Babak Mostaghimi

Alumnus Profile

Babak M

Babak Mostaghimi

Gleitsman Fellow
Harvard Kennedy School, MPP '10
Harvard Graduate School of Education, Ed.L.D. candidate, '18

What specific leadership lesson did you take away from any of the co-curricular sessions or other activities while a CPL fellow?

I remember being in DC with the Reynolds Fellows at the Academy of Achievement summit and hearing Colin Powell speak to us about leadership and empowering others. One particular piece that, seven years later, still sticks out to me is when he said that there is nothing more empowering to a family than a parent bringing home a paycheck on a Friday evening after a hard week of work and being able to take care of everyone. To this day, I remember the moment for its honesty and for reminding me that we can serve the world in so many ways, but that we have to keep an eye out for opportunities in all our roles as leaders in which we can serve those who work with us.

Talk about the elements of the fellowship experience that were most meaningful within your specific cohort.

I loved the Thursday evening co-curricular that brought before us so many remarkable leaders, people like Billy Shore, Ruth Simmons, and Nathan Swartz, and allowed us to engage in the real off the record conversations where we learned about their leadership successes and struggles. I feel like I am more prepared to be a leader now that I have real perspectives from those ahead of us about what they would have done similarly or differently if they had the chance especially with regards to moral and ethical choice points in their lives.

In what ways do you think the CPL Fellowship and HKS experiences have helped you get better at what you do or hope to do?

Over the last few years in the Mississippi Delta as a social activist and community program and school developer and now as an Ed.L.D. student back in Cambridge, the lessons from the CPL and HKS have really enabled me to serve others more effectively through servant leadership. The direct leadership development and the co-curricular programming from CPL forced a long overdue internal reflection about my own values, what leadership means, and how I can best be a public leader.