Ann McLaughlin Korologos Offers Career and Life Counsel
to DC Wharton, Penn & Columbia Clubs

Words of Wisdom From a Wharton Alum

by Harvey Kipper

On Monday evening, May 9, 2011, Mrs. Ann McLaughlin Korologos generously gave of her time to members of the Wharton, Penn, and Columbia Clubs of DC. The event took place on the ninth floor of Jenner & Block in a spectacular new building at 1099 New York Avenue, NW. The views, overlooking Metro Center and Penn Quarter, were splendid. So was Mrs. Korologos.

Government Service

A gracious and warm person, serious yet with a ready smile, Mrs. Korologos has had a distinguished and varied career. Before becoming the U.S. Secretary of Labor from 1987 to 1989, she served as Under Secretary of the Department of the Interior and as Under Secretary of the Department of the Treasury. In 1989, Mrs. Korologos was named Chairman of the Commission on Aviation Security and Terrorism, which investigated the bombing of Pan Am 103, which exploded over Lockerbee, Scotland.

Corporate Experience

From 1996 to 2000, Mrs. Korologos was Chairman of the Aspen Institute, from 2000 to 2006 she was on the Board of Directors of Microsoft, and from 2004 to 2009 she served as Chairman of the Rand Corporation Board of Trustees.

Mrs. Korologos is currently a member of the Board of Directors of several businesses including American Airlines, Harman International, and the Kellogg Company.

Superb Communication Skills

It soon became obvious that Mrs. Korologos was an expert communicator. She excelled in aphorisms.

“You never know who is watching,” conveyed her strong belief that hard work is a key to professional success. “The human plant needs to be repotted” was another, a sentiment shared by Dr. Henry Kissinger. He advocated breaks in Federal service, or in any career for that matter, believing that leaving, then returning with new ideas, in effect being rejuvenated, was essential. Mrs, Korologos wholeheartedly agreed.

Valuable Lessons About Values

Important to Mrs. Korologos were traditional values. Common sense, decency, and integrity are three timeless qualities of good governance, she maintained. Exercising them in Federal Government as well as corporate settings is vital. In their absence, trouble would ensue.

She spoke of the importance of the significance of continuing education, in fact of any training, either formal or informal. She herself was a perfect example. Upon leaving the Department of the Interior, she attended the Wharton Executive MBA Program, which gave her a fundamental understanding of business. This later proved extremely helpful to her in running large organizations, as a Cabinet Secretary as well as a Board Director.

She also took acting lessons. Not only was it fun, but it also taught her to better understand human nature.

“Know where you are going,” Mrs. Korologos emphasized, and “let others know.” This is instrumental in receiving the assistance one desires. As Secretary of Labor, a political appointment, she realized how helpful career civil servants could be - once they were told exactly what the political appointee wanted to accomplish. Transparent goals led to clear results.

A Truly Worthwhile Evening

Upon concluding a fascinating and informative presentation, and after patiently answering numerous questions, Mrs. Korologos received a sustained and well-deserved round of applause. Her efforts to transmit crucial lessons for a rewarding career were much appreciated.

Time had passed quickly. The view from the ninth floor remained remarkable, matched only by the learning opportunity in the conference room for members of the participating alumni clubs.

Text Copyright 2011, Harvey Kipper. All Rights Reserved.

About the Author, Harvey Kipper

A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Harvey Kipper is a member of the Wharton Club of DC, the University of Pennsylvania Alumni Club of Washington, DC, and American Mensa, Ltd. Harvey’s interests include archaeology, foreign affairs, languages, and travel. His personal e-mail address is balomix@yahoo.com, and his home phone number is (703) 920-4097.