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Video: From Clerk to CEO: Sara Mathew on Risk-Taking and Learning from Mistakes




As the opening keynote speaker at Asia Society's 2013 Diversity Leadership Forum earlier this week in New York City, Chairman and CEO of Dun & Bradstreet Sara Mathew spoke with Fortune Deputy Managing Editor Stephanie Mehta about her ascent from newly immigrated clerk at Procter & Gamble to her present position and the attitudes that paved her unconventional path to corporate success.

Speaking at the Time Warner Center on Monday, Mathew emphasized the importance of taking risks, acknowledging your mistakes, and then focusing on the solution:

What prevents us from [taking risk] is that we're worried about the consequences. I can promise you the consequences are really great. But ... don't give me problems; give me solutions. This is the problem, so this is what I believe we ought to do, and then take accountability to make that happen. Most of that requires you to think. Spend and create time for yourself to think.

She also highlighted a commitment to learning and improving as crucial, using as an example how she herself "carves out" time to watch Khan Academy videos and how she invites feedback from her subordinates.