William S. White Winnetka was born in Ohio and grew up in Damascus and Potomac, Maryland. When he was born his father was working for John Glenn as his Chief of Staff. The family moved to Maryland when Glenn was elected a U.S. senator. Mr. White went to Georgia Tech and studied Building Construction. He then went to Columbia for graduate school and received his JD and an MBA. He owns a Montessori school in Chicago which is run by a strong executive team. With the school in qualified hands. William S. White Winnetka is looking to the future for new business ventures. He uses his background in real estate, finance, and law to help grow businesses.
What are your favorite books?
Lincoln On Leadership. I learned how he was able to make decisions in the face of adversity despite differing opinions and strong opposition. It was a true test of his character and conviction.
A Tale of Two Cities: I enjoyed Dickens, but it was the environment in which I read it that was most captivating. It was the summer before law school, and I was on a solo camping trip in the National Forest. It was a wonderful way to spend the summer.
What do you do in your spare time?
I love anything outdoors – wakeboarding, snow skiing, and rock climbing are my favorites. It is not just the physical challenge but the mental aspects of figuring it out. I also greatly enjoy woodworking. It combines physical action with mental stimulation.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
When I graduated from grad school, two different people at two different companies told me to know what I don’t know. It made no sense to me whatsoever. Now I see it through multiple lenses. As a leader, I know it guides me to surround myself with people who fill the gap. The only way to do that is to understand yourself, and what you don’t know in order to find people who help fill-in what we don’t understand or maybe are lacking in information. As a team member, when people know that you understand what you don’t know, they can rely on you more greatly. When you’re not asking questions, they know that you know what you’re doing. They can trust that when you don’t know, you’ll raise your hand to clarify and gather more information. I think it is very important that you do that as a person. It is also very important to teach that to those who work with and for you.
What are your aspirations in life?
My aspirations are to be continually learning and growing and to always be expanding and enhancing the important relationships in my life. Perpetual learning is just a fundamental way of living. Expanding and improving relationships is what makes life worth it. It could be family, friends, or co-workers. The daily connections are what bring me my greatest happiness.
What did you learn from your biggest failure?
I have learned to not obsess over the worst-case scenarios but definitely always plan for them. Things can go better than you hope. But you must do your best to not let them be worse than you planned. Being prepared is knowing how to mitigate your downside, and how to implement it if you find yourself in that position.
For more information, please visit williamswhitewinnetka.com/