Alex Finley* '94CC, '97JRN joined the CIA in 2003, where she spent close to six years as an officer of the CIA's Directorate of Operations, serving in West Africa and Europe. Before she joined the agency, she was no stranger to Washington DC or politics. As she puts it, "she chased puffy white men around Washington DC as a member of the wild dog pack better known as the Washington media elite."
After leaving the CIA in 2009, she returned to writing and soon found that her voice lent itself well to humor. In addition to her work for Slate, Reductress, and Funny or Die, she is also about to publish a book: Victor in the Rubble: A Satire of the CIA and the War on Terror, which goes on sale April 15. The book, which was inspired by her time at the CIA and some of the bureaucratic frustrations that she had, comes out next week. In a recent interview, Alex spoke about the book, her work with the agency, and what the future of the CIA might look like.Read more
By Melody J. Wilding '11SW of the Columbia Career Coaches Network
Originally published on melodywilding.com
Why does it seem like some people can effortlessly “follow their passions,” while others can’t? What’s the secret of successful entrepreneurs and creatives who live out their dreams of dedicating their careers to inspiring, meaningful work? Why do the rest of us feel stuck in an unfulfilling funk?
Not everyone can follow their passion and make money from it. Not everyone can work on a personal project or business that lights you up and makes every day feel like retirement. Or can you?
The exciting truth is that there are small changes you can make every day to dig yourself out of burnout and inch yourself closer to creating a life and career that invigorates you, instead of draining you. The key is attuning yourself to your capacity for creativity.
Unfortunately, the systems we find ourselves in—whether that be family, schools, or—condition out of us the courage to risk. Playing it safe suits the naysayers who are scared of the sacrifice and upheaval big ideas entail, but staying small is unfulfilling. This is why, if you truly want to be exceptional, you have to nurture this skill again. You have to nurture your creative genius. Luckily, you can do that through developing habits and deliberate practice working the creative “muscles” in your brain.
Creativity is part art, and part science. In the decades since the science of creativity began to be uncovered, there have been many books written on the topic, which will help you build those muscles and achieve that illusive creativity.
These are 5 of my favorite:Read more
Think you know about Columbia University? Like movies and pop culture references? Is your NCAA bracket busted but you still want to take part in March competition?
If you answered "yes" to any of the above, you're in the right place.
We've got our own bracket-style knockout tournament underway where we start with eight of the most iconic movies set in or featuring characters related to Columbia University (our "Elite 8," if you will) and look to narrow that list down until we crown a sole champion.
...But we need your help!
Here's how to participate:
Beginning Monday, March 28 at 10 a.m. EST, take part in the #ColumbiaMovieMadness elimination tournament on the Columbia Alumni Association Twitter account (and directly on this page) by voting daily for your picks to advance in each round. We'll tally up the votes before the start of each daily match up and declare winners to proceed on as we look to crown the most popular movie with references to Columbia University.
Up for the challenge? Here are the contenders:
...And a huge shout-out to Columbia Men's Basketball for wrapping up a historic postseason run and winning the Collegeinsider.com Tournament (CIT) - their first-ever postseason championship! The Lions' 25 wins this season represents the highest total in program history. Relive the championship game moments and keep the celebration going and join the team at the annual Men's Basketball Banquet on April 18.
Posted on behalf of Chester Lee '70SEAS, '74BUS
Ahead of the Asian Columbia Alumni Association's (ACAA) 20th Anniversary Gala on April 30, one of the founders looks back at the group's history.
This June, Columbia Business School and Barnard College are teaming up to create an Executive Education program aimed at women: "Women in Leadership: Expanding Influence and Leading Change." According to the website, the program is designed to "help elevate the impact of women leaders—enabling them to navigate the business landscape, develop and leverage their talents, and step into roles of greater influence."
This program builds on a conversation that was already prevalent, but has reached a new level of exposure over the past 6 years or so. It could (and has been) argued that this increase in attention is due, in large part, to Sheryl Sandberg. As the COO of Facebook, Sandberg was well positioned to publicly pose a question that no one seemed to be asking: "why do we have so few women leaders?" This question became the basis for her TED talk in 2010, her Barnard commencement speech in 2011, and her bestselling book, Lean In, in 2013. The question sparked a national conversation about women and their roles in the workplace.
To discuss this question (and many others) we sat down with the women running this new Executive Education program: Rochelle Cooper ('84BC, '88TC, '89TC), Rita McGrath ('81BC, '82SIPA), and Elana Weinstein (Barnard Athena Center for Leadership).Read more
What are we talking about when we talk about food? Or, more specifically, food sustainability. When we talk about food, we are really talking about the complex relationship between food, water, environment, technology, policy, and ethics.
Food impacts us on so many levels: from the personal to the global. Individuals, communities, and national governments have to constantly make choices about which food reaches our tables. And, for a variety of reasons—climate change, energy costs, global economic inequality—these choices are becoming more and more complicated. For this reason, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists around the world are turning their attention to this area.
To shine a light on this development, Columbia Engineering and Columbia Entrepreneurship brought together a panel of Columbia experts, who are contributing to the global dialogue on food, to discuss available solutions to feed a hungry planet.Read more
The Ivy League made headlines in early March by announcing it would finally be adding an in-conference postseason tournament to determine its automatic berth into the NCAA Men's and Women's Basketball tournaments. It will be the very last Division I conference (out of 32) to make the change.
Of the announcement, Director of Intercollegiate Athletics and Physical Education Peter Pilling had this to say:
"This is an exciting day for Columbia and the Ivy League...Having a postseason tournament will allow us to create an amazing experience for our student-athletes, alumni, and fans."
After posting a 21-win regular season record this year, Columbia Men's Basketball will aim to make noise in playoff competition when the Ivy League implements the new tournament format for the 2016-2017 season. Columbia men's basketball head coach Kyle Smith felt similarly:Read more
They say it takes a village to raise a child. At the Columbia University Band Alumni Association, we're finding that a village of alumni can do a pretty good job of piecing together the history of an organization with a rich but largely uncollected past.Read more