SA/MBA Awards: Students Honored for Exceptional Contributions

On Wednesday, April 5, 17 students were presented with SA/MBA awards at a breakfast honoring their exceptional contributions to the HBS community.

Recipients: Mark Ralls, Si Ping (May) Yu, Puja Sehgal
Nominator: Tim Butler
Description: Career Teams Program

Mark, May and Puja led the revision of a program involving over 250 RC students and led by over 40 EC students. This was the most successful Career Teams program ever, with significant ratings improvement over last year’s high ratings. The captains spent long hours recruiting and training quality leaders who led the most effective Career Teams process yet observed by this nominator. The captains put long hours into team composition to insure diversity. This year’s program had the smallest dropout rate ever.

The captain’s role began in the early spring and included countless hours devoted to:
1. Review and revision of the curriculum
2. Creating a new Leader’s Guide
3. Sourcing of over 40 EC team leaders
4. Planning and participating in an all-day leader-training program
5. Leading a “make-up” leader training session
6. Assigning over 250 participants to teams that maximized diversity
7. Organizing last minute Career Teams for members of minority student clubs with schedule conflicts
8. Leading career teams of their own
9. Planning surveys for both leader and participant feedback
10. Organizing and running the search for next year’s captains.

There is no doubt the extraordinary efforts and sheer time commitment of the three captains made the difference in creating a stand-out year for the program. The captains worked very hard to make this program possible for the RC class and for the participating EC leaders.

Recipient: Sacasha Brown
Nominator: Maureen Walker
Description: Chair of Education Committee

Sacasha has been chair of the Education Committee and has added several new dimensions to the role. In addition to the customary duties of an Ed Rep, Sacasha introduced and has “institutionalized” collaboration with other SA committees (International Reps and LVI Reps) and has actively engaged other EC Ed to foster collaboration across classes.

Her patience and commitment have made her a very effective leader-so much so that she helps less-committed reps function effectively. She refuses to give up on people and calls them to “their better selves.” One additional innovation she made to the Chair role this year was having regularly scheduled “one-on-ones” with RC reps. One of the best testaments to Sacasha’s work is the number and variety of people who rave about her: people from the library, Willis Emmons – just about anyone who has ever worked with her.

Recipients: Brian Astl and Christine Ellis
Nominator: Don Lippincott
Description: EC Viewpoints Initiative

Brian and Christine were leaders from day one in discussing and conceptualizing this new initiative with Ron Peracchio and Don Lippincott. Two members of the Class of ’05 were also involved from the outset. The group recognized a gap between section-team building during the RC year and the EC Capstone Event at the end of the second year. It became apparent that some discussions during the Capstone event were good, while others were strained. In other words, there was an inconsistent experience for sections.

As a result, we agreed the sections should get together before the Capstone event to build on their RC bond and tackle issues of importance to them as a section. As Section President and Ed Rep, Brian and Christine were well positioned to take this ball and run with it, and that’s what they did.

Once the initiative started rolling, they took charge of the planning and organization – mustering fellow section officers to poll their sections, come up with ideas for topics of discussion, and select faculty facilitators. Brian and Christine decided to hold two meetings with their sections before the Capstone and have worked to refine the Capstone event this year so it is more relevant to the students’ needs and interests. They worked closely with Ron and me, as well as with Rick Ruback and Betsy Brink, to make sure this new initiative works both for students and the involved faculty.

New programs like this don’t come without hurdles and hassles, but Brian and Christine handled them professionally-and with the appropriate mix of seriousness, humor and flexibility. They are currently finalizing details of the April Capstone event, and although nailing down these details has been time consuming, I am confident it will be as successful as the previous two events. Throughout the launch of this initiative, both Brian and Christine have been highly engaged, team-oriented and true leaders. I think I can speak for Ron and Rick to say that they have been a pleasure to work with!

Recipient: Marc Lien
Nominator: Kelly Cheng
Description: Education Representative

Section H elected Marc Lien Ed Rep in the first weeks of school. At the time, we did not know each other well, and we certainly didn’t know how intense the school year would be! Marc undertook the arduous responsibility of ensuring that Section H would have the best Ed Rep possible. And indeed, we do have the best Ed Rep.

In my opinion, Marc has made the greatest contribution to the 2006 Section H community. Regardless of the demands of the semester, Marc never failed to give 110 percent to his role as Ed Rep. Without his tireless efforts to intercede with professors on our behalf, facilitate interaction between faculty and students, coordinate tutorial sessions, communicate course and academic deadlines and much, much more, I’m not sure how we would have managed. He has taken on these duties selflessly and gracefully, with great patience and good humor, despite the manifold responsibilities we have as students and members of the HBS community. We as a section have come to rely on Marc as a supplement to the course platform. Marc’s leadership, sense of sacrifice and desire to take initiative have truly bettered the HBS community.

Recipients: Nikki Baker, Anthony D’Avella, Steven Denny, Lydie Hudson, Parker Hume, Kathleen Kearney, Brendan Kennealey, Jean-Philippe Odunlami, Michael Stern, Heather Thompson
Nominators: Kelly Diamond, Steve Nelson, Rick Ruback
Description: SA Hurricane Katrina Relief Trek

The Student Association Hurricane Katrina Relief Committee led a group of 57 students, administrators, and faculty to New Orleans to contribute efforts and expertise to the devastated city and region following Hurricane Katrina. The Committee separated into four groups: Bring New Orleans Back Commission (BNOB), Economic Redevelopment, Education, and Community Rebuilding.

Some of the work included submitting recommendations and proposals to the Mayor’s Commission to promote long-term economic growth to the area; the removal of mud, oil, and debris from homes in the 9th Ward and Chalmette; the assessment of the public school system and proposals for a possible turnaround of the already-failing system; meeting with Dillard’s Provost Betty Parker-Smith and other Dillard representatives to find ways the two schools can work together in the future to assist Dillard as the school faces challenges as a result of Hurricane Katrina.

The Student Association Hurricane Relief Committee is comprised of a group of students who came together following Hurricane Katrina. They began mobilizing and approached the Student Association to ask for support in order to make the trip “official.” Once approved, they involved the administration and faculty, forging a partnership.

The student-led committee planned all aspects of the Katrina Trek. Instead of choosing to go to China, Austria, Barbados, and other more glamorous destinations for the break, they chose to go to New Orleans. During the fall they spent countless hours meeting and planning for the trip so upon arrival in New Orleans they would have decent accommodations, transportation to and from the venues, and meetings were a
rranged in advance with the many constituents that they would be working with. As a result, they hit the ground running on the four silos. The groups accomplished a great deal over 10 days in New Orleans, and their work will hopefully continue in the days, months and years to follow.

It has been said by others that the mission of the school is to educate leaders who will make a difference in the world and this group of students is an example of HBS students who are doing just that.