Dutch magazine EW, spoke to Nancy McKinstry, CEO & Chairman of the Executive Board at Wolters Kluwer, about her childhood, work and personal experiences, digital transformation, and the importance of lifelong learning.
This is a summary of an inspirational and personal conversation.
What kind of childhood did you have?
A true countryside childhood, in rural Connecticut in the United States. It was a great environment. I played with the kids from the neighborhood, in the woods. I was the youngest of three children.
My mother was a teacher and went back to work when I started kindergarten. Even then I was already learning things that I was later able to bring to this job. Reading, the thrilling feeling that you’re discovering another world – because that’s what you do when you read – is something I’ve always found really exciting. I owe that to my mother.
The hunger for knowledge that my mother gave me has really helped me in my career, and it’s also something we cherish here at Wolters Kluwer.
What book made an impression on you?
The Little Engine That Could, a well-known children’s book about a little locomotive that can do more than it thinks. Even as a child I enjoyed doing things that were difficult. I did like a challenge, and that little book contains a life lesson: You can set yourself goals and it gives you great satisfaction if you achieve them.
We have four values here, and one of them is: Aim high and deliver. One of the colleagues with whom I worked for a long time always said, ‘If you want to go to the moon, you might end up on the roof. But even that’s always higher than the ground.’ I believe that setting high standards has been essential in transforming this company from print to digital. When I became CEO here in 2003, 75 percent of our revenue came from print. Now digital & services is 91% of total revenues.