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Incoming SA Co-Presidents Are Off to the Races



Taylor Walden (MBA ’25) and Hayden Tanabe (MBA ’25) are starting early on a comprehensive community-building plan.


Taylor Walden (MBA ’25) and Hayden Tanabe (MBA ’25), elected in February as the next Student Association (SA) Co-Presidents, do not formally start in those roles until August. It seems the administration neglected to tell them so, however, as they have already hit the ground running. With a fully-formed cabinet, detailed budget, and concrete set of goals for the year ahead, Walden and Tanabe are eager to increase accessibility and engagement at HBS.


Tanabe is a self-proclaimed “big student government kid.” Having served as President of his high school, college, HBS Section, and now SA, he appreciates the opportunity to “create meaningful community.” Growing up as a multi-racial gay man, Tanabe deeply values creating spaces where people feel like they belong. Walden is new to student government, but her positive experience as Section President convinced her to get involved and make an impact at an even larger scale. She cites how valuable it was to have “a great running mate who really believed in me, even before I believed in myself.” By organizing class-wide events and serving in Section leadership, Tanabe and Walden believe they are well-positioned to effectuate change based on the feedback they have heard from peers.


The Co-Presidents are thrilled to have assembled their 14-person cabinet in record time – typically this process lasts well into the following Fall. While the size of the cabinet has decreased, to streamline operations and communication, its diversity has not. Notably, all ten Sections are represented for the first time in recent history. Moreover, a broad range of affinity groups – LASO, AASU, Pride, Veterans, JSA, MENA, and the Southeast Asian Club, among others – are represented on the team. Finally, Head Senator Jordan Thomas (MBA ’25) will join the cabinet, increasing integration between the SA Co-Presidents and the Senate. Acknowledging the check-and-balance value a fully independent Senate would provide, Tanabe argues that a “more integrative approach” will minimize “duplicate efforts” and allow the administration to “accomplish so much more.”


Walden and Tanabe have three primary goals for the upcoming academic year: accessible events, tradition-building, and free coffee and printing. First, Walden said there will be a “conscious choice to reallocate capital” in order to make marquee events – namely Holidazzle and RC and EC Gala – “more inclusive.” This would most likely require downsizing the budget allocated to smaller, less well-attended events to free up funds. Second, the team will seek to bring students together by “incentivizing greater attendance at community MyTakes.” Third, free coffee and printing would address what Tanabe described as “feedback from our RC class that folks feel like they’re being nickel-and-dimed for everything.” Walden noted free printing would be subject to caps to avoid waste.

There is no such thing as “too early” for these two. Venues for major events such as RC and EC Gala (April 2025) are already booking out, and any lost time is precious with only one year of school remaining. Tanabe said he plans to “spend a majority of my summer getting ahead on things for next year for the [Co-President] role.” In particular, Tanabe is focused on expanding SA’s presence at START week orientation to improve RCs’ first days on campus. Walden, who will participate in the Rock Summer Fellows program, is similarly excited to have flexibility to “lean in and help.” She will focus on the “product roadmap” for SA Products’ Office, expanding the suite of quality products provided beyond the current selection of Patagonias and diploma frames. 


Recognizing that HBS students are mindful of how their dollars are being spent (thanks, FIN), the Co-Presidents plan to publicly post the SA budget when it is in final form. Tanabe indicated the budget is “conservative and realistic,” and the team is aligned on adhering to the priorities outlined therein. CFO Molly Reiner (MBA ’25) built a detailed bottoms-up analysis that formed the foundation for this financial plan, giving the group strong conviction in its assumptions and projections.


As for their “biggest asks” from the RCs (soon to be ECs), Walden implored students to “make every effort to attend the community MyTakes.” Tanabe concurred, emphasizing the importance of “showing up for your classmates,” and particularly for the affinity groups that go to great lengths to organize these events. Community MyTakes, they argued, can spark conversation and help forge new friendships outside of Section. 


In parting, Tanabe said “it’s going to take all of us to welcome the RCs with open arms. If you’re around this summer and want to get involved, we’d love to have you.” Walden wished fellow RCs well in their summer internships, observing that “understanding what you don’t want to do is just as valuable as understanding what you do want to do.” For the graduating ECs? “Don’t be a stranger!”


Follow @hbs.sa on Instagram to stay up to date on the latest from your SA!


Your 2024-2025 Student Association Leadership Team

Role

Student Leader (Section)

Co-President

Taylor Walden (A)

Co-President

Hayden Tanabe (I)

Chief of Staff

Darren Berrigan (D)

Chief Finance Officer

Molly Reiner (G)

Chief Products Officer

Alexandra Foote (D)

Chief Events Officer

Madison Gurley (F)

Chief Operating Officer

Thalia Rey (B)

Chief Academics Officer

Phyllis Doremus (A)

Chief Community Officer

Sarah Zia (J)

Chief Athletics Officer

Patricia Blumeris (H)

Chief DEI Officer

Anthony Martore (C)

Chief International Officer

Johann Farhat (H)

Chief Partners & Families Officer

Tim Kluska (E)

Chief Career & Alumni Officer

Jing Lin Lee (I)

Head Senator (SA Senate)

Jordan Thomas (A)

Tim Ford (MBA ’25) is originally from New Jersey. He graduated from the University of Virginia with degrees in Commerce and Spanish, and completed an M.Phil. in Latin American Studies at the University of Cambridge. Prior to the HBS MBA, Tim worked in growth equity in San Francisco.

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