Olympic Profile: Garry Herbert, Investment Management Division, London
Garry Herbert joined Goldman Sachs in 2005 and is now working in our Investment Management Division in London. He won a gold medal in Rowing (Coxed Pair) as a member of the British Olympic team at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. We spoke with him about his Olympics experience.
Q: Garry, how did you become involved in rowing?
Garry: It all started with the Los Angeles Olympic Games in 1984. My sports teacher's son was rowing at that Games in the Men's Coxed Fours, and I just remember watching all the rowing on TV. Although there are six boats in a final, in reality the event had been dominated by two crews that year—the USA and Great Britain. Great Britain was triumphant in the final, albeit by a very narrow margin. But it was the manner of their victory that left an indelible mark on me which was to change my life for ever. From that moment, I thought, that's what I want to do, to represent my country at the Olympic Games and win a gold medal.
Q: Can you talk about what skills you had to develop in your role as a coxswain and how it's translated to your business experience?
Garry: There are three characteristics that I think are critical: trust, leadership and integrity. As a coxswain, you control the speed of the boat by giving direction to the rowers. To be effective, however a race is developing, the crew have to believe you, and when you get their confidence, then that's a very powerful combination.
Truly great leaders are those who lead from the front and by example, who have earned the respect of everyone. That is what I've learned from the boat: strong leadership by example. If you get down to training before everybody else, to get everything ready, that sends out a huge signal. Everyone is important.
Q: Is tenacity a trait you’ve always had, or is it something that developed through your sporting activities?
Garry: I think it developed through sports, because of the repetition of training, day in, day out. All I know is that if you work hard, you will achieve whatever it is that you set out to be. With a little bit of hard work, there's nothing you can't do. That's always been my philosophy—although I am realistic in my ambitions to know that I will never be a rocket scientist!