This profile originally appeared in the Winter 2012 issue of Bowdoin magazine.
Bowdoin major: Music
Current residence: New York, N.Y., and Hudson Valley, N.Y.
On studying Eastern philosophy and Western science: I was first introduced to Eastern philosophy and Western science at Bowdoin. My religious studies professor, Bill Geohegan, brought into class a whole panoply of works from Buddhism, Jungian/Freudian psychology, Islam, Hindu and Judeo-Christian traditions. I loved viewing the human mind through a multidimensional prism of culture, history, theology, arts and psychology -not just science and not just from the Western cultural vantage point.
On being inspired to share those lessons: In my early career I was a human resources manager in a variety of settings: hotel, software company, music publisher, consulting firm. What always fascinated me were questions of motivation and meaning: What inspires and motivates people to work hard? Why do people take their careers and jobs so seriously? What else, beyond money, drives people to perform and learn and grow? Bowdoin had taught me to love the big questions and to find ways to engage people in exploring what makes them happy, how to find purpose and meaning, live out your dreams in the real world-how to feel creative and empowered to make a difference in the lives of others.
On Leadership: Effective leadership, to my mind, always starts with self-awareness. There are so many different ways to lead people, but the key to success is being willing to open yourself up to candid and honest feedback, to be open to learning and growing, and to recognize that we all have blind spots. I think the most powerful lesson that I find teaching over and over again with leaders is that being human and vulnerable, even in front of your followers, is a sign of strength, not weakness.
Favorite color: Today I would say that I’ve settled on purple as my favorite. I just painted a wall in my house “eggplant” and find that it goes with everything-white, brown, gray. Pretty cool.