Longtime San Marino resident Jim Ellis was honored on Wednesday by the Boy Scouts of America along with Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer as the 2017 ‘Business Leaders of the Year,’ at a breakfast at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles.
“I was honored to be considered as a ‘Business Leader of the Year’ with my friend Steve Ballmer,’ Ellis told The Tribune. “I was also proud to have three of my five kids and one of my ten grandchildren in attendance, especially with one son, Rob, having been an Eagle Scout and my grandson, Christopher Walker, being a current Boy Scout.”
Christopher was in attendance at Wednesday’s event, in full Scout uniform.
In a casual interview environment, Ellis and Ballmer talked about mentors who had impacted their lives, what made for good leaders, and the fact that building character today builds the leaders of tomorrow.
“My father in law always told me ‘When everyone goes left, you go right,’” Ellis said. “He felt that creativity drives successful companies. That successful companies are always innovating.”
Ellis was introduced by San Marino resident Steve Silk, a sponsor of the event, who is also on faculty at USC, where Ellis is dean of the Marshall School of Business.
Ellis is also holder of the Robert R. Dockson Dean’s Chair in Business Administration. As dean, he is responsible for the education of some 5,700 students, both graduate and undergraduate. In addition, he holds a full time appointment as Professor of Marketing in the Department of Marketing, where he has been since 1997.
Prior to being appointed Dean, Ellis was the university’s Vice Provost for Globalization, responsible for building the USC name worldwide. He also served as the Vice Dean of External Relations, at the Marshall School of Business, as well as Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs. He continues to teach the Freshman Leadership Colloquium class.
Ellis worked in the corporate world from 1970 to 1997. He served as president and CEO of Porsche Design – a high-end accessories company owned by Europe’s Porsche family – from 1985-90. From 1990-97, he was chairman and CEO of Port O’Call Pasadena, an upscale home accessory retailer, as well as being an owner or partner in six other companies. Ellis currently sits on numerous corporate and nonprofit boards of directors.
At USC in 2003, he was awarded both the ‘Teaching Has No Boundaries’ award, given by the faculty, and the Golden Apple Award, which is presented by the students. In 2004, he was given the Outstanding Teaching and Mentoring Award from the USC Parents’ Association.
In the 1990’s Ellis served as an Assistant Scout Master on 2001 with San Marino Troop 358, where he accompanied local Scouts to the National Jamboree at Ft. A.P. Hill in Virginia.