Gary Polk

Meet Gary L. Polk
Founder of The Polk Institute Foundation

More about Gary

Gary L. Polk, Sr., is a Black businessman, CEO, business consultant, university professor and author, and is passionate about entrepreneurs…and why they succeed or fail.

His initial book, Why Entrepreneurs Fail (to Win), is widely used as a textbook in college entrepreneurship programs.

Why Black and Brown Entrepreneurs Fail (to Win), published December 1, 2020, is intended for entrepreneurs and those who want to be and Why Women Entrepreneurs Fail (to Win), publishing in October, 2021 concurrent with Women’s National Business Month, is targeted specifically for women entrepreneurs.

Takeaways? Gary wants his readers to learn what they need to know to be as successful as they can be. He wants them to be focused on the triple bottom line, “People, Planet, Profit,” and believe they align to drive success for everyone involved.

Gary is also a proponent of social entrepreneurship, having launched the Polk Institute Foundation, on January 15, 2021.

Professionally, once upon a time, he served as a banker. His friends called him "Mr. B of A." Starting as a teller, upon graduation from LMU, he went on to spend 10 years at the old Bank of America. His job positions ranged from teller to Branch Manager to Area Credit Administration and Marketing Coordinator. After banking, Gary spent 14 years in insurance sales and district management.

Starting at CSU, Northridge, he has taught as an Adjunct Professor since 1991, and at CSU, Dominguez Hills since 2003. 2020 marked his 29th year as an Adjunct Professor and 17th year at CSUDH as a Lecturer and Adjunct Professor of Business Management, Ethics and Entrepreneurship. Ethics is his recent area of scholarly research.

In between CSUN and CSUDH, I’ve also taught at Cerritos College, Santa Monica College and DeVry University. I’ve also worked as a corporate trainer while at Allstate and Farmers Insurance companies.

Educationally, I’ve earned my Master of Science in Administration (MS) at CSUDH and my Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Loyola Marymount University, L.A. I spent my first two years at Azusa Pacific University and played JV basketball for the legendary small college coach Cliff Hamlow at Azusa Pacific.

Gary has five grandkids, three adult kids, two dogs, and is married to his second wife, Claudine Pacheco Polk. I live in the South Bay of Los Angeles County. My hobbies include reading both nonfiction and novels. In 1995, I founded a co-ed book club that still thrives today. Historical fiction is my favorite genre. The Traveler's Gift by Andy Andrews is one of my all-time favorites. Also, The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto was an amazing read.

Finally, Gary is a true Los Angeles sports fanatic, not just a fan! I LOVE the Lakers, the Dodgers, USC Football, and UCLA Basketball, and Rams.

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