Bethel graduate John Griffith, ’84, turned a business degree into a VP position at Target Corporation and shares secrets to his success.
Marissa Gamache | News Editor
As a varsity football player, Campus Coordinator and Resident Assistant, John Griffith dipped into many different clubs and organizations while attending Bethel. Voted “Most Inspirational Player” four years in a row on the football team, Griffith had drive that distinguished him from the crowd. Griffith studied business and economics at Bethel and later pursued his MBA from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. He served as the Executive Vice President of Property Development for Target Corporation.
Griffith credits to many people in his life who were willing to support him during his times of doubt and struggle.
“I wasn’t planning on going to college. I wanted to continue working; my parents begged me,” Griffith said.
After working construction jobs throughout high school, college wasn’t the path Griffith saw for himself.
Now, looking back, Griffith doesn’t regret coming to Bethel one bit.
“Bethel was for me,” Griffith said.
Like many students, Griffith wanted to land a job after he graduated college. Because one has very little work experience, the activities participated in during college really matter, according to Griffith.
“The employer’s mind is on who you are and what you have done,” Griffith said. Because of his level of involvement in clubs and activities at Bethel, Griffith’s resume stood out. Griffith was lucky to have a connection through his dad that landed him a job at Trammell Crow Company, where he was the youngest partner in the company’s history.
Being in the business of property development and real estate, Griffith has had a fair share of highs and lows.
“The economy was really lean for 4-6 years when I got started,” Griffith said. His wife was a school teacher and he credits her with supporting him and the family throughout their marriage.
To Griffith, success is brought by working hard, having a great support system and having “God’s blessing.”
He recommends that interns ask to sit in on presentations and tag along to lunch meetings.
“You really have to learn to put yourself out there and just ask. Don’t just sit in your cube. It can be awkward, but you have to practice,” Griffith said. “Success doesn’t drive up to your house, walk up the driveway, knock on the door and get you out of bed. You have to go find it.”
“Success doesn’t drive up to your house, walk up the driveway, knock on the door and get you out of bed. You have to go find it.”
Since retiring from Target in 2014, Griffith has gone on to become the managing partner in his own real estate company, commissioner of Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority appointed by Governor Dayton, member of the advisory council for the University of Minnesota Foundation and much more. Griffith was also a member on the Bethel University Board from 2000 to 2010.
Good article. It was a pleasure having him lead us at Target.