Hello Liberia! IBD’s Executive Director, Kristi Raube, Takes on a New Adventure

Kristi Teaching

Kristi Teaching

After more than 18 years dedicating herself and her career to academia, teaching, mentoring and guiding graduate students at Berkeley-Haas, IBD Executive Director Kristi Raube and her husband will depart early next year for their newest adventure — moving to Africa.  Kristi has accepted a position as the Peace Corps Country Director for the Republic of Liberia.  Before her Berkeley-Haas career, Kristi was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) and Togo, where she trained community groups in health and agriculture projects, and coordinated logistics for Peace Corps training and new volunteers.  During her career at Berkeley-Haas, Kristi focused on her passion for healthcare and social impact.  She is now returning full circle with her new position in Liberia.   We sat down recently with Kristi to get a better sense of how she feels about this once in a lifetime opportunity, as well as what she is leaving behind at UC Berkeley and Berkeley-Haas.

Kristi in Zaire during her time in the Peace Corps

Question: What excites you the most about your new position?

Kristi Raube: “There are so many reasons why this position is so exciting.  First, this is an opportunity for me to be closer to the problems that I have been passionate about my entire career.  In many ways, this position will allow me to keep doing the work I have been doing these last 19 years, except now I get to be embedded in the solutions, as I have never had an opportunity to stay longer than a couple weeks.

Rt. Hon. Dr. Ruhukana Rugunda, Prime Minister, Republic of Uganda

Rt. Hon. Dr. Ruhukana Rugunda, Prime Minister, Republic of Uganda

That’s why I really love the Peace Corps approach.  They have 3 goals:  The first is to train the Peace Corps Volunteers to meet the needs of the community.  Second, they want to promote understanding of the United States to the people that Peace Corps volunteers are serving. Finally, they want to promote understanding of the communities where the Peace Corps volunteers serve.  Their method is very grassroots as they become embedded in the communities -they don’t just parachute in to do work and leave.

Second, I will get to continue my work with young people, in fact, many of the volunteers are about the same age as Haas students.  

There have been a lot of challenges in Liberia.  The Civil War ended in 2002 and many years were lost for young adults.  There wasn’t an opportunity to focus on one’s education or professional development.  In this role, I will get the opportunity to work with 50 people on my Liberian staff.  I will get to groom and shape staff and offer them the opportunity to develop themselves in their professional lives.  

I also am very excited about doing something good in the world and perhaps making a small difference. “

Kristi on a recent trip to Tanzania to visit her oldest son, who is volunteering in the Peace Corps

Kristi in Tanzania this Nov. 2017. She was visiting her oldest son, who is volunteering in the Peace Corps.

Question:  What are you the most anxious about?

Kristi Raube:  “My decision is affecting our whole family and in some ways, it is not just me going to Liberia to follow my dream, it’s everyone.  My husband is leaving his job and home to take this leap of faith. He has never been to Sub-Sarah Africa and he is doing this because he believes in me.  It is an amazing thing to have a husband who is willing to do that. Our family will be very far away.  One of our three sons will be finishing college in May and the other just started this year.  They won’t have their “home” to go to while we are away. They will need to travel a long way to see their parents.”

Question:  What will you miss about Berkeley-Haas?

Kristi in Zaire during her time in the Peace Corp

Kristi in Zaire during her time in the Peace Corp

Kristi Raube:  “I have been at Haas for almost 19 years and I am eternally grateful for the trust and support that people have given to me to grow as a leader, manager and as a teacher.  It’s been a journey.  I have embraced the Berkeley Haas Defining Principles to always push myself to be better.

And, it’s all about the people.  I am also going to miss the students.  Every year, you get a new batch, and they are smart, curious, open, inquisitive, enthusiastic and want to make a difference in the world.  What a fantastic environment to be in!   I will miss my faculty colleagues who are always asking interesting questions.  You can go to a million interesting talks and intellectually it is a candy store playground. Last but not least, I will miss my colleagues and staff. I feel really lucky working with this very  committed, wonderful group of people.”

Kristi with the 2016 IBD Team Samai at the IBD Conference

Kristi with the 2016 IBD Team Samai at the IBD Conference

Question:  Will you take any of the Berkeley Haas Defining Principles to your new position?

Kristi Raube: “All Four! This position and work are definitely embodying the “Beyond Yourself” principle, as we are really giving of ourselves through the work.  I think at the very start, personally, I need to focus most  on “Confidence without Attitude.”  I have a lot to learn.  I don’t know that much about the Liberian culture.  I need to be humble in the way I approach my work and so I can bring understanding to the issues and background and the why and how people are.  That links to “Student Always”.  For me, part of this is the challenge and the opportunity to really learn something new and stretch myself.  That is really exciting.  I guess I am also “Questioning the Status Quo” by deciding to move across the world to take this job instead of retiring here at Haas.  In some ways, all the Haas Defining Principles are not that far away from what I will be doing even though it is a different organization and clearly a different setting.  The Defining Principles really resonate with me as they are the way I lead my life.”

Kristi in Tanzania November 2017

Question: Do you know what your position looks like on a daily basis?

Kristi Raube: “I don’t know yet, but I do know who my constituents are!  The first are the 125 Peace Corps Volunteers in Liberia.  They are in every county of the country.  A lot of my work will be understanding the work that they are doing and what are their issues and problems, and where are they having successes.  I am very excited about this part of the job.  I will be responsible for training, safety and enabling them to be able to do good work.

The second group is the Liberian staff.  I have heard over and over that the staff has this amazing energy, optimism, and hard work ethic. I also understand that the Liberian staff need to have the opportunity to grow in their skill sets and education.

Kristi reading a letter from home during her time in Zaire volunteering for the Peace Corps

The third group of constituents are the Government, NGOs, businesses and America Embassy Communities.  I will be the representative and the face of the organization and as we think about where we will put volunteers and what they will be doing, I will need to work with the Minister of Education, Minister of Health and the President of the Country.  I will work with the other NGO’s and the businesses working in Liberia.  As you know from my work with the Berkeley Haas Institute for Business and Social Impact, I am passionate about the role of business and creating social good.  I will look to see if there are interesting opportunities.”

Question: What one thing do you think the individual who will steps into the role of Executive Director at IBD should know?

Kristi Raube:  “When I took over IBD it was all about rebuilding, but now, the Staff, Students, and Faculty components are all there and super strong. There is such great work being done and students are having great experiences.  Does that mean that there is no opportunity for improvements?  No, absolutely not.  The great thing about me leaving is there is an opportunity for someone to come in with fresh eyes and to look at these issues and figure out better ways to do organize IBD.  I feel really happy and proud of the work that we have collectively done and the foundation that has been left behind.”

Kristi and IBD's David Richardson in 2017 with Monica Wiese and Pablo Seminaro Butrich - IBD Alumni '05 and '04

Kristi and IBD’s David Richardson in 2017 with Monica Wiese and Pablo Seminaro Butrich – Alumni ’05 and ’04

End of Interview

The impact Kristi Raube has made on the IBD program is deep and invaluable.  Her passion and dedication to the mission of IBD — helping clients redefine how they do business globally, and providing MBA students with the opportunity to build their international consulting skills — has shown in all of her work.   Over her long career at Berkeley-Haas, Kristi has touched in the most positive of ways the lives of hundreds of students, clients, and colleagues.   As we say goodbye, we have no doubt that Kristi’s new Peace Corps and Liberian colleagues will get to know her as we have and come to appreciate all that she will bring to her new position. Please join us in congratulating Kristi on her new move to Liberia at ibd@haas.berkeley.edu.

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Haas Defining Principles Beyond Berkeley

Dean Lyons and Dr. Carlos Prieto of Escuela Bancaria y Comercial discuss the importance of Defining Principles

Dr. Carlos Prieto, dean of Escuela Bancaria y Comercial, and Dean Lyons discuss the importance of Defining Principles

Even when we at Berkeley-Haas don’t travel, our Defining Principles do–making their way into other classrooms: Estudiantes para Siempre (Students Always) is one of the new “características distintivas” at a business school in Mexico; Confidence Without Attitude is now part of a course on public agency management at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo; and a Berkeley Haas magazine article is required reading in a business course at San Jose State University.

In November, Dean Rich Lyons sat down with Dr. Carlos Prieto, dean of Escuela Bancaria & Comercial (EBC), Mexico’s oldest private institution of higher education. The deans first discussed the importance of culture to business schools last May, when Prieto was on campus for the graduation of his son, Diego Prieto, MBA 12.

The culture issue of EBC's magazine

The culture issue of EBC’s magazine

When they met this winter, Prieto was finalizing a set of guiding principles for EBC: Estudiantes para Siempre, Impulsores del Progreso (Progress-Driven), Honestos Sociablement Responsables (Honest & Socially Responsible). This spring, Prieto sent an issue of EBC’s magazine featuring the school’s culture journey on its cover, asking “Who are we?” and “What are our principles?” In a letter to Lyons, Prieto wrote, “The Berkeley-Haas Defining Principles have not only had a profound impact in your own school, but they have outreached your own boundaries and have been a source of inspiration for other academic institutions.”

Closer to home, William Riggs, an assistant professor at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo shared the following tweet:

Riggs-tweet-final-for-web

Riggs earned his PhD in City and Regional Planning at Berkeley and met Lyons while working as a project manager on plans for the new Haas building.

“I see the Haas School’s Defining Principles as critical skills for future civic leaders as well as for business leaders,” says Riggs. “Public agency management tends to treat leadership and management as a dichotomy. I challenge my students to think beyond that and consider them in parallel.”

Back in the Bay Area, Herman “Buzz” Boschken, MBA 68, also weaves the Haas Defining Principles into his work. This professor of management and public policy at San Jose State makes a summer 2012 Berkeley Haas Magazine article on Haas culture required reading in his Principles of Management course. “The four principles serve as a basis for discerning a culture of competence and socially-aware decision-making in the firm,” says Boschken. “From this perspective, students can see that the character of decision-making hinges on an organization’s core values and a decision maker’s identity with that culture.”

Says Lyons, “Sometimes we forget that among all the world’s institutions of public higher ed, Berkeley is in so many ways a beacon, serving not just our own students but as an inspiration elsewhere. There is great purpose in that.”

Haas Culture Catches On–Notes to the Dean from Students and Alums

Ajay Kshatriya wrote to Dean Lyons about how Haas Defining Principles yield life lessons even for the very young

When Haas unveiled its Defining Principles back in fall 2010, it was not an announcement of a new direction but an articulation of a culture that already strongly defined Berkeley-Haas.

Kevin, Hill, MBA 07

One example: When Kevin Hill, MBA 07, returned to campus for his 5th reunion, he was so certain the Defining Principles had been in place back then, he bet on it with a classmate. Though he went home with a little less cash, he was glad to know his alma mater was clearly on to something.

From band names to life lessons for newborns, here are a few more stories Dean Rich Lyons has been told in recent months by students and alumni inspired by Haas culture:

Alicia Salmeron, BS 12

Alicia Salmeron, BS 12, reached out to the dean about being contacted by prospective students regarding her Haas experience. “I have never enjoyed writing long emails so much. All I needed to write about was the undeniably powerful culture that is Haas,” wrote Salmeron, now an account manager for Microsoft’s public sector. “The culture really did define my experience and is very much a part of what I bring to my work today.”

Showing the potential staying power of the Defining Principles, Ajay Kshatriya, MBA 11, wrote Lyons in August following the birth of his first child. Ajay had asked friends and family to share three values in life that they thought would be important to little Nikhil. The top three answers: (1) A focus on education, (2) a perspective greater than oneself, and (3) resilience through tough times. That prompted Ajay to write to the Dean: “I realized these represent our core Defining Principles…the Haas culture transcends generations.”

The Dean also heard from a Berkeley undergrad who took Solomon Darwin’s Open Innovation course. At the time, Henry Do, who will graduate in 2013, thought he would become a dentist, but his myriad experiences at Cal have launched him on a broader exploration. He wrote to Dean Lyons that his aim is to “make a larger impact” and to thank the Dean and Haas “for inspiring me to be more than another cog in the world,” adding, “The values I found most influential and inspirational to me (in my time at Berkeley) were the four principles that Haas holds its students accountable for.”

Members of a new full-time MBA band apparently had Haas culture on their minds when naming the group: David Haaselhoff and the Four Chord Principles. Guitarist Michael Nurick, MBA 14, says the name is a look at the ways the band embodies Haas Defining Principles. “We want to serve the Haas community and make it stronger, shatter the stereotype that top business school students can’t also be artists, learn to work as a team in an artistic context, and not take ourselves too seriously, while making this band the best it can be.”