In his keynote speech at Isenberg’s first large Boston alumni event since 2019, Rob Hale (right), co-founder and president of Granite Telecommunications, explained how he bounced back after the failure of his first company, which went bankrupt at the end of the dot-com bubble in 2002. He offered three leadership insights from his own journey:
Speaking at the Boston Public Library on September 29 to an audience of alumni, friends of Isenberg, and students in the school’s new Dean’s Academy, Hale reminisced about the first time he raised money for Easterseals as a student at Deerfield Academy: “I loved it. It was intoxicating. I raised $1,538 and realized that supporting causes and getting others to help is a great feeling.”
Hale has continued pursuing that feeling and prioritizing giving throughout his career running communications companies. Granite, which pulls together voice, data, and wireless services for 17,000 business customers, has been ranked by the Boston Business Journal as one of the most philanthropic companies in the state, having donated more than $27 million to Massachusetts-based charitable organizations in 2020.
After appearing on the cover of a Forbes special issue on the 400 wealthiest Americans just two days before his appearance at Leaders of Impact, Hale’s reflections on leading with authenticity were echoed in remarks from two awardees from the Isenberg community.
“If you want to make change, you have to be a healthy agitator,” said Ken Bouyer (pictured in photo at left, standing on the right), EY Americas director of inclusiveness recruiting, in his comments upon being presented with the award. Bouyer, who has spoken at two Isenberg Inclusive Leadership Summits, added that all good leaders stand on the shoulders of those who preceded them. “There are defining moments and defining people.”
Zaileen Janmohamed ’05 MBA/MS (standing on the left in photo), SVP and head of commercial development and innovation for the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Properties, agreed that being a “leader of impact” requires recognizing the contributions of others. “It’s one thing to say, ‘we should create a class on women in business,’” she said, referring to an Isenberg class whose creation she spearheaded and helped launch in 2021. “You also need the person who listens and moves with urgency to bring the idea to life.”
Ryan Salame ’15, CEO of FTX Digital markets and founder of Lenox Eats, a cooperative of restaurants in the community where he grew up, was also named as an award winner.
After the program, the attendees and speakers moved to a reception in the library’s Guastavino room, where they mingled and chatted over drinks and hors d’oeuvres. One recent alumna, Skye Lovell ’22, said she came to the Leaders of Impact event specifically to meet Janmohamed. Lovell served as co-president of the virtual Women of Isenberg Conference during her senior year, and Janmohamed had participated as a panelist. “She was such a presence remotely,” said Lovell, who is now an account executive at Epsilon. “When I saw that I’d have a chance to come here and meet her in person, I had to do it.”
Maggie Mulligan ’21, who served as Women of Isenberg Conference president two years ago, came to the event to reconnect with her peers as well as to network. “We were virtual for most of my last two years of school, so I’m really excited to see people in person,” she said. Mulligan is working as a customer success manager at Tarmika.
First-year members of the Isenberg Dean’s Academy, a new initiative supporting outstanding students with weekly seminars and industry meetings, attended the event and mingled with the crowd, introducing themselves to faculty and alumni, including Bob Epstein ’67 (right), co-owner and president of Horizon Beverage. They also enjoyed a special pre-event meeting with Rob Hale, Ken Bouyer, Zaileen Janmohamed, Dean Anne Massey, and Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy, where they discussed leadership and careers.
When the students asked Janmohamed what it meant to her to be a leader of impact, she answered them with honesty and pragmatism: “I think being a leader of impact starts with knowing yourself.”
Click here for more photos of Leaders of Impact 2022.