Dawn (Solheim) Grove
Pepperdine Law | 1991
Corporate Counsel, Karsten Manufacturing Corporation, PING, and Other Subsidiaries
What does being an honoree of this campaign mean to you?
Being recognized by Pepperdine, the school I love and the gold standard of Christian education, is an amazing honor. It feels like a momentous full circle, especially now, as my daughter graduated from Pepperdine University's Seaver College this year. I was thrilled she chose Pepperdine out of all the schools that were vying for National Merit scholars like her. When I stepped onto the campus again with her four years ago, I felt struck and humbled by how fortunate I was to have the privilege to study with my fellow Pepperdine law students and learn from the top-notch Pepperdine law faculty in such a wonderful place.
Describe your success story.
After graduating from Pepperdine Law School, I was hired at a boutique law firm by its lead attorney, who I'd met when he was a guest speaker in one of my Pepperdine law classes. I was assigned primarily to defend manufacturers in various civil, commercial, and environmental lawsuits. I quickly fell in love with these hard-working entrepreneurs who were designing, engineering, and manufacturing useful products here in the US for distribution to the world against impossible odds as various people and governments sued them over multiple large and small matters. I served pro bono for my family's business on many occasions during those seven plus years of private law practice, and eventually agreed to come in-house for the family business.
In addition to legal compliance, company boards, and business work, one of the joys of my in-house counsel work is helping the manufacturing and business community in Arizona and across the US work together to maximize job opportunities, safeguard constitutional freedoms (including religious freedoms), and accomplish good in the world. I was recently elected vice chairman of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which is a fairly tight-knit group of influential business leaders throughout the state who are having an outsized impact for good in Arizona, nationally, and truly even globally. The chamber further inspired the birth of the related Chamber Foundation with its A for Arizona educational efforts, thoughtful bipartisan policy research, Chamber Business News media outlet, and training of Industry Fellows to prepare future business leaders to lead with knowledge, integrity, and service. I also chair the Arizona Manufacturers Council, serve on the board of the National Association of Manufacturers, and served on President Obama's US Manufacturing Council.
My family has transitioned leadership unanimously twice now, first from my grandfather to my uncle, then from my uncle to my cousin, John K. Solheim. I have loved encouraging my extended family to stay close and united in running Karsten Manufacturing Corporation (KMC), to continue making PING golf clubs with excellence and integrity, and to funding the Solheim Foundation to give back to our community and assist impoverished people throughout the world. In September I had the privilege of attending the Solheim Cup golf tournament (which my grandparents helped found to grow and advance opportunities for women in golf) at Gleneagles in Scotland, which marks the second time the event will be played on the same course as the Ryder Cup where the corresponding men's Europe vs. US. tournament is played.
How has Pepperdine played a role in your success?
I have no doubt that the scholarship Pepperdine provided me made all the difference in my ability to achieve the legal career I knew God was calling me to pursue. At 16 years of age, when I first let my family know I planned to attend law school, my grandfather just shook his head like that was a terribly disappointing choice, my grandmother suggested I at least try engineering instead first, and both let me know that KMC did not need a lawyer. My father at first told me that being a lawyer was no profession for a Christian woman.
While engineering is a great profession, I knew that it was not my gifting, and that I would need to get good grades throughout high school and college to receive a scholarship or otherwise earn my way over several years of work to pay for law school myself. So I prayed. I prayed that God would open the way for me to be accepted into the law school he had for me and provide the means to attend. Pepperdine was the answer to my prayers, providing a full scholarship for all three years.
Studying constitutional law under former US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and renewing that friendship in recent years so that I could further learn from such a great man before his passing was also priceless!
Describe a lesson you've learned from a challenging time in your career or life.
When I felt overwhelmed attempting to maintain my legal career and be a mom to a toddler and a very sick preemie baby while only sleeping in one-hour increments, my grandmother was there to advise and encourage me not to give up everything I'd worked so hard for in law school, but to get the help I needed, maintain some part-time hours and be there for my family. I watched her example as, even while my grandpa worked nonstop, she found creative ways to work beside him and spend time together. She truly was the business brilliance behind the company's early success just as he was its early engineering brilliance. I learned that we can achieve greater things by working with others who enjoy employing the skills we lack, and that the time spent investing in one's family is never wasted time.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I aim to commit both to the work and to the people accomplishing it, regularly acknowledge the contributions of each team member, respect and value every person, and excel beyond expectations. I'm happy to roll up my sleeves and work together with others to understand the details of the mission to be accomplished while always keeping that true north goal front and center. I love finding the people with the right gifts needed for the work and setting them free to get the job done. For example, as I've chaired our state's workforce development board over the past three years, I've started every meeting with a success story of how someone helped a job seeker connect to a perfect career or how someone helped a job creator quickly find the skilled workers needed to allow their business to flourish. I've identified business leaders with exceptional passion and corresponding skills to lead each of our committees, whether it be communication skills, goal measurement expertise. or quality workforce education abilities. You can accomplish so much more if you don't care who gets the credit. And overall, I lead by showing love to people.
"You can accomplish so much more if you don't care who gets the credit. And overall, I lead by showing love to people."
Dawn (Solheim) Grove (JD '91)
Who has helped you achieve success in your career?
I can't possibly list all the people who have helped me in significant ways. I'll begin with my family. My husband Rawleigh Grove with whom I am celebrating 25 years of marriage has uplifted me and made life beautiful while providing especially wise counsel (and we've worked together now for decades and still adore each other). My children Raquel, Rawleigh K., and Hudson have made me proud to be their mom while providing entertainment, scholarship, and joy to our lives, and have encouraged me to follow the Lord in serving others more in recent years even when it meant less time at home. My extended family members, and especially my grandmother who was my most significant and lifelong mentor. My Pepperdine family: fellow law students many of whom have stayed friends with me to this day; senior vice chancellor Ron Phillips who taught Bible studies in his home throughout law school and provided guidance and friendship ever since; dean Steve Potts who provided advice and help during a crucial time in my first year of law school; my many amazing Pepperdine professors and the phenomenal ones who have now taught my daughter, too.
What's next for you?
Last September when I was praying by the prayer garden at Pepperdine, I sensed a call to some greater public service, which was confirmed in some profound ways that day. The reality is I don't know what that service will be yet—walking with the Lord is never boring—but I look forward to the continuation of the adventure Pepperdine helped set in motion for me. And until that's revealed, I'm happy continuing to work at KMC and PING, standing in the path my family carved before me as the backdrop for my life and the path I've been fortunate to carve in service to my community, state, country, and world.
What was your first job?
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
US secretary of commerce.
What historical or modern-day leader do you admire and why?
William Wilberforce, who helped abolish the slave trade in England without war, while living a life of service and generosity to the less fortunate.
What is your mantra or favorite quote?
"The inspiration that guided our forefathers led them to secure above all things the unity of our country." (Inscription on the US Department of Commerce building.)
How do you prepare for a busy day?
Sleep, pray, exercise, eat, love.
What is one of your favorite hobbies?