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Saturday, September 30, 2023

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Stories of Leadership: Larry Emond

Larry Emond, '89, was the Associated Students president during his time at SDSU.

Larry Emond is a Managing Partner for Gallup and a member of the company’s Executive Committee.

He graduated from San Diego State University in 1989 with degrees is international commerce and Asian Studies.

Larry Emond black and white headshot
Larry Emond

Emond oversees Gallup’s strategy in Asia and the Western United States, working with the company’s offices and clients throughout these regions. He consults with companies in the areas of hiring, development, leadership, succession and in strategies to drive employee and customer engagement.

Tell us the highlights of your professional career. What are your proudest achievements?

One of my proudest achievements in my more than 20 years at Gallup was setting up some of initial offices in Asia 20 years ago.

Now, 20 years later, I am overseeing all of Gallup’s Asian business, in addition to the western United States. I was there to get much of it started and them after a decade as the CMO, I am back overseeing the part of our business that I think is the most exciting going forward. I do a week a month in places like China, India, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Australia and more.

What’s your favorite college memory?

As president of Associated Students, I helped to lead the successful vote to create what is now Viejas Arena. Other favorite memories were Friday afternoons at Monty’s Den when you could sit outside, and Sunday nights with my Sigma Pi fraternity brothers at Woodstock’s. I also enjoyed writing a weekly column for the Daily Aztec where I would take on controversial issues each week, which was something I did my last year after being president.

Who was your favorite professor and/or what was your favorite class?

“Uncle Mehdi,” or, Mehdi Salehizadeh, who taught international finance and gave me great advice including to start reading the The Economist, which I still do today. My two other favorite classes were cosmology and gravitational collapse — a physics course for non-science majors and rock poetry.

If you were to give current SDSU students some advice, what would you say?

Go live and work abroad right after graduation if you can. Just a couple years in another country can totally change your perspective in a way that can greatly change your own thinking and your opportunities for the future.

What are you currently reading? What’s your favorite book?

I enjoy reading on the Asian economy and especially banks, which is our largest client base in the region. I also enjoy books on theoretical physics, and am always a sucker for American literature and especially the early 20th century like Hemingway, Fitzgerald and that motley crew.

I have the complete Hemingway short stories on tape and sometimes I drop in on old favorites on my long flights to Asia. I never get tired of that guy’s word combinations. And all of the Fitzgerald stuff when they were hanging out in Europe reminds me of the many years I lived in Tokyo and would hang out on Sundays at cafes in Tokyo with friends, many of whom were Aztecs out of our great Japanese language program back then.

What is your passion?

My two children, Howie (11) and Catalina (9), as well as the lovely Sandra, with whom I just became engaged and who has really changed my life. I am a huge Aztec sports fan, especially basketball. I have season tickets to games and drive down from Orange County.

What is your motto?

"If it’s a job worth doing, it’s worth doing right."

If you won the lottery, what would you do with your winnings?

I would immediately set half aside for charity, much of which SDSU would be seeing. I would travel constantly and have a half-dozen homes in my favorite travel locations.

Which trait do you value most in your friends and colleagues?

Honesty and courage.

If you knew you could not fail, what would you attempt?

I would become President of the United States — the biggest and hardest job there is. I would just never go down the really ugly political road to get there unless, as the question implies, I was sure I could not fail in that quest.