Through a combination of what at times seemed to be very personal anecdotes and at others straight-ahead business adages, hospitality industry giant Sheldon Adelson told an audience of more than 1,000 on campus that success requires you to change the status quo.
Adelson, along with Las Vegas Sands COO Mike Leven, appeared May 5 to kick off the “Conversations on Leadership” series, which will be a hallmark of the new center for executive entrepreneurship at the William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration. The proposed center is being funded through a multimillion-dollar gift from Las Vegas Sands Corp.
Adelson recounted his childhood growing up in Dorchester, Mass., to interviewer Arte Nathan. His later success, he quipped, could be considered a rags-to-riches story, “but we were so poor we didn’t even have rags.” His first job was selling newspapers in Boston, which he soon leveraged into “owning the corner” and having others working for him. He noted that the common theme of his business ventures has been to find an opportunity that will change the status quo, and then do something new and different.
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