To celebrate the election of RC section officers, we asked each of the new Section Presidents three questions:
1. What’s your background?
2. What’s your leadership philosophy?
3. Tell us something surprising about you.
From salsa to stand-up, peanut butter to butterflies, and consulting to classical violin, we got some interesting answers. Class of 2014, it’s time to meet your new presidents.
Section A: Ben Zlotoff
1. I’m a 25-year-old Aerospace Engineering concentrator from Brown. I worked at Bain & Company in Boston for three years before school. Also, I was born to be in Section A, the best section ever.
2. Listen more than you speak and don’t take yourself too seriously.
3. I know the first hundred digits of pi (see leadership philosophy).
Section B: Kristen Jones
1. Graduated 2008 from Harvard with a degree in Philosophy. I spent the last four years working in retail, first for Sears Holdings as an analyst and merchant, then for a small apparel company in NYC (DJ Networks) as their Women’s Apparel buyer.
2. I fundamentally believe that most people want to excel, and are capable of it, and therefore don’t need to be babied or handheld. That’s why as Section President I see my role less as a “shot caller” and more as a facilitator. I help ensure that my section-mates have access to the resources they need to make their experiences as meaningful as possible.
3. The one I usually tell people is that I’m a stand-up comedian, but since I haven’t performed a single time since I moved to Boston I feel like a bit of a fraud saying that…so I’ll go to my second fun fact, which is that I’ve met Jay-Z TWICE, and the second time – he remembered me. So basically we’re besties.
Section C: Craig Kessler
1. I’m a 27-year-old graduate of the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. I spent three years working at McKinsey in Chicago, London, DC and Abu Dhabi, followed by two years in the Operations Team at KKR Capstone NYC.
2. Listen carefully. Ask open-ended questions. Be pragmatic, set a clear vision, and consistently roll up your own sleeves in order to help the team be successful.
3. I argued a case on Judge Judy, and in my first job I served as a crowd warmer at Lego Land (a Disneyland type theme park…only the entire thing is made out of Legos).
Section D: Walter Velasquez
1. I’m 28 years old, and graduated from the United States Military Academy with a BS in Electrical Engineering. Before coming to HBS, I worked at DuPont as an area maintenance manager, responsible for a team of 100+ mechanics, supervisors and engineers.
2. Lead by example.
3. True to my Latino roots, I enjoy dancing all night long to Salsa and Merengue.
Section E: Nikki Skovran
1. I am 34 years old, went to Lafayette College, and worked for the past eight years for the FBI as a Special Agent, specializing in the investigation of Violent Crimes.
2. My leadership philosophy is that if you give people freedom, inspiration and confidence, they will amaze you with how much they achieve and the manner in which they achieve it.
3. I have an overzealous passion for JIF peanut butter.
Section F: Richard Sherrington
1. I’m a 29 year old Londoner, who studied Biology as an undergrad before making an odd switch to law and working as a litigator for 5 years.
2. Lead by example, listen to every voice and trust in your team.
3. For my degree thesis, I spent a month skipping through a rainforest catching butterflies in a net.
Section G: Helen Mou
1. I’m 24-years-old, and graduated from Brown University in 2010 with degrees in Economics & Environmental Studies. Before HBS, I was an analyst at a boutique consulting firm in DC called Avascent, and then did business development at an energy storage startup in Cambridge, MA called 24M Technologies in summer 2012.
2. Be a good listener.
3. I am an avid skier and horseback rider, and have recently taken up squash and running.
Section H: Jess Rzechta
1. I graduated from the University of Melbourne with Bachelors of Commerce and Law, and completed my Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice at Australian National University. Before HBS, I worked as a legal graduate for a criminal barrister, followed by two years at LEK Consulting.
2. There are certain attributes like passion, respect and accountability that I think are important in leaders, but leadership is ultimately garnered through the examples we set. I believe in empowering my team and my section to be authentic, supportive, and passionate about making the most out of our HBS experience.
3. I have a mild obsession with themed parties and costumes, which is actually a family trait that I have inherited. There is something about getting dressed in a ridiculous outfit that automatically makes life more entertaining. At home, I have an entire closet dedicated to costumes and on rare occasions I will be seen rocking an outrageous number for no reason.
Section I: Cory Rothschild
1. I am currently 27 years old, and although I am a proud Midwesterner, I am starting my 5th year in the Boston area. After studying economics and physics at Duke University, I joined The Parthenon Group, a small boutique management consulting firm where I was part of the Consumer Growth Practice.
2. I am an optimistic guy, and I firmly believe that a positive section experience starts with giving each other the benefit of the doubt. Despite our difference and disagreements, we must believe that we are all here for the right reasons and are committed to the development and happiness of each other.
3. Although I spent much of my early years as a concert violinist, these days classical music has been replaced by a love of country music. I am always searching for live concerts in the area, and looking for others who enjoy the same!
Section J: Jordan Strebeck
1. I’m 27 and grew up in Clovis, NM. My wife Brittany and I have one son, Cooper. We both attended Texas Tech University, where I studied Agricultural & Applied Economics and Personal Financial Planning. Prior to HBS I was Special Assistant to the Chancellor at Texas Tech.
2. The best leaders I’ve had the pleasure of observing have all been incredibly servant hearted. That may sound cheesy, but I truly hope my leadership style looks like theirs, with me putting the needs of those around me ahead of my own.
3. An interesting fact? Well, it took me 18 months (literally, no exaggeration whatsoever) and several very candid and painful rejections to convince Brittany to go on a date with me. My persistence finally wore her down and we ended up getting married a year and a half later.