Revive the Dream: Session 6 with OneGoal and Sarah Berghorst

March 1Just a few hours ago, I hosted the March session for the Revive the Dream Program.  The RTD program fellows were lucky to spend the evening with Sarah Berghorst, Executive Director of OneGoal in Chicago.  The topic of the evening was college persistence, particularly in Chicago.

We kicked off the session discussing how we would be placing the Fellows next year before Sarah got to the room.  To prep for that discussion, I sent a few articles to the group in advance of the session, including these below discussing college persistence and OneGoal’s most recent success.

Article 1: Chicago Tribune 
Article 2: The Atlantic 

Sarah came in right as we finished up.  And she led the discussion for the next 90 minutes.

March 1


The discussion around college persistence among low income students is always a good one.  The discussion tends to go something like this.  On the positive side, going to college is an extremely important option for low income students.  Historically, going to college has been the best way to change the trajectory of the lives of first generation students.  It gives students access to things they’ve never seen before.   It prepares students to succeed professionally and live a more fulfilling life.  And it provides them with a more legitimate chance to compete in our ever changing but ever more unequal economy.

March 2














On the other hand, many people think that this is easier said than done. That low income students facing larger hurdles when trying to get to college. That money may be better spent in early education if you want to maximize the statistical impact. And that the value of college is changing; that a college degree is no longer a clear predictor of success.  These are all tough questions; but also questions that Sarah fielded and the fellows discussed.

Thanks to people like Sarah and my friend Jeff Nelson (founder of OneGoal) who are working on these issues not just in Chicago but beyond Chicago as well.  And thanks again for supporting the RTD program.

As a side note, please consider attending OneGoal’s Gala on May 6, 2014.  I plan to be there.

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014 Diversity, Education No Comments

Revive the Dream: Session 3 with Adam Anderson of Chicago Public Schools

AdamJust yesterday, we hosted the third session for the Revive the Dream Fellows Program.  Our Fellows were lucky to spend the evening with Adam Anderson.   During the session, the Fellows discussed Chicago Public Schools (CPS), the school closings in early 2013 and Adam’s role as Officer of Portfolio, Panning and Strategy.

The discussion about CPS is always a good one no matter what side of the fence you sit on.  The decreasing (yet still very large) budget, the organization’s most important priorities, increases in class size and student social-economic backgrounds are some of the most compelling topics.

Some people think CPS is getting it all wrong. They point to increasing class sizes, decreasing budgets, abismal test scores, and shutting down a few dozen schools last year. On the other hand, some people are more optimistic, understanding the challenges that come with running any school, and especially a pubic school in Chicago.  They realize that the class sizes and teacher salaries are the result of budget cuts, balance sheet deficits and not enough talented people entering the education space.  They also understand the hard work that it takes to move the needle just a little and the difficulty the students face not just in the classroom, but at home far before they ever step foot in the classroom.

We talked about this and more in our session last night with Adam.

As pre-reading for the session, I assgined the Fellows a popular trending article, The Invisible Child has been trending lately (I highly recommend reading this article). This was a perfect pre-read to get your mindset on some of the realities faced in urban districts.  I kicked off the session by doing some simple discussion of the article and student life in rural districts in the United States. We talked about the harsh realities of homelessness and the struggles that some kids face before stepping foot in the classroom, and we also brainstormed ideas to solve the problems.

Easier said than done of course. And that’s why programs like Revive the Dream exist. To bring more people together to understand that Education Matters for students in urban districts and to help equip them solve these education issues.

Thanks to Adam for coming to speak to our Fellows.  We look forward to staying in touch.



Wednesday, December 18th, 2013 Diversity, Education No Comments

Are you eating the marshmallow?

Marshmallow TestThere was a famous study done at Stanford University over 30 years ago.  In the study, children were left alone in a room with a marshmallow. They were told that if they didn’t eat it, they would be given another one in fifteen minutes.  What do you think you would have done if you were left in the room at age 5?

If you watch the video (below), the reactions of the kids are pretty entertaining.  Some kids wait while other kids eat the marshmallow.  Meanwhile, some kids played with the marshmallow and licked it, and one kid pulled out the inside to eat and then put the rest of the marshmallow back together.

The study traced these kids for 30 years after the study was done, and here is what they found.  The kids who didn’t eat it were found to significantly more successful than the group who ate the marshmallow.  They had higher SAT scores, got into more famous colleges, and had better marriages.  The results were statistically significant.

One thing the study would like you to take away is that it is useful to delay gratification for 15 minutes.  Something that successful people have to come to grips with early.

Think about it.

Like taking a really hard class in college in order to take better electives and get better majors later.  Learning how to study contract law or Torts inside on a beautiful day because 1L grades in law school are really important.  Taking more interesting yet lowering paying jobs early in your career or becoming an entrepreneur earlier in your career understanding what it will lead to more opportunities 5 to 10 years later.  Or even taking two years out to go to business school even though it’s costing you two years of salary in the short term. Because in the end you’ll be much better off.

The part that interests me here is that people from lower socio-economic backgrounds are at a disadvantage during the test.  In part because their journey tends to have a higher percentage of delays of gratification (or no gratification) than their peers growing up.  This means kids who don’t ever have as much in front of them may be less likely to pass up on something when they finally have it. And kids who have been let down might have the idea that the person will come back and give them the second marshmallow.  Practically speaking maybe they’ve never seen a time when taking less money made sense or when taking two years off to pay to go to school made sense, because they’ve always lived paycheck to paycheck.  Or because their lives have always been unstable or filled with “failure”, they can’t rely on future promises from other people.  This is why many of these folks opt out of higher loan payments for college and couldn’t imagine turning down a job in corporate American to start a business.

From the study, four ideas quickly come to mind:

  1. More often than not, it’s best not to eat the marshmallow.
  2. We have to figure out ways to help those who haven’t had as many marshmallows as kids to still not eat it too quickly.
  3. Sometimes it might be best to let people keep the marshmallow, even if they don’t eat it – and maybe decide later.  This is still delaying gratification.
  4. On the other hand, in some cases it might be best to eat the marshmallow.  What if you don’t want a second one or if you could find a another in under 15 minutes?

What about you?  What’s your marshmallow right now, and are you eating it?  If so, are you sure you should be?


See below for a video of kids who took part in the study.

Monday, December 16th, 2013 Careers, Diversity 2 Comments

Revive the Dream: Session 1 with John Horan

RTDSession1Photo1I was lucky enough to spend the evening with 22 extraordinary people from around Chicago.  They are part of the new Revive the Dream cohort I helped recruit, and program that I’ll be organizing/managing this year.  I’ll be sharing some of the Fellows experiences along the way.

In the meantime, you can see a few photos I took last night along with many of the talented folks in the program.  We also had the pleasure of having charter school founder John Horan join us for part of the session.  Lots of really great things to come so stay tuned.


This is a photo of one of our guest speakers John Horan. I am glad he accepted our invite.




















This is a photo of our Fellows at work. They were looking at Chicago stats for persistence through college. Looks like we picked a great class.


Wednesday, October 16th, 2013 Diversity, Education, Revive the Dream 2 Comments

Race and College Admissions

Surpeme CtSome time this month, the Supreme Court is expected to rule on a case that could further restrict the use of race as a factor in college admissions.  The issue is whether a student’s race or ethnicity can factor into admissions decisions.

There are many arguments to support why considering race is important, notably the legal rationale of correcting past wrongs.  But there are also others who argue that affirmative action does not work or that using economic status will do far more to help.

Ten years ago, the court’s stance is that student diversity is a compelling interest that can justify the use of race, but only as one among many factors.  A recent NY Times  article discusses the updoming decision.

The biggest obstacle to class-based affirmative action, as Richard Perez-Pena pointed out in The Times the other day, is the obvious one: cost. Poor and working-class students are by definition in need of more financial aid. That is why universities have shown little interest in switching. It’s cheaper to bring in students of color from middle-class or affluent families. (It also brings in kids with higher SAT test scores, which count so heavily in the obsessively watched college rankings.) Cost is the reason that even many proponents of class-based affirmative action favor what Tienda calls “a holistic approach” — class and race both.

Head nod to Bill Keller for surfacing this important issue in his article yesterday.

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Tuesday, June 11th, 2013 Admissions, Diversity, Education 2 Comments

2013 Princeton Prize Race Relations Event and my Keynote Remarks

SpeechThere is perhaps no greater challenge facing our country than the pursuit of equality.  From gender, to socio-economic background, to color to race, the challenges we face not only exist today but have existed for hundreds of years.  Princeton and its alumni recognize that the issue of race relations continues to be urgent and recently started the Princeton Prize Race Relations to tackle the challenge of race. The event in Chicago was organized by friend and colleague Marquis Parker.

The mission of the Princeton Prize is “To promote harmony, understanding, and respect among people of different races by identifying and recognizing high school age students whose efforts have had a significant, positive effect on race relations in their schools or communities.” 

The Princeton Prize in Race Relations consists of regionally awarded $1,000 cash awards as well as an annual symposium on race.

The event took place yesterday and I was fortunate to be invited.  Not only did I meet the high school award winners, support the Princeton community in Chicago and talk about Education Matters but I also gave the keynote address, which was on Race Relations as I see it today.

Princeton“We the people, in order to form a more perfect union.”  The first words of the preamble and an early quote in my remarks. I spoke about many topics, from the town halls of Philadelphia PA where the constitution was written, to the DREAM’ers not given the chance to go to college even though they were born in the United States, to our responsibility to stand up and disagree not just on the streets but also in the classrooms and courtrooms, to the professional challenges of race today. I also told my own story – how I am the son of two adopted parents.  Neither my mother or my father knows the exact color of their parents skin or what countries their ancestors came from – and ended  with a piece of advice to the winners: understand how much #EducationMatters  in this process.

But more important than those remarks were the wonderful efforts of the 4 award winners in attendance.  HERE is the video of this year’s winner, which was posted before the event. But all 4 students at the event were incredibly remarkable. They have businesses that reach all over the world and were very impressive in front of the room to only be 16 and 17 years old.

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Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013 Diversity, Education, Events 2 Comments

Deadline: Organizer for Emanuel Pleitez for LA

The deadline to work with my friend Emanuel Pleitez for his campaign for Mayor is On Monday. Please remind any students, recent grads or socially-minded professionals you know to consider it.

The application deadline is Monday, September 3, so if you are interested, please be sure to submit your resume to michael@pleitezforla.com and register: HERE

Fellows would join an amazing team already on the ground of alumni from schools all over the country, including Stanford, Harvard, UT Austin, UC Berkeley, UCLA, UC San Diego, Michigan, USC, Seattle, UC Santa Barbara, UC Irvine, Cal State Long Beach, Princeton, Yale, UPenn, West Chester, Cornell among others.

Let me know if you decide to apply or want to be connected to the campaign.

See recent press on the campaign below

LA Times
Fox News
La Opinion (Spanish)

Saturday, September 1st, 2012 Careers, Diversity, Job Opportunities No Comments

Merger Article: Kellogg Matters (My Last Article)

2012 is shaping up to be a historic year. Not only are hundreds of incoming students leaving high paying jobs to come to Kellogg, but they’re doing so in record number. Likewise, the class of 2012 can’t wait to take what they have learned here and start working again. And what perfect timing! The financial crisis feels like an event of the past. Facebook’s recent IPO had the highest valuation in history. And the prospects of making it big loom again.

Meanwhile, Dean Sally Blount continues to raise millions of dollars for our new building, where she has been featured in Forbes, Fortune and several other magazines for her fundraising efforts. And Barack Obama is about to run for a historic second term right here in own back yard in Chicago. As the momentum continues to build, many of us cannot wait to see what the future has in store not just for us here in Evanston, but for the country as a whole. But the one thing we must keep in mind is just how much Kellogg matters in all of this.

Think about all the great lessons we have learned at Kellogg – things you just cannot learn anywhere else. We’ve learned the value of teamwork – even though at times we may have hated it as much as we liked it. We’ve learned the importance of not always discussing careers and salaries during KWEST – throwing our pre-conceived notions out the door. We’ve learned what it feels like when our most prized establishment temporarily shuts down (e.g. mandatory KEG reference). We’ve learned and experienced the ups and downs of recruiting – and we’ve made it through with flying colors. And finally, we’ve learned the value that Kellogg places on thinking bravely – whether you like the motto or not.

See, the question is NOT whether we will do well after Kellogg (or during summer internships for 1st years) – Kellogg students always do. The question is what we will do with our great education. Whether we’ll step up to the plate and try something new. And if we’ll work to come up with game-changing, innovative solutions rather than just work for that paycheck. Because with our Kellogg education, we will have that opportunity within our grasp more than ever before.

The problem is that many organizations may teach us to do the opposite. They will “do things by the book.” They will prioritize consistency over change. And they are organized to put your head down and say, “that is not my job.”

The reason for this is that, oftentimes, bravery in the typical work environment is often punished, not rewarded. Most places today are organized around avoiding risks and instead doing what they can to keep their “sustainable revenues.” That’s why nearly every top business school turns out management consultants in far greater numbers than it develops successful entrepreneurs. And why law schools produce lawyers who are phenomenal at giving options but not so great at providing real “here’s what I would do” recommendations.

Think about it — how often do we hear stories from those who have changed the world, telling us that they learned how to become brave and did something new because of work, rather than despite work? Not many.

And that is precisely why a Kellogg education matters.

During times of change, the great leaders are those that want, actually need, to change things. And that only happens when an organization encourages individuals to take brave steps forward. When they are compelled to do things differently. And when they have a great education to help them take that first step. And that is exactly what Kellogg promotes.

In a recent talk I had a few weeks ago, Carter Cast, Kellogg advisor and former CEO of Walmart.com, said the same thing. That “it is important to understand your purpose…to use your time at school to learn what your true north is and be sure to working towards it, even when you’re asked to change the business model.” He ended by saying, “Who cares if some people don’t believe in your idea? Do it anyways.”

Megan Kashner, founder of Benelovent.com in Chicago, reiterated the same thing on her panel at the Social Impact Conference. She shared how she worked in nonprofit from a young age and went straight into the industry after getting an MBA. And unlike the advice of her fellow panelists, she said, “You don’t have to wait. You can go work at a nonprofit right away after business school.” In short, be brave.

And it is no coincidence that both pieces of advice come from Kellogg alumni. Why – because Kellogg opens up new possibilities. Possibilities that only a great education could make available.

Don’t get me wrong. Many Kellogg students will also lead highly successful lives at traditional jobs, and that is fantastic. The world needs us to think bravely in those roles as well. We need CEOs to lead their companies where they have never gone before. We need socially-minded bankers to work on deals that could change the landscape of the industry. And we need investors to take risks on the next big company that will also provide social value. And Kellogg gives them the tools to think of new models, create new types of teams and come up with new ways to solve problems.

On the other hand, Kellogg’s new campaign gives us a platform to also be brave with our career choices. Whether it is starting a business, joining a nonprofit, or running for office, it teaches us to remember that even though making your mark on the world is hard, that with patience, commitment and courage  we can take what we learn to do really big things.

So to the graduating class of 2012 – let’s embrace the idea of how much a Kellogg Education Matters. And as we graduate, let’s reach back, convince another budding MBA to come to Kellogg too. And if you have leveraged your degree in areas where we need more MBAs — like social enterprise, entrepreneurship and government— reach back and persuade another student to do the same. If you are going into industries where we need more Kellogg alumni, reach back, hire someone from Kellogg and be a mentor for them.

Now more than ever, the world needs Kellogg students to help bridge the gap between what business is today and what business could and should be. America needs Kellogg MBAs to reach higher and dream more. And if we all agree to set a better example, not only will we succeed, but that, through Kellogg, our businesses will all become a beacon of light to business people in every corner of the globe.

So as the year ends, let’s be sure to remember how much #KelloggMatters and let’s be sure to show the world just how much #EducationMatters. That today, it gives us the privilege and opportunity to take on leading roles in society. So we should treat it as such. We should use it as a platform. A way to give back to those that helped us. And a way to improve access in our communities.  For every one of us that got into school, there are tens of thousands of people across the world who would love that same chance – the chance to take that exam we complained about. The chance to have a conversation with a fellow classmate. The chance to have a seat in a classroom as a proud Kellogg student. So let’s show the world we were the right people for those seats.

For those interested, you can learn more about the Education Matters national campaign here: www.educationmattersproject.org

Friday, June 1st, 2012 Business School, Diversity, Education 9 Comments

MLT Support Education Matters Campaign

I spend a lot of time talking about one non-profit I am part of: Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT).  MLT is a great organization and our Education Matters campaign is working closely with them. Not only because we share a similar mission but also because MLT is one of our strongest allies.

MLT is committed to preparing minority students for careers in business by prepping them for college, graduate school and beyond. By providing students with networking opportunities and career coaching, MLT is making leadership positions available to a much more diverse group of people.

A few weeks ago we attended an MLT conference in Houston to talk about grad school with up and coming fellows as well as to talk more about the education matters campaign. At the conference, we collected videos from some MLT’s rising stars, who shared not only their own personal stories but they also answered the question that everyone answers, “why does education matter to you?”

See below for the video.

And as always, visit http://www.ml4t.org/ to learn more about how you can get involved with MLT.

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Sunday, May 13th, 2012 Business School, Diversity, Education No Comments

Rosario Dawson and Voto Latino on Why Education Matters to them

Rosario Dawson is not just a beautiful actress—she also co-founded Voto Latino, a non-partisan group that advocates for Hispanic voters and voter education. She recently held her 1st annual Power Summit Conference out in Los Angeles, where she talked about voter education and bringing people in the community together. She and some of her friends/supporters were also kind enough to give their thoughts on why education matters.

This activist credits education with everything she has: “The more I know, the more choices I have, the more things I can experience and enjoy, understand, compare, the richer my life becomes,” Dawson says.

Dawson is not satisfied to just sit back and enjoy a celebrity lifestyle—rather, she uses her status to promote multiple causes and ensure that everyone has the opportunity to reach the same heights she was able to reach.

See below for her #EducationMatters video. And below that for a few other videos.

Rosario Dawson


David Hernandez


Jennifer Castilla


Steve Alvacan


Thank you Rosario and Voto Latino for sharing your ideas with us!

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012 Diversity, Education No Comments

The Education Matters Project Joins Rosario Dawson and Voto Latino at Power Summit

Just a few hours from now, more than more than 300 participants will come together in downtown Los Angeles California in an event that most will consider an amazing opportunity. A chance where many of the attendees will not only leave the weekend with new friends and new ideas, but many will also leave with inspiration and hope to take action in their communities.

The Voto Latino conference that is taking place this weekend in Southern California. So I’m spending the weekend out in Los Angeles, CA along with the Education Matters Project to speak on a panel at Voto Latino’s Power Summit. As the 2012 election campaign season is under way, VotoLatino is launching their first annual conference to give participants the skills they need to organize.

Organized by Rosario Dawson and Maria Theresa Kumar VotoLatino’s goal is to empowers American Latinos to claim a better future by voting and bringing their voices into the political process.

This two-day event at the University of Southern California’s Davidson Conference Center will educate, engage and empower young Latinos from across the country to create positive change in their communities. Leaders will receive training from public officials, artists, grassroots organizers, and business leaders in new media, public speaking, activism and community organizing. Participants will also be the first to preview our new technology that will revolutionize the voter registration process.

With the election campaign in full force, there’s never been a better time to bring everyone together to discuss voting, having a voice and the education matters campaign.

Saturday, April 14th, 2012 Diversity, Education No Comments

Early Voices from the Education Matters Project (Video)

Our educational system needs to be fixed. Everyone is thinking about it today. But now more than ever we need to do something about it. We need to rally around people who care and figure out a plan to take action. According to some of our early videos, I’ll share with you a few reasons why education matters to people around the world?

The skills and needs of today’s graduates are radically changing.  Our society needs to think more about the way we prepare our next generation. And to start doing that, it is important to hear the many voices who fundamentally believe in the importance of education.

Here is why education matters to some people around.

  • It’s really critical to achieving you life goals.
  • It represents freedom from financial stress
  • It gives people opportunities they never knew existed
  • It’s a great way to accelerate your mind
  • It allows you to go to the next level
  • It gives you option to do whatever you want
  • It allows you to do things can go down in history


Thursday, March 29th, 2012 Diversity, Education 2 Comments

2012 MLT MBA Prep Kick-Off Conference

I’m not surprised that MBA applicants MLT are feeling better than ever. Not only is MLT getting better and better ever year, but the crop of students is also getting better. The students are more driven than ever. The coaches are excited to work with them. And John Rice has as good of advice as ever. And all those things came to pass this weekend at MLT’s Kick off conference in Houston.

At long last, the newest class of MLT’s MBA Prep Program was finally welcomed in person at the 2012 kick-off event. Just like two years ago, the event took place at Rice University, and the good news was that I was able to get a sneak peak at this year’s new class.

I flew out on Friday for the conference and spoke to a number of fellows and alumni this weekend. I spent time with Michael Pages, a friend from my MLT fellowship class of 2009, we spoke with a good number of people at lunch and between sessions. I also worked with a small group of MLT alum on Saturday, to discuss application myths and took part in a Q&A panel.

Even though I’ve been out of the program for a few years, it still feels great to come back and meet the new Fellows. Most were anxious. Some were nervous. And all of them quite excited. And I’m sure they will all do well in the MBA application process this year.

Best of luck to the new Fellows in the program.

And best of luck to MLT with your new set of fellows this year.

Saturday, March 17th, 2012 Admissions, Business School, Diversity 2 Comments

Invitation to the Chicago LOFT STEM Symposium on 4/5

Just a quick post to spread the word that our first LOFT training in Chicago: the Chicago LOFT STEM Leadership Symposium. I wanted to be sure to invite all my readers to this FREE event. In past cases, this event has filled up quickly but we’d love to have all of you attend that are available on Thursday 4/5 at 530pm.

Our goal is to have 75 student participants and the event is open to high school, college, and young professionals interested in learning about STEM careers. Although our focus in Latinos, we are very open to multicultural participants as well. So please feel free to spread the word for this event with your professional networks in Chicago.

As a Board Advisor for LOFT I will be at the event. So hopefully I will see you there. See below for more information about the event.

University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC)

Student Center West

Thompson Rooms A& B, 2nd Floor Lobby

828 S. Wolcott Ave.

Chicago, IL 60612

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

5:30pm – 8:30pm

This is an exciting opportunity for students in high school, college, and young professionals to network with Science Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) professionals from Fortune 500 companies and learn about the diverse career opportunities available within the STEM Industry.

Come prepared to engage in:

  • A dynamic and exclusive Leadership Training led by the U.S. Army. This Leadership training is designed to help student leaders define their role within their respective organizations, and encourage them to seek out leadership roles in their schools and communities.
  • An insightful panel of STEM professionals showcasing  their different careers paths, and the different resources and opportunities available for Latinos to enter the STEM fields.
  • An opportunity to Network with STEM professionals and other emerging Latino leaders interested in STEM.
  • Sponsor Give Aways/Raffle: All attendees will enter a raffle to win a free Round trip Southwest ticket to any Southwest destination of your choice. The winner will be announced during the coffee break. Additional sponsor give aways will also take place.

Seating is limited. Please RSVP promptly at http://bit.ly/x7zcaj and email your resume to resume@loftinstitute.org.  Attendees will receive an event confirmation post registration.

There is no cost to register for the event.

Dress code: business casual.
Food and refreshments will be provided.


  • 5:30 – 6:00 pm Registration & Welcome Reception
  • 6:00 – 6:10 pm Opening remarks
  • 6:10 – 6:40 pm Army Leadership Presentation
  • 6:40 – 6:55 pm Coffee Break, Career Table Networking
  • 6:55 – 7:55 pm STEM Panel Presentation
  • 7:55 – 8:00 pm Participant Survey
  • 8:00 – 8:02 pm Closing remarks
  • 8:02 – 8:30 pm Networking, Event Closes
Participating sponsors
  • The U.S. Army
  • CVS Caremark Workforce Initiatives
  • Southwest Airlines
  • University of Phoenix

Contact: Jessica Barajas at Jessica@hispanicheritage.org.

Thursday, March 15th, 2012 Careers, Diversity No Comments

Merger Article: 2012 The Year of Movements

Just a few weeks ago, I was asked to write an article for Kellogg’s newspaper: the Merger. There were a lot of good articles submitted, some about Ski Trip, others describing the Photo contest and others about DAK. But like most editions, I was tapped to write something a little more serious. I was asked to write the inspirational New Years article. So I considered possible topics, pondered New Years resolutions and surveyed the past few months to come up with ideas. And upon reflection, I propose that 2012 will be the year of movements.

See below for my article.


Three years ago, I HAD A DREAM. I was about to submit my application to Northwestern and I had just talked to my friend Leland Cheung about his successful City Council campaign. He told me how he leveraged momentum from the Obama election to build a movement himself. As an aspiring social change agent, I was in awe and wanted to do something similar. I dreamt that I could also start a social movement. In fact, my dream nearly took me away from Northwestern to his program: MIT Sloan and Harvard Kennedy joint program

Then the following year, I watched an even bigger movement take place when my friend built a social network and then ran for Congress in California. He brought together a great team, raised a lot of money, and created more buzz than anyone thought was possible. And I realized that with the right planning, it was possible to be part of a movement despite being a single person.

Inspired by these movements, last year I pitched an idea to a local foundation to build a social platform to campaign for the importance of education. One pitch turned into a few meetings with volunteers and advisors. It also led us to find a prominent website developer, submit a few applications for funding and seek out a campaign manager. And today we have a full-fledged idea and nervously await as we hope to launch our project in the upcoming weeks.

But for now, more important than my idea is that 2012 is shaping up to be the year of Movements. The year people mobilize around issues more than ever before. The year that we can reach considerably more people in significantly less time. And year that even a single individual can do something that matters.

But don’t take it from me; take it from the Movements taking place all around the world today. The Occupy movements which started as a single blog post before making their way to New York City and then to nearly 100 cities and countries around the world. The It Gets Better Project, which started as a YouTube video by a single blogger, but today that has more than 30,000 uploaded entries, with more than 40 million views. And most recently the SOPA protest, which started as a single petition before dozens of organizations joined it, collected millions of signatures, and eventually got support from companies like Google and Wikipedia.

And how interesting that SOPA comes right after MLK weekend, which celebrates one of the biggest movements of all time. One that started with a dream but ended up changing hearts and making history. And that movement took place without the Internet.

Now more than ever, the world needs us to HAVE A DREAM. A dream about how to make things better and about how to use our skills to make it happen.  Fortunately, getting an MBA Kellogg equips us well to do that. The classmates we have access to. The professors that want to help. And our training not just on business principles but also organizing and leading teams. They can all be priceless resources.

So today, as many of us are spending most our time thinking about recruiting I propose that in 2012 that we also think about the movements we want to support. And as we have dreams about landing top marketing and consulting jobs, we should also continue dreaming about our other passions. Whether building the next great social startup. Volunteering in rural communities abroad. Raising awareness around an issue you care about. Taking part in the upcoming Presidential election. Or taking a stand in the education conversation to say that Education Matters. Because in today’s Internet driven society it’s easier than ever before to have your voice be heard.

Now more than ever, the world needs us to create a movement. So while the rest of the world is paying close attention, let’s leverage the rest of our time at Northwestern to start one.

What is your dream for 2012? I know what mine is.

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012 Diversity, Education 6 Comments

Good News for 18 Students in Chicago

Hours ago, 18 high school students in Chicago were honored for their academic excellence. All were high school seniors, most were accepted to great schools, and some had quite lofty professional ambitions; probably loftier than ours when we were that age. Likewise, most of them had pretty great backgrounds, not just academically but also community service and extracurricular activities. It was an honor to see them get the good news yesterday and to serve a profession resource for them after school as a member of the Hispanic Heritage Fondation advisor network.

Just hours ago, my colleagues at the Hispanic Heritage Foundation and LOFT Institute awarded 18 students scholarships after a tough application process. They Applied with nearly 10,000 other applications, and yesterday we celebrated their achievements. There’s still a long road ahead and a lot of hard work to be done, but for just one day they were able to celebrate.

One question come to mind during the event: Will they remember the event weeks from now? And will they remember me one year from now? After all I did give them a business card and congratulate them all individually as the advisor at the event. I even met many of their parents.

My guess is that many of them won’t. After all, I didn’t remember everyone when I was their age. In fact, I didn’t even realize that it was important to remember anyone.

I propose the idea, that more important then getting remembered, is that we are all there to support them along the way. To clap when they do well. help them make informed decisions about school and their careers. And most importantly, to pick them up when they fall.  That’s why I was happy when I found connections with many of them – I saw one Cristo Rey student (I sit on the board of Cristo Rey), one student going to Stanford (I am an alum), one student that wants to go to law school (I am in law school), and another who LOVES storytelling (I am building a storytelling website). Finding connections, so that if one of them has a question, they are more likely to call and ask for help.

Thank you sponsors for making this happen. Thank you HHF for putting on a great event. AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, thank you to those that sat in the audience a decade ago when I was got my award …. even if I didn’t call you back. Without you, last night would not have been possibl.


Wednesday, January 25th, 2012 Diversity, Education 2 Comments

MLK – Martin Luther King Day of Service 2012

Many of you will enjoy the three day weekend coming up. For some it’s time off from work. For others, time off from school. And for some, time to go home and visit friends and family. But for all of us, it’s also a day where we have the chance to recognize one of the most important days in the last half century. Because on Monday it is Martin Luther King day. And in the spirit of MLK, it’s a great weekend to give back here in Chicago.

Hi Everyone, just a quick message about Martin Luther King Day (MLK Day) and the opportunity to volunteer near campus this upcoming weekend.  This year you can combine your efforts with the larger Northwestern community and volunteer at service projects in Evanston and in Chicago.

A number of my Kellogg classmates will be there, including me. Further, a number of Northwestern Law students and students from the general student body will be there. In fact, I know a few alumni who will also be there.

So what about you  … Are you coming?

See below for information on how to sign up.



STEP 1: Register after you read this email! It takes less than 1 minute www.norris.northwestern.edu/community.

STEP 2:  You can join Kellogg by entering the code: “Kellogg BMA” under Group/Student Organization.


Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service 2012

Date: Saturday, January 14, 2012

Time: 10:00 am – 2:00 pm

Place: Meet promptly at 10:00 am in the Norris University Center.

Breakfast will be provided at this time, lunch will be provided at the sites. Buses will leave for sites from Norris Arts Circle and drop off students at the same location after the event.

Note that: students must register by TOMORROW Friday, January 13th. 


Thursday, January 12th, 2012 Business School, Diversity 1 Comment

2011 Hispanic Heritage Youth Awards in Chicago

Issues in the Hispanic community are more important than ever before.  Over the past decade the Latino population has increased from about 35 million in 2000 to over 50 million in the 2010, according to census data I found. So not only are there more Latinos around in the US today but more Latinos are also doing great things than ever. In hopes of recognizing their achievement, the Hispanic Heritage Foundation is hosting a series of award ceremonies around the US. And in late January, one of them will be here in Chicago.

In January, a number of Latino and Latino high school students will attend the Hispanic Heritage Youth awards. Latino and Latina High School juniors across America applied to Youth Awards program, offered and presented by the Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF) just months ago.  And recently, the 2011 nominees were chosen.  They will be awarded their awards here in Chicago on January 28.

Recipients were selected for their accomplishments in school, in the community, and one of the six categories: Business, Community Service, Education, Engineering & Mathematics, Healthcare, and Science.  In addition to being awarded grants for college, recipients will also be invited to serve as role models for younger peers through HHF programming.

What a great program! I look forward to attending along with a few friends that I know from the foundation. I also look forward to meeting some of this year’s recipients and hopefully serving as a resource as they start thinking about attending college.

A bit more information about the foundation:

The Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF) is a 501c3, nonprofit which leverages programs and influential relationships to meet America’s priorities in the classroom, community and workforce for the Hispanic population. HHF provides role models, cultural pride and a promising future through public awareness campaigns and special events. Additionally, HHF was celebrating their 25 Anniversary in 2011 and is looking forward to a greater impact on the Latino community next year.

I’ll be attending this ceremony as an advisor of HHF. Specifically I help Loft (e.g. Latinos On Fast Track) with New Media. LOFT is an initiative of HHF focused on providing workforce with emerging Latino professionals. Not only does LOFT have tens of thousands of members but its also in the process of creating the LOFT social network now, which is how I got involved.

In any event, please spread the word about these awards so people you know can apply in future years. And please spread the word about the efforts that HHF is putting forth in the community. Because in the end, Hispanic residents continue to have greater and greater impact on the economy. And with the right leadership for organizations including HHF, the world will be much better off a decade from now.

Thanks for your support!

** Note that this is NOT an open event, and attendance is by invitation only.

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011 Business School, Diversity, Education 3 Comments

Management Leadership for Tomorrow in 2011

Happy holidays everyone. I hope that you’ve been able to enjoy the holiday season so far and spend lots of time with friends and family. 2011 has been a great year for many of us, and we certainly have a lot to be thankful for.  I’m writing this message to put out a few facts about Management Leadership for Tomorrow, an organization I’m part of that also a good year in 2011. Not only did they continue to build the organization but more importantly they also helped a lot of people apply to graduate school and continue to work toward achieving more success than ever before.

In short, 2011 has been another successful year for MLT.  The organization is excited about accomplishments of fellows and alumni over the past year and looks forward to celebrating MLT’s 10th anniversary with you in 2012! Below are a few highlights from 2011 include:

  • About 85% of undergraduate Fellows secured full-time jobs at graduation, compared to under 25% of all college graduates;
  • Nearly 95% of MLT MBA Prep Fellows matriculated to top 25 business schools, receiving over $15M in fellowships/scholarships
  • 93% of Fellows stated that participation in MLT has been a “life -changing experience;
  • MLT expanded its Career Advancement Program, for mid-career professionals, to include 40 rising leaders; and
  • MLT formed several new partnerships with leading organizations, including American Express, The Broad Center, Capital One, Genentech, Procter & Gamble and  Yum! Brands among others. CLICK HERE for their full list of potential partners.

In addition to that, John Rice also did well in 2011, as he was named one of Forbes Impact 30 Social Entrepreneurs.

In short, MLT is having a big impact and not just on diverse business professionals but also on business as a whole. And as a result of the success, MLT is looking forward to 2012 and continuing enhancing its engagement with fellows, alumni and the broader population next year, which will be MLTs 10th anniversary year.

Stay tuned in 2012 to hear more about what MLT is up to. And as always, don’t hesitate to drop me a line if you have any questions about MLT or any one of its programs. Happy to answer any questions you have.

Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 23rd, 2011 Admissions, Business School, Careers, Diversity 1 Comment

Kellogg’s 25th BMA Conference Website is Live!

Hi Everyone: Just passing along information about the 2012 annual BMA Conference. The 25th BMA Conference, “Standing at the Crossroads: Building on the Past to Execute for the Future,” will focus on the convergence of experiences and ideas that will enable the community to make smart decisions in their business and personal lives, and guide them down the correct path in the journey ahead. I plan to attend.  We look forward to having you join us at conference!

Hundreds of current and future business leaders joined us here at Kellogg at the 2011 BMA Conference less than one year ago. And we expect an even better turnout this year. The theme for the last year’s event was “The Real ROI: Maximizing Investments while Building Communities” and people such as John Rogers from Ariel Capital Management, Terdema Ussery, Dallas Mavericks President and CEO, Soledad O’Brien from CNN were all in attendance.

This year’s 25thBMA Conference also will not disappoint. Fortunately, the website and registration page are now live! Likewise, the PANELS PAGE and the TRAVEL PAGE are also live. And they are being updated continually as we learn more about the event. We look forward to sharing more information with you as it becomes available.  CLICK HERE for the link to the website and CLICK HERE for the link to the Facebook page.

A number of my Kellogg classmates will be there, including me. Further, a number of Kellogg alum as well as students and alum from other business schools will be there too.

So what about you  … Are you coming?

Save the dates: 2/24 – 2/26.

Monday, December 19th, 2011 Business School, Diversity No Comments

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Jeremy C Wilson is a JD-MBA alumni using his site to share information on education, the social enterprise revolution, entrepreneurship, and doing things differently. Feel free to send along questions or comments as you read.


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