James Donovan, managing director 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.”

As a managing director 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.”

James Donovan, Goldman Sachs managing director 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.”