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HARVARD LEADERSHIP MAGAZINE ISSUE 7 | FALL 2013

EADERSHIPMagazine

ANDRE AGASSI

The Unintentional Leader A Publication of the Leadership Institute at Harvard College


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CON TENTS

THEMELESS

TABLE OF CONTENTS

AROUND CAMPUS 5 ONLY BOYS ALLOWED Unlike the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts have no organization allowing them to continue their scouting at Harvard. written by LAUREN CLAUS designed by ALBERT YOUNG

6 "OUR HARVARD CAN DO BETTER"

18 FEATURES

Student leaders energized mental health advocacy efforts in the spring 2013 semester. written by ROSIE PUTNAM designed by GEORGINA WINTHROP

12 EDUCATION'S GREATEST CHAMPION

8 RESPONSIBLE INVESTMENT

schools and promote education. written by JIA JIA ZHANG designed by ALBERT YOUNG

A coalition of undergraduates change how Harvard manages its $30+ billion endowment. written by BRENNA NELSON designed by DEAN ITANI

10 THE MIND'S EYE & TANGIBLE SOUNDS Three Harvard students have manipulated 3-D printing and audio technologies in a way that enables the visually impaired to see great works of art through touch. written by SOPHIA OHLER designed by DEAN ITANI

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18 HIJA DESAPARECIDA: A MOTHER'S GRIEF BECOMES A FORCE FOR GOOD Women of Impact Award recipient Susan story of disappointment and hope in search of her abducted daughter. written by ISABEL EVANS designed by ELIZA CHANG

22 SKETCHING A FUTURE has built 129 schools and increased educational opportunities in the developing world, one pencil at a time. written by CHRISTINA HERBOSA designed by ELIZABETH JACOBSON

24 THE CULTURAL ENTREPRENEUR Renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma speaks about pairing business with the arts through his written by MARY-GRACE REEVES designed by DEAN ITANI HarvardLeadershipMag.org

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Andre Agassi shares how he used his tennis

SKILLS 26 WHEN IN ROME Harvard professors explain what the Romans can teach leaders today about sex scandals, propaganda, and empire management. written by JORDAN DEGRAAF designed by ALBERT YOUNG

28 INNOVATION FOR CHANGE College entrepreneurs vie for the $20,000 grand prize in the Harvard Undergraduate Women in Business's annual Innovation Competition. written by SUMMER CARTER designed by LYDIA CHEN

30 CS50 TO SILICON VALLEY Two Harvard students take their CS50 prestigious startup accelerator Y-Combinator and learning what it takes to start a company. written by ALBERT YOUNG designed by ALBERT YOUNG HARVARD LEADERSHIP MAGAZINE FALL 2013

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AEDITOR'S NOTE

THEMELESS

themeless If you've read this page in our previous magazines, you would know that we usually use this note to introduce the magazine's theme. Last year, the theme was Revolutionize. Before that was Build. And before that was Innovate.

Masthead A Publication of the Leadership Institute at Harvard College - Issue 7 - Fall 2013

Editorial Board Dean Itani Editor-in-Chief

But this year, we decided to break from convention. We elected not to have a theme. Allow me to explain our thought process.

Caitlin Pendleton Managing Editor

To me, leadership is the act of moving sustainable communities forward ethically in their missions. The mission of this magazine is to educate and inspire Harvard students and others to become the best leaders possible. To be the best leader, in my eyes, a person must move their community forward.

Albert Young Design Editor

Having a theme, we think, does not help move us toward our mission. We couldn't think of ways it would help us educate or inspire others; we couldn't think of ways it would help us move our communinty forward. Leadership is so vast and there are so many phenomenal leaders on Harvard's campus that we felt that by narrowing all our stories to one theme, we would be missing out on many, riveting stories waiting to be told. We only publish once a semester and all things in journalism are time-sensitive. So we felt, in order to best educate and inspire our readers through the best stories, we had to go without a theme. In this issue, we have features about a former tennis world champion turned philanthropist and Yo-Yo Ma, the famed Harvard alum celloist. We have around campus pieces that include the stories of a tech startup to help the blind see art and of responsible investment practices at Harvard. We have skills pieces that draw valuable leadership lessons from ancient Rome and Silicon Valley. We felt that of everything happening at Harvard this last semester, these stories were the ones that would best serve our readers and our community. We hope you grow from reading this publication, both as a person and as a leader, just as we grew as individuals and as a team to create this publication. The HLM staff has worked tirelessly over the last few months to make this publication a reality. This is our third publication on our new bi-annual rotation schedule. And while we are still transitioning to coming out twice a year, I think the quality of this publication is an indicator that we are transitioning well. I joined this publication my freshman fall, two years ago. When I joined, few photos had captions, we produced one publication a year, we didn't have a web presence, we didn't receive any advertisements, and the list goes on and on. This publication has grown so much, as anyone who has seen our previous 6 publications can attest to. I'm so proud of number 7 and the staff in the box on the right for making this one by far the best publicationw we've ever produced. So without further ado, we hope you enjoy our 7th issue.

Dean Itani Editor-in-Chief

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HARVARD LEADERSHIP MAGAZINE FALL 2013

Neha Mehrota Director of Finance Kristina Garrido Director of Outreach Julia Eger and Bethany Kanten HLM Online Editors Catherine Kistler Section Editor

Staff WRITERS Summer Carter Lauren Claus Jordan Degraaf Isabel Evans Mary-Grace Reeves Christina Herbosa Brenna Nelson Sophia Ohler Rosie Putnam Jia Jia Zhang DESIGNERS Eliza Chang Lydia Chen Elizabeth Jacobson Georgina Winthrop PHOTOGRAPHY Liesl Ulrich-Verderber (Head) Karim Pirbay BUSINESS James Green ADVISERS David Ager Adam Berlin Jon Doochin Loren Gary Anand Venkatesan HarvardLeadershipMag.org


AROUND CAMPUS

M SSING girl scouts on campus

BY LAUREN CLAUS IRGINIA FAHS ’14 IS A LIFETIME

GIRL SCOUT. This means the opportunity to stay involved in Girl Scouts past high school graduation, and, to Fahs, it meant a continued commitment to the organization that shaped a large part of her teenage years. Once entering Harvard, though, this hope failed to become reality. “I don’t know of any relationship with GS [in Harvard] now… I haven’t been able to get involved with GS, as a lifetime member, at college,” Fahs lamented. Each year, approximately 1,600 students matriculate into Harvard College, many who are involved in the Scouting Organizations of America such as Boy Scouts of America and Girl Scouts of America. Boy Scouts of America is a national organization dedicated to improving the character, citizenship, and fitness of boys 18 years or younger. Likewise, Girl Scouts of America aims at giving girls 18 years or younger courage, confidence, and character. Despite the clear similarities between these two groups, there is one major distinction. Boy Scouts tend to continue their scouting experiences at Harvard College while their female counterparts do not– and it is not entirely clear why. Harvard students who previously were part of Boy Scouts of America can continue their involvement through the student organization, Friends of Scouting, which runs a yearly program called the Merit Badge University in collaboration with the Boston Minuteman Council of Boy Scouts. However, because this program is focused on merit badges, which are applicable to Boy Scouts but not to Girl Scouts, the Merit Badge University has never had a Girl Scout participant. Although the Friends of Scouting organization has official ties to both the Boy

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Scouts and Girl Scouts, their direct activities, which mostly consist of the Merit Badge University, involve Boy Scouts specifically. Through this two-weekend long program, Boy Scouts receive instruction for up to three merit badges ranging a variety of topics. Council representatives as well as Harvard students who are concentrating in relevant fields teach participants. The broad idea behind this program is that “Harvard has a lot of resources that would be great for scouts to use, so this organization helps to facilitate those interactions,” Amanda Lu ’13 said, a former president of Friends of Scouting and former Girl Scout of 12 years. For instance, scouts receiving instruction for the chemistry badge are exposed to Harvard’s laboratories in the Science Center, and those interested in the astronomy lab are introduced the university’s telescopes. Often by the end of the program, the scouts have officially completed the badges they signed up for and may even have a better understanding of their interests and passions, according to Lu. In contrast, Girl Scouts do not have a collaborative organization with Harvard College like the Boy Scouts do, which often results in Harvard students who are former Girl Scouts being less involved with scouting than former Boy Scouts. For instance, Caitlin Stanton ’14, who was highly involved in Girl Scouts during high school and received a Gold Award — the highest award in Girl Scouting, which requires, among other prerequisites, a sustainable community service project to which the recipient donates at least 80 hours – described that she has not “been involved in Girl Scouts while at Harvard.” According to Lu, though Friends of

Scouting is occasionally in contact with the local Girl Scout council, it does not maintain a sustained program. Lu said this might be partly due to misconceptions of Girl Scouts, such as the view that it is mainly centered on cookie selling and developing homemaking skills, among the student body. She also mentioned that the abundance of other service programs on campus might make it difficult to recruit volunteers for a program that solely benefits local Girl Scouts. However, it appears that both the local Girl Scout Council and Harvard community are open to a new collaboration. Denise Dixon, the community specialist of Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts, indicated that Girl Scouts has been –and continues to be— interested in collaborations with universities. For instance, Girl Scouts maintains a fruitful relationship with the national Kappa Delta sorority that is present on many college campuses. In the United States, members of Kappa Delta spend more than 175,000 hours leading workshops, campus tours, and celebrations for local Girl Scout troops. Dixon also mentioned that Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts supports a direct relationship with Harvard College. “I would definitely be for a Boston relationship with Harvard [and Girl Scouts],” Dixon said. Students, such as Fahs, also appear interested in this prospect as well. “[I would] definitely love to be involved if there was a Harvard-oriented organization,” Fahs said due to the leadership opportunities and informing experiences that Girl Scouts provided her as a member. “Girl Scouts is one of the main reasons why I’m at Harvard in the first place,” Fahs pointed out. HARVARD LEADERSHIP MAGAZINE FALL 2013

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PHOTO COURTESY KIRSTEN CANTRELL

ONLY BOYS ALLOWED


AROUND CAMPUS

“OUR HARVARD CAN DO BETTER”

The Beauty of the Struggle PHOTO COURTESY DAVIDE FLUME

Leadership in Mental Health

BY ROSIE PUTNAM

N A COLD FEBRUARY MORN-

O

ING, Angela Lee ’14 came

to Harvard with an open mind and a desire to learn. She hoped that she had her mental health struggles that she had grappled with in high school under control. She soon realized, however, that she was not out of the dark by any means. Throughout her freshman year, Lee struggled with bulimia and was suicidal during the spring. She tells her story not to harp on the mental health services of Harvard, but rather to share her own process of discovering the resources that Harvard has offered and her story of getting better. Lee has emerged as a student leader of mental health as the co-President of Student Mental Health Liaisons and an advocate for promoting support for mental health on campus. Lee is not alone. About 17 percent of undergraduate students at Harvard visit mental health services within Harvard University Health Services each year. Additionally, 720 students see counselors at the Bureau of Study Council, a resource for students’ academic and personal development. Despite the challenges and negative stigma surrounding mental health, students and administrators alike have demonstrated courageous strength and leadership with the goal of improving support for mental health at Harvard. Through exposing personal vulnerability and encouraging open dialogue about the underlying issues at stake, many students and administrators have devoted themselves to the cause of making Harvard a more supportive place for issues of mental health.

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Lee believes that exposing personal vulnerability is one of the most important steps in creating a healthy environment on campus. She tells her own story about her struggles overcoming mental health challenges in order to urge other students that they should always seek help if they need to. “I really want to be able to share with other students what it means to be vulnerable and how important it is to seek help. I think the most important thing is making students more familiar with the resources that are available to them, and I hope that my

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Just hearing that having mental health struggles isn’t failure—I think the more times that is said the better. - Lauren Chaleff

story helps others find the strength to reach out for this information and engage in open dialogue,” Lee said. Undergradsuate Council President Tara Raghuver ’14 made mental health concerns one of the biggest parts of her platform when running for the position last fall. She echoed Lee’s emphasis on the importance of creating an open dialogue regarding mental health. “Everyone needs an entry point into the discussion,” she said. “If that entry point is an anonymous op-ed, if that entry point is a rally, if that entry point is a best friend who has been suffering from mental health problems, regardless of what that entry point

is, that discussion really needs to be encouraged because the worse thing to do is squash discussion on campus,” Raghuveer said. On Thursday morning, February 21st 2013, Raghuveer invited Dr. Paul Berreira, Director of University Health Services, to come to her first committee on student life meeting to discuss mental health on campus. By including Dr. Berreira in this discussion that included House Masters, college administrators from the Office of Student Life, and students, Raghuveer wanted to show her desire to open dialogue through bringing different parts of the university together to discuss mental health. That same day in the afternoon, an oped in the Crimson about a student suffering from schizophrenia came out that sparked nation-wide attention. The writer of the article shared his or her challenges with facing costly payments for antipsychotic drugs as well as his or her overall discontentment with Harvard’s efforts to provide mental health care for students. The Undergraduate Council acted fast, and organized a rally to be held the very next day in front of Massachusetts Hall as a way for students to voice their opinions and concerns about mental health at Harvard. Over 150 students attended the rally, and chants of “Reform mental health” and ���Our Harvard can do better” rang out through the yard. Lauren Chaleff ’14, a mental health activist who is not involved in any particular group, described the rally as her entry point into the discussion of mental health at Harvard. She was a leader in the rally in her vocal participation, leading chants and rousing HarvardLeadershipMag.org


“OUR HARVARD CAN DO BETTER”

HarvardLeadershipMag.org

stress that students face daily. The Happiness Project has also sponsored a Happiness Awareness Day, a Happy Hunt that introduced freshmen to Harvard’s campus through a fun scavenger hunt, study breaks, and co-sponsored events with other student organizations such as Drug and Alcohol Peer Advisors (DAPA). The project’s most recent and also most popular initiative, spearheaded by Shih, is called the Happiness Semester Challenge. The idea behind the project is having weekly

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I see mental health as a very important issue because it doesn’t pertain to a certain group, but it is an issue that really affects every student on campus. - Tara Raghuveer

“challenges” that center on improving just one aspect of one’s life. Different themes include getting off campus, eating healthier, sleeping more, and doing good deeds. Participants work together to help each other complete the challenges and reach their goals. The Happiness Semester Project has gained wide popularity among current students from every freshmen dorm and all 12 houses, house tutors, and even alumni. During the spring of 2013, the challenge had 750 active participants. Shih plans to continue the Happiness Semester Challenge in the spring of 2014. “The idea is that you want to build a community around happiness. I really wanted to build a new community of happy, healthy leaders at Harvard. We want to encourage people to take on challenges and work together, in order to create this selfmotivating thing that works against stress”, said Shih, regarding her vision of the Happiness Project. The commitment that student leaders such as Lee, Wilson, Chaleff, and Shih have demonstrated is imperative in maintaining and promoting a healthy mental health atmosphere at Harvard. As stated by Dr. Paul J. Berreira, student activism, opinion, and contribution to mental health matters on campus are integral parts of treating and supporting various problems. “Over the years, HUHS has worked with various student groups across campus to assess the effectiveness of out services and to improve programs…We always take student views seriously and have had productive dialogue with students on many of the concerns expressed in recent months,” he explained.

In 2004, a student mental health task force was formed in order to analyze mental health problems that students face. The group included UC representatives as well as other students, and it worked to restructure the mental health and academic counseling areas of the University. Hearing the recommendations from this group, HUHS implemented the addition of wellness tutors in all of the Houses that focus on emotional wellbeing. HUHS has also worked with over 200 students in peer counseling and peer education groups since this task force was created. Wilson describes her perspective on the relationship of her student group, SMHL, with HUHS and its effort to work directly with students. “Dr. Berreira is so open to meeting with everyone who wants to meet with him—which I think goes to show how receptive UHS is to hearing us and to students in general, and how important this relationship is” she said. The point that student leaders and those of Mental Health Services ultimately want to emphasize is that it is ok to struggle. Those that have committed their time, energy, and precious thought and consideration are the ones who drive home this point to foster a de-stigmatized culture of mental health here at Harvard. Lee explains her view on the workings behinds SMHL and the process of making Harvard a healthier place in general: “An important piece of what we are doing and what other leaders on campus are doing is saying look, you can have struggles with stress or anxiety, and you can still be successful. There is beauty in struggle, and in growing as a person in understanding who you are and who you want to be. That is what we want to highlight.”

PHOTO COURTESY HYOIN MIN

people’s excitement. Chaleff described her reaction to the rally: “I was overcome with this passionate desire to bring these people together, and I started raising my voice…I wanted to bring people together in a way that was supportive and positive, and about communication and cooperation. I felt really inspired. There was so little bitterness…we were just sharing.” “Just hearing that having mental health struggles isn’t failure—I think the more times that is said the better. It has such a resounding positive effect on so many people,” Chaleff said. To even further her goals for promoting open dialogue about mental health at Harvard. Raghuveer and the Undergraduate Council organized a Town Hall Discussion on March 7, 2013. The panel included representatives from Mental Health Services, the Administration Board, the financial aid office, and students, and discussed mental health resources and listened to student concerns about mental health on campus. “The Town Hall Meeting was uniquely great,” Raghuveer said. “It’s not often that a group of really impassioned students gets to join together and speak face to face with people making decisions that impact their lives, and this meeting provided this amazing opportunity.” Lee’s work with Monica Wilson ’14, her co-President of SMHL, has also contributed to the support of mental health on campus. Collaborating with Wellness Proctors and Tutors and other student groups such as Contact, ECHO, Peer Contraceptive Counselors, Response, and Room 13, SMHL works to raise awareness of the resources that Harvard has for mental health and to reduce negative stigma surrounding mental health struggles. To show the universality of struggling throughout the Harvard community, SMHL created a project called Harvard Speaks Up in the fall of 2013. Through videos from members of the Harvard community such as students, professors, and house masters, SMHL launched the project to communicate three main points: that speaking up is a way to avoid struggling alone, you are not the only one who has struggled, and things will improve. Cindy Shih ’15 also directs a unique effort to improve mental health on campus: The Happiness Project. The project was started in the Spring of 2011 by Leslie RithNajarian ’12 with the goal of reducing stress and promoting general well-being among students. The project began with the creation of a space in the SOCH called the HappyNest. It featured board games, crafts, mini golf, and many other fun activities to help relieve

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HARVARD LEADERSHIP MAGAZINE FALL 2013

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AROUND CAMPUS

RESPONSIBLE INVESTMENT

After a year of controversy over investment practices by the Harvard Management Company, the administration has founded the Fair Harvard Fund, launching the endowment into

fullBLOOM BY BRENNA NELSON

N DECEMBER

O

13, 2012, WHILE COLLEGE STUDENTS PREPARED FOR THE

FIRST DAY OF EXAMS, Harvard University announced its decision to initiate a Social Choice fund. “I’ve heard from many students and alumni who have asked for additional avenues to support both the University and broader social interests,” President Drew Faust said in a statement. “This fund will offer donors another way to support Harvard’s financial aid program and the transformational opportunities it offers our students.” The University’s establishment of a Social Choice fund was the culmination of nearly a year’s worth of work from Responsible Investment at Harvard, a small but growing coalition of students, faculty, staff, and alumni at Harvard dedicated to changing the way Harvard manages its $30+ billion endowment. Responsible Investment — RI, for short — was established in the early spring of 2012 with the goal of getting the University to reassess its investments and manage its money in a more responsible fashion. Nicole Granath ’15, who now serves as co-coordinator of the Coalition, initially heard about Responsible Investment during spring of her freshman year, shortly after the group’s inception. “It was very nebulous what methods we were going to employ to get the outcome we wanted,” Granath said. “It was also very inspiring for me to be involved in a group with a purpose. People

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HARVARD LEADERSHIP MAGAZINE FALL 2013

are coming together in this space to achieve something, that’s a unifying vision [we] share.” Harvard’s endowment of $30.7 billion has occasionally been the subject of scrutiny over controversial investments. In 2005, news came to light that Harvard held significant shares in PetroChina, a company linked to the Sudanese government and the genocide in Darfur. “No one on campus was aware of this,” Granath said. “Why would we? Why would we be paying attention to the investments in the endowment that are two or three degrees disconnected from us? And yet you look at these issues and think, how is that being supported? Who in their right mind would give these people money? And as it turns out, we are passively allowing that.” With the goal of getting the University to reassess its investments, the group launched its Social Choice Campaign later that spring. Broadly, a Social Choice fund is an alternative fund in the endowment which investors, alumni, or other donors can support if they wish for their money to be screened by environmental, social, and governance criteria. In 2007, Brown University became the first Ivy League institution to establish such a fund. First on the organization's agenda was the establishment of the Fair Harvard Fund. Meant as a donation campaign to raise support for the social choice cause, the Fair Harvard Fund asked students, alumni, faculty, and staff to donate money with the understanding that all investments would be held in escrow until the University HarvardLeadershipMag.org


RESPONSIBLE INVESTMENT

established a Social Choice fund. UUpon launching the fund, Responsible Investment issued a statement to the University declaring that “if the HMC has not created a Social Choice fund by August 1, 2012, the FHF will be invested according to environmental, social and governance criteria by the Responsible Endowments Coalition (REC), a 501c3 nonprofit organization, until the HMC accepts the money." The campaign was what Granath described as “a great first step in making the Harvard community more aware of those investments and also doing something tangible, saying the money in this fund will be invested in a ‘socially responsible’ way.” Within four months, the group had gathered the support of over 450 donors and collected nearly $11,000, garnering donations from current students, alumni, and other Harvard affiliates. “It was exciting in that it

About the Harvard Management Company Founded in 1974, the Harvard Management Company (HMC) manages Harvard University’s cial assets. On average, the return on the endowment has been 12.29 percent annually over the last 20 years. showed the proof of concept,” Granath said. “It showed that if the social choice fund was established, there are current alumni who already agree and will donate now.” But by August, the group had yet to hear back from the administration. In the fall, the members of the coalition met with President Faust, who was receptive to the group’s initiative but uncertain as to its feasibility. “It’s a big institution, and there’s a lot of institutional inertia,” Granath said. “We wanted to keep [our ideas] moving forward.” Unwavering in their determination, the group decided to take a new initiative HarvardLeadershipMag.org

to popularize the Social Choice administration would take action. fund concept among the student Then, on December 13th, less body. With a UC election just a few than a month after the student months away, the group began the vote, the University announced process of getting a referendum its intent to create a Social Choice on the ballot, fund. asking “Here’s The fact that we were able this institution students to change some little part, that’s been to vote on no matter how small, was whether or around really satisfying. not Harvard for over should - Nicole Granath '15 375 years,” institute such Granath RI Co-Coordinator said. “The a fund in its endowment. fact that we Responsible Investment were able to change some little began the process of collecting part, no matter how small, was signatures for 10% of the student really satisfying. Obviously it’s body, a daunting task for a group going to be a small portion of the that boasted less than fifteen endowment, but hopefully it is active members. significant in its symbolism. This By the time the election came was something that was important around in November, the group to students and will continue to had increased its strength and be.” presence, having ushered in a new With the installment of the class of first-year students as well Social Choice fund, Responsible as welcomed new upperclassmen, Investment opened the new like senior Michael Danto, who year with a fresh start and a new was recently elected as cocampaign. coordinator for the spring term. “We weren’t sure when we

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Granath and Danto are currently leading the charge to expand the group’s influence, as they try to get Harvard to tackle not only pre-investment screenings but post-investment governance. "The Social Choice Fund was an attempt to shine a light on ways in which Harvard’s research evaluation process for potential investments could be reformed to include some more long-term, environmental ramification inquiries and social effect inquiries,” Danto said. “What we’re working on now is the Responsible Ownership Campaign. After working on how Harvard evaluated companies before it invested in them, we’re encouraging Harvard to engage with companies in which it’s already invested.” The group looks to continue to take on initiatives that its members see as important, raising awareness for causes and casting a critical lens on Harvard’s economic and fiscal

"Harvard Management Company is unique singular mission to support Harvard by investresources for the long term."

-Jane L. Mendillo, President and Source: hmc.harvard.edu

“Navigating the administrating hurdles to getting our referendum on the ballot was interesting,” Danto said. “Some of the details were fuzzy. It wasn’t clear how the signatures needed to be collected, what information was collected along with the signatures themselves, how many needed to be collected and by when they needed to be submitted.” When the ballots were counted, the Social Choice Fund referendum passed with 80.5 percent of the student body vote, a huge success by the group’s standards. But while the referendum served to gauge student interest in the initiative, it remained to be seen whether the

would be able to move on from the Social Choice Campaign to broaden towards other things,” Danto said. “It was an opportunity for the group as a whole to come together, reflect on what worked, what didn’t work, why didn’t it work, and see what we want to do next. How can we expand what we’ve done already into a larger area of Harvard’s investments?” This past semester, the group has begun to broaden both its initiatives and its member size. The group has increased its presence on campus, cooperating with students of the Kennedy School and garnering the support of new students, faculty, staff, and alums.

practices. As Co-Coordinators, both Granath and Danto see their role as primarily oversight in helping focus the direction of a highly motivated student-run organization. “We are coordinators and facilitators,” Danto said. “The organization is very much a horizontally organized group where everyone who wants to, who’s willing to learn and work hard, can facilitate meetings and propose new initiatives. One thing I really love about the group is that the traditional place of where the leaders might be is actually more about structuring the activity of the people who have these great initiatives already.”

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THE MIND’S EYE AND TANGIBLE SOUNDS

ONE LESS

BLIND SPOT

PHOTO COURTESY HARVARD GAZETTE

Inspired by a high-achieving, never-give-up blind friend, Constantine Tarabanis teamed up with three other students to bring art to the blind using the latest 3D-printing technology.

“Midas Touch” prototype

BY SOPHIA OHLER CONSTANTINE TARABANIS ‘15 FIRST MET GEORGE. In his sophomore year, Tarabanis decided to volunteer to teach other kids English, and the pair immediately clicked. They became fast friends, learning, growing, and spending much of their remaining high school years together. T ALL STARTED WHEN

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HarvardLeadershipMag.org


THE MIND’S EYE AND TANGIBLE SOUNDS

AROUND CAMPUS

The Midas Touch Team (from left to right)

T

There was only one thing that stood between them; George had Leber’s Congenital Amaurosis, a hereditary eye disease that had left George completely blind. Regardless, Tarabanis had always admired George. “He was at the top of his class with the highest grades, and that was a big inspiration for me, ” says Tarabanis. So much so, spending time with George made Tarabanis want to delve further into researching blindness. Tarabanis was looking for ways that he could give back to the community George introduced him to. “Leaving home and coming to Harvard, I still wanted to give back to Greece’s blind community from the new city I would be in, ” says Tarabanis. Tarabanis stumbled upon a book, “Infinite Vision” by Pavithra K. Mehta and Suchitra Shenoy that served as inspiration. The book outlined an incredibly successful eye-care initiative in India that was started by a man named Dr. Venkataswamy. Tarabanis quickly realized that he could put his efforts into the two things he cared most about — Greece and the visually impaired. The opportunity to do just this came through Repower Greece, a conference launched as a campaign in Greece shortly after the financial crisis. The goal of the event was to gather innovative ideas that were not receiving necessary publicity. Repower Greece chose Tarabanis, after he applied, to speak at its Boston conference along with various other top students, professors and delegates from MIT, Harvard, and other Boston schools. As a Molecular and Cellular Biology concentrator with a secondary in Healthcare, it’s only fitting that he chose to focus on reimagining Greece’s ailing healthcare system. HarvardLeadershipMag.org

Aaron Perez - Idea developer, Engineer. Constantine Tarabanis (pictured twice) - Idea developer, Business. Vaios Triantafyllou - Engineer. Rishav Mukherji - Idea developer, Software Engineer, Business.

Tarabanis took it upon himself to redesign a better ideal for healthcare, looking no further than the aforementioned book on Dr. Venkataswamy, the leading eye-care doctor in India and perhaps even the world. It was after researching for his speech that Tarabanis came to a realization. “Entrepreneurial visions need to be based on compassion and care, rather than only profit,” says Tarabanis. Consequently, when the opportunity for Tarabanis to come up with a tangible entrepreneurial vision for the first ever Dean’s Cultural Entrepreneurship Challenge, he knew exactly where he wanted to put his efforts. “It’s a different experience knowing that there’s a barrier between people with vision and people without vision and their shared common experiences – so then this whole idea of Midas Touch came along,” says Tarabanis. Tarabanis plans to use Harvard’s 3D printer to allow the visually impaired to see paintings through touch and to create paintings as landscapes with audio annotations. Ideally, a person should be able to “touch it and they hear what it’s about,” says Tarabanis. After being one of the ten finalists chosen out of over 70 proposals for the challenge, Tarabanis assembled a group of his closest friends and blockmates to use the $5,000 grant to make an actual prototype of Midas Touch. Just looking at this unassuming and friendly group of boys – Vaios Triantafyllou ‘15, Touch it Aaron Perez ‘15, and Rishav Mukherji ‘15 – you’d never think that they might be on the cusp of revolutionizing the

world of art. But, after spending hours upon hours, sleepless nights, and exhausted days in Harvard’s Business School I-lab, they are well on their way to doing just that. Working first with the piece “The Son of Man” by Belgian surrealist painter René Magritte, the group put together their first working model for the grand prize of $75,000 on May 10th. Tarabanis has high hopes for the hard work that he, along with the other members, has put into this project. “I’m really passionate about Midas touch… it serves a socially responsible goal which is essentially raising awareness to the general population, educating the blind, and also expanding the horizons of art,” says Tarabanis. Multiple publications, researchers and engineers around both Boston and the world have already contacted him, because they too believe in him and in Midas Touch. “Everything ties into the eye,” Tarabanis tells me as we finish talking. Speaking at Repower Greece and then working on Midas Touch, Tarabanis feels a responsibility to the dear friend he made back in Thessaloniki’s School for the Blind and to the perspective he has now gained from the visually impaired community. He pauses to think and says, “[Sight] is so big for them, but for us it’s just a small part of our lives.”

and they hear what it’s about.

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PHOTO COURTESY SUKCHANDER KHANNA

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EDUCATION'S GREATEST CHAMPION

E D U C AT I O N ' S

GREATEST CHAMPION BY JIA JIA ZHANG

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EDUCATION'S GREATEST CHAMPION

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escribed by the BBC upon his retirement as “perhaps

D

the biggest worldwide star in [tennis] history,” Andre Agassi is also one of the most charitable athletes of

all time. He is the founder of the Andre Agassi Foundation for Education, which has raised over $177 million dollars to transform public education in the US. The eight-time grand slam champion, Olympic gold medalist, and self-professed perfectionist sat down with HLM to discuss his incredible passion for learning and education and to share some of the wisdom he has gained in life.

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The Unintentional Leader Tennis is a lonely sport. Just ask Andre Agassi, one of the game’s all-time greats. For 20 years, Agassi competed on the Association of Tennis Professionals World Tour, winning 60 titles, 8 of them grand slams. Since retiring, the former World No. 1 has compared tennis to solitary confinement. And yet, over the course of his lifetime, Agassi has demonstrated a tremendous ability to be a team player. Agassi has channeled his influence and resources into improving K-12 education for the nation’s most disadvantaged kids by rallying celebrities, politicians, teachers, and investment bankers alike to his cause. Agassi insists, however, that he is not a leader. “It was never a function of trying to be a leader. It was just a function of doing the right thing. Usually I was leading with my chin; my heart felt something, and then I had to get my head around it. And then, get my life around it.” “It’s surreal to be talking about leadership,” he continued. “I spend a lot more time thinking about how I choose to live.” Agassi’s choices are influenced mainly by what he considers most important—people. To him, helping others is not simply a lofty idea, but a way of life. Against the backdrop of his incredible personal evolution, Agassi’s journey into the education sector has taken him down an unpredictable path. Starting the Foundation Against the advice of many people around him, Agassi started his foundation early in his professional tennis career. The Andre Agassi Foundation was officially launched in 1994 when Agassi was only 24 years old. Instead of waiting until retirement, Agassi chose to take on the responsibilities of his foundation in the midst of his professional career, because he believed he was at the time in his life when he could make the greatest impact. “I looked at it as a great opportunity. I held the most leverage in relationships and the greatest ability to facilitate and bring agendas together for a greater good,” Agassi said. Agassi did not know right away that the focus of his foundation would be education. At first, he just wanted to do something to help his hometown of Las Vegas. “I took a broad sweeping, instinctual reaction to the things I cared about and gravitated towards. I thought, I know I’m passionate about helping children, and I’m just going to start this journey somewhere,” he said. At its inception, the foundation raised money and awareness for community programs that helped underserved children in Las Vegas, including a campaign to clothe children, an after-school program, and a shelter for abused and neglected kids. “In my particular case, my foundation was a function of fundraising. It was a function

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of not just resources, but awareness. I wanted to shine a light on organizations that were doing great work,” he said. “I wanted to connect myself to them, so I used the media as a spotlight, and I used my celebrity as a way to ask people for resources.” While Agassi knew the general direction he wanted to take, he had no idea where he would end up – and that was fine. “We always feel the need to be very precise about our decisions, but we should be thoughtful about them instead. We have to always allow ourselves the flexibility to be nimble and to adjust because we never know what life brings our way, and we never know where we will find ourselves,” he explained. “It’s very rare to meet somebody who has accomplished a great deal who isn’t shocked at the path their journey took them on.” Several years later, Agassi would have to call upon that flexibility to adjust the trajectory of his philanthropy. Although the foundation continued to expand its support of community programming, over time, Agassi grew frustrated by the scalability and sustainability of his work. “I felt like I wasn’t being proactive. These kids were having problems, and we were trying to adjust to them. It felt like we were sticking band-aids on significant issues. It felt like we were chasing our tails,” he said. PHOTO COURTESY ANDRE AGASSI FOUNDATION

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"

It’s very rare to meet somebody who has accomplished a great deal who isn’t shocked at the path their journey took them on. - Andre Agassi

That was when Agassi realized that he needed to change his focus. “The last step I made before morphing over was at Boys & Girls Club, talking to the person who ran it. It was hearing him say to me, ‘It’s one step forward, two steps back every day. We take a step forward at the end of the afternoon, but then they take two steps back. We just need to occupy more of their day.’ At that point I said the only way to get to the nucleus of these issues is to give the tools. The only way to make systemic change is to educate.” By July 2000, education became the primary focus of the Andre Agassi Foundation.

A Second Chance Agassi’s own lack of education also motivated the shift. At the insistence of his father, an Iranian immigrant and former Olympic boxer, Agassi began playing tennis as a toddler. By age 13, he left home to attend Nick Bollettieri’s Tennis Academy, a prestigious tennis training camp in Florida. Agassi dropped out of school in ninth grade and turned pro a few years later. In an interview with Katie Couric, Agassi described his father’s reaction when then 16-year-old Andre him called asking for advice after being offered the chance to go pro. “He was like, ’Hello? Who am I talking to? What are you going to do, be a doctor? You don’t go to school, take the money and turn pro.’” Mike Agassi, Andre’s father, saw professional sports, not school, as the quickest way to the American dream. But for Andre, the life of a professional athlete was one that he did not choose. As he revealed in his 2009 autobiography, Open, despite his talent and success, Agassi spent most of his life hating tennis with “a dark, secret passion.” As far back as he can remember, tennis was the unnecessary burden that his father forced him to carry. “I was made to be a tennis player. I wasn’t born to be one. As a result, [tennis] took a lot from me early in my life, and I resented that,” he said. After turning pro, Agassi was thrust into the media spotlight as a teenager. Young, flashy, and charismatic, he quickly became a fan favorite, but fame did not come without a price. By his mid 20s, Agassi started down a dark path, struggling with depression, drug abuse, and an unhappy and failed marriage to actress Brooke Shields. At 27 years old and ranked No. 141 in the HarvardLeadershipMag.org


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EDUCATION'S GREATEST CHAMPION

education in the United States will not be equally fortunate. Today, Agassi’s goal is to give those children a choice: a better life facilitated by the opportunity to have a better education and the power to choose their own path.

world, Agassi hit rock bottom. After losing in the first round of an indoor tournament in Germany, his coach gave him an ultimatum: start over or quit tennis forever. But as it turns out, it was not tennis itself that Agassi truly resented, but the feeling of being trapped in a life he did not choose. At that moment, Agassi made the decision to choose tennis, finally allowing himself to accept the bad and embrace all the good that came with his career. “Looking back now in hindsight, I’m quite grateful for the path that I went down. It’s taught me a lot, and it’s given me an incredible platform. It gave me the ability to have my foundation. It gave me the ability to take care of my family,” he explained. Most profoundly, tennis gave Agassi a second chance. Without a proper education, Agassi had no choice in the path he took early in life. Years later, when he could finally accept tennis, Agassi had an incredible career to fall back on as well as many opportunities to fulfill other passions in his life. But the millions of children growing up without access to quality

Breaking Down Barriers In February 2001, construction broke at 1201 West Lake Mead Boulevard in Las Vegas on a project to build a new charter school—the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy. The Agassi Foundation was going to build its own school. It was a huge risk. Nevada had one of the worst drop out rates in the country: for every 100 students entering ninth grade, only 50 would be expected to graduate high school and only 10 from college. Agassi, himself a high school dropout, set out to learn everything he could about best practices in education and policy. “When I first got into education, the first thing I had to do was learn about our state’s charter school laws to make sure we had a platform to succeed. It was about reaching out to local legislators and putting people around me who could fight and push up these battles, all the while fundraising, all the while being clear on my mission, all the while communicating that mission,” he said. Agassi’s plans took an unexpected turn when he learned that a component of charter school law directly interfered with that mission. “When I built the school, it was in the poorest and most economically challenged area in the whole town. The last problem that I ever thought I would run into was people from the suburbs commuting to go, because it was a complete lottery,” he said. In the United States, charter schools do not receive public funds to build or maintain their facilities, but they do receive “head” funds (a certain amount of money per student) and therefore are subject to several of the same rules, regulations, and statutes that apply to public schools. Therefore, when enrollment is over-subscribed, admission is allocated based

GOLDEN SLAM During his 21-year pro career, Agassi won 60 singles titles, including 8 Grand Slam championships, and an Olympics Gold Medal. His opponents nicknamed him "The Punisher".

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on an open lottery. “That was an issue for me, because there are a lot of children who have more than others,” Agassi said. “…I had to backtrack. I had to fight for legislation that gave a logistical lottery so that the student body was representative of the children that the foundation was focused on helping and reflective of the community that it existed in.” Agassi and his foundation began lobbying for reform right away, but it did not come in time. In August 2001, Agassi Prep opened its doors to 150 elementary school students selected by an open lottery, and the same occurred when the middle school building opened in 2003. “So now, all of a sudden, what percentage of the kids I was trying to help were actually going to be the ones that were being helped?” Agassi said. Throughout this ordeal, Agassi was simultaneously “starting over” in his tennis career, traveling 38 weeks a year to play tournaments around the world. “I didn’t have the luxury of a lot of time. I was trying to be the best in the world at something at the same time. My heart and passions collided with my circumstances and limitations,” he said. In his professional life, Agassi was climbing back to the top of the tennis world, winning the US Open and French Open in 1999, becoming only the third male player in the Open Era to win all four Gram Slam singles titles during his career. In 2000 and 2001, Agassi won backto-back Australian Open titles. Things were coming together in his private life as well: in 2001, Agassi was re-married to former tennis player Steffi Graf. Soon after, his son Jaden was born and two years later, his daughter Jaz. When asked how he managed to balance his personal life, career, and charity work, Agassi responded, “In the same way all these students I saw walking around the [Harvard] campus today do. I look at them and I see the same things I was going through constantly. They all look stressed out. I wonder how they do it, you know, but you find a way.” Finally, in 2009, the Nevada Legislature passed SB 391, authorizing charter schools to

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PHOTO COURTESY ANDRE AGASSI FOUNDATION

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enroll children in a particular category of at-risk pupils, thereby allowing Agassi Prep to target the demographic of its choosing. On June 12, 2009, Agassi Prep celebrated its greatest success yet: graduating its first class of high school seniors with a 100% graduation and college matriculation rate. Facilitating Change In recent years, Agassi has found a new way to expand his impact on education nationwide. Together with Canyon Capital, an investment management firm, Agassi created the Canyon-Agassi Charter School Facilities Fund, designed to act as a for-profit “bridge developer” of educational facilities for charter school operators. Because charter schools do not receive public funding to build or maintain their facilities, they can expand only as quickly as they can access the large amounts of capital needed to build new schools. Agassi and his partners at Canyon Capital developed a business model that lowers this barrier by raising money in the private sector and investing it in the construction of charter school facilities. The fund covers 100 percent of project costs to build the school and subsequently charges a scalable rent that increases with enrollment. “We are giving them ownership as opposed to being landlords. The dynamic of it is we take your rent, re-direct it toward tax-exempt bonds, and give you a purchase power to purchase back the facility for slightly more than what we built it for,” he said. Investors in the fund get a small return and make a big impact on education. “You create a win-win with a like-minded investor, somebody who says, ‘I don’t want to give away my money, and I’m not looking for a big return, but I want to see societal change.’”

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Best of all, the model is both scalable and sustainable. By August, the fund will have deployed about 20 facilities. Through the next four to five years, they expect to build about 60 schools. “At the end of the day, I am not an educator. I am not an operator; I do not operate my own charter school. I have come full circle and realized that what I am is a facilitator. It’s all about facilitating and impacting more children. And this is allowing great operators to expand at an unparalleled rate,” Agassi said.

"

I think, education, it’s not a ripple effect, it’s a tsunami effect. - Andre Agassi

The Road Ahead Agassi believes there is still a long way to go. “I think what we’re doing in charter school space is a piece of it, just a piece of it. Building schools in one offs, or even hundred-offs, for those who know how to educate our kids, is great, but it’s a drop in the ocean,” he said. Agassi never takes for granted the value of education. “I think, education, it’s not a ripple effect, it’s a tsunami effect. Something small happens at a given place, and it just picks up momentum. And the impact that it has is immeasurable. I don’t know if there is anything more important than education,” he said. So what else must be done? For one, Agassi believes we must continue to bring this issue to the attention of our legislators. “We vote with our feet. We have to prioritize education in the big picture. Elections can be won on economic issues,

human rights issues. Education is, to me, the human rights issue of our time,” he said. “If a leader doesn’t have your views on how important education is and if you don’t like their plans, then vote accordingly because we all have to start coming to the table. We all have to put aside our agendas and figure out how we’re going to serve our children better.” We can also help incentivize more talented young people to go into education. As Agassi puts it, “When you think back over your life, it’s nearly always somebody that impacted it, not some thing. It’s always a person. And our teachers, we remember the good ones, and we hate that we remember our bad ones. A teacher who cares more than they have to leaves an indelible mark. It’s remarkable to watch that dynamic.” The teachers in Agassi’s own life have certainly left an indelible mark. Despite his lack of formal education, Agassi has learned from formidable teachers all his life. “I’ve had great teachers. The three most influential people in my life were my father, my trainer [Gil Reyes], and my wife. And in all three cases, English wasn't their first language. You’d be shocked who the great teachers are,” he said. As Agassi battles on, he is no longer plagued by the demons of his youth. A lifelong commitment to learning has given Agassi the tools to take ownership of his life, day by day, and to enjoy not just the high points, but his entire journey. “The truth is, my definition of success is how I choose to engage with my life every day and that never changes. So I find a great deal of comfort in allowing myself to be a work in progress. I’m a perfectionist at heart, and I have to offset that somehow. I’ve learned through life how to do that.” “But yes,” Agassi added after a pause, “there is more to do.” HarvardLeadershipMag.org


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HIJA DESAPARECIDA: A MOTHER'S GRIEF BECOMES A FORCE FOR GOOD

SuSana'S rrow o S PHOTO COURTESY MARIA JULIA OLIVAN

BY ISABEL EVANS

FOR ELEVEN YEARS, A MOTHER HAS BEEN DESPERATELY SEARCHING FOR HER DAUGHTER.

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HIJA DESAPARECIDA: A MOTHER'S GRIEF BECOMES A FORCE FOR GOOD

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HIS MOTHER’S NAME IS

SUSANA TRIMARCO AND HER DAUGHTER the whereabouts of her daughter, she was able to rescue twenty-five girls MARÍA DE LOS ÁNGELES VERÓN, famously known now as “Mar- who had been trafficked. Many mothers were re-united with their daughita,” was kidnapped in Tucumán, a province of Northwest ters that day, but Susana returned home alone. Argentina, in April of 2002. According to witnesses who It has been over a decade, and even though Marita has not been have since come forward, Marita was sold into prostitu- found, Susana has rescued hundreds of girls from forced prostitution. tion by a human trafficking ring. She was twenty-three years old when she Susana herself has become a target of these trafficking organizations. She was cruelly abducted and sold into anonymity. If still alive, Marita would has been shot at, threatened by traffickers, and told that they will cut off be thirty-four years old today. her head, but she refuses to give up. She has even started a foundation in As Susana Trimarco began to tell the beginnings of her tragic story Marita’s memory, “Fundación María de los Ángeles." Susana says that the to the attendees of the 4th Women in the World Summit in New York on goal of the foundation is to “provide free integral assistance to victims and April 5th, I was struck immediately by her poise, quiet determination, and their families, including legal aid, psychological support and the presence appearance of immutable strength. Even when the moderator, Christo- of a social worker all along the process of recovery. Our aim is that all these pher Dickey, asked her if she believes her daughter is still alive, Susana did girls get to build a new project of life." not shrink from the question. She replied in Spanish, “The truth is that I On December 12, 2012, Susana faced another setback. With the help look for my daughter and will continue to search of a few trustworthy policemen and witnesses for her even though I have had a lot of heartfrom different brothels, Susana had been able to break. But I look for my daughter alive.” track down 28 people who had been involved in The story of Susana’s search begins on April some way with Marita’s disappearance. After a 3rd when her daughter Marita suddenly went two-year struggle, she was only able to take 13 to missing on her way to a doctor’s appointment. trial. Of those 13, some were policemen and their Witnesses at the scene say that Marita was accomplices in the trafficking rings. Susana was strong-armed into a red car. (One of these witsure that at least some of the accused would renesses later disappeared, unable to testify, and is ceive prison sentences, but as all of Argentina believed by Susana to have been killed by the trafwatched, the court delivered a shocking verdict. Estimated victims of forced labor as a All 13 of those held on trafficking charges were fickers). Susana, desperately awaiting any news of her daughters’ disappearance, soon grew acquitted because of allegedly insufficient evifrantic. After a few days had passed, she began dence. hearing reports of sightings and tips that Mari“The judges considered that the victims ta’s disappearance was definitely involuntary. It were hookers. Therefore their word was not soon became clear that Marita had been a victim trustworthy,” Susana said. It was a tough day of organized crime, but when Susana went to for Susana’s fight, but thousands of Argentines the police, they were not willing to assist her. In took to the streets to protest. Some even grew many countries where organized criminals are violent, throwing rocks and smashing windows. powerful, the police are either too afraid to help But Susana vows to keep fighting. She deor complicit in the evil act itself. Susana was left scribes that her next steps in her search and alone in the dark, searching helplessly with her battle are to “impeach the Judges and appeal the husband, who passed away in 2010, and trying sentence of shame that was given. I will not surto take care of Marita’s three-year-old daughter. render, only when I’m dead” Marita’s sudden disappearance is similar to At the conclusion of the Women in the countless other women who have been stolen in World Summit in New York, Susana was honthe same way. In Susana’s words, Marita’s story ored, along with a few other powerful women reflects “ a sad reality that was hidden for me leaders, for her incredible work as a champion until my daughter became a victim. That’s why of the fight against human trafficking and to end I’ve transformed my pain into strength to fight repressive traditions against girls. She received this horrible crime: for Marita, for my grand“The Women of Impact” award, a $25,000 prize daughter and all the other victims. "Since 2002 that seeks to honor women fighting for other I believe I’ve rescued and aided near[ly] 1000 women. women and girls. What I provide to them is what When I met Susana after the conference I would like that the person who finds Marita was over, I was struck by her powerful resilience [give to] her. That’s all." and also her warmth and kindness. I studied But this is where Susana’s story may difabroad in Buenos Aires for my fall 2012 semester fer from the thousands of other stories of grieving mothers. Instead of and so I was able to communicate with her in Spanish (even though my Arsurrendering herself to despair and utter misery, she decided to find her gentine accent is a little rusty). She immediately reminded me of my host daughter herself. She fearlessly set out to brothels and bars, known to be mother that I grew very close to while in Buenos Aires. They both have frequented by traffickers, and posed as a pimp. She pretended to be look- warm, dark brown eyes (although Susana’s are deepened with a sadness ing to buy girls and hoped it would lead her to Marita. But although she that my host mother thankfully does not know), dark brown hair, and a did not find Marita, Susana began to save other girls trapped in prostitu- particular way of carrying themselves. We hugged and I told her how brave tion rings. She pretended that she would return with money, but after she I thought she was but it was hard to articulate such a powerful emotion left the brothel-houses, she called specific police members who she knew to a woman who has seen such profound levels of pain. She told me that could be trusted. Susana alerted them to countless locations and saved when I come back to Argentina, I must come and stay with her and visit many girls from their captivity. The last time Susana heard a solid clue her in Túcuman. She is a mother, in every sense of the word; her strength about her daughter’s whereabouts, it was suggested that traffickers had implies protection and her kind warmth innately fills you with a sense of sent Marita to Spain. So to Spain she went. Although she did not uncover calm. We exchanged emails and I told her that I wanted to spread her story

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HIJA DESAPARECIDA: A MOTHER'S GRIEF BECOMES A FORCE FOR GOOD

I’VE TRANSFORMED MY PAIN INTO STRENGTH TO FIGHT THIS HORRIBLE CRIME: FOR MARITA, FOR MY GRANDDAUGHTER AND ALL THE OTHER VICTIMS.

among the Harvard community, so that everyone can know the story of Marita and see if there is any possible way we can help to fight against this injustice. What can we do as Harvard students to help the fight against human trafficking? When I met with Susana after the conference, she replied that she wants Harvard students to know that “the prevention and giving in-

DISPELLING

formation about the consequences of this crime is a great way to start fighting it," and that the best way to help this struggle is to “spread the message that some celebrities are giving these days: real men don’t buy women. The client of prostitution is one of the 'capitalist investor' of this horrible crime. Without clients, there is no human trafficking. Without clients, all these missing girls would be among us." It is critical to understand the degree of human trafficking that exists both in the United States and abroad. Statistically, Susana and Marita’s story is not unique. The problem of human trafficking affects millions worldwide, and if we stand up against this violence and give support for this fight, hopefully change will one day come -- and these girls, including Marita, will finally be able to return.

MISCONCEPTIONS

TRAFFICKING DOESN'T HAPPEN HERE -

SHE'S FREE TO COME AND GO -

THERE'S NOTHING I CAN DO ABOUT IT . Citizens can learn about organizations -

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SKETCHING A FUTURE

PHOTO COURTESY PENCILS OF PROMISE

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BY CHRISTINA HERBOSA

From a varsity basketball player at Brown University, to a consultant at Bain & Company, to one of Forbes 30 under 30, Adam Braun continues to prove that the word, “impossible” is not in his vocabulary.

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SKETCHING A FUTURE

CEO OF PENCILS OF PROMISE (POP), IN 2008, Braun transformed his personal experience and confrontations with global adversity into an international nonprofit dedicated to providing accessible education for children. In just five years, the organization has broken ground on 125 schools worldwide, in countries such as Laos, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Ghana. PoP is building sustainable schools at an unbelievable rate of 110% per year since 2008, paralleling its financial growth since his initial twenty-five dollar deposit. Braun explains that PoP’s incredible expansion is unprecedented for most non-profits. Asking him for the secret to his success, he responded passionately, “Anything that happens and takes off has to come from within. It needs to be you and cannot be objective.” During his time in college, Braun decided to hang up his basketball jersey and put his life at Brown on hold to travel the world as a part of the study abroad program Semester at Sea. Entering the developing world for the first time at the age of twenty-one, Braun tried to immerse himself within the culture of each country he visited. He began asking children what they would want most in the world. Receiving answers ranging from a book to magic, the answer that became the inspiration for his organization was from a young boy begging in India who replied, “A pencil.” Giving the boy a pencil and watching the sheer joy springing from this small act, Braun noted this moment as one of personal realization: “that every single person, regardless of where you’re born or what your status is, you have the ability to help another person.” While in Cambodia, Braun was inspired by the executive director of Cambodian Children’s Fund Scott Neeson, and became passionate about children’s education in developing countries. Believing in Neeson’s mission and integrity, Braun offered to quit school to stay in Cambodia. According to Braun, Neeson taught him a critical lesson: the importance of having local leadership and building networks by inspiring those at home. Bringing his newfound passion home with him and onto the Brown campus, Braun began building a massive presence by using every excuse to throw a party to fundraise for building a school with CCF. He laughed as he told us about how his reputation changed on campus from being an athlete to that Cambodia guy, raising about twenty to twenty-five thousand dollars within the course of a year. As he told this story, he offered us his first piece of advice to share with college students passionate about non-profit work, “Don’t be afraid to ask your network because they will embrace it. It’s a value statement for you and its nice thing for them to support you.” Backpacking to over fifty countries and conversing with local children and parents, Braun saw the critical need for an international non-profit that focuses on organizing local support to improve the accessibility and quality of education for children. He OUNDER AND

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witnessed the children’s intrinsic desire for knowledge as well as parents’ aspirations to provide their children with education despite the insufficient access to education within their community. While working at the lead consulting firm Bain & Company, twenty-five year old Braun founded Pencils of Promise with a twenty-five dollar deposit and the goal of building one school. Braun explained, “When I started PoP, I was just trying to build one school and donate it to my grandmother. I wasn’t trying to build a big organization or leave my job. I just wanted to become passionate about something.” Taking six months off from his job, he traveled to Laos, one of the two poorest countries in Southeast Asia, and accomplished his initial goal by building PoP’s first school in 2008 and fostering many local relationships. As Tom Casazzone, the chief financial officer, provided insight into how PoP has managed to go from one school in Laos to 125 schools globally, he explained, “Ninety-eight percent of it was because of Adam. He has huge dreams and surrounds himself around the right people. He had a lot of people early on that were passionate about getting it off the ground.” Melanie Stevenson, the Director of Operations, also attributed the success to PoP’s ‘for-purpose’ approach, which allows it to run as effectively as any great business. She explained, “It’s the idea that profit and purpose should not be separated, but combined. The belief that you can do what you are passionate about every single day like a full time job.” She passionately communicated what differentiates PoP from other vorganizations, “We allow anyone to get involved to make a difference on our issue. The issue of education. At the same time, we make sure that every school we break ground on is supported by the local community until forever. Depth of impact and importance of engagement, in particular wivth young people, is what I think makes us really unique.” Passion and ambition seem to be the key ingredients to Braun’s success and his organization’s ability to inspire leadership locally as well as internationally. Braun revealed his hopes for PoP to be the global leader in education for the next fifty years. He explained, “For that to happen it cannot be about me. Has to be about you guys, the staff, and the board. As crazy as it sounds, the single best thing I could do for PoP long term is leave for 3 months and not participate in phone calls, conferences, anything. Let everyone else make this organization theirs.” He suggested the counterintuitive idea of leading by being absent, insinuating that a true leader is someone who inspires and allows others to lead. Rather than being centered on an individual, organizations must promote collaborative leadership and communality to be sustainable and successful. I leave you with Braun's final piece of advice FOR college students, “A great phrase I got early on in my career was: asking for permission is asking for denial. If you have a great idea, just go do it.” HARVARD LEADERSHIP MAGAZINE FALL 2013

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THE CULTURAL ENTREPRENEUR

tring

Theory

PHOTO COURTESY FRESHMAN DEAN'S OFFICE

P H O T O C O U R T E S Y J E N N I F E R TAY L O R

THE SILK ROAD PROJECT CONTINUES TO SUPPORT YO-YO MA'S VISION OF USING ART TO PROMOTE INNOVATION AND LEARNING THROUGH A RECENT COLLOBARATION WITH HARVARD.

Yo-Yo Ma meets with students from the Harvard Class of 2016 at a discussion hosted by Dean Thomas Dingman.

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PHOTO COURTESY MAX WHITAKER

THE CULTURAL ENTREPRENEUR

FEATURES

Yo-Yo Ma (cello) and Colin Jacobsen (violin) in a Silk Road Ensemble concert at the Mondavi Center, UC Davis.

BY MARY-GRACE REEVES ENOWNED CELLIST AND HARVARD COLLEGE ALUMNUS YO-YO MA is celebrated across the world

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for his musical mastery. Between his busy schedule, Ma recently took the time to meet with fifteen members of the Class of 2016 at a luncheon hosted by Dean Thomas Dingman to discuss the expanding role of cultural entrepreneurship in society. His energy filled the room as he initiated a meaningful conversation regarding how students can recognize and follow their passions. But why is cultural entrepreneurship such a worthy cause? Ma passionately describes the pairing of business and the arts as constructing “an edge effect,” uniting people with different interests and facilitating the dynamic exchange of ideas. Using music as a language through which to communicate with those of diverse backgrounds is a message by which Ma lives. The power of his suggestion is evidenced by his own success in the field. In 1998, Ma founded the Silk Road Project, and he continues to serve as Artistic Director for the non-profit. Not only does the Silk Road Project feature performances by the innovative Silk Road Ensemble, but the organization is also dedicated to the promotion of music education. In addition to what might be more familiar instruments to some, performers are also specialized in the morin khuur, (the “Mongolian horse-head fiddle”) and Gaita (“Galician bagpipe”). Through Silk Road Connect, Ma currently shares his love of music with middleschool students in low-income communities, making a lasting impact. The Ensemble itself includes talented musicians from over 20 countries across Asia, Europe, and the Americas. Ma enthusiastically encourages all students to “find their passion and use that knowledge to truly create their own job.” This advice applies not only to efforts to develop cultural entrepreneurship, but also to leadership initiatives in any field. He emphasizes the advantage youth possess, terming it a “different, innovative perspective.” This vision allows students to “take their observations of reality, answer needs by applying imagination, and ultimately produce innovation.”

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Not only did Ma remind aspiring-leaders of the importance of collaboration, he illustrates this value through his work with the Silk Road Project. He particularly suggests that students meet and begin discussions with classmates of different backgrounds. Sharing this knowledge enlightens and strengthens everyone who participates. In a world where we witness daily the power of social media, Ma referred to the continued significance of face-to-face interactions. By building relationships with other collaborators, as well as those in need, we are able to make an even more meaningful impact. The Silk Road Ensemble performed in December 2012 at the Harvard Innovation Lab, the university’s space specifically dedicated to enabling student entrepreneurs to locate teammates and develop their ideas. The concert was a feature of the official kickoff for the 2013 Deans’ Cultural Entrepreneurship Challenge. The Silk Road Project has joined the efforts of Harvard Business School, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, University Deans, and the Office of the President to establish the campus-wide endeavor, encouraging students to collaborate and devise methods to promote the arts in society. The announcement of the ten finalists in the Challenge, following a rigorous judging process, promises many future accomplishments by Harvard students in introducing the arts to a wider audience. Innovation has always served as a source of our society’s strength, as Ma stated that the United States itself was an invention. “Everyone wants to use their talents to contribute to the larger world, which is exactly what is most fulfilling.” HARVARD LEADERSHIP MAGAZINE FALL 2013

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WHEN IN ROME

LESSONS FROM THE PAST FOR LEADING IN THE PRESENT BY JORDAN DEGRAFF

TODAY, INNUMERABLE SHOWS, BOOKS, MAGAZINES, TUTORIALS, AND CLASSES promise to reveal the secrets to becoming better leaders and members of society. They tout “brandnew techniques” and “innovative ideas” that are sure to enlighten the reader and propel them forward in their leadership careers. But with what evidence are these claims made?

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WHEN IN ROME

challenges in America are relatively new — America herself is still a young country, and today's high-tech world is constantly evolving. How do we know which leadership ideas, principles, or techniques will lead us to success despite our changing circumstances? Hindsight is is 20/20, or at least provides us with a clearer vantage point. By looking back on great civilizations, especially the Roman Empire, modern scholars can dissect and critique them to evaluate the leadership that led to their successes and failures, which in turn can help make better leaders today.

collapsed under the weight of its own internal turmoil. Thus we can learn both “how to” and “how not to” lead a successful empire or organization. But Rowan Dorin, a graduate student in History at Harvard University, notes that though it may be tempting to try to predict the future, “history doesn’t repeat itself. Only patterns and structures repeat.” Professor Emma Dench, a Harvard University Professor of Classics and of History, said that studying history provides “a safe place to explore all the huge issues in our world” that can lead to better, more effective leaders who have already learned some of the hardest lessons time has to offer.

Background of Looking to the Past The classical education of our forefathers and many of the greatest leaders in history strongly emphasized studying history--learning from what succeeded and what failed in the test of time. Just as we look to our past for knowledge, art, and entertainment, we can look for leadership lessons from the masters of organizing, caring for, and advancing diverse populations, and overseeing some of the greatest innovations and minds of all time. As a far-reaching civilization responsible for significant advances in art, architecture, and the sciences, as well as for pioneering new empire management techniques, the Romans merit our attention. Nonetheless, their empire

Why the Romans? When looking back on history, it is rare to find a civilization so powerful, so intelligent, and as advanced as that of the Roman Empire. People still flock to see the beauty of their ruins, study their literature, and seek to understand the teachings of their scholars. We can also attempt to understand their leadership techniques. They were real people dealing with real issues in an immensely successful and progressive empire.Looking back to the Romans allows us to evaluate what did—and did not—work for them. “We might not agree with the answers the Romans came up with, but they make us think,” Dench said.

ANY OF THE MOST ADVANCED

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LEADERSHIP POSITIONS and

What We Can Learn: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly It is easy to identify parallels between the large, advanced and progressive civilizations of the United States and the Roman Empire. Deeper investigation elicits a more striking understanding of what did and did not work in the Roman Empire.The nice thing about history, Dorin said, is that “history is about real people with real concerns and goals and constraints… and understanding the people and challenges that people have faced in trying to accomplish those goals is always going to be helpful.” Leaders' basic motivations and even temptations have remained essentially constant throughout the centuries, rendering historical examples applicable today. This short list is merely a glimpse into the many lessons and stories from the past. Throughout history, mankind has looked to the past to learn, adapt, and succeed in the present. Now, as emerging leaders in one of the greatest civilizations of all time, modern leaders, scholars, and students looking to influence the future would be wise to make full use of the bounty of information, lessons, and advice they can find from the leaders of the past. This short list is merely a glimpse into the plethora of lessons and stories from the past, but many, many more are available if you pursue them.

LEADERSHIP LESSONS FROM THE ROMANS

COMMUNICATION IS ESSENTIAL: Dorin attributed much of the Romans' success to their “sophisticated understanding of messaging.” Long before the age of mass media, the Romans were able to spread their propaganda, news, and directives across the Mediterranean, keep far-lying substituent tribes in check, and promote learning and intellectual conversations throughout the empire. Leading today requires an even more heightened sense of connection with constituents, but still the principle remains the same. STRESS SELF-CONTROL: "The Romans were really struck by the importance of self-control. They believed selfcontrol was an issue that runs across public and private life,” Dench said. They were very concerned about how the personal life reflected their civic capacity—they believed that a lack of character outside the office was transitively reflective of leadership potential.

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TROUBLE BREWS FROM WITHIN: "Be really good to your friends, and be very loyal to associates and immediate subordinates,” Dench advised. They are the ones who can make or break your career. Don’t be the one left asking, “Et tu, Brute?” when your closest friends end up being the ones who ultimately undermine your authority. NEVER GROW TOO FOND OF POWER: Does the name ‘Nero’ ring any bells? Just as in the past, leaders today with an excessive appetite for power are too often caught up in their own image and are caught off-guard by adversity. HANDLE SCANDAL: "Keep the sex secret," Dench joked, when asked about key lessons to learn from the follies of the Romans. Cleopatra was undoubtedly influential, but most scandals were not handled as favorably. Skeletons have a strange way of escaping any closet.

SKILLS

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MAINTAIN BALANCE: Never let the immediate overwhelm the important. For the Romans, Dench said, trouble arose when they allowed themselves to give either “too much for the people or for the upper classes” in efforts to placate an increasingly self-absorbed empire. Dench noted, “Effective leadership had to negotiate extremes…and do right by all the different parts of [their] community." BE FLEXIBLE, BUT PROVIDE STABILITY: Throughout the course of history, “rigidity has rarely been a good thing," Dorin said. Leadership needs to be firm enough to assert control through general guidance, not specific control. Although command may be centralized, plans need to be flexible enough to allow adaptable response at implementation. The leader needs to provide the point of clarity and perceived certainty like Emperor Augustus, who solidified his influence through his ability to “bring back stability” after turmoil.

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LESSONS FROM INNOVATION FORY-COMBINATOR CHANGE

HARVARD UNDERGRADUATE WOMEN IN BUSINESS INNOVATION COMPETITION

WOMEN TAKE THE

LEAD BY SUMMER CARTER

ABOUT HUWIB Now the largest business organization on campus, Harvard Undergraduate Women in Business was founded in 2000 by 10 female undergraduates and now boasts a membership of over 400. Lean In talks with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, Career Exploratory Trips to New York and San Francisco, and the Intercollegiate Career Exploratory Trips to New York and San Business Convention are just a few highlight Francisco, Intercollegiate Business Convenevents that HUWIB have planned and promottion, and Lean In talks with Sheryl Sandberg ed to foster enthusiasm in female undergraduare just a few highlight events the Harvard Unates about business. dergraduate Women in Business (HUWIB) organization planned and promoted to fosHUWIB constantly looks for creative ways to ter an excitement in women undergraduates inspire undergraduate women to pursue careers about business. HUWIB, founded in 2000 by in business, so what is next for them? HUWIB’s 10 undergraduate women, is now the largest annual Innovation Competition to encourage business organization on campus boasting a women entrepreneurship is currently undermembership of over 400 girls. As one of the way. premier organizations on campus, HUWIB

ABOUT HUWIB

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constantly looks for new and creative ways to inspire and involve undergraduate women in thinking about and pursuing careers in business. So what’s next for HUWIB? The HUWIB Innovation Competition to encourage womTheentrepreneurship HUWIB Innovation en is Competition, an event thatprevioushas the ly called Business for Good, is designedbuzzing. to prowhole of the Harvard community mote innovative business and entrepreneurship ideas among undergraduates. First held in 2009, the competition rewards the most enterprising and creative ideas with funding and provides mentors to help get these ideas off the ground. The first place team and first runner-up team will receive $20,000 and $5,000 respectively. PastHUWIB winnersInnovation include Annie Ryu ofpreviousHarvard The Competition, University who founded Global Village ly called Business for Good, is designedFruits, to pro-a company that helps provide with the mote innovative business andeveryone entrepreneurship freshest fruits and by extension uplift ideas among undergraduates. Firsthelping held in 2009, farmers out of poverty, Lauren Braun of Cornell the competition rewards the most enterprising University who invented and patented AlmaSaand creative ideas with funding and provides na, a bracelet for babies to remind in third mentors to help get these ideas parents off the ground. world countries of their immunization schedPast winners include Annie Ryu of Harvard Uniules, and Molly Yan of Harvard University whoa versity who founded Global Village Fruits,

HUWIB INNOVATION COMPETITION

HUWIB INNOVATION COMPETITION

company that helps provide everyone with the

freshest fruits and by extension helping upstarted the website a social lift farmers out ofIdeaMash.com, poverty, Lauren Braunnetof work thatUniversity connects students with similar Cornell who invented andideas. patented AlmaSana, a bracelet for babies to re“The project in submission period of the 2013 mind parents third world countries of their Innovation Competition on MayYan 1 and immunization schedules,began and Molly of ended 1.” Originally the competition HarvardAugust University who started the website was limited to aprojects social that entrepreIdeaMash.com, social of network conneurship, but this HUWIB to nects students withyear, similar ideas.decided Originally open up the competition commerthe competition was limitedtoto both projects of social and social entrepreneurship to cial entrepreneurship, but this year,ideas HUWIB garner more interest from the undergradudecided to open up the competition to both ate population. So how is this competition commercial and social entrepreneurship ideas different Harvard Innovato garner than morethe interest fromCollege the undergradtion Challenge orSoi3?how HUWIB’s Innovation uate population. is this competition Competition is unique in that the redifferent than the Harvard Collegemain Innovaquirement is theorteam be at least 50% fetion Challenge i3? HUWIB’s Innovation male. “This isprerequisite keyrequirecomCompetition unique in thatistheamain ponent of HUWIB’s ongoing effort to ment is the team be at least 50% female. This encourage the participation of women in inprequisite is a key component of the Innovanovation and business. also creates a unique tion Competition and ItWIB’s ongoing effort appeal for some sponsors of the competition.” to encourage the participation of women in innovation and business, and creates a unique appeal for some sponsors of the competition.

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INNOVATION FOR CHANGE THE MAGIC TOUCH

SKILLS

PHOTO COURTESY HARVARD GAZETTE

(Left) Annie Ryu, Global Village Fruits, and collaborating chefs. (Right) Lauren Braun, AlmaSana, and Barbara Selmo of F.W. Olin School of Business, a sponsor of the competition.

HOW DOES HOW DOES IT IT WORK? WORK? THE RULES THE RULES The The competition competition is is divided divided into into two two categocategories: commercial entrepreneurship ries: commercial entrepreneurship and and social social entrepreneurship. entrepreneurship. In In the the commercial commercial entreentrepreneurship preneurship category, category, teams teams create create business business plans that are for profit and often plans that are for profit and often focus focus on on aa particular market. The social entrepreneurparticular market. The social entrepreneurship ship category category is is for for non-profit non-profit business business modmodels, which may include obtaining funding els, which may include obtaining funding from from sources. Regardless of category, other other sources. “Regardless of category, many many business presented the compebusiness plans plans presented at theatcompetition tition are rooted in a desire for social change. are rooted in a desire for social change. Ideas All ideas are judged based on four criteria: inare judged based on criteria including innovanovation, feasibility, sustainability, and social tion, feasibility, sustainability, profit potential, impact. Finalists assigned in and social impact.will Thebefinalists willmentors be judged their field to help guide their ideas. The finalists and the winner will be chosen at the Innovawill judged andFinale the winner chosen5.” at tion be Challenge’s Eventwill on be October the 2013 Intercollegiate Business Convention. The first place winner from each category will The first placetowinner category receive $5,000 supportfrom their each business plan. will receive $5,000 to support their business The plan will be presented and recognized plan. will be presented andConvenrecogat theThe 2013plan Intercollegiate Business nized at the 2013 Intercollegiate Business tion. “Including the monetary prize, and perConvention. Perhaps most importantly of haps most importantly of all, the participants all, winner, finalists, and participants alike will receive valuable access and exposure to will recieve valuable access and exposure to a vast network of corporate leaders, invesators, vastentrepreneurs, network of corporate leaders, invesand fellow students.” tors, entrepreneurs, and fellow students.

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WHY IT MATTERS WHY IT MATTERS In “Inthe theUnited United States, States, entrepreneurship entrepreneurship is is still still aa male-dominated male-dominated field. field. Women And thishold is not unique less than to the business Women and are less 4 percent of all sector. CEO positions only like15.6 ly to be risk takers than corporate man and are chastised percent of upper-level jobs in Forfor the qualities needed to because be suctuneespousing 500 companies. This is in part cessful entrepreneur. Women hold less women as areanoften chastised for espousing the than 4% of all CEO positions andasonly 15.6% qualities needed to be successful an entreof upper-level corporate jobs In in this Fortune preneur, including ambition. day 500 and companies. Even more shocking is the factbusithat age, the issue of gender imbalance in the these statistics aretonot as as quickly as ness world needs bechanging addressed, a more one might think. Just think about the article in equal distribution of gender would promote the Atlanticajust published last yearperspective, titled “Why creativity, consumer-reflective Women Still Can’t All.” In thisbusiness. day and and ultimately a Have more Itsuccessful age the issue of gender imbalance in the business worldHUWIB’s needs to philosophy be addressed, as a these more However, is that equal distribution genderwithout would activism. promote statistics will not of change creativity, consumer reflective perspective, Events likea the Innovation Competition culand a more successful business. tivateultimately the talents of potential female business leaders, in turn creating a more equitable Harvard Womenwith in Business tomorrow.Undergraduate Any young women dreams is the are way encouraged in promotingtoand cultivatof leading business apply.” ing strong women leaders in the business sector. The HUWIB Innovation Competition’s relevance and necessity is more important now than ever before. Any young women with business plans are encouraged to apply.

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CS50 TO SILICON VALLEY

founders;

Leadership Lessons for Startup Success BY ALBERT YOUNG

AND THERE WAS ONE MEETING WE WALKED INTO AND THE GUY WAS LIKE, "WHAT ARE YOU GUYS, LIKE 14?"

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CS50 TO SILICON VALLEY HEN MERRILL LUTSKY AND

ERIK SCHLUNTZ CREATED THE POLLVAULTR APP AS THEIR CS50 FINAL PROJECT, neither could have seen themselves pitching their idea to a crowd of over 600 investors at Y Combinator’s grand finale—Demo Day. Formerly members of Eliot ’15, Merrill and Eric moved to the Bay Area to work full time on their company Posmetrics after being accepted into the prestigious Y Combinator (YC) startup accelerator. Posmetrics, a mash-up of “point-of-sale” and “positive” metrics, aims to help brick-andmortar businesses collect customer feedback using the iPad. With a streamlined Posmetrics survey that customers could tap through in about 20 seconds, many businesses have seen survey response rates increase from 2 percent to up to 30 percent. After completing YC, Merrill spoke with the Leadership Magazine about the leadership lessons he learned and his personal growth while starting a company from scratch.

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What was it like to go through Demo Day? ML: It was surreal. There are 46 teams and you wait in this back room and practice your pitch over and over again. You get wired up with a mic and then you have 2.5 minutes to pitch your idea to 600 investors in an auditorium. After you’re done there’s a mad rush. You split up and try to talk to as many investors as possible. You get leads to follow up with and then hopefully raise seed rounds from. It was a very long and tiring day, but it's the type of thing that’s designed to set us up well for future success. What was your favorite part of YC? Were there any particularly memorable moments? ML: The dinners were some of my favorite moments. Every Tuesday night they would bring in some eminent speakers from around the valley, founders of previous YC teams, and investors. Several had really inspiring stories— it's comforting to hear how they tackled the same hardships. Some of the cases were companies that did things initially that would be widely considered incredibly unscalable, but they did it anyway and ultimately figured out a way to automate it. And certain companies that have gone against conventional dogma and succeeded greatly were very interesting. Was there any part of this process during which you went against the conventional dogma? ML: At the start of the program, if we got an agreement, Eric and I would literally just drive to the store the next day and set up an iPad. While this comes at the expense of scalability and isn’t something we could do for a long time, we had to get as many locations on board as possible. Now we're just starting to figure HarvardLeadershipMag.org

out how to ship these things so that the store can just take it out of the box and set it on the counter so that it's ready to go. Are there any particular challenges you encountered as a college-age student as opposed to some of the older, more experienced founders? ML: One problem was just because we're selling to a business and enterprise clientele it takes a little bit for people to process that they're supposed to take us seriously. There was one meeting we walked into and the guy was like "What are you guys, like 14?" Of course he said it in jest, but it was actually pretty funny. Age is a double-edged sword, since it also grabs their attention. There are also logistical things like not being able to rent cars. College students don't really think about things like credit and all these concepts that most people have to. Overall, I think the barriers are low to pretty much anyone of any age that has an idea.

SKILLS

he'd go ask for a free drink at Starbucks or ask a random girl on the street for her number and get used to being told “no”. Every now and then apparently it worked out for him. He set himself up purposely to fail in this exercise because that's what sales are like. YC teaches that you don't have to be the one thing that every person in the world uses or wants. As long as you're not restricting your market too narrowly, you can figure out how to adapt your product. The critical thing is finding a few users who really need and believe in what you're doing and can help build it with their feedback. Did you encounter challenges working in a team? How did you divide up responsibility? ML: Eric and I both do sales calls. There was so much work to be done that we couldn't really split up. In terms of development, I mostly did front-end design and some of the iOS work. Eric did much of the backend and visualizations. And Alex Lee who is a senior finishing his last term, was working mostly on the servers and infrastructure and iOS app as well. We had this established beforehand-the distribution of labor--but we really just continued it in YC. We didn't have any significant problems with dividing anything up. It went fairly naturally.

Aside from being taken seriously, what’s the hardest thing about approaching businesses with your idea? When was the last time it didn’t work out? ML: There are a couple of challenges associated with selling to businesses. First, it's an art to get past front desks and receptionists. Everyone underneath the people you want to talk to have been trained to detect and dispatch What were the most important skills you solicitors. It's a matter of finding the right learned from the experience, especially as person you want to talk to—and sometimes it pertains to leadership? trying to guess their email address or phone ML: First, with regards to leadership, honesty extension. Having personal connections is also and clear communication are essential. For a critical. Otherwise, it's nearly impossible to startup, you all have to be behind everything start the conversation. you're working on. As soon as some issue or Even when you get to the right person, doubt arises, you have to be honest, something there is a tradeoff to being in the valley. On one we've been fairly good about. This is critical to hand, a lot of businesses are early adopters of keeping a team together, especially when things technology and realize the value getting the aren't going as planned. first look at all of these new services. On the other hand, they're so desensitized to being solicited by start-ups that the Every day he'd go ask for a free drink at Starbucks default response is often “no.” or ask a random girl on the street for her number It's a matter of differentiating and get used to being told "no". yourself and not just copying what's already been done. Being able to schedule a meeting and show the product in person is critical. Second, it's important to be able to take The fact of the matter is that the majority on roles you’re not comfortable with. Even of companies any startup reaches out to with though both Eric and I were more engineeringsays no. There's always a funnel. It's just a inclined, we essentially had to learn to matter of casting a wide enough net to get the become salespeople. It's not something that numbers you need and being able to handle comes terribly naturally. It’s been a matter being rejected over and over again. of picking up skills you need along the way, Before YC, I read a book about a founder being personable, and forcing yourself to fill who in preparation for making sales to small whatever role the company requires at the time. businesses trained himself by making one These are two major skills we and many other unreasonable request every day. Every day founders have been most dependent on.

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Harvard Leadership Magazine The Harvard Leadership Magazine (HLM) provides students with a broad array of perspectives on leadership, challenges them to reevaluate their empowers them to transform that acquired knowledge into a tangible, positive impact on the world.

Strategic Developments The Strategic Developments (SD) committee connects LIHC with the outside the LIHC mission. SD is engaged in fundraising, organizing internal leadership trainings for LIHC members, and developing partnerships with organizations at Harvard and beyond. Starting this fall, SD will also be organizing the from across the Boston area for a week long leadership workshop led by Harvard students and faculty.

Youth Lead the Change The YLC committee directs a 7-day immersive leadership development program called Youth Lead the Change that guides teenage students in unlocking their potential through interactive team activities, individual coaching, guest speakers, and real-world problemsolving using case studies. Committee members organize and teach at the YLC conference, which are held in Boston and one international location annually. Bhutan, Myanmar, and Japan and looks forward to greater global expansion.

Leadership Development Initiative The Leadership Development Initiative (LDI) works to equip Harvard students with the skills and principles necessary to practice leadership in the world. Through hands-on training as well as speeches and panels featuring some of society's most esteemed leaders, students are given opportunitites to learn about and prepare for future leadership roles. Training topics include: negotiation, public speaking, applied leadership forum, motivating a team, and more.

Social Outreach The Social Outreach (SO) committee aims to empower middle and high school students with values, leaders and to accomplish positive change in their schools, communities, and the world. Members of Social Outreach teach a 10-week leadership curriculum to sixth grade minority students in partnership with one of several local middle schools every semester.

LIHC Vision Students from Harvard University develop, practice, and promote leadership in their lives and the world.

LIHC Mission The Leadership Institute at Harvard College (LIHC) is a student-run organization that aims to build a movement to promote personal, professional and service leadership at Harvard and beyond. LIHC aims to inspire, empower, and enable students to exercise their leadership potential at Harvard, in their communities, and in our world.

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