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Key to success: Vision Key to success: Passion Key to success: Perseverance Key to success: Preparation Key to success: Courage Key to success: Integrity Key to success: The American Dream Keys to success homepage More quotes on Passion More quotes on Vision More quotes on Courage More quotes on Integrity More quotes on Preparation More quotes on Perseverance More quotes on The American Dream

Willem Kolff

Pioneer of Artificial Organs

Willem Kolff: When the artificial kidney had become in my eyes a reality that did not mean that the medical profession was going to say, "Hurrah! Now we have something!" And, there were some that were receptive, there were many more that thought that the idea to have blood outside somebody's body was a horrible idea, and they did whatever they could to prevent using the artificial kidney and some of them wrote articles that said the artificial kidney was not needed. I've done one very good thing. I have never responded to any of those articles, for the simple reason that I had seen the improvement in patients so clearly that if I could just keep going, and have a few other people do it too, I would win.
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Wendy Kopp

Founder, Teach for America

Wendy Kopp: I was so excited, honestly, to live in New York. I'd always wanted to live in New York. So I literally moved in, roomed with a bunch of other women who I did not know. We were just renting a brownstone. And I had this tiny little room and two or three trash bags full of my clothes. One of these executives who I'd met after I turned in the thesis -- I sent it out to randomly selected corporate executives who were quoted in magazine articles saying they wanted to improve education -- and a few of them actually agreed to meet with me. One gave me a seed grant and another said I could use their spare office in Manhattan. So I would go. It was a lonely existence. I would just go every day into this office in Manhattan, and I would send out letters and try to get people to meet with me, just trying to build support for this idea.
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Wendy Kopp

Founder, Teach for America

Wendy Kopp: There have been many moments where it's felt like the whole thing was going to come crashing down. Definitely. Our first decade was extraordinarily challenging. I think there was a lot of positive energy around the initial idea, and that carried us through the first two or three years. We built a lot of funding support. The timing really was so perfect, but then, in year four, many things collided to make the path far more difficult. We started losing our funding sources in half-a-million and million-dollar chunks. My complete lack of management ability started conspiring, because sort of the internal organization was in a bit of chaos. And we started realizing that education is a very politicized sphere, and we started really encountering many challenges as we worked to gain the policy approvals we would need even to get our teachers in classrooms. So there were many, many challenges, and probably the most central of all was we were on such a steep learning curve around, "How do you actually do this well?" How do you recruit and select and train and support teachers who do excel, instead of just survive, and who do take the right lessons and not the lessons of disillusionment? So we had a lot on our plate, and it was not clear that we were going to make it, at many points.
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Henry Kravis

Financier and Investor

I started at Columbia and, after my first semester, I said, "I don't know if this is really for me." I remember being in a class, a marketing class, my first year, first semester. And the professor said, "How many of you want to work for Procter and Gamble?" And everybody's hands went up. And I said, "Oh, my gosh, this is not for me. I've got to get out of here. I'm in the wrong place." I called my dad, and I said, "I'm going to drop out, and I'm going to go back to work for the Madison Fund." He said, "No, you're making a mistake, son." He says, "I think you've gotten the worst over. The first semester is always the hardest at business school. Stick with it. It will always be good to have your Master's." And long story short, I did stick with it.
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