Arthur Blank has a favorite T-shirt. It reads, “There is no finish line.” That unofficial motto embodies his drive to break new ground and continue to give back.
Blank, who co-founded Home Depot in Atlanta in 1978, will come to the University of Georgia on Feb. 16 to share the lessons he’s learned from a life of innovation and service. His speech, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:20 p.m. at the UGA Chapel, is part of the Terry College Leadership Speaker Series, hosted by UGA’s Institute for Leadership Advancement (ILA).
The talk is open to all UGA students, faculty, staff and the Athens community.
“Arthur Blank is an exemplar of a values-based, impact-driven leader; the kind of leaders we are developing at ILA,” said Laura Little, professor of management and ILA director. “We are honored to host Blank who is an inspiration to the UGA community.”
When Blank and his friend Bernie Marcus launched the first two Home Depot stores in Atlanta, they revolutionized the way people looked at their homes. The home improvement stores mainstreamed do-it-yourself projects and empowered homeowners to treat their homes as canvases for self-expression.
Since leaving his post as Home Depot’s chairman in 2001, Blank has built a sense of community and pride in Atlanta.
As owner of the National Football League’s Atlanta Falcons, founder of Major League Soccer’s Atlanta United, and a driving force behind the development of Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium, he has cemented himself as a leader in the business of sports. The Sports Business Journal named him one of the Most Influential People in Sports in 2016, 2017 and 2018 and the journal’s Executive of the Year in 2018. He was named by ESPN as the 2021 Sports Philanthropist of the Year.
Today, Blank is as well known for his philanthropic work and advocacy as his business prowess. In 1995, he formed The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, dedicated to fostering innovative solutions that enable young people, families and communities to achieve results beyond what seems possible today. Blank shared a vision and a roadmap for values-based business in Good Company, a national bestseller released in 2020, which takes readers inside the story of how he turned around a struggling NFL team, rebooting a near-bankrupt retail chain, building a brand-new stadium, revitalizing a blighted neighborhood, launching a startup soccer club and more. His personal proceeds from Good Company go to The National Center for Civil and Human Rights.
The Terry Leadership Speaker Series presented by the Institute for Leadership Advancement brings well-known leaders from organizations to share their unique leadership styles and experiences with students.