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It All Started in Tower Dorm: A Talk with Pete Correll, CEO of Georgia Pacific and Chairman of Grady Hospital

Pete Correll, former CEO of Georgia Pacific and Chairman of Grady Hospital

Pete Correll, former CEO of Georgia Pacific and Chairman of Grady Hospital

“There’s so many wonderful opportunities out there if you’re willing to take a chance,” assures Pete Correll, guest speaker at the Institute for Leadership and Entrepreneurship’s (ILE) Impact Speaker Series. Mr Correll, former President and CEO of Georgia-Pacific and Chairmen of Grady Hospital, spoke with students about his career journey and the chances he took that led to his tremendous success.

 Mr. Correll detailed his journey that started in Georgia Tech’s own Tower Dorm as a first year student with a golf scholarship and ended with the successful transformation of both Georgia-Pacific Corp. and Grady Memorial Hospital.

 Correll’s involvement with Grady began in 2007 when he agreed to lead an effort to save the then-failing hospital. Drawing upon his relationships with Atlanta’s business and philanthropic communities, he formed and co-led the “Saving Grady Task Force” and helped raise $325 million that has since been invested in new facilities and services including the Correll Cardiac Center. He also served for eight years as the inaugural Chair of the new Board of Directors formed after the health system’s governance was restructured into the non-profit Grady Memorial Health Corporation. 

He encouraged students to “sit down, decide what you want and exactly what you’re willing to pay for it, and then go get it.” His advice is to remain open to opportunity in whatever form it presents itself in – from state-to-state moves to job offers that feel out of one’s league. In his experience, the happiest people have jobs that meet professional goals while allowing time for personal goal progress as well.

His favorite myth about success is that anyone can make it on their own. He encouraged students to ask for help when they need it, and to offer help whenever they can to help their peers succeed as well. In his experience, helping others up the “pyramid of success”  ensures greater business success and professional commitment from those at the top.

Aside from his major contributions to Georgia Pacific and Grady, Correll has received numerous awards and recognition for his generosity and commitment to Atlanta and to organizations across the state.

Organized by the Institute for Leadership and Entrepreneurship (ILE) at Scheller College, Impact is a weekly series that brings successful leaders from the corporate and nonprofit sectors, as well as innovative entrepreneurs, to campus for an authentic discourse with students and staff. ILE is an interdisciplinary institute that encourages values-based leadership and socially responsible entrepreneurship. The Impact Series is free and open to the entire campus community. It takes place on Wednesdays from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Most talks are recorded and available on ILE’s YouTube page.


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