Servant Leadership: The Key to Business and Success
By most measures, Colin Graham ’01 is a success. But giving back to his alma mater, including the endowment of a university scholarship, provides an opportunity to display the type of leadership that defines him best. Graham counts success as finding whatever feeds one’s heart and soul, and he’s cultivated a rewarding career by helping others do just that.
Graham earned a business management degree from Plymouth State in 2001 and is a partner and head of the Industrial Practice at RSR Partners, a global executive search and leadership consulting firm. “I have had the good fortune of being a client of Colin’s for years,” says Tony Guzzi, CEO of EMCOR Group, a Fortune 500 construction company. “What strikes me most about him is his never-ending drive to give back. It is no surprise to me that he is now giving back to the school that he loves.” Graham’s spirit of generosity has elevated his business relationships beyond the quality of his work product.
In recognition of the high-quality education that made his career possible, Graham established the Colin S. Graham ’01 Business Leadership Scholarship. “Although some would equate success with money or power, what really matters to me is servant leadership,” Graham says, referring to the philosophy that puts service first. “Establishing this scholarship, and seeing the resulting impact for a recipient student, is its own reward.”
Graham’s first scholarship recipient, Erik Strom, will earn his undergraduate degree in finance next year thanks to Graham’s assistance and mentorship. In addition to the generous scholarship, Graham helped Strom secure a summer internship at Bank of America in New York City. Strom, a Gothenburg, Sweden, native with a 3.96 GPA, is elated by Graham’s generosity and has enjoyed the lessons gleaned from his mentor.
“This internship is such a great opportunity,” Strom says. “And Colin is so inspiring. He’s always providing great advice and mentoring. I’m funding my education through student loans, so this scholarship means the world to me.”
“It has been an incredible experience to support a future leader like Erik and see the difference the scholarship is making in his life,” Graham says.
Graham is familiar with Strom’s path. He worked multiple jobs to pay his way through college before becoming a leading advisor to some of the world’s top corporations. He attributes that ascent to principles he developed while in college. “My Plymouth State experience reinforced the value of a strong work ethic and it’s been my privilege to give back.” ■ Bruce Lyndes
Tags: alumni Colin Graham Erik Strom giving philanthropy PSU alumni PSU alumnus RSR Partners scholarships servant leadership