Gina Rudan helps unlock hidden genius
Gina Rudan ’93 has never been satisfied with the status quo. As a student at Binghamton, she was a leader and activist. Now she is making a name for herself by challenging traditional notions of intelligence.
Rudan is founder and president of Genuine Insights Inc., a leadership-training firm based in the San Francisco Bay area. She has been a guest lecturer, trainer and executive coach for Fortune 500 companies such as Microsoft, PepsiCo and Nike.
In corporate programs and in her book, Practical Genius (Touchstone, 2011), Rudan wants to empower the average person to do the extraordinary. She doesn’t accept the idea that genius is something bestowed on the lucky one percent.
“There are six ingredients we all have,” Rudan says. “Soft assets like values, creative ability and passion. And there are hard assets like skills, expertise and strengths. Where the hard and soft assets intersect, that convergence is where true genius lies.”
Rudan was intrigued with the word “genius” ever since she was 8 years old and denied acceptance into a gifted and talented program. She also says she was strongly influenced by her experience at Binghamton, crediting Carole Boyce Davies — former Africana studies and English professor — as her “Yoda.”
“She always pushed me to write and get my voice out there,” Rudan says. “She taught me about honoring the cultural nuances of my voice and not changing that.”
Rather than pursue writing, the EOP alumna took the safer route, building a career in marketing. A temporary loss of vision from an eye surgery gave her a chance to see life in a different way. She quit her job, started writing her book and opened her own firm.
“I should have done those things at age 21,” Rudan says. “You can’t run away from who you are. I’m an entrepreneur at heart; I play by my own set of rules. I got 29 rejections before I received my offer. I went through submitting and rewriting book proposals 29 times before I got a deal. Most authors stop at 10, 20 — you can’t stop until you get there.”