CDO Culture Wall Quotes

Learn what our culture champions had to say about their chosen tile!

Tiles 1-3

“One Sloan”

Culture Champion: TBD



“Integrating the left and right brain since 1861”

Culture Champion: Alyssa McMahon

“I feel that ‘integrating the left and right brain since 1861’ represents our students in their intellectual and innovating way of thinking and solving problems.  I also personally connect with this tile, as I approach my work with both an organized and creative mindset.”

-Alyssa McMahon, Marketing Coordinator




“It starts with empathy”

Culture Champion: Heather Holland

“During DesignWorks this fall, the design consultancy Continuum said something that resonated strongly with me: empathy is the foundation of good design. Good design isn’t just about ingenuity – it’s about understanding the user’s experiences, goals and challenges. It’s one of the reasons I’m so grateful to all those who have shared their experiences with us. Those conversations, surveys, and focus groups are the foundation for building something great!”

– Heather Holland, Sr. Associate Director, Operations, Marketing & Communications

Tiles 4-6

“Ikigai: a reason for being”

Culture Champion: Shauna LaFauci Barry

“I like this intentional and holistic approach to career exploration. The focus on using your strengths and talents to fill a need int he world is aligned with my values.”

Shauna LaFauci Barry, Associate Director of Alumni Engagement and Strategy


“Binary is the enemy of creativity”

Culture Champion: Kristen Niarchos

“I am inspired by both the work we’re doing to re-imagine career services, as well as supporting the unique journey of each of our students. Life’s many decisions rarely present a clear set of options and we can unlock new possibilities when we look beyond what we initially thought were our only choices. I encourage our students to examine the nuances of their career interests and experiences so they can take full advantage of the opportunities at Sloan.”-

Kristen Niarchos, Associate Director, MBA Career Education

“Bring your vulnerability” 

Culture Champion: Christie Reynolds

“The idea of bringing your vulnerability with you to the work is a concept that strongly resonates with me. I’m inspired by @brenebrown’s work on vulnerability. Her research shows that vulnerability is strength, not weakness, and is the birthplace of creativity and innovation. That’s why I’m so inspired by working with Sloanies. They are constantly experimenting with new solutions to solve complex problems that challenge society. That creativity, openness to failing and trying again is inspiring to see. It’s one of the reasons that I enjoy advising students on their careers. Being a thought partner, sounding board, support and resource is incredibly rewarding.”

– Christie Reynolds, Associate Director, MBA Career Education

Tiles 7-9

“We help you understand how others see you”

Culture Champion: Kerri Tierney

“Having been at MIT Sloan for almost 10 years, I continue to be impressed that we work with students and alumni who walk into Sloan with an already amazing breadth of skills and experiences. In our roles, we have the opportunity to work with these impressive yet humble individuals as they recognize their strengths and what they are able put out into the world. The privilege of being a part of a mission that empowers people to be ‘the innovative leaders that improve the world’ is a large part of why I love my work.“

– Kerri Tierney, Sr. Associate Director, Technology


Culture Champion: Susan Todd

“Everyone is a catalyst in their own way. I am a catalyst in my daily work as I spark the connections between our hiring companies and our students.”

– Susan Todd, Associate Director, Recruiting

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are
– E.E. Cummings”

Culture Champion: Devin Murphy

”My career path after business school was fairly non-traditional, and I love working with our students to help them find what they are most passionate about, how their inherent skills transfer and where they will make the greatest impact.”

– Devin Murphy, Associate Director, MBA Career Education

Tiles 10-12

“You are one in 33 million!!!”

Culture Champion: Grace Kimball

“I love the message this tile conveys: that everyone is unique! Whether you’re a student, staff, or faculty, MIT is a place that celebrates and encourages each person’s individuality.”

– Grace Kimball, CDO Coordinator

“Assume good intentions”

Culture Champion: Anne Costa

“I strive to assume good intentions in every interaction. It helps me stayed engaged and curious about the other person’s perspective, which leads to improved communication and collaboration.”

– Anne Costa, Associate Director, MBA Career Education

“Humility is a SuperPower!”

Culture Champion: Emily James

“Employers are looking to hire people who not only have achieved great things, but who talk about their accomplishments in a way that provides insight into how they collaborate with, inspire and lead others. Humility doesn’t suggest a lack of confidence; on the contrary, it showcases confidence in your achievements and a deep respect for colleagues who, undoubtedly, played a huge role in helping you meet those goals. Let your humility shine!”

– Emily James, Associate Director, MFin Career Advising

Tiles 13-15

“You are the C.E.O. of your own life”

Culture Champion: Laura Maloney

“Be empowered as the CEO of your own life! Determine your vision and strategies; implement, evaluate, and adjust as needed. Lean on your ’Board of Directors’ (classmates, faculty, alumni, former colleagues, and the CDO!) for guidance. When Sloanies approach their career with the same gusto to how they would run a business, there’s no limit to the success they can achieve.”

– Laura Maloney, Associate Director, MFin Career Education

“Connect with each other”

Culture Champion: Carla Akalarian

“Connecting with each other – For me, it’s the pathway to developing meaningful relationships and being collaborative in a way that’s fulfilling and productive. When we get together informally for a walk or a cup of coffee, great ideas often arise spontaneously and without effort. Connection is my highest value, and it’s wonderful to be in a culture that embraces and supports this value.”

– Carla Akalarian, Associate Director, Executive MBA Career Development

“Love Mondays”

Culture Champion: Danielle Cañas

“To me, ‘Love Mondays’ is all about embracing a new week and new opportunities for learning, connecting, and contributing. It’s a fresh start that helps me set the tone for the rest of my week. It’s also a wonderful reminder to be present, take each day as it comes and enjoy it!”

– Danielle Cañas, Associate Director, Recruiting


Tiles 16-18

“We hang out with the nicest of geniuses”

Culture Champion: Anna Kerchner

“This tile really captures how lucky we are to work with the best and the brightest. Also, the monsters are adorable!”

– CDO Assistant, Anna Kerchner

“Collaboration requires closeness”

Culture Champion: Tracy Wishon

“I have the unique opportunity in my role at the CDO to work closely with my students, my program department, my professors, alumni, the admissions team, and many other departments within MIT Sloan. I love working 1-1 with each of these groups of people but really my favorite part is getting to know each of these individuals on a personal level. It’s important to me to develop long-lasting personal relationships with those around me to help get to the root of the problem we are trying to solve together and to have fun doing it!”

-Tracy Wishon, MBAn Career Advisor

“Transformations over transactions”

Culture Champion: Henry Hannon

“‘Transformations Over Transactions’ has a dual meaning for the me. As an individual, I dive deep into data, collaborating with Sloan to build out and improve our reporting. As a team, we elevate that philosophy to another level. The CDO’s core mission is to connect students with their future, providing tools and insights that go beyond ‘transaction’ to enable ‘transformation’. This is why I’m so excited to be a part of the CDO: our mission will always be to seek out new, better paths.”

– Henry Hannon, Assistant Director, Data Analysis

Tiles 19-21

“Clear is kind, unclear is unkind”

Culture Champion: Gayle Grader

“Clear is Kind. Unclear is Unkind.” is a mantra that I live by every day. It has guided me in how I provide perspective and opinions. It is my north star. It helps me be truthful even when telling the truth may be the more difficult option. It allows me to hear feedback, even when the feedback can be hard to hear. With our students sometimes, we have moments when they are seeking a candid perspective.  This mantra enables me to provide that perspective from a place of real caring.”

-Gayle Grader, Director of Executive Career Education

“Powerful questions unlock the future”

Culture Champion: Bryn Panee Burkhart

Senior Associate Director for Executive Career Development, Bryn Panee-Burkhart: “In the CDO, students and alumni come to us seeking advice and expertise on all things related to career management. Before sharing our knowledge and perspective, asking powerful questions helps our students and alumni to understand where they are at in their career process and enables them to clarify their strengths, priorities and values. Powerful questions focus on who they are, where they are going and what is possible.
Questions like “What’s most important to you?,” “How does this align with your goals?”, “What’s the real challenge here for you?”, “What matters most?” or “What do you truly want?” can bring revelations that had not previously been explored or considered. Our students and alumni are naturally resourceful, creative and know what is best for them. Giving them time to reflect allows them to own their decision making. When I hold up the mirror, they are better able to see what is possible for them and can more confidently choose their next steps.”

– Bryn Panee Burkhart, Sr. Associate Director, Alumni Career Development

“Don’t forget to laugh together”

Culture Champion: Julie Papp

“‘Don’t Forget To Laugh Together’ really resonates with me as I feel so privileged to be a part of such an amazing, smart, hard-working team of colleagues who love challenging the status quo and are always driving for excellence (very similar to our students!). However, with that sometimes comes what feels like an overwhelming amount to get done; it is in those particularly high stress times that we need to take a breath, have a laugh and be grateful that we get to do what we do every day.”

– Julie Papp, Sr. Associate Director, MBA Career Education