Fostering business and fiscal stability while deemphasizing ideology is how Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont ’80 characterized his approach to his office when he spoke with students at the Yale School of Management on September 25.
“As governor, I’m less Republican/Democrat and more somebody trying to get the ball moving 10 yards down the field every day,” Lamont said. “You can’t allow ideology to get in the way of progress.”
In a talk hosted by the student-run Net Impact club, Lamont discussed the synergies between his careers in the private and public sectors and the benefits of working at the intersection of the two to “grow society’s bottom line.” Net Impact co-leader Niall Dammando ’24, a former staffer for Lamont, moderated the event.
Lamont discussed his post-SOM career journey from his days as an entrepreneur in the telecoms field to his entry into public service on local boards in Greenwich to the governorship. In his current role, he said, he draws on skills that he has developed throughout his career.
As a leader in business and in government, Lamont said that he has learned that relationships and good listening skills matter—whether with employees or with constituents. And he emphasized the importance of explaining your vision and end goals clearly and as often as necessary to foster buy-in.
“Be very clear on where you want to go,” Lamont said. “But don’t be rigid in discussing the best ways to get there.”
As governor, Lamont said he has prioritized bringing more business into Connecticut. And while the state can’t offer the financial incentives that some states can, Connecticut has strong job training, good housing stock, and a well-educated workforce.
“In business, and in government, you’ve got to play to your strengths,” Lamont said. “We do have the best workforce in the world, so let’s leverage that.”
Healthcare and income inequities, the push for green energy, and the struggle to grow the workforce will shape the coming years in Connecticut, Lamont said, adding that these issues are deeply intertwined with both the public and private sectors.
Lamont encouraged students to consider beginning their post-SOM careers in state government, saying that opportunities to gain broad, impactful experience and move quickly into the managerial ranks abound. And moving into the private sector later is not a problem, he said: “You can do a lot at a very young age.”