Matt Broder ’87 is Vice President of Communications at the Financial Accounting Foundation and Chair of the SOM Alumni Advisory Board (SOM AAB).
What’s a global trend you are following where you see an opportunity or bright spot in this challenging macro environment?
The AI revolution that we now see unfolding is obviously going to be massively disruptive. It’s right up there with the advent of the internet and its younger cousin, social media. Like these predecessors, we will see AI reflect both the best and the worst of human nature, with the scales hopefully tipping more toward the advantages of AI, not its pitfalls. It will be fascinating to watch how many jobs, industries and mental models are ultimately touched and transformed by AI in the years ahead.
What’s an example of how SOM’s mission informed the way you solved a challenge for your company?
One example from my early career occurred when I was writing speeches for the CEO of United Technologies. This was the mid-1990s when companies like UTC were laying off thousands of employees in response to competitive pressure from Japan. I helped take the kernel of our CEO’s idea and build a world-class (and multi-million dollar) employee education program that prompted thousands of employees to pursue higher education–everything from associates through doctoral degrees. The company couldn’t guarantee employment, but by paying for more education the company could provide the opportunity for laid-off employees to land well. The day our CEO announced the program in a speech at the National Press Club in Washington DC is still one of the proudest moments of my career.
What’s an SOM experience that helped shape how you build teams?
It’s hard to isolate this because I spent several years after SOM as an individual contributor before I had the chance to build my first team. However, the experiential OB classes like Group Dynamics and Individual & Group Behavior were foundational to my future leadership. There is a degree of self-awareness that emerges from those classes that is invaluable to leadership in any sector.
What’s a favorite SOM memory, faculty member, mentor, class?
Too many to count, but I’m going to cheat on this question anyway. I have had the privilege to serve as SOM ‘87 class secretary almost continuously since graduation, and have developed a deep and unshakable love for the ~180 folks who shared those two years at SOM together. I will always be grateful to Richard Silverman, SOM’s dean of admissions at the time, for including me in this unbelievably talented, engaging, interesting, and fun group.
What are you excited about for the year ahead (from the SOM AAB)?
SOM alumni are already very engaged with the school, but one of our top priorities is to raise engagement even higher, especially with current students. I’m excited about our new alumni communications platform, SOM Connect. In the months ahead, SOM will add current students to the SOM Connect database, which will make it much easier for students and alumni with common interests to find each other. SOM will also launch a mobile app for SOM Connect, expanding the reach of the platform beyond the desktop and onto mobile devices. It’s going to be great.