The right advice at the right time

Tull alumnus Paul Shoukry helps ensure leadership speaking series continues to inspire
Paul Shoukry sits on the UGA Chapel Stage in front of ILA banners

You never know where or when career inspiration will strike.

For Paul Shoukry (MAcc ’05), CFO and president of Raymond James, it was in a University of Georgia auditorium listening to a visiting executive as part of an Institute for Leadership Advancement program.

“I came to one of these speaker series events,” said Shoukry. “And I remember John Allison was speaking to our leadership group. He was the longtime CEO of a company called BB&T, now Truist. He didn’t talk a lot about business or banking. He talked about his values. He was very focused on the free enterprise system and the benefits of capitalism. I remember just being inspired by the values he was discussing at that meeting.”

After graduation, Shoukry decided to go into banking at BB&T because of Allison’s focus on his core values. It was the beginning of a career that led him to the role of president and CFO of one of the largest financial management firms in the country. He’s slated to take over as Raymond James CEO during fiscal year 2025.

When Shoukry returned to campus on March 25 to deliver his leadership talk as part of ILA’s Terry Leadership Lecture Series, he wanted to make sure future Terry students had access to the same type of leadership advice he received.

Shoukry, and his wife Amy, provided a gift to endow the Terry Leadership Speaker Series for the foreseeable future, announced Dean Ben Ayers, of the Terry College of Business.

“Throughout Paul’s career, he has had a commitment to leadership and excellence that has been inspiring to all of us,” Ayers said. “This endowment he and Amy are fostering for us will provide a great legacy of leadership development that will have a positive impact for generations. It’s my pleasure to extend my deepest gratitude to Paul and Amy for their vision, their generosity, and their dedication to the Institute for Leadership Advancement, Terry College and the University of Georgia.”

Before Ayers announced the endowment, Shoukry told students that humility and curiosity were the most important values an executive could have. The key to finding success, he added, was leaning into the things you’re passionate about. He found his passion for leadership and helping others at UGA, Terry, and ILA, and now is the time for today’s students to find theirs.

“What I learned at the University of Georgia was while your intellect and your achievement can impress others, it doesn’t inspire others,” Shoukry said. “What inspires others is having a passion for something greater, and it’s usually a passion for helping others out. And that’s something that guided me throughout my career after graduating from Georgia.”