a break to to do something like that. And I wanted to do an internship. I wanted to do it in Washington, D.C. I was interested in politics generally. I was planning on going to law school. It all just seemed like a good fit to me. And by the way, my girlfriend was going to spend, now wife, was going to spend the summer in Washington, D.C. as well. So it was all a scheme to get there. And it was a well-known program at Rice. It had a couple of folks kind of ahead, a year or two ahead of me have who had gone to the program and had a good experience. And I had a buddy, Kyle Frazier, who was going to do it with me. And so we signed up and spent the summer in Washington, and I had a great experience.

Roger Ream [00:03:04] Do you keep in touch with any others who did the program that year?

Bobby Tudor [00:03:07] Yeah, I do. In particular, a good friend, Ron Hart who I met that summer and have had a lifelong friendship with. And Ron actually was an important kind of intro to me to Goldman Sachs, actually. He was there a year ahead of me and in a different part of the business. But he helped me get my first interview, actually. And so those TFAS connections have been valuable to me over the course of my life and career.

Roger Ream [00:03:38] Well, we appreciate your support of our scholarship programs as just as we appreciate support of Ron Hart too, who served a term on our board of trustees and continues to be a supporter and friend. Well, after Rice, you attended law school and then joined Goldman Sachs, that in of itself is, I guess, not the usual career track. You think about people going out of business school to Goldman Sachs. Tell us about that decision to go into investment banking. When did you get an interest in that profession?

Bobby Tudor [00:04:12] Well, I went to law school thinking I probably would be a lawyer, but not 100% sold on that. I felt like a legal education was going to be a good postgraduate degree in any case. But I did what typical law students do, which is I clerked for a range of law firms during my law school years, both during the summers and during the school year, and ultimately just couldn’t find a law firm that I loved and finally decided the issue wasn’t necessarily the law firm. The issue was I didn’t fundamentally love being a lawyer. Though I enjoyed law school very much. And so I decided to change course and look around. My wife wanted to go to graduate school and the best program in the country in what she was studying, which was architectural historic preservation, was at Columbia in New York. And we decided just to take a flier and we’re going to move to New York. And I was going to figure it out. So I had a friend who was at Harvard Business School and spent the previous summer at Goldman Sachs. And he said, man, this is fun. You should take a look at investment banking. And I started to nose around that and decided that it actually would be a good fit for my interests and skills and kind of decided to bootstrap my way into a job. So I got on a plane and went to New York and slept on a friend’s couch for a few days and knocked on doors at DLJ and Salomon Brothers and Goldman Sachs. And my friend Ron Hart was helpful in me getting my first interview at Goldman Sachs as well, and ultimately got offered jobs at all three places and and chose Goldman. And we moved to New York from New Orleans in 1987, I joined the corporate finance department. You know, it was a little bit of an unusual track, but not completely unusual at Goldman Sachs. Goldman Sachs has had three of the last you know, five CEOs have been lawyers by training. Bob Rubin was a lawyer, Lloyd Blankfein was a was a lawyer, Steve Friedman was a lawyer. And then my entering class at Goldman, there were 30 or so of us in the corporate finance department, I think there were five or six with a law degree. So it wasn’t hugely unusual. And actually, I think that legal training is great for a business career and in particular in the investment banking and deal world where there’s a lot of integration between finance and the law.

Roger Ream [00:06:40] Yeah. Well, I confess that my father, who was a minister, graduated with a law degree before going into the ministry. He always talked about how a legal training was valuable in the ministry as well. So it has many applications. You spent some time at Goldman Sachs. I imagine that was total immersion into the world of high finance and investment banking. Did you eventually get a focus on energy while you were there?

Bobby Tudor [00:07:10] When I started in the late eighties, there wasn’t a huge amount of industry specialization, really. If you were a corporate finance banker, you might work on a financial institution one day and a consumer company the next day and an energy company the next day. That obviously is very different today. But when I started, that was sort of the norm. And as fate would have it, I was staffed on an energy project early on. And you learn one industry and so you get staffed on the next project and get staffed on the next project, the fact that I had gone to college in Texas probably, you know, helped because a lot of those companies were in Texas. And so I was sort of a natural fit for that. And the more I worked in the business, the more and more I liked it. And also the investment banking world started to trend towards specialization during the early part of my career and so I ended up in some sense just by accident, becoming an energy banker. But loved the industry from day one. You know, it’s a very interesting cross-section between geopolitics and science and economics and a lot of really interesting characters. And I always had great fun with it and was interested in it and have continued to be over all these years. So I just ended up as an energy banker and the firm was was looking for someone to move to Houston to help get an investment banking practice started in Houston. Goldman Sachs did not have one there in those days, and I raised my hand and said, I’d like to do that. So after my first four years in New York, we moved to Houston and I started working in the banking business in Houston for Goldman.

Roger Ream [00:08:53] And then after some time, you set out to develop your own firm Tudor partners, I guess it was initially. I heard you in another interview say a phrase which I think is just precious, that you saw dollars laying on the ground. And to me, that’s the definition of entrepreneurship. It’s seeing opportunity out there and grasping at it. Obviously, it’s not as easy as just picking them up. It’s a lot of hard work and blood, sweat and tears along the way. But talk a little bit about your creation of what became Tudor, Pickering and Holt, a highly successful business in energy investment banking.

Bobby Tudor [00:09:36] During my years at Goldman, I always felt I wanted to have a second chapter. Not that many people stay at Goldman for much longer than 20 years or so. That was about the time that I was there, and I was always very critical of the Goldman partners who retired young and then didn’t do much, because you have a lot to offer, you know, you’re well trained. Typically, you have enough of a nest egg to do other things. And I wanted to do other things. And so after five years in London, my last five years at Goldman, I spent in London. And after those five years in London, I decided it was time to come back and make a break. And I wanted to do something entrepreneurial. I felt that there was room to build a specialist investment bank. It had been shown to be viable by other competitors, both in the energy world and in other sectors like technology or financial institutions. And so I had a vision of what that might look like. And I decided, you know, to go down that road. I thought there was a real commercial opportunity there, as you said, because of the combination of the commercial opportunity and my interest in being in Houston, Texas, I thought the conditions were right to try that. So I left Goldman and satisfied my non-compete and then jumped into the business. And I had a very particular vision for what I thought the firm ought to look like. And in particular, I felt like it needed to have a high quality research component to it. And I found a great partner for that in Dan Pickering, Dan had started a business called Pickering Energy Partners. And so I teamed up with Dan and then hired a former Goldman colleague, Maynard Holt, to join us. And so we launched Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. And in 2007 and off we went. And our timing ended up being quite propitious, you know, better lucky than good, as they say. And we were lucky because the shale revolution was happening in the energy business. The financial crisis was happening in the financial world. And that turned out to be very much actually in our favor. So it was a great set of circumstances. We got lucky in some ways and we executed well in some ways, and it was just a fantastic 15 year experience for me.

Roger Ream [00:11:50] I think it’s important to emphasize that you set yourself up to take advantage of circumstances that came along. You know, I sometimes hear young people in our programs who dismiss the success of entrepreneurs and want to attribute it entirely to luck. But you actually had to work hard to develop a company to be in the position to take advantage of those circumstances. And part of, I know what you did is built a company that had the right culture for success. And I’d love to talk with you a little bit about that, because I think that is so important to have the right culture within a firm, within an organization, whether it’s for profit or nonprofit. Can you talk about the culture of people that you created?

Bobby Tudor [00:12:36] Yeah, we were we really, really focused on culture. The investment banking business is a people driven business. All you have are people there, they’re very limited assets. You know, you have some office space and a few computers and people. And so the question is, how do you make money off your wits, particularly in a people driven business? The culture of the place is critically important. And the nature of the investment banking business is also that it is in some sense, it’s more of an avocation than it is a vocation. You truly, truly have to live it and breathe it. And that’s because the things that you’re working on for your clients are the most important things in their lives, right? They’re either selling their company, they’re buying another company, they’re taking their business public, they’re making a large acquisition. The things they’re working on are really, really important to them, and they’re paying you a lot of money to give them advice and service. And so you have to be 100% on 100% of the time. And so it’s an exciting business. It’s an interesting business and it’s a fun business, but it’s also a very, very intense business. And so you have to be bought into that and willing to, you know, to live with that. And my thesis was that if you had a great culture that was really fun, that was inspiring, that was collegial, you’re going to be willing to kind of power through those difficult periods. And you were also going to be willing to stay with it longer. You know, part of the problem in the investment banking world is that people really do get burned out and don’t stay with it. And often they leave before they reach their maximum, you know, effectiveness and before the job becomes really fun and interesting for them. And so we wanted to build a culture where people would want to stay and build long careers in the business. You know, at the end of the day, culture, in my mind, is about how you treat each other. It’s not a lot more complicated than that. It’s about how you treat each other. And so one of the first things I did was I got out a notepad and I wrote down our kind of key cultural components, our vision for the business and what we wanted the culture to be. And we really tried very hard to live by that. And the firm still does. If you walk around the TPH offices in Houston, you’ll see our cultural principles up on the wall. And every time we had a firm meeting, I talked about the culture, we read the points. They were very alive for us. And I think at the end of the day, it was a distinguishing factor for our business. When you ask young people why they decided to join TPH instead of Morgan Stanley or J.P. Morgan or Goldman Sachs or, you name it, nine out of ten times it was not because, well, you guys work on the best deals or I want to be part of the leading energy M&A franchise. Nine out of ten times it was because I was attracted to the culture and that told me that it was working. And I think our culture did become widely recognized as being differentiated.

Roger Ream [00:15:37] Now, I know growing up you were an athlete, I think a swimmer and a basketball player and probably did other sports as well. By the time you were in high school, you were being recruited by large public universities, Ivy League schools. Even Duke, who had just come off a national championship, wanted you. You ended up accepting an offer to go to Rice, a strong academic institution, as well as a place where you excelled in basketball in your four years there. To what extent has sports influenced you in your business career?

Bobby Tudor [00:16:13] Sports has had an enormous impact on my life. I was extremely consumed with it as a young person. My dad had been a college athlete and had a younger brother, who was also a really, really outstanding athlete who played basketball at LSU and to play sports at the division one level, it really does take a lot of commitment. And so I was highly, highly committed to it, but not to the exclusion of an academic career or other interests. And when it came time to choose a college, I wanted a place that offered the best of both. I wanted high level division one athletics and really elite level education. And I felt like there were really a handful of places in the country that offered both of those things, at least in the way that I was looking for them and decided on Rice and it was a great choice for me, my college experience as an athlete was an excellent experience. On the whole, it was very intense and difficult, but it was also really, really rewarding and satisfying and fun. I had a lot of fun doing it and we had some success. And after Rice, I played professionally for two years in Europe. So it took me to places that I otherwise  wouldn’t have been. I learned a lot about leadership as an athlete. I learned a lot about sacrifice. I learned a lot about teamwork, both good and bad. You know, you learn what works, and you also learn what doesn’t work. And those are lessons that I’ve certainly carried with me through  my business career.

Roger Ream [00:17:51] Were there challenging times at Goldman Sachs or when you were starting your business or building your business where, you know, you had to hearken back to draw from that experience of commitment and teamwork and intense practice to, you know, find the strength to solve a problem or to move forward from a difficult situation?

Bobby Tudor [00:18:15] Yeah, there are all sorts of examples of that, but I think sort of writ large investment banking is a team sport and one of the things that drew me to it was that you really do work in a team setting. No one does anything by themselves. And I always felt that whether in an academic setting or otherwise, I was best when working in a team as opposed to working by myself or on a solitary basis. And, you know, people are different that way. A lot of people much prefer to work by themselves or work on a solitary basis to do a project at a time and finish it and turn it in. You know, I was one of those students that liked study groups. You know, I always felt like I performed better if I could learn from others. There are other people in the world who hate study groups. Right? They want to study by themselves. And I think investment banking really does lend itself to people who love study group. Everything’s a team. So that’s part of what attracted me to banking in the first place. I think with regard to specific lessons, part of it is learning how to grind it out when you’re tired and when you don’t feel like it and when it’s unpleasant rather than, you know, cutting your workout short, you finish and you try to finish strong. And that’s critical in the investment banking world as well. There’s a good chunk of the work that’s not necessarily that fun or interesting, but you got to grind your way through and get it done. You know, there’s learning how to inspire other people. And there’s learning how to complement your skill set with other skill sets. And I wasn’t the best at everything in investment banking. I wasn’t the best at everything in basketball. But I was good at certain things. And I would find teammates who were good at the other things. And then together we were effective. And so there were all sorts of lessons learned in my sports career that I think were highly applicable to my business career. And I continue to be, you know, interested in sports and have fun being involved at Rice and their intercollegiate athletics programs. And it’ll always be an important part of my life, that’s for sure.

Roger Ream [00:20:17] Before I shift gears and talk to you a little bit about another aspect of your life, which is the great amount of philanthropic activity you’re involved in. I want to ask you one other question about investment banking. I think a lot of people, young people in particular, don’t really know what investment banking is all about. And they probably easily dismiss it as, oh, that’s where greedy people go to work. They don’t know the role that it plays. That’s vital to a free economy and to a successful economy. Can you kind of give us a short understanding of what investment banking is all about?

Bobby Tudor [00:20:53] Yeah, investment banking is an umbrella term that’s used to describe a very wide set of activities. And the big investment banks like Goldman Sachs, where I worked to tend to engage in a very broad set of financial activities, whether it’s capital raising, sales and trading, investing, investing on behalf of others, managing money, asset management and advisory work. The more narrow definition of investment banking is what we did at TPH, which is advice. So we gave financial advice to corporations and in particular mergers and acquisitions advice, also capital raising advice. And we also gave investing advice to big institutional investors. So it was an advice driven business. And investment banks actually do play a really important role in the global financial system. They are really, really important players ultimately when it comes to working capital markets and working corporate markets around the world. So I was always very proud to be an investment banker. It was interesting work. It was fun work. I felt like I was making a difference in the lives of my clients and the companies and the shareholders. And I think investment banking is as much maligned and misunderstood by many people. But I also think that, like in any industry, a few bad players can, you know, reputationally spoil the whole thing. And, you know, that can happen in the law, can happen in politics, it can happen in medicine, and it happens in investment banking.

Roger Ream [00:22:39] Politics, no, never happens in politics.

Bobby Tudor [00:22:43] Not in politics. Right. But investment banking tends to be quite high profile because there’s a lot of money at stake and it tends to be a lucrative profession as well. So I’m a very, very proud investment banker and will absolutely stand by the industry as a valuable, if not even critical one to the world financial system.

Roger Ream [00:23:00] Well, I suspect that your work at Tudor, Pickering and Holt helped make our energy production much more efficient and lowered the costs of what Americans paid for energy for many decades because of the shale revolution and the investments that you were able to direct into efficient energy production. You know, you said earlier that you wanted a second chapter to your career. I think you’re on number seven, eight or nine by now. But chapter three perhaps was leaving Tudor, Pickering, Holt and kind of staying in the energy area, but in a different direction. Can you talk some of what you’re doing now with the Sustainable Energy, Clean Energy area?

Bobby Tudor [00:23:43] One of the fun and interesting things about the energy world is it’s very dynamic and changing. And that’s been true for a long time. It’s probably true more now than it has been. And so after 15 years at TPH we merged the firm into Perella Weinberg Partners in New York based investment banking. And that combined business went public and at the end of 2020 and so at the end of 2021, Maynard Holt and I, the two remaining founding partners who stepped down and I have spent my time since stepping down, leading something called the Houston Energy Transition Initiative, which is an effort driven by the Greater Houston Partnership. And the Greater Houston Partnership is the primary economic development organization in Greater Houston. Think of it as the Houston Chamber of Commerce on steroids, if you will, a very CEO driven organization. Almost all of our big companies here in Houston are members of this organization. And by definition, a lot of our companies are in the energy business. We have 25 Fortune 500 companies in Houston, the second most of any major metro in the country. And 19 of those 25 are from the energy world. And so we decided that here in Houston, we needed a coordinated approach to the energy transition, because we recognize that there is both a responsibility that the incumbent industry plays in this transition and a fantastic opportunity to be a leader in the transition. And we want to make sure that we look up two decades from now and three decades from now in Houston and Houston will continue to be the energy capital of the world. It’s just that the energy systems in the world will actually likely look somewhat different in two or three decades from now. And so I’ve taken on a leadership position there, and the chairman of the Houston Energy Transition Initiative. And it’s been fun and interesting. We’re very involved in policy. And so, for example, in the whole area of carbon capture, use and storage, which is really sort of important technological piece of the energy transition, there’s a lot of policy that has to be sorted out before these big projects will get done. So we’re involved in policy, we’re involved in capital formation, we’re involved in just connecting the dots for the companies, we’re involved in the whole innovation ecosystem here. There’s a ton of new company formation happening in the energy transition related businesses, some of which are tied to the incumbent industry, some of which are not tied to the incumbent industries. So there’s just a ton happening. I want it to be right in the middle of all that. And HETI is a great vehicle for me to do that. I’m also active as an investor in the space and have now invested in two private companies who are energy transition related companies. And so it’s fun and interesting and a whole new chapter and it leverages off of what I’ve spent the previous 35 years doing, but it’s also new and interesting in many ways and a lot of fun.

Roger Ream [00:26:33] Do you see fossil fuels playing an important role in our energy production and consumption for at least a few more decades? Or are we pushing too fast?

Bobby Tudor [00:26:47] Well, there’s a balance here. Right. And I just describe it as a dual challenge. We have the challenge of providing reliable, affordable and secure energy today while simultaneously driving down CO2 and other emissions to combat the worst effects of climate change. And so we need to do both at the same time. We got to walk and chew gum, as they say. And that means that the ongoing support and investment in the fossil fuel industry is not just desirable, but necessary. But it also means that both the fossil fuel industry and emerging new technologies need to be increasingly focused on driving down their own industrial CO2 emissions footprint and on working on new technologies that would allow us to produce more energy without CO2 emissions, at least on the scale that we currently have. So it’s a big dual challenge. The incoming industry is critical to it. We’re not going to have an effective transition without the leadership of the incoming industry. And I think the world has increasingly kind of figured that out. Actually, there’s nothing like a war that drives up energy prices dramatically to remind people of the fact that the first part of this dual challenge, having reliable, affordable and secure energy, is absolutely critical. And so, you know, finding the right balance there is important.

Roger Ream [00:28:15] Now shifting to another chapter in your career, you’ve been very active as a member of the board at Rice, serving on a number of boards, actually, of programs at Rice. You’ve been chaired, I think the U.S. Symphony, been involved with MD Anderson and the Good Reason Houston program. How do you think that philanthropic spirit developed? I mean, is it something you grew up with in your own family? Is it something that comes when you have success in business and you’re in a position where you can do those types of things? I’m interested in your motivations.

Bobby Tudor [00:28:50] Well, I did grow up with it in my family. My parents were great examples. In that regard, I grew up in this relatively small town in central Louisiana called Alexandria. And my parents were prominent citizens and leaders and very much engaged in the civic life of our town. So I kind of felt like that’s what you’re supposed to do. I’ve always been drawn to leadership positions and have wanted to be in a position of leadership. And with leadership comes responsibility. And part of that responsibility is to work to try to make life better for those around you. And so I’ve wanted to be an engaged and in civic life. And certainly as I had more monetary success, it enabled me to be more impactful in some ways. But before that monetary success and this is a message I give to young people all the time, is there are lots of ways to be impactful in civic life. It’s not just philanthropically. And so I’ve tried very hard to both give both time and treasure and leadership and sort of my experience and skill sets to organizations of all types. And so my wife and I are very engaged across a wide set of things, not just in Houston, but in many cases nationally. And that ranges from public education to the arts to parks to libraries to civic organizations of all sorts. It’s a really important part of our life. It makes life more fun and interesting. And I feel like I have a responsibility. I’ve been very fortunate and very blessed in many, many ways. And I have the capability to do it and the time to do it and the interest. And  so we do it and we do it with great enthusiasm and pleasure. And I think as you often hear, you get a lot more out of it than you put into it if you’ll feel really engaged in civic life. We certainly feel that way.

Roger Ream [00:31:00] I imagine, just as you’ve probably seen in the business world, the for profit world, you’ve seen examples of strong leadership and weak leadership. Probably seen that as well in the nonprofit sector, they exist there too. Strong leaders, weak leaders. What kind of lessons have you learned from being a leader in the nonprofit sector in terms of how organizations could, you know, operate more efficiently, accomplish their missions more effectively? Is it bringing in practices from the for profit sector that are often lacking in a nonprofit environment? Is it the culture?

Bobby Tudor [00:31:38] One comment I’d make around that, Roger, and this would be true both for nonprofits and for profits, is that leadership can take many, many different forms. And not all leaders need to look and act and behave alike. That’s certainly one lesson that I’ve learned. On the other hand, I think there are some common threads in leadership. And one is that you need to be able to inspire others. And that tends to be more by example than by your words. But words do matter. And I think the words that come out of a leader’s mouth matter more often than the leader knows. And so being careful about what you say and how you say it really does matter. You know, we talked earlier about culture. I would say the the nonprofits that I’ve been around that are the most successful and the most effective in their mission usually, like for profit companies have great culture. They promote collegiality, they promote teamwork, they reward the right things and they punish the right things. And that’s true in the not for profit world. And it and it’s true in the for profit world. Another common thread between successful organizations, I think, is a belief fundamentally in a mission. And I think that’s true whether you’re working in an investment bank or working at an arts institution or at a social services agency or in higher education. You really need to be truly bought in and committed to the mission of your organization and the difference that you’re trying to make in the world. And so the very best not for profit leaders and organizations that I see are really bought into their mission. They live it and breathe it every day and they build great culture around it.

Roger Ream [00:33:36] Well, that’s great advice there for leaders in all sectors. Thank you for sharing it. I know we’re running up on our time limit, but I have one last question I like to ask guests. We’ve put an emphasis more recently not just on developing leaders, but developing what we call courageous leaders. And it obviously takes you’ve had times in your career where you’ve had to exercise courageous leadership, because sometimes the decisions you make aren’t easy to make, there’s stress behind them, anxiety. But you have to make that right decision. Do you have any thoughts you could share that maybe would be applicable to young people attending our programs today about the importance of courage in your career or courageous leadership?

Bobby Tudor [00:34:21] In my mind, courageous leadership is highly tied to two things, is to knowing and understanding yourself and to being empathetic towards others. And more often than not, things that are decisions that are difficult are very often difficult because of your own fear. Right? Whether it’s fear of failure or fear of something else. Or they’re difficult because you kind of don’t have a full and empathetic understanding for other people and for the organization as a whole. You know, when you’re a leader of an organization, you’re both serving the organization writ large and you’re serving the individuals in it. And so kind of fully understanding that and getting your head around that ultimately, I think will lead to good decisions. But you got to know yourself and you got to know what comes naturally for you and what you’re good at. And you also need to know what your weaknesses are and you need to recognize them and you need to face up to them. And I think people who have a lack of sort of that self understanding, you know, often stumble when faced with with big, difficult decisions. And so, you know, as Shakespeare said, know thyself.

Roger Ream [00:35:52] Well, thank you. I appreciate so much you being our guest today. Bobby, thank you for your generous support of The Fund for American Studies. It’s great to have an opportunity to talk to a real leader not only in the business and investment world, a leader in your community and the philanthropic sector. You are someone who we’re proud to call an alum and appreciate all you’ve done and wish you the best going forward.

Bobby Tudor [00:36:20] Well, thank you, Roger, and thanks for the work that you and the Fund do. And in educating young people and developing leaders, it’s really, really important. I’m proud to be a TFAS alum and happy to support the organization. So thank you for having me.

Roger Ream [00:36:35] Yeah, it’s my pleasure. And I would be remiss in not mentioning we enjoy coming back down to Rice in the summer for our high school program. It’s a great venue. Students love it, so we’re grateful to that as well. My guest today has been Bobby Tudor. Thank you very much.

Bobby Tudor [00:36:53] Thank you.

Roger Ream [00:36:54] Thank you for listening to the Liberty and Leadership Podcast. Please don’t forget to subscribe, download, like or share the show on Apple, Spotify or YouTube or wherever you listen to your podcasts. If you like this episode, I ask you to rate and review it. And if you have a comment or question for the show, please drop us an email at podcast@TFAS.org. The Liberty and Leadership Podcast is produced at kglobal Studios in Washington, D.C. I’m your host Roger Ream and until next time show courage in things large and small.


About the Podcast

TFAS has reached more than 46,000 students and professionals through academic programs, fellowships and seminars. Representing more than 140 countries, TFAS alumni are courageous leaders throughout the world forging careers in politics, government, public policy, business, philanthropy, law and the media.

Join TFAS President Roger Ream ’76 as he reconnects with these outstanding alumni to share experiences, swap career stories, and find out what makes their leadership journey unique. With prominent congressmen, judges and journalists among the mix, each episode is sure to excite your interest in what makes TFAS special.

If you have a comment or question for the show, please email podcast@TFAS.org.

View future episodes and subscribe at TFAS.org/podcast.

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