An alumnus of the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia (UVA), Bill Gray earned his MBA from the school. Bill Gray, who spent more than 30 years a co-chief executive officer of Ogilvy Group North America, retains strong ties to his alma mater as a featured speaker and lecturer to current students.
UVA’s Darden School recently named winners of the first-ever pitch night competition based on business platforms dealing with environmental sustainability. Held in January at the W. L. Lyons Brown III Innovation Laboratory on campus, the event saw six individuals pitching ideas before a packed room. The Darden School supported the event to promote environmental awareness while also putting business students in a high-pressure, real-world situation. Anna Perry, a high school student, earned the People’s Choice award as well as the Most Feasible Idea award for her pitch on composting in elementary and high schools. Top honors, however, went to Joni Lane for her hemp-based insulation idea.
An award-winning senior advertising executive, Bill Gray joined Ogilvy Group North America in 1978, coming to lead the company as co-CEO until his retirement in 2010. Additionally, he was a member of the Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide board and sat on the board of the Harleysville Group. Throughout his distinguished career, Bill Gray found numerous ways to remain involved in his community, including serving on the board of directors of The First Tee of Connecticut.
In 2013, The First Tee of Connecticut, a youth initiative of the Connecticut Golf Foundation, became an official LPGA-USGA Girls Golf site. An all-female coaching staff and a female director lead instruction of the girls’ program, which emphasizes the continued engagement of young women in the game of golf. The program promotes a healthy and active lifestyle through the five “E’s” of girls’ golf: empower, engage, enrich, energize, and exercise. TFTCT’s Girls Golf Program develops a schedule of events for the participants to enjoy, including a “Spring Into Golf” Bring a Friend Day, where enrollees are encouraged to introduce a friend to the program; a girls-only summer camp experience; and a golf fair. Girls aged 7 to 18 can participate in most of the events at no charge through the support of The First Tee.
A former advertising executive who sat on the global board of Ogilvy & Mather and served as Ogilvy Group North America’s co-chief executive officer, Bill Gray currently serves as an independent trustee for Century Capital. As a member of the Board of Trustees of the New York Public Library, Bill Gray serves on the organization’s executive committee and as chair of its marketing committee.
The New York Public Library’s “Schomburg Collects” exhibition series highlights the work of African-American WPA artists from 1935 to 1943. A program in President Roosevelt’s New Deal, the WPA, or Works Progress Administration, was a work-relief program that employed millions in the construction of public works, including bridges, roads, parks, and public buildings. The WPA also employed tens of thousands of artists through federal programs in writing, theater, music, and the visual arts and eventually led to the founding of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Foundation for the Arts.
“Schomburg Collects” features works by famous black artists of the time, such as as Zora Neal Hurston, Billie Holiday, Paul Robeson, and Richard Wright. The exhibition will remain open through January 4, 2014, in the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture exhibition hall.
One of the premier universities in the world, Harvard University, located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has approximately 21,000 undergraduate and graduate students from all over the United States and the world. Its distinguished faculty currently has 2,100 members; 44 current and former professors have earned the Nobel Prize. One of the world’s largest, the university’s endowment is approximately $32 billion.
Harvard, the United States’ oldest institution of higher learning, was established by the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1636, and takes its name from John Harvard, its first donor. The campus’ oldest buildings date to the 1700s, and after 200 years Harvard adopted its coat of arms containing the Latin motto “Veritas.” Its alumni have included some of the world’s most powerful people, including U.S. Presidents, Supreme Court Justices, members of Congress, medical innovators, and business leaders.
Bill Gray earned his undergraduate degree from Harvard University and later an MBA from the University of Virginia. Bill Gray is an experienced business professional and former Co-CEO of Oglivy Group North America.
By Bill Gray
Each year, the American Red Cross in Greater New York hosts the New York Red Cross Ball to honor businesses and individuals for their humanitarian efforts. In 2012, approximately 500 New York philanthropists, corporate leaders, celebrities, local officials, and other Red Cross supporters attended the event. The International Leadership and the Humanitarian awards were given to Simon Ruddick and Ann F. Kaplan, respectively. In part for its ongoing partnership with the Ready When The Time Comes program, JetBlue was bestowed with the Corporate Leadership Award.
Over the years, the New York Red Cross Ball has earned a reputation for providing great entertainment. The 2012 ball, which was held at Manhattan’s Plaza Hotel, featured multiple numbers performed by Dancing with the Stars personalities Kym Johnson and Tristan MacManus.
About the Author: A former member of the Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide board, Bill Gray attends the Red Cross New York Ball whenever possible. He was the 2008 recipient of the American Red Cross in Greater New York’s Humanitarian Award.
Bill Gray has served as Co-CEO of Ogilvy Group North America and sat on the Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide board. He received his Master of Business Administration from the Darden School of Business.
The Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia offers a pedagogically distinctive program. Many schools utilize traditional methods of classroom management, which means a professor stands at the front of the class, gives his or her lecture, and fields questions. The Darden School’s philosophy has departed from his model for its own model called the “case method.”
With the case method, the professor bases each lecture on an abstract topic—accounting identities or marketing strategy, for instance—professors then base their classes on unique, real life business scenarios. Students are given the opportunity to analyze these scenarios and offer solutions. Students then discuss their proposed solutions with a learning team and receive feedback on their ideas.
This practical philosophy towards education prepares graduate students for the demands of the business world in a much more direct way, which is something that more traditional programs would do well to emulate.
Bill Gray, the retired Co-Chief Executive Officer of Ogilvy Group North America, served as the Chairman of the Board for the American Red Cross of Greater New York from 2002 to 2008. The former executive continues to act as Chairman Emeritus and to promote Red Cross programs.
September is National Preparedness Month, and the American Red Cross wants everyone to prepare for unexpected disasters. In a disaster situation, good preparation can reduce panic, hasten evacuations, and save lives. The organization wants every American household to build an emergency kit, prepare a disaster plan, and stay on top of news events for their area.
A good disaster kit should have food and water supplies for several days, a light source, a battery-operated radio with new batteries, any necessary medications, and first aid supplies. It should also be easy to load into a car or carry onto a bus in an emergency evacuation situation. The Red Cross recommends that the kit contain 3 gallons of water for each member of the household and a week’s worth of necessary medications.
In addition to packing a disaster kit, families should create an evacuation plan and designate meeting sites in case of separation. They should divide up emergency tasks and practice them. In an evacuation situation, there is not much time to think. A well-practiced emergency plan can help guide scared families through the process.
Finally, the Red Cross wants people to stay informed. Pay attention to weather alerts and other emergency announcements. If your local authorities order an evacuation, do not hesitate. Get your family and get out as quickly as you can. Unfortunately, we cannot always predict disasters, but we can certainly prepare for them in advance.