• Michael Valdes

Peter Goldmark, Independent Climate and Social Change Advisor: "Life Is a Trip Around the Bases".

Updated: May 6, 2021

I was introduced to Peter Goldmark by my podcast producer who is a mentee of mine. He said Peter was also a mentor of his and that we should meet. He went so far as suggesting him as a guest on the podcast. When I reviewed this man's accomplishments, I was incredibly eager to sit down with this varied individual to start and unravel the amazing story that was his life.

Peter's father was a Hungarian born inventor and engineer who is credited for such history making accomplishments such as inventing the LP and instrumental in the technology behind color television and radar technology. Peter, Jr. certainly had huge shoes to fill but he did not fail in that task.

At age 30, he was appointed Secretary of Human Services for the State of Massachusetts which oversaw the prisons in the state and this was a year after the Attica prison riots in New York. He learned to bring all parties together and master the art of compromise and resolution. There was a great deal of trust that needed to occur in a very short period of time. These are lessons that although Peter lived to the extreme can be implemented in our daily lives and business goals.

He later moved to become CEO of the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey which at the time of his tenure he says was full of corruption. He needed to self-govern, find the culprits, introduce the mandate that it would not be tolerated and restore trust in the public. Again, the theme of trust resonates and being responsible for the shortcomings in an organization.

As the President of the Rockefeller Foundation, he wanted to stretch the mandate of what the organization was doing and start to bring in other voices and make the dialogue more diverse. This son of immigrants understood the importance of a global voice to make radical change.

When I asked him what the greatest lesson he learned in his career, he said "to take the time and understand the problem". That simplistic message resonated when you dissect the gravity of situations that he was at the helm of.

His greatest love now is to help the planet. He wants to take the culmination of all the lessons he learned on a global scale with his 8 decades on this planet and help organizations and businesses understand the responsibility for our planet and climate. He is passionate about this work and knows this will be his lasting legacy.

We spoke about a book he was reading, "Lincoln on the Verge" and the idea of the struggles Lincoln inherited during the Civil War when he became President and how he had to unite a country and preserve. In fact Lincol lost most of the elections he ran, but his perseverance and faith allowed him to become one of the greatest Presidents in our history.

Peter's closing advice to the listeners was "Build a plan and never give up" .

It was truly an honor to spend time with this spirited, wise and learned individual.

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