The Fundamentals of Grit: Building Personal Effectiveness, Positive Impact and Influence - University of Houston
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The Fundamentals of Grit: Building Personal Effectiveness, Positive Impact and Influence

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Image of Greg Yeo

Guest Speaker:
Greg Yeo, Chief Engineer (Retired), ExxonMobil Chemical


What is “grit? Is it “toughness”? Or hanging in there when others have quit? Yes, but there’s more. Angela Duckworth, researcher, author and psychology professor at the University of Pennsylvania, defines grit as “passion and perseverance for especially long-term goals”. It’s more important than you might think.

Experience shows that the best predictor of personal and professional success is not IQ or the selection of college major or family income or any of the other traditional “advantages” that individuals may have. The most critical element is grit. Talent and natural gifts are always helpful, but grit counts more. And as we deal with greater and greater grand challenges (energy supply, clean water, pandemic, freeze, business disruption… the list only grows) the importance of grit has never been greater.

Our discussion will focus on the key strategies that all of us can apply to build grit, both in our professional and personal lives, with the aim of building personal effectiveness, positive impact and influence.


About the speaker:
Greg Yeo holds BS and MS degrees in Chemical Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, MA. He recently retired from ExxonMobil Chemical as Chief Engineer after a 41 year career in the petrochemicals industry. Greg’s career began in process technology and progressed through roles in process design, manufacturing, and, during the most recent 25 years, major venture development. He is a Fellow of the AIChE and has served in leadership roles in the AIChE national programming committee as well as the ethylene industry group. Greg has been a frequent speaker at the Annual Student Conference, working with students and young professionals to help build effective career skills.