Meet Patrick Boulard, B.S. business administration ’90 and MBA ’92, in this
Alumni Spotlight. Born and raised in France, Pat headed to California in 1989 for what was supposed to be a one-year abroad experience as part of an exchange program with Chapman University. Ultimately, Chapman had a much more profound impact on Pat’s life than he anticipated. Read on to learn more about Pat’s experience as an international student, his entrepreneurial career and his inspiration for joining Chapman50.
What inspired you to become a member of Chapman50?
For me, Chapman50 was the perfect group at the perfect time. For years I had been looking for ways to increase my involvement with the university but hadn’t found the “right” channel to do so. Then I met part of the group at the backstage Disney event, attended the next council meeting, and I was hooked. The quality of the members was unmatched, the vision was clear and relevant, and the passion, professionalism and dedication that were apparent in those early discussions convinced me that this was what I had been waiting for.
What impact do you hope to make as a member of Chapman50?
To provide opportunities for students and alumni to expand their personal and professional networks, discover opportunities through scholarship and mentorship, and contribute to enhancing Chapman’s impact and legacy in California and beyond.
Tell us about your career – what do you do on a day-to-day basis?
I started my career in a “traditional” way with an entry-level position in operations. I climbed the corporate ladder at Toys R Us and other companies and ultimately became the first global CIO at Quiksilver, a leader in action sports and lifestyle. Deep inside however, I knew that I would someday start my own business. Much like Chapman50, this was a case of right place, right time. That time came in March 2009 when I founded
, a management-partnering firm that provides strategy, business optimization and continuous improvement services. In plain English, we deep-dive into business operations to understand what people actually do for the business, and make sure their efforts are aligned with the company’s goals. If needed, we then work with management to align people, processes and investments with strategy, so their business can grow, efficiently.
What insight would you give to current students and alumni who are searching for employment?
Don’t search for employment. Find what you’re passionate about and go after it. The problem is just that: when you look for “employment”, what you find is a “job”. And you don’t want just a job; stop looking for a job, and look for what moves you, what you’re REALLY good at, what you TRULY enjoy doing. Then look for others with the same passion. When those worlds collide, or rather, align, you probably won’t need to look for a job very long.
What advice do you have for current students who want to make the most out of their time at Chapman?
Make the absolute most of it. Knock on every door; meet as many people, professors and administrators as you can. Get involved in as many groups and organizations as you can. Participate and contribute as much as you can. Leverage university and related resources to expose yourself to as many experiences as you can. Doing this while at Chapman is far easier than later in life.
From your time at Chapman, which faculty member(s) made the greatest impact on you and why?
Tough to pick anyone in particular. Being a foreign student, the whole experience was impactful in more ways than one. Virtually every professor in the undergrad or graduate programs made an impact, as did Chapman University as a whole.
What is your favorite Chapman memory?
Again, there are many, but the night I met my wife, Lori (also a Chapman grad) would have to be way up there. Interesting story, but nobody has time for this here.
What was your favorite spot on campus as a student?
It’s no longer there. Many of the “internationalists” as we – foreign students – used to call ourselves, hung out behind the old cafeteria. There was a shaded meeting area there where many of us spent countless hours discussing life on campus either on the way to/back from class, weekends or holidays.
How has your Chapman degree helped you in your professional and personal life?
The situation was a little different for me given my foreign status at the time, and the implications that the status had on my ability to gain employment. Chapman was already beginning to rise in the polls then, but its notoriety was certainly not what it is today. I knew however that the education I received at Chapman was second to none. With time, Chapman’s recognition continued to increase, and so did the value of my degrees. But at a personal level, its impact was tremendous. The friends I made then are still dear friends today, and I continue to make friends through my involvement. It’s been a wonderful gift.
How were you involved on campus during your time as a Chapman student?
I was a member of the International Business Club along with many others. Looking back though, I wish I had been involved more. Part of the challenge for us was to learn to navigate the variety of organizations and programs available, and figure out a way to contribute. The “system” was very different from what we were used to in Europe, and I believe that played a role in limiting my involvement. I now regret not having done more to participate at the time. I would encourage everyone to get involved as much as possible. This will help build relationships that will last a lifetime.
Aside from Chapman50, how else have you been involved with Chapman since graduating?
I participated in the MBA Mentorship program two years in a row and am looking forward to doing so again in the future. I’m also looking forward to participating in the entrepreneurship program. There are so many worthwhile organizations on campus that it would be easy to be involved 100% of the time. Prior to this, participation was a challenge as Lori and I relocated to New Jersey in 1995 and spent 12 years there. It was not easy to be actively involved from the other side of the country.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with the Chapman Family?
Chapman has been a part of my life in one way or another since I came to this country. We now have two kids, and the older one has already declared she wants to go to Chapman, so it looks like the legacy may live on. It’s as much a pleasure to be a part of the university today as it was 20 years ago.
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Pat Boulard ’90 (MBA ’92): Then and Now
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Founded in late 2012, Chapman50 is an exclusive group designed to connect influential alumni leaders in a university-wide network unlike any other. Comprising fifty founding members under the age of 50, Chapman50 enacts the mission of Chapman University by encouraging alumni leadership and professional development in all fifty states and across the globe.
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