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Meet the Dallas 500 : Darren Woods

The CEO of ExxonMobil Corp. worked at a Navy warehouse as a teenager.
By D CEO |

Northwestern University (MBA), Texas A&M University (BS-Electrical Engineering) 

First Job:
“When I was 16, I worked at a Navy warehouse in Hawaii, unloading overseas containers. I worked with people from different backgrounds, and it was hard, hot, and very dirty work. I learned two very important lessons: First, there is dignity in hard work, irrespective of what it is; and second, if you respect differences, you’ll find more things in common.”

Greatest Inspiration:
“My parents. They taught me to respect others, believe in myself, work hard, never quit, and stick to principles. I still follow these lessons to this day.”

Toughest Challenge:
“Keeping the organization focused and prepared for the next down cycle, when riding high in the up cycle.”

Fun Fact:
“On average, I’ve moved every three years of my life, across the United States, Europe, and Asia.”

Advice For an 18-Year-Old Me:
“Be true to yourself. Give it your all. Have fun.”

Lesson Learned:
“Manage for the long term. Do things the right way, for the right reason. Find win-wins. If you do these things, success will follow.”

Proud Moment:
“Seeing my kids grow into well-rounded, principled young adults who enjoy life.”

How I Motivate Others:
“I try to help them understand where we need to go and how we want to get there, then give them the keys and get out of the way.”

Favorite Movie:
“Rob Roy, with Liam Neeson, followed very closely by Silverado.”

Bucket List:
“I’d like to learn how to play the piano.”

This Q&A is extended content from the 2018 edition of the Dallas 500, a special publication produced by D CEO that profiles the region’s most influential business leaders. Visit for details.

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