The Secrets to Success
John Duken '81
When John G. Duken '81 visited SUNY Canton in 2015, he gave an inspiring presentation to business students about the secrets to his success.
Perseverance, discipline and intellectual curiosity were a few of the qualities he said have served him well during his career. As the executive vice president of global merchandising for Dick’s Sporting Goods – one of the country’s most successful sports retailers – Duken is part of a team that manages the day-to-day operations of the $6.8 billion company.
He credited SUNY Canton for providing an environment where he could grow academically and personally. He learned to study, work collaboratively in committees, seek leadership positions and express opinions. After earning his associate degree in Accounting, he applied to the University of Southern California.
“I was an average student in high school,” he said. "However, SUNY Canton gave me the opportunity to be competitive in applying to USC and the skills necessary to successfully graduate.”
Although he has had an incredible career and has worked in several highprofile positions for Circuit City and Dick’s, he humbly admits he usually isn’t the smartest person in the room. “But, I ask a lot of questions and surround myself with very smart people.”
He also believes that helping others is a crucial element to finding success in one’s own career pursuits. His volunteer endeavors have included providing leadership to the Catholic School Diocese athletic programs in the greater Pittsburgh area and establishing the Duken Family Scholarship, which will be awarded annually to a SUNY Canton student from Clinton County who demonstrates an interest in business. He said, “Being able to support other people’s dreams and help them accomplish their goals is what life is all about.”