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Motivational Leaders: Bob Iger

Last year, he earned nearly $66 million — about 1,000 times more than his typical employee makes— which sparked some controversy about ballooning executive pay. What's more, Forbes estimates his net worth at around $690 million.

Iger, 68, wasn't always part of the 1%; he had to start at the bottom just like most people, according to his new book, ""The Ride of a Lifetime."" Iger writes that he grew up in a small, mostly working-class town on Long Island, New York called Oceanside. His mother was a stay-at-home mom while his dad worked in advertising.

Then at 15, he says he got a job as the summer janitor in his school district. The position involved cleaning all the heaters and desks in every classroom. He says he had to make sure all the desks were gum-free before the school year started.
"Cleaning gum from the bottoms of a thousand desks can build character or at least tolerance for monotony, or something," he writes.

Later, while Iger attended Ithaca College in upstate New York, he spent nearly every weekend night his freshman and sophomore year making pizza at the local Pizza Hut.
During that time, Iger says, something clicked, and he was determined to work harder than ever before and learn as much as possible so that he didn't have the same sense of regrets that his father had around his career.
From that moment on, Iger told himself that whatever shape his life took, he was never going to toil in frustration or lack of fulfillment.

In 1974, at the age of 23, Iger started his career at ABC Television as a studio supervisor after being a weatherman and a feature news reporter at a tiny cable TV station in Ithaca.
Over the course of the next 31 years, he would hold more than 20 different positions at ABC before being named the CEO of The Walt Disney Corporation in 2005.

"I've been the lowliest crew member working on a daytime soap opera and run a network that produced some of the most innovative television of all time. I've twice been on the side of the company being taken over, and I've acquired and assimilated several others, among them Pixar, Marvel, Lucas-film, and, most recently, 21st Century Fox," he says.

And through it all, he credits his father the most, for encouraging him to work hard and stay productive in achieving his goals.
"I do know that so many of the traits that served me well in my career started with him. I hope that he understood that, too."