Alumni Discuss ‘Breaking Barriers’ During Second Donald H. Ogilvie ’78 Colloquium
Funmi Akinlawon Haastrup ’03, Beanie Barnes ’08, and Corey Harrison ’11 sat down for a candid conversation about their experiences as underrepresented leaders in their respective industries.
Yale School of Management alumni Funmi Akinlawon Haastrup ’03, Beanie Barnes ’08, and Corey Harrison ’11 returned to campus on May 5 to participate in the second Donald H. Ogilvie ’78 Colloquium, titled “Breaking Barriers.” The event, which coincided with Reunion Weekend, convened alumni, faculty, staff, and students for a wide-ranging conversation that touched on the trio’s career pivots, core values, and how they have lived out the SOM mission in their professional lives. Julian Love ’23 served as moderator.
Akinlawon Haastrup, Barnes, and Harrison each identified a “north star” that has guided their career paths.
For Harrison, co-founder and CEO of the technology company Flip and a former White House Fellow, “impact” is the catalyst: “All of the jobs that I’ve taken have been because of the potential [for impact in my community]. I always ask myself, ‘How can I impact millions of lives?’”
Barnes, a screenwriter and show creator, said that she finds inspiration and motivation in the power of storytelling: “For me, it’s connection… Genuine empathy is extraordinarily difficult for a writer [to convey], and empathy is the most powerful thing you can experience as a human being… I think I’m more drawn to that as a person of color because empathy is not something that’s been afforded to my community,” said Barnes.
“To me, it’s all about purpose,” said Akinlawon Haastrup, co-founder and principal of education consulting organization Equity Journey Partners. “I just want to go out empty. I don’t want to keep anything when I go; otherwise, what’s the point?”
An audience member asked the three alumni to describe how they interpret and put into practice in their lives the SOM mission to educate leaders for business and society.
To Barnes, the mission influences her approach to engaging in a capitalist system: “It’s about valuing the humanity of the person across from you—regarding that person not just as a means, but also as an end,” said Barnes.
To Akinlawon Haastrup, the school’s emphasis on the interplay between business and society “helped me see I could change the world with my [chosen] occupation,” she said.
Harrison said that, to him, the mission is all about “breaking barriers and bringing silos together.” “We need leaders who can facilitate conversations [between business and society] so that both sides can hear each other,” he said.
Named after the late Donald H. Ogilvie ’78, who would have celebrated his 45-year reunion this month, the Ogilvie Colloquium was conceived and developed by the inaugural Council on Anti-Racism and Equity, which advises the dean and provides a mechanism for communication of needs and issues to the school’s senior leadership.