Tony Lynn ’14 Global Program Manager at Meta, Vice Chair of SOM’s Alumni Advisory Board. Lynn is an active mentor and advisor and has led initiatives for a wide range of nonprofits including his tenure as Executive Board member for the NAACP through 2016.
What’s a global trend you are following where you see an opportunity or bright spot in this challenging macro environment?
I can think of several but the elephant in the room is the reemergence of AI, which is the space that we are still seeing massive private and corporate investment despite this past year’s macro lull.
I see automation as a key deflationary force across business, which is the right type of utility for the moment. However, I am keeping a watchful eye on the space to both identify beneficial opportunities as well as challenges that may create unintended consequences in our society
What’s an example of how SOM’s mission informed the way you build teams or drive strategies in your professional life?
There are a few.
My first leadership principle is that we collaborate to grow the pie and compete to divide it! I learned this concept from a Negotiations class taught by Barry Nalebuff during my first year and I saw it as a NorthStar for how our community coalesced to support one another in order to build a bigger pie for us all to enjoy.
As a leader I focus intensely on establishing trust between team members. My first goal is to connect team members to a common cause. If I am doing my job well I am empowering members to take ownership and pride in their work and understand that supporting the work of their team is an incredible force multiplier for our collective efforts. This is very much in the spirit of Barry’s principle. A second way SOM informed the way I lead, is the mastery of the integrated approach for doing business on both macro and micro settings.
From a macro standpoint business and society are intertwined and this has become more and more the case since the pandemic. We have seen the government and the general will of the people enable, propel, or restrict business. And understanding this lens allows for business leaders to be proactive rather than reactive during times of critical public debate. From a micro standpoint, as a leader I work in cross functional spaces. It is not good enough for business leaders of the day to only focus on their core responsibilities; they now need to know how to unlock greater synergies across a variety of functions. Through its integrated curriculum, SOM has been on the forefront of teaching this way of operating, which has allowed me to thrive, lead, and help others in highly ambiguous settings.
What’s an SOM experience that helped shape the way you understand business and society?
I was part of an SOM program taught by former Dean Jeffrey Garten as well distinguished economist and Senior Fellow Stephen Roach called Wall Street and Washington.
This program hosted Yale students from many different schools to engage with Wall Street c-suite executives as well DC policy leaders on overlapping issues driving our financial system. Along with the course work, we were fortunate to engage with these key figures in person and learn the dynamics driving strategic direction across both sectors.
What’s a favorite SOM memory, faculty member, mentor or class?
It would definitely be my first year international experience in South Korea. I spent 2 weeks in Japan and Korea over spring break with 20 classmates meeting business leaders and getting to know the two countries. I learned a ton about doing business in the cross cultural setting but the greatest value add was building lasting friendships with many peers.
What are you excited about for the year ahead?
Again, there are a few.
I am always excited to see America’s democratic process at work. Next year is a Presidential election year, so I am interested in seeing how public interest forms the topics of debate and creates change.
On the private sector side, we have seen massive tightening in US monetary policy to deal with inflation. This period has coincided with a rapid pace of innovation and disruption. I am excited to see the vast array of new tech projects that will emerge as financing loosens in the coming year.