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Issue 6

A Publication of the Leadership Institute at Harvard College

HL

Spring 2013

arvard

EADERSHIPMagazine

OneWord at a Time How American Girl author Valerie Tripp astounded critics by creating one of the most successful book franchises in the world. p12

PLUS:

Giving Back: Senior Dalumuzi Mhlanga runs his own nonprofit in his home country, Zimbabwe. p14 Rallying: Sophomore Nelson Yanes shares advice from his experience as a Warren campaign campus representative. p28


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REVOLUTIONIZE

TABLE OF CONTENTS

DOREEN XU

PHOTO COURTESY

Contents

Photo from CS50 Fair (page 14) AROUND CAMPUS

Spring 2013

5

Editor's Note

Editor-in-chief Jia Jia Zhang '13 delivers insights about the making of the magazine and the rationale behind the theme. written by Jia Jia Zhang

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Harvard's Green Movement

Matt Stec, the Assistant Director of Building Operations, explains Harvard's new focus on innovative green and sustainability efforts. written by Irma Nomani designed by Katelyn Smith

Zimbabwe Leadership Program Dalumuzi Mhlanga '13, a full-time Harvard student, spends his free time working remotely to create young leaders with the Zimbabwean Leadership Program. written by Liesl Ulrich-Verderber designed by Elizabeth Jacobson

HarvardLeadershipMag.org

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Leadership in Education With vision and perseverence, Dean of Harvard's Graduate School of Education Kathleen McCartney spearheaded the school's new Ed.L.D. program.

written by Dakota Santana-Grace designed by Georgina Winthrop

HARVARD LEADERSHIP MAGAZINE SPRING 2013

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REVOLUTIONIZE

PHOTO COURTESY 350.ORG

TABLE OF CONTENTS

FEATURES

12 14 17 20 22

4

The Woman Behind American Girl Valerie Tripp reveals the criticism she faced and challenges she overcame during the founding of American Girl. written by Mary-Grace Reeves designed by Dean Itani

Making Computer Science Accessible Professor David Malan '99 explains the teaching strategy behind one of Harvard's most popular courses, Computer Science 50. written by Julia Eger designed by Dean Itani

Leadership and Politics Former Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle discusses his tumultuous terms in office and his advice for aspiring leaders. written by Caitlin Pendleton designed by Albert Young

The Business of Facebook Facebook Account Manager PeiPei Zhou discusses Facebook's culture and its plans for mobile monetization. written by Summer Carter designed by Albert Young

Uniting Generation Y Women Amanda Pouchot and Levo League work to create a community of women across social media. written by Ileana Hang designed by Kyi Zar Thant

HARVARD LEADERSHIP MAGAZINE SPRING 2013

Photo from Zimbabwe Leadership Program (page 12)

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The Google Guru Brian Rakowski, Google’s Vice President of Product Management, talks about Chrome and the team that created it. written by Yi Han designed by Dean Itani

SKILLS

26 28 30

Tech for Productivity The top mobile apps to maximize your productivity and leadership. written by Julia Eger designed by Albert Young

Mobilizing a Campus Campaign intern Nelson Yanes '15 shares the strategies he used to rally campus support for Senator Elizabeth Warren. written by Rachel Zsido designed by Dean Itani

Public Speaking 101 Tips to improve public speaking skills, inspired by a Harvard course. written by Michelle Geng designed by Dean Itani

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EDITOR'S NOTE

REVOLUTIONIZE

Rev•uh•loo•shuh•nahyz Revolutionize: v. to change (something) radically or fundamentally The release of the sixth edition of the Harvard Leadership Magazine is, in itself, a truly revolutionary event. For the first time in the history of this publication, we have produced two magazines in less than one year in an effort to provide our audience with more literature on leadership. As we continue to push ourselves, we want to challenge our readers to push their own boundaries of what they believe is possible and to change (something) radically or fundamentally for the better. In the pages that follow you will find the story of American Girl founder Valerie Tripp, who, after receiving a Masters of Education from Harvard, set out to do something that no one had ever done before: write books about girl heroines living through different periods of American history. The American Girl series has since touched the lives of millions of young readers and also inspired a line of dolls, magazines, and several movies. Surprisingly (or perhaps unsurprisingly), Tripp describes the venture as one “where people kind of rolled their eyes when [she] mentioned it.” Early on, her idea was met with resistance, as critics believed young audiences were not ready for the serious historical content of the proposed series. However, Tripp was not discouraged and now considers herself lucky to have been part of such a revolutionary paradigm shift in the children’s book industry. Edition Six also features Matthew Stec and David Malan, revolutionaries close to home. Stec, the Assistant Director of Building Operations for the Office of Physical Resources and Planning at Harvard, is on a mission to institute big changes that will make Harvard buildings more energy efficient. Malan, who took CS50 as an undergraduate at Harvard in 1996, completely reinvented the course upon inheriting its professorship in 2007 to make it more welcoming and accessible to first-time programmers. These revolutions have and will continue to make Harvard a more responsible, dynamic, and innovative place.

Masthead A Publication of the Leadership Institute at Harvard College - Issue 6 - Spring 2013

Editorial Board

Staff

Jia Jia Zhang Editor-in-Chief

Dean Itani Design Editor

Rachel Zsido Business Manager

DESIGNERS Katelyn Smith Kyi Zar Thant Georgina Winthrop Albert Young PHOTOGRAPHY Liesl Ulrich-Verderber (Head) Karim Pirbay BUSINESS James Ho Ian Shields ADVISERS David Ager Adam Berlin Jon Doochin Loren Gary Anand Venkatesan

Caitlin Pendleton Skills Section Editor

Julia Eger Around Campus Section Editor

Young people often have the idealism, energy, and lack of experience that make us potentially great catalysts for change. Society needs leaders who can inspire revolutions to overcome critical challenges that we face, such as climate change and global health. As eighteenth century German scientist Georg Christoph Lichtenberg once said, “Whether things will be better if they are different I do not know, but that they will have to be different if they are to become better, that I do know.”

Kristina Garrido Skills Section Editor

Jia Jia Zhang Editor-in-Chief

Neha Mehrota Assistant Director of Finance

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WRITERS Summer Carter Michelle Geng Yi Han Ileana Hang Irma Nomani Mary-Grace Reeves Dakota Santana-Grace Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

HARVARD LEADERSHIP MAGAZINE SPRING 2013

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AROUND CAMPUS

HARVARD’S GREEN MOVEMENT

Creating a Blueprint

Transforming Harvard’s campus to allow sustainable living by Irma Nomani

M LIESL ULRICH-VERDERBER PHOTO

atthew Stec was working at his desk in the basement of the Center for Government and International Studies when his cell phone rang. A thief had just run out of the building with a stolen laptop, his panicked colleague told him. Dropping his pen, Stec sprinted up the stairs and outside, where he spotted the thief – and promptly ran after him, just as the police arrived. Chasing criminals is certainly not part of Stec’s job description. As Assistant Director of Administrative and Academic Building Operations for the Office of Physical Resources and Planning, Stec’s work primarily involves managing properties, as well as people who manage properties, at Harvard College. Working for Building Operations, he and his team not only take care of the physical infrastructure of over 35 buildings, but also schedule rooms and events, keep classrooms ready and in shape for lectures, renovate offices for new staff members, and deal with lockouts and lost keys, among other tasks. Stec’s job focus has taken a turn over the last three years as sustainability and green initiatives have been integrated into his department. Stec himself is the cochair of the Administrative and Academic

LIESL ULRICH-VERDERBER PHOTO

• • • • • •

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Greenhouse Gas Reduction Sector, a program he helped start a few years ago that has helped reduce the use of energy, implement energy conservation measures, and improve recycling infrastructure. These have been major improvements for the College’s green program. Replacing the number four heating oil in Loeb Drama Center’s boilers to natural gas, installing lighting retrofits in Littauer Center and CGIS, and working on new window film at William James Hall may not sound momentous. Natural gas, however, is a much cleaner substitute for the heavy number four oil, which is basically sludge and can create an air pollution hazard. New lighting retrofits reduce energy consumption and improve lighting quality, and film tint for windows reduces incoming heat, thereby reducing cooling costs. These are the small details that together will make Harvard more efficient and environmentally conscious. Stec appreciates these changes, but he calls them “the low-hanging fruit.” These are the ideas that require little research and are easy to implement. Now, he says, the department is moving on. “We’re getting to the point where

Stec’s Past Green Initiatives: Replacing 82 toilets with water-conserving flushometers. Helping start Greenhouse Gas reduction program in the the Administrative and Academic Buildings. Helping meet energy conservation measures for over 35 buildings. Improving recycling infrastructure with Green Teams. Coordinating air quality improvements for Thayer Hall. Replacing Loeb Drama Center’s heating oil with natural gas.

Plans for the Future:

• Finding new ways of saving energy and reducing greenhouse gas. • Closely inspecting all mechanical equipments for ways to make them more efficient. • Integrating greenhouse gas reduction plans into all older buildings.

HARVARD LEADERSHIP MAGAZINE SPRING 2013

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HARVARD’S GREEN MOVEMENT

AROUND CAMPUS

we’re starting to get into the more complicated ber’s Hurricane Sandy as a new experience. energy,” he explained. “One of my challenges things,” he explained. “We are kind of challeng“We had to look through buildings for here is to get a grip on that… It’s complicated ing the original design assumptions.” open windows, branches that were going to fall, because you can’t look at one particular issue The department has started to integrate things that will create havoc – any potential and fix it.” greenhouse reduction plans into all new ideas. hazards,” Day said. The building operations As Stec’s department moves from the lowOne of their current projects, which involves department prepared for flooding by strategihanging fruits to the harder-to-reach ones and re-commissioning the CGIS building, entails cally placing flood kits in accessible locations in as the green initiative becomes more imporlooking at the sequence of operations of how buildings where they were most needed, since tant, Stec’s job becomes more complicated. But the mechanical equipment runs in the building the department knew that certain buildings is he overwhelmed? Certainly not. Stec loves it. and challenging original design assumptions by were more prone to floods than others. “I like the whole being part of a service to considering how much air is the university,” he explains. needed in a particular space “The people around you are You meet people all the time, and you never know what you’re carrying out their mission. and what the temperature of meeting for. I like that unpredictable nature of our job. water should be. We try to do things that have These considerations, -Matthew Stec a positive impact on this of course, take time and mission without the people preparation. Long-term knowing that we’re even doplanning and decision-making result in a Maintaining what Day deems an “interesting it. We want to be invisible.” possible course of action for the team, but ing and good dynamic” with Stec makes this When new faculty members are hired, sometimes Stec does not have enough time to work much smoother. Stec, who himself has his job is to renovate their office or lab. Stec strategize for every decision he needs to make worked his way up from facilities manager to a likes interactions with new faculty and finds it day to day. leadership role in the department, is aware of enjoyable getting to know them. He also takes “Sometimes you make quick decisions, how things work. If Day comes across a proban extra step. Stec always does research on the sometimes you make very quick decisions, like lem, then Stec will help him fix it. new faculty member’s own research, learning how to react to a flood,” Stec said. “The process “He understands them and is very good at a bit about their field, in order to get to know is different. [In such cases] there is no cookiereacting to them. He gives me a lot of autonomy them better. Moreover, he finds working within cutter way of making decisions.” to do my job,” Day explained. “If a tree falls a team to be both rewarding and challenging. Integrating University President Drew into Vanserg, we can work as a team rather than “You can’t be everything to everyone,” Stec Faust’s green initiative into their work has been having someone in a supervisor position saying says. “Sometimes I try to do everything that one of the most important aspects of the job. ‘Just fix it.’” everyone wants. But you can’t make everyone The more complicated decisions made by Stec’s Andrew Laplume, who became building happy.” department are often born by ideas presented manager for the Science Center in the summer Temperature policies, he explains, are the at monthly meetings, where members of the of 2012, is also the Green Team leader for the biggest problem. Certain temperatures must department brainstorm and make suggestions Harvard College Libraries. There are a number be maintained in buildings in order to save enabout maintenance, structural, and cosmetic of green initiatives for the Science Center, such ergy and be efficient, but everyone likes things a upgrades. Stec enforces these ideas by enlistas converting the lighting in the lecture hall different way. ing contractors, architects, and engineers to from 100-watt halogens to LEDs, which are “You want to keep all the people in a analyze problems. In these meetings, which are much more efficient because they convert only building as comfortable as possible,” he says. often dedicated entirely to a green agenda, the a small amount of energy to wasted heat. But unfortunately, he added, this just is not Green Campus group and Stec’s department But seemingly simple goals like getting the possible. work together. windows tinted involve many other considerNevertheless, Stec tries to do the best he Joel Day works under Stec the facilities ations. Laplume needs to preserve the aesthetcan do to fulfill people’s wishes, to keep them manager for buildings including Yenching Liics of the building and keep the desires of the comfortable, and to keep in line with the greenbrary and Vanserg Hall. As someone who works building’s occupants in mind, so everyone’s house gas initiative. It is an enormous task, closely with Stec, he describes the decisionfeedback is needed. but he said he does it for one reason: he enjoys making process involved in preparing for Octo“The Science Center consumes so much being of service to the Harvard community. 

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HARVARD LEADERSHIP MAGAZINE SPRING 2013

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FEATURES

PHOTO COURTESY DALUMUZI MHLANGA

ZIMBABWE LEADERSHIP PROGRAM

Student and Visionary

PHOTO COURTESY DALUMUZI MHLANGA

Dalumuzi Mhlanga is a Harvard senior from Zimbabwe. But in between classes, he runs a nonprofit called Lead Us Today in his homeland which aims to empower and inspire Zimbabwean youth to better their community. by Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

I

n a sea of accomplished Harvard students, it is easy to become jaded with the feeling that each individual boasts a story greater than

the next. When you meet Dalumuzi Mhlanga ‘13 for the first time, however, it is impossible not to feel enticed by his charming, contagious smile and his aura of kindness. As a full-time senior at Harvard, he is no stranger to the stress and hard work that comes with juggling interests and academics. Yet in between classes, extracurriculars, work, friends, and— sometimes—sleep, Mhlanga also founded and runs a non-profit organization that benefits the community and children in his home country of Zimbabwe. Speaking with him about his homeland, his face lights up; his passion for his country and its youth is boundless.

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HARVARD LEADERSHIP MAGAZINE SPRING 2013

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ZIMBABWE LEADERSHIP PROGRAM

FEATURES

The Story

build its students’ bonds with their community so that they want to stay and improve the Since 2004, Mhlanga has promised communities with which they have worked himself to “live life based on what he could so closely. contribute to the world.” When he founded “I think it is okay for bright minds to his organization, Lead Us Today, in August leave the country, but only temporarily. of 2010, this mission was at the forefront When I was a freshman, I had a conversation of his mind. On a shoestring budget funded with somebody and I said to them, ‘I am at by Harvard fellowships, Mhlanga worked Harvard to use the resources and opportunifor two years to establish his organization. ties that are here for the benefit of people Though Lead Us Today is based in Zimbaback home,’” Mhlanga said. While he himself bwe, Mhlanga runs the organization from afar, doing all he can to keep the organization has a natural passion to give back to his homeland, he wants to help instill that same running smoothly and enlisting the help of desire in the students with whom Lead Us Harvard students to work with the program Today works. during the summer. He credits much of the His plan is logical. “If you are able to organization’s success to his team of dedicreate connections between individuals and cated volunteers back home that keep the their communities, they gain such an attachorganization running when he is away. ment that they become “Lead Us Today invested in making their inspires, mobilizes, and community better,” he empowers ZimbaWhen you know you’re explained. “They get bwean young people to making a difference, the crazy about giving back work together beyond experience is just moving. to the community. When socioeconomic barriers -Dalumuzi Mhlanga you know you’re making and lead community dea difference, the experivelopment efforts with the vision of creating a generation of engaged ence is just moving.” and socially responsible citizens in Africa,” The Challenge explains Mhlanga. A major part of this misAs with any ambitious project, this sion is not only to foster the leadership skills of youth, but also to help them learn to invest program has its challenges. One of the major hurdles students in the program have to in themselves and their communities so that overcome is their inherent, cultural respect they give back as they grow up. for authority. “In our culture, we aren’t accustomed to challenging authority,” he The Framework said. “The difficulty is breaking the barrier Lead Us Today takes a unique approach where you finally don’t have to always look to its leadership training. Unlike many leadership groups that focus on teaching stu- up to somebody to have the answer.” Lead Us Today has worked to break this cycle and emdents ways to inspire a group, Lead Us Today power its students. Luckily, the program has uses an “adaptive leadership” framework in seen progress on this front with a number of its training process. “We see leadership as long-term student projects finding success something more. We define leadership as the and a foothold in their community. activity of mobilizing a group of people to face reality, to see that there is something in a community that needs to be done and then to The Future Though Mhlanga is reaching the end of work together to learn how to confront this his time as an undergraduate at Harvard, he reality and make ourselves better,” Mhlanga is ecstatic to get back to Zimbabwe and deexplained. vote his life to expanding Lead Us Today. He A key part of this training process is the describes his experience with the organizacommunity projects that students work to tion as a “fun, challenge-based [experience] create and implement in their communibuilt on an insane belief that this could all be ties. “We provide leadership training, but a possible.” It is clear he wants to return home huge portion of what we do is working with and bring all he has learned at Harvard with the community on a project that makes an him. impact.” For Mhlanga and Lead Us Today, What’s in store for the future of Lead these community projects are a central part Us Today? Mhlanga laughs, “Now we have of their mission and their vision for Zimbato see how it looks in more than one city!” bwe’s future. One day he hopes to expand the organizaZimbabwe, as with many countries, is tion throughout Zimbabwe, and eventually facing high unemployment rates and lack of throughout Africa. Knowing Mhlanga, it is opportunity, making many young people opt hard to believe he won’t achieve his goal.  to leave the country. Lead Us Today hopes to

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Zimbabwe AT A GLANCE

Population 12,619,600 Age Structure 0-14 years: 40.6% 5-64 years: 55.7% +65 years: 3.7% Median Age 18.9 years Population Growth 4.357% Rate (2nd fastest in the world) Net Migration Rate 23.77 migrants/1,000 (2nd fastest in the world) Urbanization urban population: 38% rate of urbanization: 3.4% annually (est.) Maternal Mortality 570 deaths/100,000 Rate live births (14th highest in the world) Literacy 90.7% Youth 24.9% unemployment (31st highest in (ages 15-24) the world) General 2009: 95% unemployment rate 2005: 80% note: estimate Labor force by Agriculture: 66% occupation Industry: 10% Services: 24% Population below 68% poverty line SOURCE: cia.gov HARVARD LEADERSHIP MAGAZINE SPRING 2013

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AROUND CAMPUS

LEADERSHIP IN EDUCATION

The One Who Started it All the first Education Leadership Doctorate Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. by Dakota Santana-Grace

T

ake a second to think back to the dreary, linoleum halls of your high school. Remember the instructors who droned on without any regard for creativity or student interest? The principal who punished and rarely praised? That teacher who never let you think outside the box? At the Harvard Graduate School of Education, the new Education Leadership Doctorate program (Ed.L.D), spearheaded by Dean Kathleen McCartney, is trying to reinvent this stereotype by training educators in a new, revolutionary way. LIESL ULRICH-VERDERBER PHOTO

LIESL ULRICH-VERDERBER PHOTO

Dean Kathleen McCartney spearheaded

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HARVARD LEADERSHIP MAGAZINE SPRING 2013

A new kind of program When Dean Kathleen McCartney became the Acting Dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) in 2005, she quickly went to work on the creation of a new degree program. She wanted to create what she calls “a practice doctorate:” something that engages management, education, and policy. She, with the help of a dedicated leadership team, built an academic plan that was submitted to Lawrence Summers, the President of Harvard University at the time. The

Gutman Library

resulting program was the Ed.L.D. Prior to its development, the closest comparable program HGSE offered was the urban superintendent program, but this program has since been replaced by the Ed.L.D program. Dean McCartney developed the degree because she hoped it would “fill a gap” in what is currently offered by education schools. Assistant Dean Julie Vultaggio describes the program as one that is “redefining graduation education for system-level leaders by integrating conceptual and practical work.” Unlike traditional doctoral programs, the three-year Ed.L.D program is practice-based, incorporating one year of core curriculum courses, one year of primarily elective courses, and one year of full-time residency in the field. “There was a time when M.B.A.’s didn’t exist, but the degree was developed because it HarvardLeadershipMag.org


AROUND CAMPUS

LIESL ULRICH-VERDERBER PHOTO

LEADERSHIP IN EDUCATION

For future leaders

When asked if she had advice for young leaders, Dean McCartney offered this advice: “When somebody says no, just keep going forward and find the next step,” she said. Dean McCartney believes if you are passionate about something, you cannot let yourself be deterred by naysayers or other obstacles. In her eyes, there is always a way forward, and it is necesFacing roadblocks sary for leaders to keep searching for the next Despite the degree program’s success in steps when they are truly passionate about development, Dean McCartney has faced subwhat they are doing. stantial challenges getting this program off the Her second tip for leaders: “Every good ground over the past five years. As with many deal goes down three times.” Remember that school programs, budget cuts confronted the deals and negotiations will not always be program with limitations that forced Dean perfect after the first attempt. It is important McCartney to make decisions she did not necto keep at it, and eventually create a strong essarily want to make. The deal that will support your onset of the financial crisis endeavor. students per led to her most difficult Harvard’s Ed.L.D graduating class program is changing what obstacles in maintaining the school’s strength and it means to be an educaenrolled for the depth of its programs tor. It is working to create a while maintaining its fiscal whole new set of leaders in in tuition integrity. this country. Through Dean each earning Instead of fearing the McCartney’s direction and possibility of trouble, Dean leadership, the first class of Ed.L.D. McCartney emphasized the the program is set to graduimportance of taking small ate this spring. Undoubtsteps towards a solution. “The problem that we edly, the school will see the trickling effect face most often is not how to solve a problem, of these graduates in the education system but how to bring the solution to scale,” she as more and more graduates come out of the explained. program. Hopefully, this framework equips Knowing that her actions regarding the a group of highly capable women and men to Ed.L.D program impacted the entire school, address the burgeoning needs of our education Dean McCartney upheld a policy of what system.  she called “transparency and truth.” To get through an obstacle, communication is key. In Editor’s Note: Shortly after this article the midst of lay-offs and budget cuts, she made was written, Dean McCartney announced a point to stay transparent in why and how deshe was leaving Harvard to take a position cisions were being made. In the most difficult as the President of Smith College. The decisions, she ensured that the community foundation she set for her Ed.L.D program understood the processes behind each major leaves it intact and flourishing, and she is decision—in doing so, people remained calm excited to see its progress in the coming and at ease as the dilemmas of a difficult period years. were mediated.

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The Monroe C. Gutman Library is the Graduate School of Education’s main library. With thousands of books and many collaboritive study spaces, it is always full of graduates students and undergraduates.

LIESL ULRICH-VERDERBER PHOTO

filled a gap,” McCartney explained. In order to fill this gap in system-level, she reached out to the Harvard Kennedy School of Government (HKS) and the Harvard Business School (HBS) to conceptualize a new degree. The three schools enthusiastically came together and, under her leadership, developed a curriculum for the Ed.L.D students.

The Education Leadership Doctorate Program The Education Leadership Doctorate program (Ed.L.D.) at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) enrolls 25 students per graduating class in a tuition-free program involving faculty from the Kennedy School, Business School, and HGSE. Launched in August 2010, HGSE will be graduating its first group of students this year. HGSE describes the program as unique because “instead of preparing people to lead the system as it currently exists, the program seeks to develop people who will lead system transformation.” HARVARD LEADERSHIP MAGAZINE SPRING 2013

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FEATURES

THE WOMAN BEHIND AMERICAN GIRL

making every girl a

STAR

Valerie Tripp, original author of the company American Girl, discusses her goal to empower young readers through the inspiring heroines in the company's franchise

PHOTOS COURTESY SUSAN BIDDLE

by Mary-Grace Reeves

I

Editor's note: In the editing process, Valerie Tripp's title was incorrectly changed to founder of the American Girl Company. Tripp's good friend and mentor, Pleasant Rowland, founded the American Girl Company while Tripp has served as an American Girl author for many years.

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HARVARD LEADERSHIP MAGAZINE SPRING 2013

f people say, ‘No one has ever done that before,’ take that as a huge compliment,” award-winning author of American Girl historical fiction Valerie Tripp advised. Armed with a Masters of Education from Harvard University in 1981 and having graduated magna cum laude from Yale University’s first coeducational class, Tripp set out to teach girls lessons in history, self-confidence, and cultural awareness through the books and products of the American Girl company.

Tripp and her friend and mentor Pleasant Rowland agree that their favorite books as children were those that featured brave, adventuresome girls at the core. In the 1970s, however, they recognized an astonishing void in literature where girls were the heroes and decided to fill it themselves. Through books and dolls, American Girl offers youth a glimpse of life during historical periods such as the American Revolution, Great Depression, Industrial Revolution, and World War II. “We wanted to create a series of books where our girl heroes lived in different periods of history so the girl reading the book would come away realizing, ‘I am what American history is. The choices that I make as a real girl are very important in that those choices are going to shape the world in which we live,’” Tripp said. The main obstacle Tripp faced during American Girl’s beginning was a general perception of youth readers’ capabilities. While Tripp recognized that girls were “ready for these books,” she recalls encountering representatives of the publishing industry, bookstores, teachers, and even parents who strongly doubted American Girl’s potential because of the serious material it presented to such a young audience. The books do not ignore HarvardLeadershipMag.org


FEATURES

THE WOMAN BEHIND AMERICAN GIRL

over

21

million

over

139

million

American Girl dolls have been sold through the company’s catalogue, retail stores, and website since 1986.

American Girl books have been sold since 1986.

the darker periods of our nation’s past, including slavery, the Great Depression, the Yellow Fever Epidemic, and World War II. However, the critics’ forecasts were wildly inaccurate. Since 1986, American Girl has sold more than 139 million books and 21 million dolls. “American Girl trusted that girls wanted to know about their place in the world, how girls had contributed to the country long ago, and what their contribution would be as youth today. At American Girl, we want girls to make tiny revolutions,” Tripp explained. Tripp believes that encountering such adversity and working through the challenging aspects of innovation should serve as encouragement. “As someone lucky enough to

who she wants to be. We wanted to say, ‘Don’t let anyone talk you out of your dreams. You’re the heroine of your story!’” she said. “Everything that surrounded our book characters might look different from what surrounds our readers, but the emotional truths have not changed. In every era, girlhood is about growth, facing challenges, and learning.” In addition to having written 31 American Girl books, Tripp directly works with her youth readers. She has served as guest speaker at the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution, Colonial Williamsburg, multiple libraries, and charity events across the nation. But at the end of the day, Tripp attributes her time at Harvard to shaping her path to becoming a nationally renowned

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over

43

million

visits each year to the American Girl website, americangirl.com.

Source: americangirl.com

The American Girl catalogue ranks as the largest consumer toy catalogue and one of the top 30 consumer catalogues in the country. be involved in a venture from the point where people kind of rolled their eyes when you mentioned it, my advice is not to be discouraged,” Tripp said. “When I began to write Meet Molly, the first American Girl book, I had no idea what I was doing. Don’t be afraid of that… If there isn’t a paradigm, that is good news that you are doing something fresh and original.” The response of generations of young girls to the American Girl books has served as testimony to the need for Tripp’s writing. She coined the term “Vitamins in the Chocolate Cake” to describe the enriching relationship between readers and the book heroines. “As a girl matures, she is going to face challenges to her passions,

over

leader, deeming the school her “turning-point.” As a student in the Reading Specialist program at Harvard Graduate School of Education, Tripp learned the discipline required to write for youth, where comprehension, vocabulary, and historical background could not be assumed. However, she initially arrived at Harvard with aspirations to be a writer for educational television, not books. Her selection of the Harvard Graduate School of Education stemmed from a desire to study under Professor Gerald Lesser, who also served as chairman of the board of advisers for the PBS Children’s Television Workshop. But much to Tripp’s disappointment, she learned upon

46

million

visitors annually to American Girl's proprietary retail stores. The are recognized as premier models for experiential retail.

Above: Valerie Tripp was in at the beginning of the iconic American Girl, which sells everything from books to dolls. Right: Tripp poses with several little girls and their dolls. American Girl has 14 stores spread around the country, spanning from Los Angeles to Boston. enrollment that Professor Lesser would be on sabbatical during her graduate studies. “I don’t know how I had the nerve to do this, but I went to the administrators of the Education School and said, ‘I came here to learn how to write for television, and now the person I thought I was going to study with is gone.’ And they allowed me to make my own class! Harvard allowed me to have a leadership role. Nobody but Harvard would have done that, and I am so grateful to them,” Tripp said. Ironically, Tripp discovered from that class that she preferred writing children’s books to writing for television. She urges students to never underestimate the value of dead ends, as that experience helped her realize her true passions. “My experience at Harvard was invaluable to me, as it helped me refine and define exactly what I wanted to do,” Tripp said. “That is what I’ve done ever since.””  HARVARD LEADERSHIP MAGAZINE SPRING 2013

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FEATURES

THE WOMAN BEHIND AMERICAN GIRL

making every girl a

STAR

Valerie Tripp, original author of the company American Girl, discusses her goal to empower young readers through the inspiring heroines in the company's franchise

PHOTOS COURTESY SUSAN BIDDLE

by Mary-Grace Reeves

I

Editor's note: In the editing process, Valerie Tripp's title was incorrectly changed to founder of the American Girl Company. Tripp's good friend and mentor, Pleasant Rowland, founded the American Girl Company while Tripp has served as an American Girl author for many years.

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HARVARD LEADERSHIP MAGAZINE SPRING 2013

f people say, ‘No one has ever done that before,’ take that as a huge compliment,” award-winning author of American Girl historical fiction Valerie Tripp advised. Armed with a Masters of Education from Harvard University in 1981 and having graduated magna cum laude from Yale University’s first coeducational class, Tripp set out to teach girls lessons in history, self-confidence, and cultural awareness through the books and products of the American Girl company.

Tripp and her friend and mentor Pleasant Rowland agree that their favorite books as children were those that featured brave, adventuresome girls at the core. In the 1970s, however, they recognized an astonishing void in literature where girls were the heroes and decided to fill it themselves. Through books and dolls, American Girl offers youth a glimpse of life during historical periods such as the American Revolution, Great Depression, Industrial Revolution, and World War II. “We wanted to create a series of books where our girl heroes lived in different periods of history so the girl reading the book would come away realizing, ‘I am what American history is. The choices that I make as a real girl are very important in that those choices are going to shape the world in which we live,’” Tripp said. The main obstacle Tripp faced during American Girl’s beginning was a general perception of youth readers’ capabilities. While Tripp recognized that girls were “ready for these books,” she recalls encountering representatives of the publishing industry, bookstores, teachers, and even parents who strongly doubted American Girl’s potential because of the serious material it presented to such a young audience. The books do not ignore HarvardLeadershipMag.org


AROUND CAMPUS

MAKING COMPUTER SCIENCE ACCESSIBLE

Cupcakes, Camraderie, and Computer Science: How David Malan Revolutionized the Culture of CS50 PHOTO COURTESY JOSEPH ONG

by Julia Eger

T

rudging down into the basement of Northwest Labs one afternoon during reading period, I’m overwhelmed by a pulsing dubstep remix and the confusion of squishy stress balls being pegged at my face. Reaching the jam-packed lower level I’m greeted by unlimited candy and cupcakes, free t-shirts and a photo booth complete with Muppet props. Is this a Bar Mitzvah? No. This is CS50. Computer Science 50, Harvard’s undergraduate introductory computer science course, has not always been dynamic and popular. In fact, the class’s reputation once hinged on crippling intimidation. Although it now boasts interactive lectures, an overnight off-campus Hackathon, and the festive end-of-semester CS50 Fair, the growth of this class rests on the leadership and vision of Professor David Malan ‘99. The inspiration When Malan enrolled in CS50 in 1996, it shared the same name and general purpose as it does now – but the class’s culture was entirely different. “It was a class that students knew ‘to beware’ because of its intensity. It was not for the uninitiated,” he said. Most students brave enough to enroll had some background with computer science, even Malan, who had considered himself among those less comfortable in the subject. However, the class surprised him. “I had chosen at first to take the class Pass/Fail to get over the intensity, but for the first time in a class I liked doing homework on Friday nights. On the last possible day I decided to take it for a grade, and switched my concentration,” he recalled. Despite Malan’s fascination with the class, many of his peers were not as enthralled with it – and many interested students were too scared to take the class at all. “There were only a few students like me who had dared to take the class with little ex-

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HARVARD LEADERSHIP MAGAZINE SPRING 2013

perience, and there were always a lot of people who shied away from taking the class at all because of the daunting reputation,” he said. Here’s where Malan, several years later, sought to change things. Why couldn’t every student enjoy the class as much as he had? When he inherited CS50 in 2007, he set out to amend what he saw as the class’s two major flaws: first, that most of the student body was put off by the class’s intimidating atmosphere, and second, that the class began each semester “from the ground up” by introducing the students in the first week to a humdrum assembly language.

"

What ultimately matters in Computer Science 50 is not so much where you end up relative to your classmates but where you, in Week 12, end up relative to yourself in Week 0.

-David Malan

Keeping students engaged The class culture needed revising. “I wanted to change the feeling people got in the classroom. From the first day, I wanted every student to feel they could succeed,” he explained. Making a class accessible would not make it any easier or compromise its intensity, however: the friendly and welcoming tone of the class would simply embrace those students less comfortable at the outset. And since he had spent ten years teaching at the Harvard Extension School, he was used to teaching an audience with different foundations. “I felt comfortable with all teaching styles and all types of students. I didn’t assume everyone was like me. There was a spectrum of backgrounds and comfort levels.” In his first year, Malan introduced a new program, Scratch, for the syllabus’s first problem set. As a program that revolves around tactile dragging-and-dropping blocks of conditions and actions to create animations, Scratch is meant to be an easily learned program that is comprehensible and intuitive for students of all HarvardLeadershipMag.org


AROUND CAMPUS

MAKING COMPUTER SCIENCE ACCESSIBLE

Going global

Population growth As the class has grown enormously in size over the past few years, Malan has struggled to keep the same sense of community and support with an inevitably limited teaching staff. In 2012, the class had a ratio of one teaching fellow to every eight students, but Malan still feared that some parts of the class were becoming too impersonal—an effect that would take away from his pedagogical emphasis on a tight knit community. Malan moved office hours from the upperclassmen dining halls to Annenberg this year. Although office hours in the smaller upperclassmen houses had been notoriously crowded, he is considering moving them out of Annenberg to retain the intimacy of a smaller space. “Office Hours are bound to be imperfect with a finite number of teachers,” he admitted. “I want to experiment with more walkthrough style opportunities, where students can get more instruction on their own time, too.” This past semester was the first year the class employed the popular online discussion

Computer Science Concentration Increasing in Popularity Since 2010, the computer science concentration at Harvard has undergone the highest growth in undergraduate enrollment of any department at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences—the concentration has grown from 95 to 169 students. Many in the department have attributed this growth to the popularity of Professor Malan’s introductory course, Computer Science 50.

Yearly CS50 Enrollment 2006 132 2007

282

2008

330

2009

336

2010

488

2011

604

Above: David Malan, CS50 Professor, eats at IHOP with students during the annual CS50 hackathon. Below: "Hacked" school buses display a message for CS50 on the morning of the annual CS50 fair.

PHOTO COURTESY DAN COFFEY

The technology and computer science culture has increased at Harvard over the past few years. Many have attributed this to the popularity of CS50. “I’m glad there’s an increase in the culture of the school as a whole,” Malan said. “Undoubtedly, the resurgence of computer science interest is also curiosity about how it all works – like Facebook and Twitter – much like it occurred in the dot.com bubble. We all want to leverage the technology that we have in our pockets.” The course’s impact, however, extends beyond the pews of Sanders Theatre. This year, Malan introduced a new revolutionary facet of CS50 called “Edx,” which allows people from all corners of the world watch lectures, submit problem sets, and receive feedback online. In its first week, thousands of people had enrolled. “Edx improved the class marginally in a significant way. It was a forcing function that

had a direct benefit to on-campus students because it made the staff more efficient in solving problems,” Malan explained. “We had to create an auto-grading framework, CS50 Check, to spend less time on a computer and more time with a student. Ultimately, this was a pedagogical improvement because it allowed students to get automatic feedback on their work.” The introduction of Edx has pressured Malan to innovate other online tools to provide for a rapidly growing student audience, like CS50 Run and CS50 Spaces. Malan said he hoped to take more time over spring and summer on making digital shorts for the class, that serve as supplementary tools that elaborate on important topics touched on in lecture. Currently, these shorts feature a teaching fellow in a studio talking to a camera. “For 2013, we want these shorts to be more interactive, guided by something less linear than what they are now,” he explained. “We can do better than a video just to watch and rewind.”

PHOTO COURTESY DAN COFFEY

comfort levels. “With Scratch, I wanted to create the feeling of a more gradual on-ramp from the first week of the class. We’d still cover the same material as CS50 always had, but we’d ease into it,” he explained. “I wanted to get everyone excited with a fun first problem set and I wanted people to stay engaged.” His plan worked: the year before he began teaching the class, the retention rate was 67 percent after one week. After the implementation of Scratch in 2007, the retention rate soared to 97 percent. Malan ensured that the following problem sets were also engaging and relevant to the current technology world: one week, students created their own version of the popular Zynga game, Scramble with Friends. Another week, students designed their own functioning version of a website similar to Yahoo! Finance. And of course, the climactic final project of the class gave students the opportunity to create whatever website or application they desired; Malan encouraged students to sign up for a partner online so that no student had to do their project alone unless they chose to do so.

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HARVARD LEADERSHIP MAGAZINE SPRING 2013

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AROUND CAMPUS

MAKING COMPUTER SCIENCE ACCESSIBLE

board CS50 Discuss, which allowed students to learn from each other’s questions and also receive answers from teaching fellows outside of Office Hours or section. “Using Discuss means students can get their answers faster and can learn from each other—there’s less redundancy,” Malan said. “It’s still evolving. Letting students write out their questions is good practice because it helps them form their ideas more coherently, but in no way do I want this class to become a cold organization.” Fearing that this forum could seem too impersonal, Malan explained that this online resource will change as the staff attempts to target certain students who “just need a TF to sit next to them and explain. We want to be able to find those students and give them the support they need.”

A welcoming culture

PHOTO COURTESY ELIZA GRINNELL

Malan tries to make lectures electric. Every Monday and Wednesday as students file into class, there was sure to be a different pop song, from Avicii to Kanye West, filling Sanders Theatre with an energetic rhythm that other classes held in this historic lecture hall would never attempt. With his jeans, sneakers, and easy laugh up on stage, Malan himself is accessible and relatable to the students he was teaching. “Professor Malan is the most eloquent, straightforward instructor I’ve had at Harvard,” Kristen Kessel ’14, an enrollee of the class this past fall, said. Apart from captivating lectures, Malan has worked to supply his students with a plethora of outside resources to ensure they feel they are getting the support they need as they wade through dense subject material. He and the

3 Cool CS50 Applications

Developed in 2011 by CS50 Students

Grilleboy

Brain Buzz

HarvardTour

A website, mobile website, SMSbased app, and iPhone app for paperless dining hall grille orders. Grilleboy allows students to place dining hall grille orders several minutes prior to entering their dining hall, allowing them to pick up their food as soon as they walk in. If students are ever in a rush to make a grille order, eat, and leave the dining hall, Grilleboy will effectively expedite this process.

An alarm iOs and Android app that wakes users up by making them play mini games. It functions as an alarm in which the user must play one of three games in order to turn the alarm off. The first game is Number Crunch, in which the user must solve basic math problems. The second game is Color Rush, which the user must state the color of the given word or the color of the given word's font. The last game is Cloud Capture, which the user must touch a cloud image that spawns in a random location multiple times.

HarvardTour is an iOS app meant for touring Harvard Yard with the help of augmented reality. To use, either lay the iPhone flat, or hold it up vertically. When laid flat, the phone displays a 2D map view with annotations for various buildings in Harvard Yard. When the phone is held vertically, the phone's camera is activated and the annotations are projected over live camera output as 3D markers, creating an augmented reality view of the yard.

by David Su '14

by Heidi Lim '14 16

teaching fellows are available at nightly office hours as well as online at CS50 Discuss, the class’s 24-hour online discussion board on which students post questions and receive answers from teaching fellows or fellow classmates. Malan also posts weekly problem set walkthroughs on the class website along with a multitude of online digital shorts produced by teaching fellows that elaborate on important concepts that Malan mentioned in lecture. Malan believes that these tools “allow students to engage with the course from any number of angles,” and helped make them feel more comforted in such a large class.1 Throughout the semester, the class community is inextricably bound up in learning. One highlight of the class is the annual Hackathon, in which students take CS50 shuttles to Microsoft’s NERD center near MIT. Attending students are treated to CS50 water bottles, pizza, IHOP pancakes and Dance Dance Revolution competitions. The class also boasts an online store with a variety of merchandise available for purchase, from CS50 dog bandanas to ladies’ underwear, and encourages students to submit their own product design to be considered for sale. On the last day of class, Malan blasted Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” as students filed in to Sanders and played a poignant slideshow with photos from the semester, highlighting the depth of the journey his students had all completed. After lecture, students devoured celebratory cake in the Queen’s Head Pub. Malan stood among the students, giving casual advise about final projects and posing for photos. He placed the emphasis, then and always, on personal achievement. 

HARVARD LEADERSHIP MAGAZINE SPRING 2013

by Renzo Lucioni '14

HarvardLeadershipMag.org


LEADERSHIP AND POLITICS

FEATURES

THE VISIONARY: JIM DOYLE by Caitlin Pendleton

G

PHOTO COURTESY KENNETH SABBAR

overnor Jim Doyle did not have an easy two terms. When he first took office in 2002, Wisconsin faced the largest deficit in the state’s history, prompting him to make tough cost-cutting and revenue-raising decisions to wrangle it back under control. Even after he became the first Democratic governor in 32 years to be reelected in Wisconsin in 2006, the nation faced the most severe economic downturn since the Great Depression.

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HARVARD LEADERSHIP MAGAZINE SPRING 2013

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FEATURES

LEADERSHIP AND POLITICS

Wisconsin

5,726,398

Population of Wisconsin - July 1, 2012 (source: U.S. Census Bureau)

3

Number of terms that Jim Doyle served as governor of Wisconsin, from Jan. 2003 - Jan. 2011

$700 MILLION

Total reduction in Wisconsin’s deficit achieved under Gov. Doyle

45.3%

Percentage of Wisonconsinites who are or lean Democrat, versus 40.9% who are or lean Republican

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HARVARD LEADERSHIP MAGAZINE SPRING 2013

P H O T O C O U R T E S Y E M I LY M I L L S

AT A GLANCE

His experiences before the governorship have taken him across the nation and even the world: a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a law degree from Harvard, and a three-year service with the Peace Corps in Tunisia. He has not stepped away from political life after his terms ended. He was one of the first governors to endorse Barack Obama in 2008, and he actively campaigned for his reelection in 2012. During his semester-long stay at Harvard last fall as a fellow at the Institute of Politics, Gov. Doyle spoke with the Leadership Magazine about the leadership lessons he learned – sometimes painfully – during his time as governor of America’s Cheese State during such tumultuous times. You were in private law practice before entering politics. How did you make the decision to switch from a career that’s stable to one as risky as politics? Governor Jim Doyle: Part of it is knowing yourself, whether you know you like to live with an element of risk and whether that’s something you can accept. A lot of people don’t. A lot of people want stability, and that’s acceptable. [In his books, author] David Maraniss drew a distinction between President Clinton and President Obama, and how President Clinton instinctively knew who he was and what he was going to do from his earliest childhood days, while President Obama had to work out who he was and what his life was going to be. So I think you make this decision two different ways.

Some people have to figure it out, and some people naturally know. Did you naturally know? JD: I think so. I don’t remember any great moments of deep introspection or some great epiphany. When my wife and I were in the Peace Corps, we were in a little desert oasis [in Tunisia], and there wasn’t much to do… There was a lot of time to think, and most people when they’re 22 years old don’t have that. That helped me. That was a time when I had a lot of time to reflect. During your time as governor, you signed a statewide smoking ban, increased women’s access to reproductive healthcare, and created the Wisconsin Covenant Pledge to help students both plan for and afford college. Did you come into office knowing you wanted to pursue those goals specifically? JD: For those three that you mentioned, yes, those were things I came in office determined to do. As attorney general, I had been in the tobacco wars for a long time, and I wanted that ban in place. For six years [when I was governor], I had a legislature that wouldn’t do it – but that’s where patience pays off. We just kept coming back to it. Times and leaders changed. In the end, I think almost every Republican ended up voting for it. On women’s rights, that was one that was very much a center-point of my campaign [for attorney general]… And then as governor, my strongest supporters through it all had been HarvardLeadershipMag.org


LEADERSHIP AND POLITICS

Campaign for change Doyle has not stepped away from political life either. He was one of the first governors to endorse Barack Obama in 2008, and he actively campaigned for his reelection in 2012. coverage: get all kids insured, provide low-cost insurance for working people who don’t have children, and set up a state healthcare exchange marketplace like the federal law now does for individuals and small business. We did number one and two. We were all ready to roll out number three, and it was going to make Wisconsin as big as Massachusetts in the healthcare world, but then the financial collapse happen and we couldn’t do it. The recession set the country back many years. What were some of the most difficult decisions you made during the recession? JD: I did everything I could not to cut education or financial aid for university students… But in the end, the hardest decision I had to make was to make a cut to state aid to schools.

Planned Parenthood and some others. And as for the third, the Covenant, I went into office with a major emphasis on education, and it was what I wanted my governorship to be about. The idea was that you had middle school students sign the pledge at the end of eighth grade so you had people going into high school already thinking and talking about college, particularly for the poorer kids who had maybe never thought about it before… I’m married to a middle school educator, so I think that’s where [the emphasis on middle school] comes from. Then in high school, the students need to know, look, there’s a world out there for me to get to, and these are the four things I have to do: maintain a B average, be a good citizen, take the courses I need for college, and go through the application process. You do those things, and [the state will guarantee that] you’ll have a spot in a [Wisconsin] college. I didn’t run on the program specifically, but I ran and wanted to do a lot on education, and [the Pledge] is how I brought that emphasis on middle school, high school, and college together. You were governor during a difficult time for the state and for the nation. How did that affect your terms in office? Did it change any of the goals you had when you were first sworn in as governor? JD: There are a lot of things I’d put under that category…. We had a huge healthcare expansion in Wisconsin, and we had three steps we were going to do to get us to nearly universal HarvardLeadershipMag.org

FEATURES

a lawyer than in three years of law school.” You know, there are a few basic principles [to negotiation]. You’ve got to be firm but also flexible. You’ve got to have a bottom line, but you can’t have a bottom line. There are all these paradoxes that you have to work through… So I think it’s an incredibly important skill and art. Some of it is naturally born, but I also think it can be taught and understood. You also have to have people who want to make a deal…. I’ve seen deals in my time as a lawyer that have fallen apart because of egos. You’ve really got to work at how to figure out what’s pride and what’s legitimate. That, to me, is the key to good negotiations. Unfortunately, I think that in our political world right now, a lot of people want the pride and the victory and don’t want to make the deal. That’s one of our problems. There’s more interest in standing up to someone versus making the deal.

I don’t know how many parallels you can draw between campaigning for student What was going through your head when leadership and for the governorship, but you made the cuts? You have to justify that what advice do you have for student leadkind of decision to a lot of people. ers campaigning for positions right now? JD: I did some things I never wanted to do JD: Oh, I think there are a lot. You know, to try to avoid it. For example, we raised the politics is about people. The “poli” is for marginal income rate for people making more “people,” not “policy.” Whether you’re runthan $250,000 a year by 1 percent, going back to ning for student office, for governor, or for a rate that had existed ten years earlier. president, it’s all about relating to people. You should also try to build credibility. How you do that relating depends on the size The educational leaders knew how hard I had of the constituency. At the presidential level, fought to get them funding in earlier years. you can’t knock on every door and introduce They knew I was their yourself, so you have a friend, and I really tried massive TV budget. But to communicate why I what’s critical in those Whether you’re running for was making the cut. In massive budgets is that student office, for governor, the end, they actually the candidate is shown or for president, it’s all about shaking hands and came and thanked me relating to people. for not making it worse talking to people. At a for them. On things that -Jim Doyle student government you really care about, level, you don’t need to you’ve got to show that go on television. You you’ve tried to avoid doing that hard thing and do the real thing that they’re trying to show keep talking to your friend and supports, even if on television. You meet people. You talk to they’re going to be mad at you. people. One thing that I had to overcome – and As a leader, how important is it to negotiate that I think most politicians have, too – is that and try to make both sides happy? I was pretty shy the first times I ran… It always JD: Well, negotiating is something I had seemed unfair that the people who had no learned about over the years in the various jobs shyness about them at all got ahead, and there I had, but I always thought it was one of the are a lot of really smart people who are a little deficiencies in my education. I went through reticent. It’s harder for them. I was like that law school and never had any instruction, class, at the start, but I learned how much people or practical experience in negotiation. Then, actually do want to talk to you. Over many before I went to my first job, I went to a training years of politics, I’ve had very few unpleasant program, and we had two days on negotiations. exchanges. But a ratio for 99.99 to 0.01, the inIt was like my eyes were opened. I thought, teractions are positive. So do that and enjoy it. “I’ve learned more in two days about how to be That’s really at the heart of what politics is. 

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HARVARD LEADERSHIP MAGAZINE SPRING 2013

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FEATURES

THE BUSINESS OF FACEBOOK

The Future of

ALBERT YOUNG GRAPHIC

PHOTO COURTESY PEIPEI ZHOU

by Summer Carter

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HARVARD LEADERSHIP MAGAZINE SPRING 2013

Global Business Accounts Manager PeiPei Zhou, like many of Facebook’s employees, was hired only a few years ago. People expect facebook employees to be young, nerdy “code monkeys” who majored in computer science and have very little social skills. But PeiPei is PeiPei Zhou vibrant, friendly, and has a commanding presence that is enviable and surprising coming from someone so young. Her work is done on the business side of the revolutionary technology company. “You don’t have to be a code monkey when working for a technology company. What I do definitely isn’t rocket science.” PeiPei helps top 50 companies like Samsung, American Express, and Proctor & Gamble to engage on the Facebook platform at a global scale. They come to her because they want to connect with Facebook’s 1 billion users. The central theme of her job is CEI: Connect, Engage, Influence. Her clients want to “expand their social group” and reach and target Facebook users, but they don’t just want their ad to pop up in front of a user’s face. They are looking for a “lightweight interaction overtime,” that makes the company more personal and intertwined with the user’s experience. Facebook allows them to do this by constantly innovating ways in which these companies can connect. They walk these companies through the platforms so they can more efficiently engage, and help them through complex global campaigns like the Olympics.

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THE BUSINESS OF FACEBOOK

"

FEATURES

You don’t have to be a code monkey when working for a technology company. What I do definitely isn’t rocket science. -PeiPei Zhou

THE LEADERSHIP

THE MONEY

THE PROBLEM

THE FUTURE

Google has over 50,000 employees worldwide and Yahoo has a little over 13,000. Facebook is a company with less than 4000 employees worldwide. This number is small in comparison, but it says something deliberate and definitive about Facebook as a company and the leadership and opportunities it provides. The CEO of Facebook is Mark Zuckerberg, but all his employees call him “Zuck.” This defines the free and relaxed culture at Facebook. The company is very open and team oriented. It is a place where people’s job titles don’t really matter and what is important is your impact, not your position. That doesn’t mean that Facebook has been able to escape the common existence of mostly males on the technological/engineering side of the technology company. Also, like most companies the upper levels are mostly male and the bottoms levels mostly female. Facebook is no different from any other company in some ways, but that doesn’t mean they don’t try to be. COO Sheryl Sandberg pushes for more females on the technological/engineering side of the company and is adamant about the need for more female leadership.

One of the first questions many people have about Facebook is how does the company make money. 80% of Facebook’s revenue is from advertising. The other 20% comes from the virtual goods sector (think Farmville). It is the one place where advertisers can reach everyone “under the broad umbrella that is Facebook.” “The national audience is gone, not everyone is watching the same thing on TV anymore,” PeiPei emphasizes. Every other media is increasingly dispersed, and with limited targeting capability. Facebook does the best in terms of targeting and reach, they are able to show the most relevant ad a user can find value in through complicated algorithms that take into account a user’s likes and dislikes. Facebook wants to make sure that the content in terms of ads a user sees is relevant, and is very cautious about making sure the user experience isn’t compromised Facebook integrates the ads, and makes the fact that it is advertising less obvious. Companies use Facebook to establish “influence overtime” and so far, it has worked. 70% of companies who advertise through Facebook have seen three times a return on their investment and 50% of companies have seen five times a return. “Facebook works because there are people.”

Lately, the issue surrounding Facebook has been its mobile monetization capabilities. As the world rapidly moves away from desktops and expands to mobile devices, how will Facebook’s main revenue stream of advertising adjust? In this market, Zhou stressed that Facebook considers mobile monetization to be key to the company’s success. “Mobile is set to become the primary interface,” Zhou said. With the rise of smartphones, people connect first through their mobile devices. More than half of Facebook’s users access the website via their mobile phone, so the importance of capitalizing on this burgeoning market is becoming a primary issue for Zhou and the business team at Facebook. Still, Facebook doesn’t want or need to resort to having to use using banner ads like Google does, which Zhou said are often annoying and ineffective. In 2012, Facebook introduced several opportunities for mobile monetization, including campaigns such as Sponsored Stories, page post ads, Promoted Posts and app install ads. In the third quarter of 2012, Facebook also introduced the option for advertisers to purchase advertising space specifically for mobile devices.

These new venues for mobile monetization are opening doors for mobile monetization, but Zhou noted that this is only the beginning for this global community. “The company’s model and journey is only 1% done,” Zhou said. “Social media is no longer going to be the new thing. It’s going to be everything.” On the business side, Facebook is still growing—and learning new ways to take full advantage of its commanding market presence. Zhou’s focus on mobile monetization through new advertising maneuvers is helping the company earn a profit and come up with innovative ways to connect with its ever-growing user database. “Facebook is just a bunch of people trying to figure out how to make the world better, a bunch of people coming together under one common vision,” said Zhou. The platform on which people are connecting makes Facebook exciting and revolutionary—and the world has never seen anything like it.

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HARVARD LEADERSHIP MAGAZINE SPRING 2013

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FEATURES

UNITING GENERATION Y WOMEN

An Elevation to Success PHOTO COURTESY WEARENYTECH.COM

Amanda Pouchot's path to founding Levo League, a startup focused on providing career resources and opportunities for women

by Ileana Hang

W

ith the many social media outlets available in today’s tech-savvy world, staying connected has become exponentially easier and almost imperative. One breakthrough digital career guide and networking platform that connects young, innovative women together is Levo League. Founded in 2011, Levo League has changed the way career-driven women network and develop leadership skills. The word “Levo,” meaning “elevate” in Latin, plays a huge part in their company’s mission. With aims to advise and unite Gen Y women, Levo League has made this elevation possible by providing career-building resources online. Topics range from interview-etiquette and salary negotiation to professional relationships and procrastination avoidance. In addition to their online support network, Levo League volunteers conduct local community events where young, motivated women can interact and engage with one another alongside experienced female entrepreneurs.

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The brain behind this platform is Amanda Pouchot, the co-founder and current Chief Community Officer at Levo League. She believes the concept of expanding one’s network is crucial when building a career, and Levo League emphasizes the importance of having a strong community. “At Levo, we really use the approach of attacking things from the individual and also the institutional levels. There’s this idea in psychology that it’s all about you, the individual, and in sociology the idea is that it’s actually all institutions around you that shape who you are,” said Pouchot, who was a sociology major at Berkeley. Even prior to founding Levo League, Pouchot worked at McKinsey, where she was exposed to the importance of collaborating with others. She recalls that during her first couple of weeks on the job, she reached out to co-workers whom she admired and tried to learn from them. “The biggest thing is to be coachable. People love people who are coachable, who can take cues and feedback, change their beHarvardLeadershipMag.org


UNITING GENERATION Y WOMEN

havior, and show that they’re making progress. My biggest strength is the hunger I have to want to be better at something.” While at McKinsey, Pouchot said she actually made most of her connections outside of the office: playing on a basketball team with coworkers on Friday afternoons. “The most important thing is to get involved,” she said. Pouchot was also involved in the McKinsey Leadership Project, an initiative to help professional women at McKinsey and elsewhere. In this endeavor she had the chance to work directly with a female director who became an important mentor for her. “Doing work for [my mentor] prepared me to take advantage of things when we happened upon the opportunity to start Levo League. ” Apart from capitalizing on opportunities to engage with others, taking risks and making decisions is just as imperative. Pouchot, having overcome obstacles to earn her title as a successful entrepreneur, can relate to the fear of failure and rejection most people experience at some point in their career. “A lot of people fear failure and embarrassment. People are scared they won’t get a raise so they don’t ask for it. They’re scared they won’t

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get to lead a project so they don’t fight for it. It’s a conscious process: when you feel doubt you have to tell yourself, ‘Okay, you have to push yourself to do this anyway.’ It’s about getting over that fear and just doing it.” It is without a doubt that the founders and team at Levo League have impacted and integrated the development of the Gen Y community with the encouraging stories and guidance they have shared. Based on user feedback, Levo League has opened the doors to allow users to intellectually and professionally engage with one another, help shape career paths, pass down career perspectives, and foster relationships in the workforce. “The biggest thing about Levo League is the power of our league and the women who join us. For us, the most important thing is to get every single Gen Y woman on the site to join and become a member. We’re only as powerful as our community,” Pouchot said. “My favorite thing to do is talk to college students. I was in tears thinking that my life was over senior year in college. If Levo can take a sliver of the pain of that time in your life, then we’ve accomplished so much.” 

FEATURES

Quick facts about the Levo League Founded by Amanda Pouchot & Caroline Ghosn. Launched on March 20, 2012. Levo originated from the Latin root meaning ‘elevate’. Discovered in California in 2011. Founders are UC Berkley & Stanford alumnae. Communities based in New York, Boston, Bay Area, Seattle, Washington D.C.,& Los Angeles. Partnered with approximately 100 companies.

One of the most refreshing things about my travels is knowing that I’m not alone in harboring many of these feelings towards myself.

-Amanda Pouchot

HarvardLeadershipMag.org

Background Graphic by Kyi Zar Thant HARVARD LEADERSHIP MAGAZINE SPRING 2013 23


FEATURES

THE GOOGLE GURU

When Brian Rakowski became the first recruit in Google’s Associate Product Manager program, he was immediately put in charge of launching the company’s newest email venture: Gmail. After Gmail’s successful launch in 2004, Rakowski spent time at the Zurich office and on the client software team before becoming involved in Chrome. Now the Vice President of Product Management, he oversaw each step of the production process as Chrome grew to become, by some accounts, the world’s most widely used browser.

How Succeeds A Conversation with Brian Rakowski: Google’s Vice President of Product Management By Yi Han

We talked a lot about the lean startup movement on the Harvard Innovation Lab’s January immersion tour earlier this year. Chrome was launched in 2008, the same year Eric Ries started the movement. Has Ries’ philosophy had an impact on Chrome’s growth? Brian Rakowski: The lean startup movement never seemed foreign to us even from the beginning because that’s very much the way Google’s has always been run: starting small and growing from there. Within Google, there are two concepts that [cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin] emphasize. The first is about thinking big and planning for our products to reach millions and millions of users. It is the concept that a project is not worth taking on if it’s not going to work at that scale. As an example, Larry and Sergey planned and designed Google search to be able to service millions of queries a day even from the very beginning. On the other hand, the founders have always pushed us to be as scrappy as possible and not be wasteful in hiring or building infrastructure to support a future reality that’s hypothetical. When you combine these two concepts, we’re encouraged to plan for the best and anticipate the best but not get ahead of ourselves in terms of putting stuff in place that we don’t yet need, and so the lean startup concept makes sense. With Chrome, we intentionally constrained the number of engineers working on the project until we knew where we were going and had strong signals that people liked our product. In the early days, to get these kind of signals, we had Googlers use Chrome on a small scale. These initial tests worked really well for us, and we definitely threw a lot of things away and avoided going down many dead ends. Chrome is now a mature product. How does your team balance between the need to maintain the browser’s excellent reputation and the necessity to

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move forward quickly and take risks? BR: I think we’ve established an infrastructure that works well for rapid iterations.... In fact, the first thing we built for Chrome was the auto-updater. This is because we wanted the team to get into the web mentality of development where you can just push instead of waiting for people to find out there is a new version and download it. To ensure the quality and speed of the browser, we put a lot of automated tests in for performance and so with every change that gets checked in, we can see if it makes Chrome slower. If it does we’ll pull it back out, implement it another way, and try again until it works right and doesn’t slow anything down. This helps us avoid the problem of software getting bloated and slow over time. The release cycles, the channels and the testing infrastructure we’ve put in place have helped us stay pretty fast despite the popularity of the product. Tell us about your team’s culture. How did beer brewing become part of the Chrome team culture? BR: The Chrome team is slightly amorphous in the way it’s organized. The team started with a bunch of people who didn’t want to specialize too much, and this unique beginning helped shape the team’s organization today. Rather than having very regimented subteams, we have people who are very versatile and like to move around the entire code base. As it turns out, people who are versatile are very valuable to large software projects because significant changes require an understanding of several different components of a project. The tradition of brewing Chrome release beer started from one of our release managers. At some point he learned that it takes about six weeks to brew a batch of beer from start to finish. At that time, he was working on Chrome’s six week release cycle, and had the brilliant idea that we would start batches of beer the same time we start a new release of HarvardLeadershipMag.org


Chrome, and then drink the beer to celebrate at the end of the six week cycle. Shortly after, we got started with the help of an avid home brewer on the kitchen staff, who located some leftover equipment from one of the cafes. Now basically every six weeks we have something new to try. Sometimes it works out while other times it doesn’t. It turns out we’re better at software development than beer brewing. What are some things specific to technology careers that new graduates looking to enter into this industry should be aware of? BR: In the software industry many people stress a lot about where to work and what to work on. For example, they struggle with the question of whether to work for a startup or a larger tech company. I think the most important consideration is to find people you enjoy working with and learning from. Everything else mostly falls in place. For me, people I enjoy working with are those who I think are really smart, who I can trust and rely on and from whom I can learn

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You shouldn’t emulate someone else’s style.

-Brian Rakowski

a lot. To me, finding great people, rather than picking the perfect industry or perfect products to work on, has been the most helpful thing in my career. When you’re working alongside great people, you tend to find the right things to do. What is unique about the product management role at Google? BR: We tend to hire very technical product managers at Google, people who would be quite happy and quite successful as software engineers, but may want to focus on product more. At Google we believe it’s really important for product managers to have a strong technical foundation. We expect our product managers to work with the engineers and push the envelope of what one can and cannot do from a technical perspective. Thus, it’s necessary that product managers have an understanding of what is possible, what is not possible, and what might be possible if one were to

push. If I could have done anything differently in school, I would’ve taken even more computer science courses. On a related note, I found it helpful that I took several human-computer interaction classes while in college. I found the concepts to be very applicable when I first started, and I still draw on that knowledge today. Has there been a piece of advice someone has given you that you’ll always remember? BR: One of the things that I learned early and that’s been helpful overall is that you have to do things in the way that makes sense for you. You shouldn’t emulate someone else’s style. Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses. It’s better to focus on your strengths and get other people to help you with areas in which you’re weak than to completely focus on your areas of weakness and make those better, because then you end up spending all of your time on things you’re not so good at. I find it helpful to not stress about the things you’re not good at and recognize that very few people are good at everything. 

PHOTO COURTESY NIALL KENNEDY

THE GOOGLE GURU

FEATURES

Brian Rakowski

A History of Google 1997: Larry Page and Sergey Brin found Google — a play on the word "googol,” a mathematical term for the number 1 followed by 100 zeros.

October 2004: Google acquires Keyhole, a digital mapping company, that later becomes Google Earth. The beta version of Google Scholar is launched.

October 2006: Google acquires YouTube.

HarvardLeadershipMag.org

February 2007: For Valentine’s Day, Google officially launches Gmail.

February 2001: Google makes first public acquisition: Deja.com. Later launched as Google Groups.

February 2005: Google Maps goes live.

September 2008: Google Chrome goes live.

September 2002: Google News launches with 4000 news sources.

March 2006: Google acquires Writely, a webbased word processing app that becomes Google Docs.

September 2011: The Google+ project moves to open signups.

HARVARD LEADERSHIP MAGAZINE SPRING 2013

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SKILLS

TECH FOR PRODUCTIVITY

10

Awesome Apps

that will make you more productive by Julia Eger GYMPACT Need motivation to go to the gym? Never miss another workout with Gympact, the app that incentivizes your exercise. With this free app, you set a workout goal for the week and check into the gym via your phone’s GPS—if you miss your goal, Gympact charges you. If you complete your weekly goal, Gympact rewards you in cash. This app is perfect for those who need a little extra push to get moving.

EVERNOTE This is a free, easy-to-use This is a free, easy-to-use app that helps users stay organized across all devices to improve their productivity. Evernote lets users take notes, capture photos, create to-do lists, and record voice reminders—these notes are completely searchable from any of your synced devices. You can share notes and lists with friends via Facebook and Twitter.

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REMEMBER THE MILK Lifehacker calls this app the “veritable Swiss Army knife of to-do list management.” Remember The Milk allows you to take your to-do list anywhere and syncs across your various apple devices. You can customize your to-do list based on priorities, due dates, time estimates, repetition, lists, tags, and more. You can also add and complete tasks on the go, and see tasks nearby to plan the best way to get your to-do’s done. The interface is intuitive and fun, inspiring you to complete your tasks. The app is free, but you can upgrade to a pro account for $25/year.

POCKET This free app is the best “Read it Later” alternative for all iOS and Android devices. Put articles, videos and pretty much anything from your browser or apps like Twitter, Flipboard, Pulse, and Zite into Pocket to save for when you have time. Read your Pocketed items on your computer, phone, or tablet with or without an internet connection. HarvardLeadershipMag.org


TECH FOR PRODUCTIVITY

SKILLS

GOOD READS Good Reads is an app that allows users to search for books based on genre, author, title, and more. It also allows you to read reviews of the books by other Good Reads users (which are generally very thoughtful and well-written); you can then keep lists of books (like "currently reading," "to read," "books on leadership" etc.) in your database, with each book accompanied by a picture of it's book cover, page number, plot summary, etc. While you can keep track of your progress on books you’re currently reading, you can also connect with other users to see what they are reading.

CLOUDON CloudOn is an app that provides users with a full PC version of Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel on your mobile device or tablet, allowing users to run a virtual Windows envionment anywhere. CloudOn also integrates with Box, Dropbox, and Google Drive so you can draw from all your documents in the Cloud.

IFTTT If this then that” allows users to control internet channels on their computer. It allows users to create automated tasks by syncing messages, email, Facebook updates, and more. For example, you could program Ifttt to text you every time your boss emailed you. If a friend uploads a photo to instagram, Ifttt could automatically upload the photo to Dropbox. HarvardLeadershipMag.org

FLIPBOARD Flipboard is a fun personal news magazine filled with all content being shared across the internet—from breaking world news to sports scores and travel destinations. Customize your Flipboard by picking your favorite topics, and using the “+” function to add your favorite sources to your board. Many of these sources, such as Forbes and the Harvard Business Review, frequently publish articles about improving leadership skills.

BREWSTER ADDRESS BOOK Keep track of all your contacts with this app, which syncs to your iPhone’s contact list as well as your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Gmail, and Foursquare. The app also showcases the images and names of your contacts as you scroll across the screen. Brewster calculates your “Favorites” based on activity, and lets you search for contacts or create your own unique lists on the app itself.

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SKILLS

MOBILIZING A CAMPUS

ON THE

CAMP AIGN TRAIL

Reflections from an Elizabeth Warren 2012 Campaign Intern by Rachel Zsido

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HarvardLeadershipMag.org


MOBILIZING A CAMPUS

SKILLS

E

lizabeth Warren, a former Harvard Law School professor, won her first senatorial campaign in 2012 in part because of enthusiastic youth engagement. In an interview about his involvement in the Warren campaign, intern Nelson Yanes ’15 reflected on the necessary ingredients for a successful campaign and the fundamental lessons he learned about mobilizing a campus.

“We may have been extremely busy as a team, but we managed to cut out time for fun, whether we would come together to go to a peer's birthday party or plan a dinner on campus after a canvassing trip. A team just needs to make sure that it isn't only about work. It's about having a similar, meaningful reason to work and building friendships on those meaningful similarities,” Yanes said. As for taking advantage of the local target audience, Yanes highlighted the need to do so — but with passion. The interns did not simply The first simple yet essential component for what I believed in.” bombard other students with flyers and mindof campus-wide motivation is personal motivaYanes said there are definitely certain lessly recite their duty to vote. They thoughttion – inspiring unequivocal drive to champion advantages of being a student on campus that fully spoke with students on an individual basis. a cause in which people can believe. people should utilize, like a dedicated group “We made sure we contacted students “I became interested in the Elizabeth of peers and the benefits of a direct and local directly by knocking on their doors and having Warren campaign because I believe that our target audience. casual conversations with students about the country's most basic tenets of freedom, equal“Personally, as a student, I think that ity, and liberty were in jeopardy,” Yanes said. establishing leadership and unity, communicat- importance of the 2012 election. If someone didn't open the door or wasn't present, we “I find it shocking that a senator representing would try calling them or emailing,” Yanes said. Massachusetts, regardless of party, would vote “It's all about making the people you are conagainst equal pay for equal work, define marIt's about having a similar, tacting feel that they are important, because, in riage as strictly being between man and woman, meaningful reason to work reality, they are.” oppose federal funding for abortions, and and building friendships on Physical postering and ‘dormstorming’ is oppose the DREAM Act while still publicly call those meaningful similarities. not the only manner in which Yanes united the himself a moderate because of his ‘progressive campus. He utilized online platforms as well. views’ on social issues… Massachusetts and this -Nelson Yanes “Facebook helped us notify students of nation needed another warrior on our side. And events and campaigning opportunities, while that warrior is Senator Elizabeth Warren.” also consistently sending friendly remindNelson had other responsibilities while he ing effectively, and sustaining action are always ers that they needed to register to vote if they interned for the campaign, including serving on important. Without having [fellow interns] hadn't done so already,” Yanes said. the Undergraduate Council as a representative Hannah Phillips and Megan Corrigan help lead Whether your goal is to advance a camfor Pforzheimer House. However, Yanes said this effort, we truly could not have achieved paign, support a non-profit, or start up your one cannot forget the importance of balance, getting over 90% of our registered students out own organization, the ultimate advice that especially balancing the obligations of being a to vote,” Yanes said. Nelson stressed was the need to be active. student with that of fighting for a cause. The need to create a close-knit, commit“Everyday there was something to do, “I had quite a bit on my plate, it is true. I ted team is also significant in the emotional whether it was to get ready for an event or even could have probably slept another hour or two and motivational support that team members to go to an event. As the election neared, we had every now and then,” Yanes said. “But the key to provide to each other. canvassing trips every weekend, we had rallies balancing everything out, I learned, is not nec“This [victory] was also due to unity. to attend, we had debates to watch… Whether essarily being organized and academic… The Whether it was because we would collectively we would start phonebanking, key lies in having a purpose.” dormstorming, or planning Purpose does not always our next move, we were always manifest in groundbreaking The key to balancing everything out, I learned, is not moments. Yanes went on to exnecessarily being organized and academic. The key lies in active,” Yanes said. “This consistent hard work only built plain the need to see the bigger having a purpose. picture, which he kept in mind -Nelson Yanes momentum and motivation. This kept us going and made us while knocking on doors, postwant to win even more.” ing flyers, and convincing students one by one get together on some Sunday afternoons to Yanes summarized his experience working that voting for Warren was the right choice. ‘dormstorm’ or whether we would host parties on the campaign, saying, “Overall, we felt that “I realized that this was more about getting to watch all of the debates together, our group we were making a difference every day. And as a woman elected to add an extra ‘D’ on the list of interns felt like an actual team. And this the election neared, we wanted that differof Senators,” Nelson said. “I may not have done made us love our jobs even more,” Yanes said. ence to mean something even more so than we much to change the course of history, but just Team bonding cannot always happen on did before. We never gave up and we finished the fact that I was doing something made me the job. Yanes reminisced about the enjoyable strong.”  feel accomplished and proud that I was fighting study breaks the interns had together.

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Top Nelson Yanes '15 talks with Elizabeth Warren during a rally. Right Hannah Phillips '15 and Yanes pose while doing work on the Warren Campaign. The two teached out to undergraduates to encourage them to vote and also familiarized the campus with Warren's platform. Left Elizabeth Warren. Bottom Yanes interacts with Cambridge citizens at a campaigning event. HarvardLeadershipMag.org

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LIESL ULRICH-VERDERBER PHOTO

SKILLS

PUBLIC SPEAKING 101

Cherishing the Spotlight: Public Speaking Skills from Expos 40 by Michelle Geng

I

t is estimated that 75% of Americans suffer from speech anxiety. To help future leaders realize their full potential, Expos 40 attempts to enhance students’ skills in one of humanity’s most common fears: public speaking. Formerly known as Public Speaking Practicum, the course fosters understanding of the communication process and develops public speaking skills by forcing students to give speeches and receive constructive criticism from their peers. In between readings and speeches, course instructors lead discussions based on their personal experiences with all aspects of successful speech delivery. These are some of the tips and concepts that students find most helpful in transforming students into better orators.

Improvisation When you have to deliver an impromptu speech, the best way to deliver one is to: 1) State your main claim. 2) Provide 2-3 pieces of evidence to back up your claim. 3) Restate the claim.

Although this may seem simple on paper, often we are nervous when we give an impromptu speech and forget what we want to say. By remembering these three steps, you should have a clear outline and direction as you speak.

Posture, Hand Movement, and Eye Contact Many of us move our hands and arms when we speak without realizing that we are doing it. Although body movement can be effective occasionally to emphasize a main point, more often than not it becomes distracting to the audience. In reality, it is okay to simply place your hands to the side of your body and speak. It may feel awkward at first when you are delivering your speech, but to the audience, it looks

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natural. In order to maximize our physical presence in the room when we are speaking, it is important to have good posture. Make sure that when you give a speech, your back is straight and your feet are shoulder-width apart. It is important to make eye contact with the whole room instead of just a particular section. However, many people tend to just “scan” the room either too quickly or at awkward intervals instead of making a connection with the audience. A solution to solve this comes from a Peer Speaking Tutor, Eric Smith ’13, who previously took Expos 40. He describes the “M” technique for eye contact:

While imagining that the “M” is facing you, concentrate your eye contact on each of the smaller “pods” within the “M.” As you progress in your speech, shift your eye contact focus to the next pod all the way until you get

to the fifth pod, which should be near the end of your speech. By focusing your eye contact in this way, you not only have made effective eye contact with audience members, but you have also made eye contact to the entire room without making it seem as if you are just awkwardly scanning the room.

Speech Content In a speech, it is important to include a thesis, a WIIFM (“What’s in it for me?”), and proof of credibility within your speech. Often times, we have a thesis (the main point of your speech), but we forget to connect our thesis with the audience’s interests. We accomplish this connection by informing our audience of the benefits they will receive from listening to our speech (WIIFM) and establishing trust, through extensive research or personal experience, and credibility with our audience. It is important that a speech has these three main components in order to make it more effective and relatable to the audience. 

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Harvard Leadership Magazine - Issue 6