We catch up with Cheryl Richards, CEO and regional dean for Northeastern University, which has an uptown Charlotte campus. She is also president-elect of Women Executives, a Charlotte-based networking group. Comments are edited for brevity:
Q: What book inspired you in your career, and what made you want to read it in the first place?
That was over 20 years ago so I’m sure there were many! One I recall reading was an early edition of “What Color Is Your Parachute?” by Richard Bolles when I was finishing undergraduate school and heading into grad school. It was probably recommended by a counselor, advisor or teacher at the time. I recall thinking at the end of the book that there was a career path for everyone, and that I should chose one I was passionate about and one that would use my strengths and natural talents.
Interestingly, as I reflect on some of my more recent reads 20 years later (“Now, Discover your Strengths” by Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton and “Strengths Based Leadership,” by Tom Rath and Barry Conchie), I am amazed to see how they are so similar to that first book that shaped my career – the ongoing theme being an alignment of your passion with your strengths.
My Favorite Titles offers reading recommendations from Carolina business leaders.