Michael Fox, Class of ’09
President & CEO, Goodwill Industries of Silicon Valley
As part of the first cohort in Saint Mary’s Trans-Global Executive MBA program, Michael Fox was a trailblazer. His very participation helped shape what has become in only a few short years one of the premier Trans-Global MBA programs on the west coast.
“I knew right away that I wanted to be in the Trans-Global program. I have always loved travel and enjoy experiencing other cultures and new experiences.,” he says. “After spending a fascinating hour with Professor Kamath in my interview, I left energized and knew I had made the right decision. The Trans-Global program really opened my eyes to the opportunities and challenges that organizations face on a global basis.”
For Fox, the decision to attend Saint Mary’s MBA program was not one he could make alone. “At the time I entered the SMC MBA program I had two children in high school and my wife was working full time. I began my job with Goodwill shortly after starting at Saint Mary’s. It was very challenging to do both, but my wife and kids were great during that time and allowed me the time needed to complete the program successfully,” he says.
Saint Mary’s flexible schedule and convenient class times and locations helped too. “The Trans-Global program was very convenient for me and for my busy schedule. The live-in format at San Ramon allowed me to focus my energies and work for four days per month. Additionally, the travel periods provided intense educational experiences,” he says.
As a newly hired president and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Silicon Valley, a position that he had assumed while in the program, Fox turned the organization around from an operational loss of $1.7 million to an operational gain of $1.1 million in the space of one year. He did this by making wide-sweeping changes that included refinancing debt, simplifying the organization’s supply change and enhancing the shopping experience for customers.
Today, he still leads the organization, which employs more than 550 people. Saint Mary’s Graduate Business program equipped him with the skills needed to be an effective leader and to lead by example. In doing so he often finds himself coming back to the tenets of practicing responsibility and sustainability in business and in life that Saint Mary’s instills in all of its students.
“After the issues of the last decade, colleges like Saint Mary’s can make a huge impact on the future of our country. Commerce is the lifeblood of our country and will continue to be so. When we, as a country, lose faith in the business community, this leads to a lower standard of living for all of us,” he says.
“We must educate our future business leaders to manage in ways that sustain our growth, environment, standard of living and communities. This will create immense opportunities for the United States and its people and keep us strong globally. I believe in Saint Mary’s mission and the great future Saint Mary’s MBA programs are striving to shape.”