Dear fellow alumni,
It’s hard to believe, but July marked my one-year anniversary as dean of Kellogg. This milestone has inspired a great deal of reflection as I look back on the past 12 months and look forward to where we’re taking Kellogg next.
Without a doubt, the highs this year have been the amazing people I’ve met in Chicago, Evanston and around the world. The passion and enthusiasm that people feel for Kellogg is truly infectious. The hardest but most gratifying work has involved the processing of vast amounts of data, spending hours listening to and integrating perspectives across many different stakeholder groups, building trust with those who care about Kellogg and its future, and making the decisions about what we will stand for going forward.
Given the current competitive environment within business education and higher education, the stakes are high. Under my watch, Kellogg has to re-envision itself in light of 21st-century challenges and opportunities — strategically, operationally, even as a brand. But we’ve done this before, and I have full confidence that we can do it again.
One of our big recent decisions involved the tagline for Kellogg’s brand campaign: “Think Bravely.” As I reflect on this past year, I am reminded that this is so much more than a phrase. “Think Bravely” speaks to a great legacy, a great future and a great community. It also speaks to me personally, as I have taken on an aggressive strategic and fundraising agenda, pushed our community to think more broadly about business education and Kellogg’s role in it, and put myself forward every day to share distinct opinions, views and beliefs.
I have come to understand that in business, thinking bravely means that you are willing to overcome the status quo and take a stand on something in an unexpected way. Thinking bravely is about personal clarity, public conviction and accepting the vulnerability that comes with that. It’s having the courage to forge truly meaningful partnerships with others, incorporate their perspectives and make the hard decisions that not only move organizations forward, but help solve the tough problems facing society. It means believing that business can be bravely led, passionately collaborative and world changing.
This is what the 21st century needs. And this is what Kellogg stands for. Think bravely with me in our new era.