What is your career background and have you always been interested in the social impact space?
I’ve been fortunate, and had a chance to work on social impact projects directly after college. When I joined The Boston Consulting Group in 2009, the U.S. Treasury had just hired BCG as advisors to the Obama Administration’s task force on the auto industry. Several of my projects involved supporting the Obama team’s economic recovery work—or a major auto company directly, as it looked to introduce more fuel-efficient vehicles to the U.S. market. A BCG colleague introduced me to the incoming CFO of President Obama’s re-election campaign in 2011. That led to nine years working in “Obamaworld”—on the 44th President’s second inauguration, as a policy advisor to a Cabinet member, and finally at the Obama Foundation, with several Obama-aligned campaigns and startups in between. A high point from my Administration days was serving on a White House working group supporting Detroit after its 2013 municipal bankruptcy, bringing senior officials back to the city with me, and retracing as a public servant my consulting work on Michigan’s economic recovery.
Early this year, a former collaborator (also a Booth alumnus) made a compelling pitch asking me to lead a new innovation team at Mayo Clinic. As the Mayo Clinic’s work to combat COVID-19 ramped up, I became director of the Mayo Clinic Innovation Exchange, which provides health-care entrepreneurs, innovators within Mayo Clinic, and external startups with the medical and business insights to commercialize their innovations. Several of my BCG friends and mentors have also gone on to become health-care entrepreneurs or investors, so it has been a full-circle experience to collaborate with them on efforts to make healthcare more resilient in a challenging year for global health.