Lou Giraudo, chairman of several companies — Boudin Bakery, Pabst Brewing, Ascentia Wine Estates and Milton’s Baking — tells us about his guiding principles, his father and his belief in honesty as a way of life.
What do you consider to be the guiding principles or philosophy that has gotten you to your current position in life? I believe that we all are obligated to make every place that we touch better than it was before we got there. Better means that people’s lives are enhanced and that they too are driven to a sense of the common good.
Who has left the biggest impression on you as you’ve gone through life? Why? My father. He worked harder than any man I have ever known, his love for his family was unconditional and his mantra was: “Never lie, never cheat, never steal and your life will be a success.” He arrived in the United States in 1935 as an immigrant baker, got his first job at Boudin Bakery of San Francisco and died with his boots on in 1997, shortly after visiting his bakers at their place of work on 10th Avenue and Geary Boulevard.
If you found $100,000 in a paper bag tomorrow, what would you do with it? I would drop it off at the nearest police station, and if unclaimed, I would divide it equally between St. Anthony Dining Room, the DeMarillac Academy of the Tenderloin, Grace Cathedral Preschool for the children of the Tenderloin and the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Center’s after-school program.
When do you know to cut your losses and when do you know you should just keep pushing forward? I am not sure that I have fully learned the lesson that the question directs itself to. I am often criticized for pushing too hard and my failures have often been because I refuse to walk away. Maybe I am a slow learner.
What global issue concerns you most and why? Poverty at home and abroad, and the ever increasing division between rich and poor concern me the most.
If your house was on fire and your family and pets were safe, what besides the obvious wallet/car keys would you want to save most? More than anything else, I would want to save pictures of family and friends.
What quality do you hate most in others? In yourself? I don’t like dishonesty in others or myself. I believe that the human condition often pushes us in that direction, but the truth makes life better and simpler. As long as I stay true to myself and loyal to my principals, life will be better for someone else, whether it is family, friend, employee or simply another human being.