James Donovan, managing partner at Goldman Sachs and adjunct professor at the University of Virginia School of Law, is a devoted runner. In an interview with Lindsey Holder, he explained that regular runs have helped him manage stress, stay focused and maintain his health.

Lindsey: When did you start running as a way to manage your stress and health? Was there a particular event that happened that encouraged you to start running or did someone introduce you to it?

Jim Donovan: I started using it to manage stress when I began my career at Goldman Sachs 19 years ago. I found that it was a tremendous relief- a great outlet- for me to run.

I then made certain that I ran for 30-45 minutes every day no matter what. No matter how little I slept and no matter where in the world I happened to be, all I needed was a pair of sneakers and running clothes to start my day. I’ve been a convert ever since.

Lindsey: Fueling your body is just as important as running itself. What are your go to power foods you have before and after your run?

Jim: I don’t eat before my runs, but right after my run I eat a breakfast of fruit (bananas and apples) and granola cereal with milk.

But no one should think that Jim Donovan is only devoted to running- not at all. Jim Donovan and his wife have a lovely family which they are devoted to. As the father of four children, he has transmitted the message about the importance of giving to others to his offspring. Each year, as an act of kindness and to transmit the message of the importance of giving, James Donovan his his wife take their four children to local soup kitchens and help distribute food to those less fortunate.

James Donovan, managing director at Goldman Sachs, is known for his down-to-earth approach to teaching as a professor at the University of Virginia.

In one of his lectures, he explained that language and conversational skills are extremely important for a businessman.

“Take classes in the law and business section,” he suggests. “You will learn about the world in which your clients live and you will learn their jargon. This way you won’t be intimidated by the business lingo because it really is just a thin veneer- so learn the language!”

He adds, “Use a pregnant pause while you’re talking to someone- it elicits conversation and feedback from the other side. It also forces you to slow down if you’re nervous.”

James Donovan was elected to the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health Board of Directors on May 16th. Jim Donovan is an adjunct professor at the University of Virginia School of Law, as well as a managing director at Goldman Sachs.

Charles A. Sanders, MD, FNIH chairman said:

“Jim’s experience in investment banking is a great fit with the FNIH board of directors, adding significant depth in the business arena. I welcome him to the board and look forward to working with him.”

FNIH board treasurer Paul M. Montrone, PhD, added“I nominated Jim because of his experience in the medical field and his extensive financial background. His work as a trustee of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute will bring an added dimension to the FNIH board of directors.”

As a managing partner at Goldman Sachs, University of Virginia professor James Donovan has extensive personal experience in the business world. During his “Outside the Box” lecture, Donovan explained that client relationships can be strengthened significantly when the whole picture is acknowledged.

“If they [the client] think of you as their trusted financial advisor, they’re going to call you when they need help instead of going piecemeal to different bankers, or different people, or different firms. It allowed me to box out the competition.”

In his efforts to support the work of the Dana-Farber Cancer Research Institute, James Donovan hosts an annual breakfast and participates in road races which both raise money for ‘Mission Possible: The Dana-Farber Campaign to Conquer Cancer.’

As a loving father and family man with four children, Jim Donovan has always striven to teach his offspring the importance of giving to others, and his dedication to working for Dana-Farber is part of that philosophy.

Jim Donovan also serves on the Board of Trustees of the DFCI and established the Christy and Jim Donovan Fund for Prostate Cancer Research in 2008 in honor of a close friend.

Mr. Donovan is also a member of the Lank Center for Genitourinary Oncology, another division of the Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center. The center is a revolutionary treatment and research facility which utilizes the expertise of medical, urologic and radiation oncologists. As discoveries are made they are brought directly to the bedside of patients, allowing the most advanced research and information to help cancer patients, while information gained from the patients and their treatment is brought back to the laboratory for further research.

James Donovan, Goldman Sachs partner and adjunct professor at the University of Virginia School of Law, often draws on his personal experience during his lectures.

He explains that the two essential components to a successful workplace; excellence and strong relationships. He went on to add that it is important to take pride in what you do, and do it well. Confidence, he says, encourages trust.

“By building solid relationships, you will create a web of professionals within which you will be well know and well respected. And that’s good for any business across the board,” he said.

He added: “Remember, study what you enjoy, demonstrate your excellence and your interest, be conversant in as many languages as possible, build solid relationships, create a strong professional network and always take time off.”

While speaking to students at the University of Virginia, where he is a law professor, James H. Donovan urged students to have passion.

Not only passion for a career, but also to be devoted to family and friends.  Jim Donovan has often communicated this message to his students, but as the father of four children, he expresses his philosophy to them through his dedication to several causes. He is active on the board at Dana-Farber Cancer Research Center, and every year in December Donovan and his family place wreaths on the graves of soldiers at the Arlington National Cemetery.

He explained that degrees matter, but that passion and commitment mater even more.  He explained that his first degree was in chemical engineering, not necessarily because he wanted to be a chemical engineer, but because he wanted to study what he was good at and what he enjoyed.

From this point, Jim Donovan explained that students should, “study what you enjoy, not what you think your graduate school wants to see on your transcript. Demonstrate good grades in college. Study what you want and get good grades instead of studying what you think looks good and getting bad grades. “

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