Robert M. Smelick
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Robert M. Smelick, Visiting Lecturer
B. A., Stanford University; M. B. A., Harvard University

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Building Cultures of Innovation through Effective Leadership


Mr. Smelick was an investment banker for thirty years; Managing Principal of his own firm, Sterling Payot Company; Managing Director of First Boston and head of this firms West Coast Investment Banking Group; Partner of Kidder Peabody, Inc. He is currently the Managing Partner of Headland Ventures, a family venture capital firm. During his banking career he served on the boards of a number of private and public companies.

For five years he has been on a journey to document the characteristics of leadership that result in successful and innovative growth companies. Having worked during his career with many leaders, and having served on a number of their Boards, Mr. Smelick’s personal relationships have allowed him to conduct candid, un-scripted, video interviews with over 100 executives of important growth companies. Over three hundred hours of interviews have been edited into ten video packages that are used as background for class discussions of leadership issues. The ten companies focused on during Mr. Smelick’s course include Genentech, Nordstrom, Pacific Telesis/AirTouch, Willamette Industries, Wired Ventures and Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream.

Mr. Smelick has also been a Visiting Lecturer at the business schools of the University of Washington, Harvard University and the University of San Francisco.