Question: (This is a perennial St. Louis question) Carol, where did you go to high school
Answer: I grew up on the mean streets of Ladue and attended Ladue High School where I studied gymnastics, photography and prom.
Question: Where did you go to college?
Answer: I went to the University of Denver undergraduate because I wanted to learn to ski. Also, Playboy Magazine would not rank D.U. when evaluating party schools because Playboy didn't rank amateurs with professionals.
Question: What about grad school?
Answer: I went to Washington University in St. Louis. I did my practicum at Magdala Foundation, a half-way house for women prisoners. A portion of each day was spent watching women who were on parole urinate. My Father was not thrilled. He said that if I were going to watch people urinate and he was paying big ticket tuition, then I should look into becoming a urologist.
Question: How did you get involved with fundraising?
Answer: I was a Hematology/Oncology social worker and there wasn't enough money to do everything that was needed for our patients. The general attitude was to do more with less. I thought we should do more with more and made it my job to find the money. I was 28 when I became president of the Washington, D.C. Chapter of the National Hemophilia Foundation. By 30 I was secretary of the National board of the Hemophilia Foundation.
Question: You've serve on 38 boards and been president of 8. How do you choose where to volunteer?
Answer: The correct answer is that I have a passion for the mission. The real answer is that I make by decision totally based on the leadership. If there is a great leader who is 1. A lifelong learner, 2. Has the ability to grow and change 3. Is inspiring, then my only question is where do I sign up. I have loved working with the Hemophilia Foundation and the Kidney Foundation. I have no family history of either disease. I was the President of the Friends of the Eternal Rainforest in Costa Rica and I was the only one at the field stations who actively discouraged looking for the 5 poisonous snakes of Costa Rica. It is always the leadership that attracts me.
Question: What was your favorite job?
Answer: Other than owning Board Builders, I loved working at St. Louis Children's Hospital as a pediatric neurology and neurosurgery social worker. I was single and there were lot of doctors to date and hang out with and I adored my boss, Arthur Prensky, who is still a friend today. The work was challenging and rewarding and 35 years later, I still hear from some of my patients.
Question: What is the smartest thing you've ever done.
Answer: Marry Frank Robbins.
Question: What was the stupidest mistake you've made as a consultant?
Answer: Early on, I did a staff retreat and was asked by the COO to make sure the CEO didn't monopolize the conversation. I couldn't reach the CEO before the retreat to discuss this with him and explain that the goal was to get everyone in the room to feel safe to voice their opinions. The CEO so totally dominated the discussion that the COO practically severed me in two with his dirty looks. Every time I tried to interrupt the CEO, he got equally aggravated. Everyone was unhappy, including the other 12 senior staff in the room who couldn't get a word in edge wise. It was not pretty. I learned at least 27 lessons from the fiasco and returned the fee.
Question: If they were doing the movie of your life, who would play you?
Answer: I look like the love child of Bette Midler and Henry Kissinger, although Barbara Streisand and I looked a lot alike when I was young, so I would definitely go with Angelina Jolie.
Question: What is a perfect evening
Answer: Dinner with my children and grandchildren and I haven't had to cook. I also love to snuggle up with my husband, have a fire and watch, "Project Runway." As a result, my husband will sometimes ask, "Do you think my outfit is too matchy-matchy?" This is the price I am willing to pay.