- Chief strategy officer of VICE Media, leading corporate strategy and business development.
- Former managing director and head of content and entertainment in the Media Investment Banking Group at J.P. Morgan, providing capital markets and mergers and acquisitions advisory services to companies across the media sector.
- DJ Fesones /Iron Man Productions, DJ, & music producer.
What elements of your personal and professional life would be helpful to you in your service as a trustee?
The varied and diverse experiences I’ve had throughout my career—from media and finance to law and music—have informed my multidisciplinary approach to strategy, finance, and planning that I’m looking forward to bringing to the Oberlin Board of Trustees. I recently left a successful career in investment banking to join VICE because I wanted to take all the knowledge, skills, and experiences I have gained and use them at purpose-driven organizations I am passionate about. It is with that same intention that I hope to join the Oberlin Board of Trustees.
What do you spend your time working on and thinking about?
Given my role at VICE and where we are situated at the spear's tip in a constantly evolving media ecosystem, my primary focus has been on thinking through how we are evolving as an organization to continue to be relevant and engaging to our young audience across a multitude of platforms. Trends in culture, business operations, news, film, television, digital and more are all part of what I’m thinking about each day. Working through this unique moment in media and technology builds strength and determinism to succeed through innovation. I’m lucky to have a had a solid grounding in media, strategy, finance, and law that I can now bring to the companies and entities that I deeply care about.
What else do you want your fellow alumni to know about you as they consider how they will vote?
My liberal arts experience at Oberlin was pivotal in helping shape my values and succeed in so many varied businesses throughout my career. It is time to bring some of the things I’ve gained back to Oberlin. At VICE, I’m surrounded by a young, diverse workforce teaching me every day how best to connect to future generations. I’m hoping to bring some of these same voices into the Board of Trustees at Oberlin.
What attracted you to Oberlin?
There were a number of factors, including the fact that it offers a strong liberal arts education coupled with a world-class conservatory, as well as the history of and commitment to progressive thinking and action. Also, coming from a large public high school in New York City, I was looking for an opportunity to experience something very different from the environment I had grown up in. Coming to Oberlin really gave me the space to grow and learn how to think very differently.
What about Oberlin resonates with you today?
The breadth of the education and the experiences and the relationships I gained at Oberlin is something that has affected me across a number of dimensions. One thing that continues to resonate is the way Obies are able to think with an interdisciplinary approach. It is something that has benefited me greatly over the years. To perform at the highest levels in any profession, you can't just be technically proficient at one thing, you constantly need to learn, to retool and approach things in many different ways, all of which were built on skills I learned at Oberlin.
Tell me of one specific instance in which you wished to understand someone with different values from yours. What happened?
In my previous job, I was often working with company leadership and boards of directors providing financial advisory services at the highest levels and needed to build a culture of trust and respect. Often that leadership had values that differed from my own. Building a relationship took time, transparency, and a mutual level of respect. I focused on shared goals and vision. Even if we had differing approaches to solutions, we could often bridge to a compromised approach. You also have to have clear lines. In certain circumstances, there are times when you cannot bridge that gap in values, and you need to know how to draw that line and stand in your truth.
Service on the Oberlin College Board of Trustees represents a significant commitment of time and effort. What draws you to this service?
I am at a point in my career and life where I have gained what I believe to be valuable skills and experiences. I reached this place in my career because of my Oberlin education, and it is time I put those skills to work for Oberlin.
Share an Oberlin experience that shaped who you are today.
A faculty member took me aside one day and said I had real talent as a writer and should think about a career in academia or as a writer. I said she must be confused. All my life, teachers said I should stick to science and math. She gave me the permission to reinvent my narrative, to own my creative side, and to break societal limitations, assumptions, and expectations. I often think about how one conversation can change the course of a person's life.