Facebook pixel About Grant Oliphant, MSOD | Pepperdine Graziadio Business School Skip to main content
Pepperdine | Graziadio Business School

About Grant Oliphant


My name is Grant Oliphant. I'm President of the Heinz Endowments, host of a podcast called "We Can Be" and author of a book called "Ring of Years." I was in the Eta Prime Class.

So how did MSOD change the trajectory of my life? I love the presumption. I love the presumption in this question, but it's also not grandiose at all. What happened for me is that MSOD sent me on a path of personal and professional discovery that I've been on ever since. I think it gave me the principles and the tools and the people that I needed in my life to make me curious about operating differently, bringing myself to my work differently and trying to change the organizations that I'm privileged to be a part of. So it really helped me, I think, become a more effective person and a more effective leader.

Oh God. You know legacies are impossibly hard to think about, but what I want to leave behind, in many respects, is what I've learned through the work that I started doing in MSOD and have been privileged to continue courtesy of people associated with the program. I want my legacy to be that I contributed to a kinder, gentler, more effective world, where we value each other differently and where we really care about results, but we care about results in the context of making life better for our fellow human beings. That's what I want my legacy to be about.

The contribution I want to make in the next 10 years is to help the world that I'm privileged to be working in, respond to a very difficult set of challenges. The work I do is complex. It's obviously about leading an organization, but more importantly, it's about what that organization does. What that organization does is, try to address major challenges in our society having to do with racial equity, the environment, poverty, how people relate to each other, the kindness with which we treat the planet and each other.

We are in a very difficult moment, not just as a country, but as a world, on figuring out what an imaginative, humanistic response to the moment that we're in ,will be. I want my work ... I've dedicated myself, in fact over the next decade, to having my work being all about impacting that and not solving it myself, because I don't have that power, but working with others who care about it in a way that we collectively make a dent in it. I'm hopeful still, about our opportunity to do that.

Yeah, I just say that I owe so much to this program. I have learned a lot that I have carried with me over the years. I think it's why I have been able to be a leader of two organizations since it's changed how I think about leadership. It's made me much more focused on how I show up as an agent for change and how I reach out to others to engage them in the process of change. I'm just incredibly grateful. I'm grateful for the people I met in this program. I'm grateful for the leaders who I've continued to work with through this program, and I'm really grateful for the ideas that I gained here, because they fire me every day.