As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A commercial airline pilot.
What was the most transformative course from your undergraduate education?
During my first semester at Brandeis, I took “Introduction to Political Theory,” taught by Professor Jeffery Abramson, now Professor of Government at the University of Texas. I was captivated from day one by the theories, debates, and ideals of government, asking the most fundamental questions underlying organized society: What is the purpose of government? Who should lead? What does it mean to be a citizen? What is fairness? Anything but abstract, the central questions of political theory are always relevant.
You will be enrolling in an MBA program at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. What made you choose this program, and what are you most excited to learn?
Aside from the pleasure of returning to my alma mater, the Brandeis Heller MBA offers a unique opportunity to develop core management and leadership skills through the lens of improving society. At this point in my career, I want to immerse myself in a collaborative academic network of peers and professors who are dedicated to the kinds of meaningful mission driven organizations that have been my focus over the past few years. Moreover, because of my liberal arts and legal background, I will be enrolling in my first business classes. My ultimate ambition is to blend my JD with my MBA in order to improve and someday lead a mission-driven organization.
You are on the board of the New York Phi Beta Kappa Association (PBKNY). What plans do you have as a part of that leadership team?
I have the privilege of working with a great team on the board of PBKNY. In addition to leading large events that cater to the broader New York base of members, I recently created the Young Professionals Network of PBKNY. The vision for this new endeavor is twofold: first, we will host events and initiatives specifically catering to PBK alumni who have graduated in the last 15 years. These will include happy hours, access to distinctive speakers, and career networking events, such as our Key Connections event co-hosted with the National Office of Phi Beta Kappa on September 6th, where we expect upwards of 100 attendees. Second, we will provide a pipeline for recent inductees to become active and to engage in leadership opportunities within the greater PBK community. The enthusiasm for the Young Professionals Network of PBKNY is palpable, and I am very excited to help uncover the exceptional potential that resides within our members.
What was the best piece of advice you were ever given and who gave it to you?
One of the most memorable and continuously applicable pieces of advice came from my Grandma Rose, an Auschwitz survivor who lost her entire family during the Second World War and raised four children through the 1960’s in one of New York City’s highest poverty and crime rate areas: “Better yourself.” What I appreciate most about that advice is that it implies a subjective rather than an objective standard based on one’s own circumstances. My grandmother lived to the age of 93 and demonstrated by her example that progress forward from the day before, measured on your own terms, is a blessing.
Why do you think Phi Beta Kappa and an arts & sciences education are important in today’s society?
Our generation needs to know how to navigate unprecedented amounts of information, synthesize competing ideas, and differentiate between truth and falsehood. Each person must be able to think critically. Combining both the arts and the sciences makes for a well-rounded citizen who has the capacity to blend imagination and creativity with logical argument and scientific rigor.
You have your pilot’s license. What made you decide to pursue this, and how has it impacted you?
As a child, I could not think of anything more fun than someday flying a plane. As I got older, aviation became symbolic of human inventiveness, potential, and embarking into the great unknown. I was incredibly fortunate to attend a high school that had an aviation club and earned a scholarship to obtain my private pilot license by the age of 18. But I remember being disappointed by the sheer amount of work that was required: all I wanted to do was “fly.” It turns out that flying, like most other pursuits in life, requires a never ending commitment to learning, self-discipline, financial resources, and most importantly, humility. Having flown as a private pilot, responsible for the safety of passengers and myself, I discovered that flying is actually one of the best ways to keep myself centered and grounded.
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