“Bridge-builder, bike maker, problem-solver, former teacher turned tech-loving nerd.”
Hometown: Seattle, WA (most recently)
Fun Fact About Yourself: I’ve ridden my bicycle from San Francisco to Los Angeles for the past three years as a part of AIDS/LifeCycle, a fundraiser for the SF AIDS Foundation and LA LGBT Center. In that time, I’ve fundraised over $10,000 for the foundations.
Undergraduate School and Major: University of Puget Sound, Bachelor of Art in Economics
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: PipelineDeals, Product Marketing Director
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Startups offer an excellent opportunity to learn quickly and make an impact. When a business is growing fast, it can sometimes feel like fires are burning everywhere. I developed a reputation in my company as a quick learner willing to step into the breach and help out. As a result, I built deep relationships around the business and was promoted to become the company’s first product marketer.
As a product marketer for PipelineDeals, I led the go-to-market strategy for new products and features, managed pricing strategy, and helped educate co-workers and customers on the product. As a result of my leadership, I was able to drive changes to the product and business that increased the average revenue per account (ARPA) by 93% in my first year as a product marketer. Additionally, I’m particularly proud of the fact that I was able to earn a placement for PipelineDeals software on Gartner’s prestigious Magic Quadrant for Sales Force Automation. We were the only software company with no venture funding on the list.
What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Collaborative. My classmates at Tepper immediately began to collaborate and assist one another as soon as we met. For example, before the start of school, the class created a Slack workspace and WhatsApp thread to help one another coordinate the move to Pittsburgh, find housing and roommates, and navigate the start of the MBA program. Everyone that I’ve met has been smart, friendly, and eager to help one another.
I also met several classmates at a Reaching Out MBA (ROMBA) tech trek in San Francisco over the summer. It was incredible to how quickly we were able to connect and support one another. Tepper is known for having a close-knit community, and I’m incredibly proud to be a part of it.
Aside from your classmates, what was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? I was attracted to how Tepper combined quantitative rigor and leadership. I plan to continue to work in the technology industry, and I know that having a robust analytical skill set will be critical to my success. Tepper will help me enhance my data analytics skills and give me the tools I need to succeed as a leader in tech. Moreover, as a student at Carnegie Mellon, I have the opportunity to collaborate with students outside the business school and learn from world-class engineers and computer scientists. I can’t think of a better environment to learn and grow.
What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? I’m excited to participate in the Business & Technology and Marketing clubs. I spoke with many Tepper students and alums who were active in these clubs while I was applying to the school. I can’t wait to be engaged in these clubs. The Business & Technology club leads several recruiting treks that I plan to attend as well. Finally, I plan to be active in Out&Allied, a club for LGBT business students and their allies.
What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I began my career working for a non-profit. As a teacher through Teach For America, I’ve been helping to grow a bootstrapped software startup for the past five years. In my role as a marketer at a startup, I’ve worked in a variety of positions, managed cross-functional teams, and more than quadrupled the size of the business. I’m pursuing a MBA to build upon my foundation in sales and marketing, strengthen my analytical and leadership skills, and round-out my business knowledge in areas like operations and finance. I want to use my MBA to become a product marketer at a major tech company.
How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? My former manager, the company’s CRO and an MBA graduate, helped me make the decision to pursue an MBA. He showed me how an MBA would broaden my perspective on business, accelerate my career, and prepare me to take senior leadership roles. Additionally, he helped me map out my career goals and understand my career path. This process of articulating my career aspirations with my mentor convinced me that an MBA was worth the investment.
What other MBA programs did you apply to? Haas School of Business at California-Berkeley, Kellogg School at Northwestern University, Graduate School of Business at Stanford
How did you determine your fit at various schools? I knew that I wanted to go to a school that had a strong reputation for analytics, had great relationships in the tech industry, and a well-regarded career office. Additionally, I knew that I wanted to go to a school with a diverse student population. Finally, I prioritized schools whose values aligned with my own values. I used online business publications like Poets&Quants to do some initial research, and I also reached out to people in my network to speak with alumni from different MBA programs.
The two most valuable things I did to research schools were: (1) speak with current students and (2) visit and attend classes on campus. I found my conversations with current students to be clarifying, and it helped me understand which programs would be a good fit for me career-wise and culturally. Moreover, speaking with students helped me understand how I could contribute at the school. Throughout my process researching business schools, I was struck by how thoughtful and generous the Tepper students were. It was clear to me from the start that Tepper was a close-knit community. Visiting the campus and sitting in on a class cemented my decision to go to Carnegie Mellon. If you have the opportunity to visit schools, I’d recommend it.
What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? The defining moment of my life was when I taught math at an alternative high school in Denver through Teach For America (TFA). Growing up in Colorado, I was fortunate to have a supportive family, fantastic teachers, and the opportunity to pursue my passions. In contrast, many of my students faced significant structural challenges and discrimination in their lives. Teaching gave me first-hand knowledge of the systemic barriers and policies driving educational inequality in Colorado. It also provided me with strong relationships with students from different ethnic, socioeconomic, and religious backgrounds.
My experience as a teacher has shaped my life in several keys ways. First, I’ve continued to work with and mentor students from disadvantaged backgrounds. As a leader at my former startup, I led my coworkers to volunteer with Washington DECA (a high school business club) and I also volunteered with a local LGBT-youth charity. In addition to volunteerism, my experience as a teacher has made me more aware of implicit bias and what’s necessary to build a more equitable workplace. It’s not enough to simply state that diversity is a value – it takes work to build a diverse and inclusive community where everyone has an opportunity to succeed.
What do you plan to do after you graduate? I plan to work in a product marketing or project management role at a major tech company. I think that software and technology can have an enormously positive impact on the world, and I’m inspired to work at a major tech company with a global impact.
Where do you see yourself in five years? I want to combine the experience I gain working for a larger tech company, my entrepreneurial experience, and my interest in education, to help grow an education technology company.