John E. “Jack” Rooney, president and CEO of U.S. Cellular, and Myra Kruger, founder of Esler Kruger and co-author of the book “The Pursuit of Something Better,” served as guest lecturers at the University of Tennessee full-time MBA program Spring Symposium on Tuesday.
University of Tennessee MBA students and faculty, local U.S. Cellular leaders and other guests gathered in the beautiful West Wing boardroom of the Haslam Business Building for Jack and Myra’s presentation regarding ethics, leadership and business transformation as well as the book “The Pursuit of Something Better.”
“It’s a wonderful and enriching opportunity for our MBA students and for the university to have Mr. Rooney and Ms. Kruger visit as speakers for the MBA Spring Symposium,” Amy Cathey, director of the UT full-time MBA program, said. “For our students to interact with and learn from individuals who have implemented successful business principles and achieved outstanding business results is invaluable to their education and advancement in the field. U.S. Cellular is a fantastic case study that fits well in our curriculum regarding ethics and business transformation.”
After the lecture, Myra offered a book signing for the students’ copies of “The Pursuit of Something Better,” which chronicles the success of U.S. Cellular under Rooney’s 10-year term as CEO.
“The Pursuit of Something Better: How An Underdog Company Defied the Odds, Won Customers’ Hearts, and Grew its Employees Into Better People” by consultants Dave Esler and Myra Kruger presents a rare and inspiring case study for CEOs, executives, consultants and entrepreneurs.
It tells the story behind the leadership of U.S. Cellular, a regional wireless service provider whose nearly 9,000 associates specialize in delighting six million customers and giving their giant competitors heartburn. While most companies are scrambling to apply traditional recession-era tactics, battling poor press and earnings reports, this organization is giving millions to its communities and revamping its infrastructure and planning for the future. Its associates are proud and delighted to work there. 95 percent of them have confidence in the leaders, and associates report they have become better spouses, parents and citizens because they work in this company.
Knoxville serves as the East Region headquarters for U.S. Cellular and the location of one of the company’s five Customer Care Centers. Regional vice president and local leader Tom Catani, as well as the Knoxville Customer Care Center, are highlighted in “The Pursuit of Something Better” as early champions of the new business model and corporate culture transformation.
U.S. Cellular employs more than 700 associates in East Tennessee and has contributed more than $1.2 million to Tennessee nonprofit organizations and schools over the past five years. Local associates have volunteered more than 2,900 hours over the past three years. U.S. Cellular was named “Best Wireless Phone Service” and “Best Place to Work” in the 2009 News Sentinel’s East Tennessee’s Best Readers Poll.