I have enjoyed an unusual leadership career in business, government, and nonprofit organizations. Until recently, I served as the Executive Director of the San Francisco campus of the Hult International Business School. Hult operates campuses in Boston, London, Dubai, and Shanghai, as well as San Francisco. The Financial Times ranks Hult in the top five business schools worldwide for international business and the Economist rated Hult as the best investment (highest ROI) of any business school in the world. The Hult Prize awards $1 million each year to a promising social entrepreneur.
I founded or co-founded three companies: RedLink, Reputation Networks, and Alibris, once the premier global exchange for used, rare, and out-of-print books. I raised the money and hired the team that built the company and served as CEO for ten years. In 2005 Alibris was named to the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 and to the Silicon Valley Fast 50 list of North America’s fastest-growing technology companies. The New York Times declared that Alibris had “radically changed the buying and selling of used books”, and I was named a Finalist for Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award. National Public Radio produced a brief history of Alibris in 2004 that you can listen to here. I have also had the privilege to advise some terrific entrepreneurs, including Kiyo Kubo, Todd Carter, Georgios Papadopoulos, Art Gensler, and Mike Rippey.
I also founded a federal agency. As President, Bill Clinton appointed me to serve as Assistant Secretary of Labor. Following Senate confirmation, I created the Office of the American Workplace under Labor Secretary Robert Reich to promote high performance workplaces. Prior to my government service, I advised the leaders of large and often troubled companies as a partner with Waterman & Company and as a consultant with the San Francisco office of McKinsey & Company. I served as Managing Director of Kaiser Permanente, where I led a restructuring of Kaiser Hospitals. We decided to abandon plans to build a hospital across the street from the Alibris offices in Emeryville, California. Steve Jobs built a much nicer building there, that now looks like this.
During the seventies and early eighties I was a union organizer. I held elected or staff positions with the Silicon Valley AFL-CIO and several labor unions, including this one, this one, this one, and this one. I was a journeyman machinist in the heart of Silicon Valley here, a room service waiter here, and a hot grabber for two seasons in a green bean cannery run by these guys here. My first employer was Richard Nixon’s cousin who owned this restaurant in Whittier, California (my departure 35 years ago appears to have frozen it in time. Or was it Dick’s resignation?).
I received honors BA degrees in Politics and Education from the University of California and an MBA with distinction from Harvard Business School. I am a voracious reader, and oddly fond of bicycles and woodworking.