“No one wants bosses (anymore). We all want coaches, facilitators and mentors – the world of bosses is gone.”
These words are from Stanley Bergman the CEO of Henry Schein, a leading Fortune 500 Company. He was graduates at Wits University early today.
Delivering the keynote address during the ceremony for graduands from the Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management, Bergman said leaders have a responsibility not tobecome bosses but to lead.
Bergman said today’s businesses were searching for a different kind of leader. “You have an opportunity to repay your education to society by being a mentor to the people you are going to work for going forward. Business leaders have an obligation to give back to society. ”
He added: “We must also engage with all those with whom we come into contact, regardless of race, class or culture so that we can build bridges and an inclusive humanity for the betterment of society. You need to remember that every single step you take will be an education – you will learn as much outside the classroom, as inside.”
He added that enthusiastic young people should be given a chance, even if they don’t have the experience. “They (just) need to have enthusiasm and want to work and connect with people.”
Bergman said he is fortunate to have had many mentors who imparted valuable lessons to him, such as Jay Schein of Henry Schein, his high school teacher Mr Earl, and Wits Law Professor Ellison Khan.
As a youngster, he battled ill-health and was often absent from school, had illegible handwriting and was advised not to consider applying to university. However, his courage combined with the kindness and belief of his mentors paved the way for him to rise above expectations.
Since 1989, Bergman has been Chairman of the Board and CEO of Henry Schein, Inc., a Fortune 500 company and the world’s largest provider of health care products and services to office-based dental, animal health and medical practitioners, with operations or affiliates in 33 countries. The Company’s 2015 sales reached a record $10.6 billion. Henry Schein has been a Fortune World’s Most Admired Company for 15 consecutive years and is ranked #1 in its industry on Fortune’s 2016 list of the World’s Most Admired Companies.
Bergman has made a success of his career and has made a difference to countless people’s lives as a champion of preventive health care and universal health care access. He also has advanced dialogue among people of different cultures and beliefs to work towards a better understanding among people.
Bergman and his wife Dr Marion Bergman, a medical specialist and Wits alumna, and their sons, Paul and Eddie, are active supporters of organisations fostering the arts, higher education, cultural diversity and grassroots health care and sustainable entrepreneurial economic development initiatives in the United States, Africa and other developing regions of the world.