Living the Mission: EMBA Students and Alumni on Being Leaders for Business and Society

Yale SOM’s mission is to educate leaders for business and society. As we embark upon a new year, we asked our alumni and students about their goals for the year and how they aspire to embody this mission.

January 11, 2017

Lindsay Palazuelos ’18 (Focus: Healthcare)

Mexico Program Officer, Partners In Health

I'm entering 2017 with a sense of purpose and resolve. Striving for health equity is as urgent as ever, and this year I aim to build teams and programs that serve more patients, engage more health workers, and generate new insights. I am also challenging myself to live my values. I aim to stand with people in my community and beyond who are facing exclusion, hatred, or scapegoating and to participate in coalitions that foster compassion and justice.

Chris Roughton ’17 (Focus: Sustainability)

Vice President of Operations, Bevi

We’ve all been there: The days where the problems seem too complicated and the situations so thorny that it can feel like there is nothing we as individuals can do to make things better. This feeling is often acutely felt in the Yale EMBA sustainability track as we first try to understand megatrends like climate change and globalization, and then begin to work out how we can help navigate our organizations through them.

Indeed, the challenges sometimes seem too large for any of us to tackle. But what I have witnessed through this program is that even if a problem seems too much for any one of us to deal with, it is never too much for all of us. I have seen some inspiring and ambitious goals set by my classmates, and in achieving those goals I know that our collective individual achievements will begin to make the difference we need.

For my part in 2017, I will help grow the sustainable mission of the company I just joined, where we are trying to drastically reduce the need for pre-bottled beverages and the waste associated with them. I intend to build and execute a plan for a sustainable supply chain and operation that supports that mission, minimizing the impact we have on the environment in the process. I also plan to find more ways to support educational opportunities for my employees and to provide pathways to help them build the skills that will benefit both them and the company.

These goals that we set for ourselves can sometimes feel inadequate given the challenges our world faces. But in a recent conversation I was reminded that regardless of other outcomes, often the most important result from setting big, optimistic goals is the compounding effect it has on those directly around us. If we as leaders for business and society strive to maximize the impact we have on our coworkers and communities, we can create the force multipliers necessary to move our global megatrends in the right direction.

Logan Yonavjak ’16 (Focus: Asset Management)

Thought Leadership Specialist, Morgan Stanley’s Institute for Sustainable Investing

In my day-to-day professional life, I will continue to help research and write about sustainable investing trends to help inform the work of the Institute for Sustainable Investing at Morgan Stanley. Working within such a large financial institution since graduation from Yale SOM has really opened my eyes to the challenges and opportunities associated with moving large sums of private capital into investment strategies that can have positive environmental and social, as well as financial, returns. I have a much more realistic sense of what it takes to get the big players involved!

On a more personal note, I’ve made a commitment to join a nonprofit board this year that’s focused on sustainable investing. I see this as a strategic way to apply the skills I gleaned from the joint degree program at Yale, my past work experience, and now my experience on Wall Street in a more volunteer capacity.

I also hope to stay engaged with many of the amazing efforts at Yale, particularly around helping to mentor enterprises that seek to effect positive impact—there are so many budding entrepreneurs seeking to build businesses from the ground up that incorporate impact into their core DNA. We need people working at every level of business if we’re going to evolve into a more resilient economy that syncs up our economic, social, and natural systems.

I want to get more involved in my community at a local level. This will partly be accomplished through nonprofit board engagement, but a friend of mine recently inspired me to think more about impact in my own neighborhood. I’m exploring the possibility of joining my local neighborhood board.

Finally, I made a commitment to develop a daily meditation practice last year and I’ve noticed some really positive changes in my life, specifically around stress reduction and greater focus. I’m sharing my experiences with colleagues and friends, I believe that as we all seek to have greater impact on the world, we need to take care of ourselves, too, and think more about how to cultivate our own awareness in a manner that brings as much conscious awareness to our work as possible.

Adam Wollowick ’14 (Focus: Healthcare)

Senior Director of Business Development, Stryker

In my current role, we strive each and every day to make healthcare better for patients and providers. I am proud to use my knowledge of both medicine and business to identify and assess emerging technologies that can improve the outcomes of spinal surgery. By implementing a thoughtful and financially responsible strategy, my team and I hope to execute a number of impactful transactions in 2017 that will bring significant value to both our shareholders and our customers.

Zahid Lalani ’14 (Focus: Healthcare)

Partner, Northwest Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery

I am working on learning how large hospitals and healthcare systems work by getting involved in their operations, strategy, and planning committees. I hope to integrate my work understanding patient needs as a healthcare provider, my education in business management at SOM, and my experiences delivering healthcare in three countries with very different healthcare systems (India, UK, and USA) to develop a broad understanding of the various facets and perspectives of “healthcare.” My goal is to help develop a healthcare ecosystem that successfully brings together society, state, and business and that benefits all.