Archive for November, 2011


November 23rd, 2011 by under Smith Life. No Comments.

‘Tis the season to be thankful for all we have, and I personally am thankful for too much to put into words. It’s been a great year+ back in DC, and I would never have been able to succeed without the love and support of my family.

While I’d love to blog about my family and Baxter, this is a Smith-themed experience and I think this space is better served by my version of “What I’m thankful for at Smith”:

  • I’m thankful for the friendships I’ve made at Smith, starting with team building at orientation and continuing through today.
  • I’m thankful for the opportunity to learn beside military and police veterans who risked their lives for our country and society.
  • I’m thankful for the opportunity to study in the DC area near almost all of my target employers.
  • I’m thankful for a faculty that does their part to improve Smith’s rankings, while also trying to become more avid members of the Smith community.
  • I’m thankful for the incredible staff throughout the Smith school – from Rudy’s to the MPO, they make our experience that much better.
  • Finally, I’m thankful for the opportunity to play a role in a Smith community that continues to evolve and improve.

Most of all, of course, I’m thankful for days with light traffic on I-395 so I can get home quickly to my wife and dog for dinner.



PepsiCo CEO@Smith

November 16th, 2011 by under Marketing, Smith Life. No Comments.

Al Carey '74 presents at CEO@Smith

I’m an unabashed Coca-Cola fan, the kind that brings his own Coke to Smith everyday so that I don’t have to drink the Pepsi from Rudy’s. That said, I’m now a big fan of Al Carey ‘74, CEO of PepsiCo Americas Beverages and Smith School alum.

On Tuesday Mr. Carey visited the Smith School for our CEO@Smith series, giving a truly stimulating speech about his career and some of the innovative leadership and sustainability programs he as implemented at PepsiCo and Frito-Lay. The presentation was eye-opening on many levels, but I personally was most impressed by his commitment to PepsiCo’s vision of “Performance with Purpose”.

PepsiCo’s commitment to their 4 P’s of Products, Partners, People and the Planet is very different than your standard 4 P’s of marketing. Mr. Carey focused the majority of his presentation of PepsiCo’s innovations in sustainability (Planet), including the revamp of their truck fleet and installation of energy and water saving equipment at their plants, as well as his insights into leadership (People). Here are some highlights and quotes that I found particularly enlightening:

  • You can make healthier products without remaking the brand – In the context of Tostitos and other Frito-Lay products PepsiCo has made subtler improvements in the healthiness of their products, while learning that by not over-marketing these changes they can acquire new customers without alienating old ones.
  • Servant leadership is about removing obstacles – Mr. Carey presented an inverted leadership structure in which executives were at the bottom of the pyramid, serving the rest of the organization in their goal of serving consumers.
  • “The best leaders are optimistic leaders” – Mr. Carey’s affinity for the question “what do you think” and openness to creativity and the ideas of less experienced employees is really refreshing.

Altogether CEO@Smith was an excellent experience that left even this diehard Coke fan respecting the direction and leadership of PepsiCo.



A Week at Smith

November 12th, 2011 by under Marketing, Smith Clubs, Smith Life. No Comments.

This past week was the kind of experience you come to expect from Smith, with a diverse range of out-of-class opportunities mixed in with the standard course load. Here’s just a sampling of some of the highlights:

  • Monday Morning – Undergraduate Mock Interviews
  • Monday Evening – Club Presidents Meet to Discuss Hospitality Club
  • Friday – Inaugural Meeting of the Marketing Communications Student Advisory Council

What better way to interact with our Smith School undergrad neighbors, a constituency we so rarely engage with. I was immediately reminded of my recruiting role at my prior job with HEI, and what differentiated candidates from each other. It was clear that to me that the two most common needs were practice and confidence – clearly the former helps create the later.

On Monday evening the Hospitality & Travel Club had its much anticipated day with the Smith club presidents, and not surprisingly we were approved to move forward as part of the Smith community. The next task – make the hospitality industry a bigger part of the Smith community, not only with the students, but with the professors and administration so that we can better engage alumni and local employers.

The week ended with the inaugural meeting of Office of Marketing Communications Student Advisory Council (yes, we need an acronym). The council is the ideal cross-section of Smith MBAs, including both cohorts, international, part-timers and both men and women, and it’s clear the group will be vocal in the sharing of ideas. Excited to see how we can enhance Smith’s internal and external communications.

This week was certainly a great cross-section of uniquely Smith experiences.