Episode 3: Bob Ravener on How to Find Great Mentors and Effectively Communicate Your Ideas to the CEO

Bob Ravener is a highly accomplished and widely recognized business leader, author and speaker.

He has served in executive roles with several organizations including the Fortune 200 companies of PepsiCo, The Home Depot, Starbucks, and most recently Dollar General, where he retired after serving as the Chief People Officer from 2008 to 2019.

During his time there, the company essentially doubled in size to $26 billion in revenue with more than 140,000 employees.

Prior to entering the private sector, Bob served in the U.S. Navy as a submarine officer. He finished his active duty service at the United States Naval Academy where he served in the athletic department as the academic liaison officer and as an instructor, coach, and recruiter. He also spent time in the Naval Reserves following active duty.

He graduated from the United States Naval Academy, where he earned distinction as a leader, intercollegiate varsity baseball player and is past president of his class. He also earned an MBA from New York University.

He currently serves with several organizations including, Goodwill Industries International Board, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta Human Capital Advisory Council, Franklin Civil War Historical Commission, Friends of Franklin Parks Board, Downtown Neighborhood Association Board, and the Tennessee Congressional Service Academy Selection Boards.

Previously, Bob served as chairman of the Tennessee Workforce Development Board, chairman of the Human Resources Leaders Council for Retail Industry Leaders Association, the President’s National Hire Veterans Committee, and the Secretary of Labor’s Advisory Committee for Veterans Employment, Training, and Employer Outreach.


Bob's LinkedIn Profile

Bob Ravener's book: UP!, The Difference between Today and Tomorrow is You


  • How to write your book even when you’re in the busy C-Suite life.
  • Where his motivation came from to write his book even in the midst of busy C-Suite life.
  • The most important advice for any employee who wants to “be in the room where it happens”.
  • Bob’s tough childhood and what helped him get moving in the right direction and persevere.
  • The critical attribute that Home Depot CEO, Bob Nardelli, and Dollar General CEO, Richard Dreiling had as mentors.
  • What Bob learned about handling failure from his interactions with Starbucks CEO, Howard Shultz.
  • The simple playbook for finding a great mentor.
  • The must-have conversation when you’ve made a big mistake.
  • The common trait that he’d instill in every employee (this will surprise you).
  • Three key communication strategies to presenting your idea to the C-Suite.
  • What to do first when an employee says they’re quitting.
  • The key resource used by many leaders on the Board and C-Suite.
  • How he “read” 25 books in a year with little effort.

Key Quotes:

“Don’t get caught up in the drama.”

“One you’ve made your case, you still need to be able to get behind the decision and move forward with the team.”

“Focus on what you can control.”

“The best way to get a mentor is to go ask them.”

“Focus on being interested instead of being interesting."


Other Book Mentioned:

Developing the Leader Within You, John Maxwell

Recommended Biography Authors:

Doris Kearns Goodwin

David McCullough


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