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Fisher Alumnus to Business Students: You are Capable of Tremendous Things

September 21, 2017

Students in Dr. Monica Hodis’ Personal Selling course had a unique start to their semester—instead of reviewing the syllabus and course expectations in their first class, they had the opportunity to hear advice and life lessons from an esteemed Fisher alumnus.

Bill Colombo '77 met with students from Dr. Monica Hodis' Personal Selling course.

Bill Colombo ’77 visited Hodis’ class to share insights from his career in retail management. Currently the vice chairman of the board of Dick’s Sporting Goods, where he works closely with his Fisher roommate Ed Stack ’77, Colombo drew on his experiences launching the brand’s web presence during his talk.

Upon graduating from Fisher with a degree in business management, Colombo began a career at J.C. Penny’s. In the late 90s, he transitioned to Dick’s, where he held a variety of positions, including president of the brand’s internet subsidiary. There, he led the launch of, and recalled the excitement of promoting the site in 1999 with advertisements during Super Bowl XXXII.

Bill Colombo '77 shared insight into his career with Dick's Sporting Goods.

In 2002, Colombo became president and chief operating officer of Dick’s and a member of their board. In February 2008, he stepped down as president and chief operating officer and assumed the role of vice chairman. That same year, Fisher’s School of Business honored him with the Excellence in Management Award, given to alumni who demonstrate outstanding leadership and managerial accomplishments and have a proven track record of drive and significant accomplishments in the field of management.

Students in Hodis’ class asked Colombo a variety of questions, touching on work-life balance (always strive for it), what drew Colombo to sales (he enjoys working with the public and solving problems), and how to ensure success in an interview (do your homework on the company and show your interest in working there).

“Don’t underestimate what you’re capable of,” he told the students. “Use your head and you can take care of any problem. You are capable of tremendous things and you have the ability to do whatever you want.”