My Inspirational Teacher: by former Accenture Executive Chairman William D. Green

This article originally appeared on the Huffington Post on September 25, 2012.

Charlie Kramer taught me when I was 19 years old. His subject was economics – and that is an incredibly hard subject to teach a 19-year-old. To teach a 59-year-old would still be hard! I was at Dean College in Franklin, Massachusetts, and it was the first time I had dipped my toe into higher education. All through school I had been a particularly challenged student – nervous and distracted – and so I didn’t have very high expectations when I arrived.

But Charlie Kramer understood the magic formula – educate, energise and inspire. What made him different than any teacher I’ve had in my life was that he inspired me to want to learn, to like learning, to find information fascinating and to connect it to the real world.

After my weak showing in high school, I took what today they call a gap year, but in those days we called it “finding yourself”. I then had the choice of becoming a plumber – the family business – or college. My dad said: “Why don’t you try that college thing?”

To this day I thank Charlie Kramer for building my self-confidence and self-esteem, making me see that I could in fact do well, and learn, and grow. I went on from Dean to Babson for a bachelors and a masters degree, joined Accenture, and 35 years later I’m still here… I give the man – and the institution – all the credit. I am also grateful to our community college system which plays a key – and often under-valued – role in helping millions continue their education and develop the skills required for the jobs most in demand.

There is tremendous raw material in the emerging nations: people who can learn and make a contribution. The opportunities of the future will be in these emerging markets, and it is important for all of us to invest in the people who live and work there, so they can raise their games and ultimately raise their standards of living. In the end, the countries – and the companies – with the best people win