Jess Newman

Alumna Profile

Jess Newman

Jess Newman

Dubin Fellow
Harvard Kennedy School, MPA ’17
MIT Sloan School of Management, MBA ’17
Raw Materials Procurement, Anheuser Busch InBev.

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

One of my favorite takeaways came from a discussion that a Dubin Fellow organized with CPL Leader-in-Residence Linda Mason. She spoke candidly about the challenges of finding work-life balance and urged each of us to develop a “kitchen cabinet” of friends and coworkers to advise us on major life decisions. She noted that HKS and CPL is an amazing place to start building this group of advisor-friends and practice being vulnerable and mindful about major decisions. Her overarching message was that there is no need to make decisions alone – sometimes others can see things in us that we can’t see ourselves or bring unique resources to bear. For many of us, myself included, the Dubin Fellows became my kitchen cabinet.

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

Being a Dubin Fellow showed me what it means to make space for people week after week no matter what stress or craziness you are experiencing in your own life. Wednesday nights were a sacred time where the “Dubies” came together and focused on our cohort. Through workshopping personal and professional challenges in Dream Trusts, to helping Fellows deal with loss and trauma, to celebrating joys like weddings and new jobs, we were there for each other no matter what. No other experience at HKS so effectively brought diverse students together and turned them into a family. The best part of the fellowship experience is knowing you have a home, not only during your time at HKS, but for life.

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?

I have spent most of professional and academic career working on pressing environmental and social challenges in agriculture. I have come to believe that we need dedicated environmentalists working in major food and beverage companies to drive lasting change. As a result, I am joining Anheuser Busch InBev, the largest beer company in the world, as part of their Raw Materials Procurement Team in North America. I will work closely with crop scientists and barley farmers on a range of issues in Idaho, Montana, and South Dakota. Above and beyond technical skills, my time at HKS helped me become more comfortable with difficult conversations, uncertainty, and persuasion. It gave me tools for diagnosing situations and instigating change. More than anything else, HKS taught me the power of listening. I will need all of these skills and more as I start my journey as a manager. Many of these lessons can be traced back to Erika Carlsen, the incredible Dubin Fellowship Program Manager at CPL.