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Darla Moore School of Business

Alumna hits the mark with new book

May 10, 2016

Alumna hits the mark with new book

Jill Griffin (BS '77, MBA '79, Distinguished Alumna '03) moved to Austin as a young woman in 1985 looking to make a name for herself in the male-dominated business world. As a newcomer, Griffin felt like a small fish in a big sea. The biggest challenge, one that Griffin was prepared to face, was how to make herself into a household name.

“When I started my consulting firm in 1988, I looked around the world of marketing at the big names and saw one thing they all had in common,” says Griffin. “It was books. I knew that if I wanted to compete with them, it wasn’t a matter of if I would become an author but more so, when I would become one.”

After finishing her MBA in 1979, Griffin was the first Moore School student to be recruited by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. During her time with RJR Tobacco, Griffin learned that customers go through stages of loyalty, laying the foundation of her first book, “Customer Loyalty: How to Earn It, How to Keep It.”

The book has been published in eight different languages worldwide, evolving into a second edition. The book was placed on the Harvard Working Knowledge list and is now a teaching material used in university classrooms across the United States.

Griffin is once again taking the business world by storm with her fifth book. Released in March, “Earn Your Seat on a Corporate Board: 7 Actions to Build Your Career, Elevate Your Leadership, and Expand Your Influence,” pulls the curtain back on the selection process in the competitive and secret world of corporate boards.

Griffin is a seasoned pro when it comes to corporate boards. Since 2003, she has served as board director for Luby's/Fuddruckers Restaurants. She chairs the personnel and administration committee including oversight for store operations, human resources, marketing/social media, information technology, and management compensation and succession.

“It has been such a privilege for me to serve on the Luby’s, and later Fuddruckers board,” says Giffin. “Not only is it interesting to see how the company works from the top down, but I get the chance to be in the same room with some of the smartest thought leaders in the world.”

Griffin is eager to share the joy and self-revelation that comes with a corporate board seat. The 120-page book is told through the eyes of seasoned directors and packed full of real-world case studies, detailed examples, and powerful how-to's.

“If I only had to give readers one out of the seven steps to gaining a seat, I would say to take my readiness audit online,” says Griffin. “It is 13 short questions that tests if you are adept to handle a position on a corporate board.”

The test was formed after many one-on-one discussions between Griffin and her peers.

During her time at the Moore School, Griffin served as the advertising manager for the Daily Gamecock newspaper as part of an assistantship set up by professors. Because of the amount of experience, and the wild success in sales Griffin had, she had received seven different job offers by the time of graduation.

“The Moore School gave me the privilege of completing an assistantship to not only gain knowledge but also to help pay for my education,” says Griffin. “I was able to graduate from the Moore School of Business owing virtually nothing. It is important for me to give back to students that are in the shoes that I was once in. Therefore, I started the Jill Griffin Endowed Fellowship 10 years ago.”

For Griffin, her lessons and practices are forever contained on bookshelves around the world.

By Jessika Markland

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