Michael Suguitan / Sun Staff Photographer

Reggie Fils-Aimé '83, current Dyson School Leader in Residence, speaking about leadership in Call Auditorium on Monday, Oct 21 2019.

October 22, 2019

A Gamer’s Mind: How Former Nintendo President Reggie Fils-Aimé ’83 Sees Success

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“Leaders drive a greater vision,” a major player in the video game industry told a rapt Cornell audience. “They paint a picture that moves the organization.”

Cornell welcomed Reggie Fils-Aimé ’83, the former president and chief operating officer of Nintendo of America, to speak about key leadership skills applicable on campus and in the workplace. The event was held in the David L. Call Alumni Auditorium in Kennedy Hall and attracted a full crowd of students and faculty.

To empower next-generation leaders, Fils-Aimé shared his personal seven principles of leadership, including intellectual curiosity, courage in decision-making and “irrefutable integrity.” Fils-Aimé taught students how to master those key principles, which he developed throughout his 35-year career spanning a range of international industries and businesses including Nintendo of America and MTV Networks.

“They talk about not what is, but what can be, and where it is that you want to drive the organization to,” Fils-Aimé said.

Relating these principles to his experience leading Nintendo, Fils-Aimé explained how leaders define their vision.

“Nintendo is an entertainment company that puts smiles on people’s faces,” Fils-Aimé said, describing how he aimed to “galvanize the organization,” focusing “on ideas that will deliver against this grand vision.”

For many Cornellians in the auditorium, Nintendo and its entertainment products were associated with fond childhood memories. One audience member even brought his Wii control, which Fils-Aimé pointed out with enthusiasm.

“I grew up with Nintendo personally … and it’s always so fun. Playing Nintendo and actually seeing the guy who helped Nintendo flourish I think it’s an honor,” Sean Cabrera ’23 said.

Nintendo and other entertainment companies have quickly expanded in recent years, yet women still struggle to rise up in a male-dominated industry. As the lecture neared the end, an audience member posed the question to Fils-Aimé on how corporations could empower women.

Fils-Aimé responded to the concern by highlighting the importance of diversity in the industry and the urgency for companies to embrace people of different backgrounds to collaborate to strive for better results.

Upon retirement from the company in April this year, Fils-Aimé is visiting Cornell as the Dyson’s School’s first leader in residence, The Sun previously reported. Through inspiring talks and close interaction with Dyson students, Fils-Aimé hopes to “instill leadership values and lessons that are not only applicable for students now, but also as they grow and excel in their future endeavors,” according to a University press release.