VIP Distinguished Speaker Series: Don Knauss from Clorox

Don Knauss with VIP CommitteeDon Knauss, CEO of the Clorox Company, has been touring college campuses giving his own special presentation on leadership. On October 11th, Mr. Knauss stopped by the UT campus to offer his words of wisdom.

Connie Tao, member of the VIP Distinguished Speaker Series Committee, was amazed by Mr. Knauss’ speech and said she really admired his passion toward his work as well as his community.

First VIP event as a committee member… wow, what an extraordinary experience! Don Knauss, CEO of Clorox, was a dynamic speaker and a very admirable leader. His presentation took an interesting approach at defining what made a great leader. He used many references to great leaders and visionaries from diverse backgrounds and from all time periods.

From Ghandi to Martin Luther King, Jr., each person had a unique trait or way of thinking that brought them forward as a leader. Too often the word “leadership” is thrown around and the value of the word is deflated. Mr. Knauss’ speech approached the topic of leadership in an authentic way, without using clichéd sayings or abstract ideas. Instead, he gave personal anecdotes about things he’s learned and his own personal perspective which was valuable due to his many years of wisdom and experience.

From talking to Mr. Knauss personally, I learned that he was very passionate about things outside his work at Clorox. He cares a lot about his family and spends a great deal of time supporting education. He’s co-chaired a capital campaign for his children’s high school and serves on the board of trustees for Morehouse College and the Marine Corps University. He and his wife also created the Knauss Scholars Program.

This VIP event was great and I’m pumped for the next one (Kenneth I. Chenault, CEO of American Express)! This is going to be a great year on VIP.

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