When I graduated from Stanford, I had the opportunity to travel with an elite amateur team doing bike races, or I could go join a structural design firm in Pittsburgh. That was my choice. I chose to race bikes.
I love the sport. I love the speed of it, the excitement of it. It’s a very tactical, strategic form of endurance competition.
It’s bit of a cliché, but the most memorable moment was at the starting line at the Sydney Olympics, as the clock beeped down to the start of the race.
I always knew there was going to be something after bike racing. That’s what got difficult toward the tail end of my career: knowing when to stop. I knew that the later in life I pushed embarking on a new career, the more difficult it would be. HBS seemed like an exciting place to make that transition.
I didn’t know exactly what I would do after HBS. I was very interested in staying in the business of cycling. But to be perfectly frank, the sport was so deeply corrupted by doping, I ultimately concluded it was something I didn’t want to be a part of. I went a more traditional route: consulting.
The sport has been very much challenged with the issue of doping, but it’s made great progress. An organization like USA Cycling, which has a leadership role, must be very clear in the language that is used: that doping is completely unacceptable; that it is cheating; that it is wrong; that there’s no place for it.
I’ve wrestled with what leadership is and what type of leader I can be. I don’t lead through charisma or force of character in the way that I thought leaders always did. Professor Joshua Margolis’s class helped me see beyond that. It’s possible to be an effective leader and an introvert.
We’ve spent a lot of time changing the brand of USA Cycling, which has been seen as bureaucratic, slow, and overly focused on elite racing. We want to be more focused on the membership, and progressive, responsive, and willing to take on important causes.
I am trying to make myself very approachable and open, so I spend a lot of time every day directly answering emails. I’ve read several thousands of emails from our membership in my first six months here.
I still ride regularly, and it’s great that I don’t have to make an excuse for it. It’s understood why the head of USA Cycling would ride his bike.
Class of MBA 2004, Section D