I spent three years building and leading MBAs Across America (MBAx), a domestic Peace Corps for MBAs that began with four friends and a simple question: what if we used our education not just to make a buck but to make a difference?
That question took us 8,000 miles across the country in 2013, where we worked with incredible small business owners who changed our lives. The journey convinced me and my cofounder to disappoint our families and stay on the road for three years, enlisting 68 students from the nation's top business schools to travel 40,000 more miles across America to 41 cities and towns — from Detroit and New Orleans to White Sulphur Springs, Montana and Pikeville, Kentucky — to work with 73 entrepreneurs who were creating good jobs and solving big problems.
Things were rolling along so smoothly that we decided to put ourselves out of business in 2016. Now the model is open-source and part of the curriculum at Harvard. All these folks are proving that nobody needs to wait for anybody's permission to roll up their sleeves and get to work.
I stand in front of folks around the world and tell them the best stories I've got -- things I've seen and done, saints and monsters I've run into, questions I've asked myself and/or answered, things I've come to believe enough to count as gospel. I try to offer truth and hope at the same time, which is hard some days. I began this work, against my will, at five: easter speech in my grandfather's church. Over the next 25 years, I gave some truly awful speeches, even forgot some mid-speech. I was able to remember all the words to my Class Day speech at Harvard Business School, my TED Talk (The Gospel of Doubt), and the talk I gave to open for President Barack Obama at SXSW. He arrived late, which I don't hold against him.
I'm working on my first book, There Will Be No Miracles Here, which you can read (hope you do) when I finish writing it and it's published by Riverhead Books. Fall 2018 unless things get crazy.
I studied Politics at Yale, Business at Harvard, and Life in Oak Cliff, Texas.
That's all I've got for now.