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Five Minutes with Jeff Harvey, Head of Strategic Industries, SAP NA

Article originally authored by Aimee Feaver, SAP North America Communications.

The NA News team spent five minutes with Jeff Harvey, Head of Strategic Industries, SAP North America.

/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/sap_jeffharvey_542531.jpgNorth America News: Success, Accountability, Professionalism, Integrity, Teamwork, Trust – Which SAP Passion means the most to you and why?

Jeff Harvey: From my perspective, Integrity is the most important of our values because without it, nothing else matters. You either have integrity, or you don’t. You either can or can’t be trusted. You honor your commitments and keep your word, or you don’t. It’s that simple. And in a large global organization like SAP that executes as a team to help our customers solve mission critical problems every day, acting with integrity is key.

NA News: What has been your most fulfilling moment at SAP?

Jeff: I’ve had countless fulfilling moments in my 13 years with SAP, but the two most fulfilling types revolve around employees and customers. From an employee perspective, I spend a lot of time mentoring people, helping them chart and advance their careers at SAP. It is always fulfilling to see them taking on new challenges and roles of increasing responsibility.

From a customer perspective, it is extremely fulfilling to see them go-live with our solutions and realize the business benefit that caused them to partner with SAP in the first place.  We have the good fortune to work with many of the world’s leading companies – a privilege we should not take for granted.

NA News: What would you advise your teenaged self to care most and least about in life?

Jeff: In addition to following your dreams, care about treating people like you want to be treated. People and relationships are what matter most and last forever, not possessions; make sure you always keep this in perspective. Care least about staying inside your comfort zone. Outside of it is where we are truly learning – and getting better at what we do. Whether it’s competing in business or in sports, for example, putting yourself in the crucible is what makes you better the next time around.

NA News: Which non-family member has influenced you most and why?

/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/sap_jeffharvey2_542532.jpgJeff: The golfer, Gary Player. I’ve had the good fortune to spend time with Mr. Player, who also happens to serve as an SAP Brand Ambassador. Every time I see him, it takes about 30 seconds and I feel energized. He is always incredibly positive and optimistic, and makes everyone around him feel like they’re the most important person in the room. I’ve also had the opportunity to host customers for dinner at his home and meet his wife, Viviane, who is wonderful in her own right.

[NA News note: Jeff adds an interesting side note to that night: “Here’s something I’ll never forget. We were sitting at dinner and she said to Gary, ‘Jack called today and wanted to see if we can get together for dinner this weekend with him and Barbara.’ It blew me away to think about Jack Nicklaus calling Gary to schedule dinner on a weekend!”]

Gary’s a global celebrity, but made us all feel like we were the celebrities that night. Every person in his presence can’t help but feel unique and special. We can all get better at cultivating that feeling in others.

NA News: Tell us about your favorite childhood memory.

Jeff: Growing up as a child, my extended family used to go to these rustic cabins in Lakewood, Wisconsin, for two weeks every summer. We took over the resort, with each family renting one of the five cabins. My three brothers, cousins and I would fish, swim, go whitewater rafting (if you can call it that in Wisconsin!), and then hang out by the campfire every night. These were simpler times with no phones, no internet, no TV – and I miss that. I also miss seeing my extended family, which only seems to happen every few years now, at best. These were special times and I am working on scheduling a reunion at the same resort to get everyone back together at some point in the near future!

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