Reset Yourself Like a Big Bank CEO

BB&T CEO Shares Tips for Starting Each Day Fresh

SMITH BRAIN TRUST — Kelly S. King works long hours with digital currency as chairman and CEO of BB&T, one of the largest U.S. banks. So on the weekends he likes to put on old jeans and putter around his family’s North Carolina lake house. “I like to build things and plant things,” he said Sept. 26, 2017, at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business. “It’s very tangible. Most of my work is very intangible.”

King, the featured guest at the Smith School’s BB&T Colloquium on Capitalism, Ethics and Leadership, said different activities work for different people. But everyone needs a way to disconnect occasionally from their busy schedules. “When I’m out at the lake house doing that, it allows me to renew myself,” he said. “You need to find something that’s unique to you that really helps you get away from the daily pressures and reset yourselves psychologically, emotionally and spiritually.”

Weekend getaways help, but King also does mini resets each morning. He wakes at 5 a.m., runs on a treadmill while catching up on cable news, and then does quiet Bible study. “It helps me refresh my spirit and my brain at the same time,” he said. “I try to leave the house ready to go.”

Smith School professor Rajshree Agarwal, director of the school’s Ed Snider Center for Enterprise and Markets, moderated the discussion. The annual colloquium is supported by a $1.5 million gift from BB&T in 2010.

Other topics that King covered:

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About the Expert(s)

Rajshree Agarwal is the Rudolph P. Lamone Chair and Professor in Entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland and director of the Ed Snider Center for Enterprise and Markets. Rajshree’s research interests focus on the implications of entrepreneurship and innovation for industry and firm evolution. Her recent projects examine the micro-foundations of macro phenomena, linking knowledge diffusion among firms, industries, and regions to the underlying mechanisms of employee entrepreneurship and mobility.

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