With a background in marketing
consulting and previous employment at Arthur Andersen and
MarketBridge, Hayden's résumé doesn't mirror those of most
not-for-profit executives. In his current position as director
of global programs at the U.S.-based conservation organization
Rare, the Kellogg School graduate has seen tremendous value
in applying his MBA for the greater good.
"There's a perception that
the skill set of not-for-profit is different from the private
sector," Hayden says. "But the things I do are very much the
types of things a management consultant does: to focus on
deliverables, to set a plan with deadlines, to do smart analysis.
Increasingly, not-for-profits are going to be held to higher
financial and organizational standards that an MBA-type of
profile can provide."
Rare, Hayden found a forum to merge his professional talents
with the noble goal of making the world a better place. Rare
works with local groups in environmentally threatened areas
to build awareness about conservation and develop concrete plans
for change, addressing social and economic factors as much as
scientific ones. Rare's first project, back in 1974, was the
now-famous "Save the Whales" campaign.
As global program director,
Hayden monitors 50 international grassroots social marketing
campaigns to make sure they're meeting their goals. He also
serves as project manager for Rare initiatives that are cross-functional
or that are too big for any one group to take on.
With about 50 employees,
Rare qualifies as a small nonprofit. "But the leverage of
the organization is much bigger than that," says Hayden, a
graduate of the Kellogg Part-Time
MBA Program. "For every Rare person, we have three people
in partner organizations working on our activities." Those
partners include environmental heavyweights like The Nature
Conservancy and World Wildlife Foundation. "We are successful
because of our partners," notes Hayden, but these relationships
also validate Rare's own successes, since "organizations that
are at the top are choosing to work with us."
Rare's efforts have been
recognized widely, including by Fast Company, which
bestowed its "Top 25 Social Capitalists" designation on Rare
in 2005, 2006 and 2007.
One of Hayden's current projects is rareplanet.org,
a suite of online tools that is set to launch in July. The
site includes three main components: a Facebook-style online
collaboration tool for Rare's campaign managers; an online
"threat reduction" community that convenes experts to address
specific conservation threats; and a performance management
tool, which allows Rare's campaign managers and stakeholders
(including donors) to monitor each program's progress.
Hayden's work at Rare allows
him to pair traditional notions of success along with the
more lasting value of significance. "I really do believe every
single day that I'm making some kind of contribution to solving
one of the most important issues that's facing us in the next
50 years," Hayden says. "Rare is addressing questions like
how we live on earth, how we interact with the earth and the
environment, and how we're going to change our behavior going
That's pretty heady stuff, compared to typical
MBA courses like operations management or basic finance. But
Hayden points out that the Kellogg team-oriented perspective
— and key courses and professors, like business strategy
Mazzeo and technology with Anthony
Paoni — formed a solid basis for his work today.
"At Kellogg, probably the
most important thing I learned was the focus on time management,
getting things done while managing conflicting commitments,"
Hayden says. "The second-most important was the focus on teamwork
and collaboration. In the real world you can't be a superhero
who takes care of everything; you have to work with others
and trust other people to make things happen."