2018 Pioneer Award Co-Winner,
Ronald Mambu Class of 1967
F-A.COM: What was your foundation growing up? How did you build on it? What was your life’s strategy?
My foundation growing up benefitted from a loving and supportive family where hard work and higher education were important values. These carried over into my adult life and, I believe, were underpinnings of a successful business career.
F-A.COM: Who were your life’s mentors?
“MY PARENTS AND OTHER FAMILY MEMBERS SET
GREAT EXAMPLES FOR ME AS A YOUNG BOY.”
They taught lessons about choosing friends wisely; aspiring to be like those who were more proficient (for example, in academics or sporting performance); the value of moderation and the importance of doing "good works" for others.
My brother, who is two years older, was a mentor who advised and assisted me through my primary and secondary educational years.
F-A.COM: Who inspired you at Frankford? How?'
There were numerous outstanding teachers at Frankford who took a real interest in students.
One who stands out in my mind is Mr Richard Connolly. He was a physical education instructor and our varsity baseball coach.
"MR. CONNOLLY’S PAD FOR SUCCESS:
PRIDE, ATTITUDE AND DESIRE."
Mr Connolly helped develop us in ways that go beyond academics and sports.
When I meet some of my classmates, we still reminisce about some of his advice. One example was his PAD for success, an acronym for pride, attitude and desire.
F-A.COM: How did Frankford prepare you for Notre Dame?
My freshman year at Notre Dame was one of those things in life that I would not want it to repeat. I suppose we all have lifetime events like that. It was tough academically.
Frankford gave me the basic tools to develop academically and I made dean's list beginning in my sophomore year.
F-A.COM: Why did you choose Notre Dame?
WHY NOTRE DAME?
I applied to Notre Dame as a possible "stretch college". I had done well with grades and had acceptable SAT scores.
My brother played a big part in my eventual path to Notre Dame.
It was a great decision.
Like Frankford, Notre Dame is a very special place for me. Kind of like going home when I visit there.
I actually turned down their acceptance and was planning to attend St Joseph's College because I thought Notre Dame might be too expensive.
My brother was commuting daily from our home in Frankford to Villanova and he recognized the benefits of living on campus.
Admittedly, I was apprehensive about the prospect of leaving home for South Bend, Indiana.
However, as part of our high school commencement, I received an unexpected scholarship from the local Lyons Club that provided partial coverage of my tuition.
With encouragement from my brother and with some soul searching, I re-applied to Notre Dame and was accepted a second time.
“I WOULD LOVE TO SEE ANOTHER FHS GRADUATE
ENROLL AT NOTRE DAME.”
We joke about how they either really wanted me or at least someone from an inner city environment.
I think the assistance from the Lyons Club and my childhood role models—re: doing "good works" for others—motivated my desire to establish our own scholarship award for a FHS graduate.
F-A.COM: How were your intellectual boundaries tested? How did Frankford and Notre Dame prepare you to become (a chief financial officer)?
One of the significant characteristics necessary to be a successful public company CFO has more to do with character and trust than with intellectual financial capabilities.
When a pension fund manager or any other investor considers entrusting their investment dollars with you and your company, they listen to your pitch and look you in the eye to determine if they can trust you.
My foundations and values formed at home, at FHS and at Notre Dame prepared me for my role as a CFO of a NYSE company.
F-A.COM: Frankford has just launched an Aeronautical Academy, what advice would you give to new students and faculty?
“KUDOS TO MR. CALDERONE AND ALL WHO ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR ESTABLISHING THE AERONAUTICAL ACADEMY AT
FRANKFORD HIGH SCHOOL."
I think it's (Aeronautical Academy) a terrific opportunity for FHS students. Mr Calderone "gets" FHS and we see significant positive change and energy under his leadership.
F-A.COM: How did you meet your wonderful wife? Tell us about your family? Did you attend your 50th high school reunion last year? If so, what did you enjoy the most about it?
“I MADE A GREAT CHOICE!”
I met my wife, Barbara Krantz, at Frankford. We dated through most of our collegiate years and married in 1972. We have two children and now two grandchildren.
My wife is the center of our family and has been a huge support for me throughout our married life.
It's a partnership. Picking your spouse is one of the most important life decisions we make and it's without much prior help or training. I made a great choicel
My wife and I attended our 50th year and had a terrific time. It was the better than all prior reunions.
At this point in our lives with children now grown and enjoying grandchildren, it was fun to reconnect with high school friends. It was a time to enjoy and renew friendships.
F-A.COM: How has volunteering for Habitat for Humanity impacted your life?
Volunteering became a goal in retirement. I felt that I hadn't done enough while I was working and raising our family.
I've now volunteered on several habitat missions with our church. We've been working on building homes in one of the poorest communities in the US located in northwest Mississippi.
I've looked for other volunteer opportunities; it's what I feel I should be doing now.
F-A.COM: What is your most favorite thing about retirement?
"MY MOST FAVORITE ASPECT ABOUT RETIREMENT IS THAT YOU CAN DO WHATEVER YOU WANT,
WHENEVER YOU WANT."
The freedom to spend your time as you wish is a wonderful blessing.
We're in pretty good health so leading active life styles involve traveling, golfing/ exercising, baby sitting grandchildren and volunteering.
All are great ways to spend time. Another positive involves Sunday evenings. Nowadays, I don't have to start preparing for the work week ahead.