NBC Universal executive Daniel R. Wolfe urged local community leaders and students at the University of Mary Washington to strive for innovation in their businesses and their careers. Wolfe, a 1984 alumnus and executive vice president of NBC Universal’s Worldwide Creative Operations, spent two days last week at UMW as the 2014-14 Executive-in-Residence.
“Maintaining the status quo is not a strategy,” said Wolfe, sharing his motto for business and a concept he strives to live by. According to Wolfe, businesses can either hold onto their success model until it becomes irrelevant, or continuously look to change and innovate.
What is the secret to innovation? Wolfe encourages business leaders to look to their consumers for answers.
“The biggest thing is – are we listening to our consumer?” asked Wolfe. “The ability to ask questions, the ability to let your guard down and say ‘let me ask what would be a better way to do this’ is so important for any business and for any individual to keep growing,” said Wolfe.
After graduating from UMW, Wolfe said he moved back home to Virginia Beach with his parents. A few years later, his college roommate, a movie fanatic, died in a car accident. The incident got Wolfe thinking about his passions and purpose, and he ended up moving to Boston for grad school before heading out to Los Angeles.
With all his success, Wolfe still credits his time as Mary Washington for the balance he is able to keep in the Hollywood industry.
College is “really where you build your foundation,” he said. “And I think that’s what’s really served me well.”