Lessons of Leadership

Leadership development is a core focus of the Carnegie Mellon Athletics philosophy. Each spring, select rising juniors are gathered together to hear from talented alumni and community members who provide leadership sessions for student-athletes to help develop skills on the field, in the classroom and in the workplace.

In 2015, Tartan Athletics Club board member and athletics alum Mark Weinsten (DC'85) led a discussion about the essence of leadership. A Senior Managing Director at FTI Consulting in Boston, Weinsten leads the firm’s Private Capital initiative and is part of the leadership team for the Consumer Products and Retail offering and the Business Improvement and Growth practice. For the past year, Weinsten has served has interim CEO of Manischewitz.

“Mark has been a leader within the business world for a long time, and we are fortunate that he took time to share some of the lessons he has learned over the years with our student-athlete leaders,” said Director of Athletics Josh Centor. “He understands what it’s like to be a student-athlete at Carnegie Mellon and relates to the experiences our students have academically and athletically. It was a wonderful evening.”

Weinsten, a former football and club baseball player who graduated with a degree in managerial economics, shared real-life examples from the companies he has led, and shared thoughts with the students about the parallels between athletics and leading a company.

In 2014, Carnegie Mellon Chief of Police Tom Ogden spoke to the rising juniors about their roles as leaders. Ogden, who came to Carnegie Mellon in 2008, previously served with the Mt. Lebanon Police Department from 1980-2008. Ogden held all five ranking positions within the agency and served as Mt. Lebanon's Chief of Police for the final 10 years of his tenure.

Following Chief Ogden's presentation, select Carnegie Mellon upperclassmen facilitated conversations with the rising juniors. The veteran student-athletes presented the sophomores with scenarios that might confront them as team leaders and brainstormed appropriate resolutions in an open discussion forum.

"Chief Ogden is a leader in every sense of the word. It was quite an opportunity for our future leaders to hear from an expert whose leadership has had such an impact on the Carnegie Mellon community," said Director of Athletics Josh Centor. "We believe that outstanding leadership is a critical component for winning teams. Even more importantly, it is critical for our everyday lives."

Former track and field standout Deron (D.J.) Haley has also returned to speak with his fellow Tartans. Haley, who also played one year of football for the Tartans, is the first and only Carnegie Mellon graduate to join the Navy Seals.

A 1994 CIT graduate, Haley embarked on a five-year career with the Navy following his time at Carnegie Mellon. After his military service, Haley enrolled at Harvard Business School and worked with Ziff Brother Investments in New York.

“Mindset is very critical in how you engage the rest of your life,” Haley says. “If you’re not uncomfortable, you’re not growing and learning. People who believe their abilities can grow don’t just seek challenge, they thrive on it.”

“D.J. was very inspiring in a real, down-to-earth fashion. What stuck with me the most was his emphasis on always being uncomfortable in life and that true leaders will never settle for cruise control, but always push themselves in every situation so they can continually grow. That piece of advice will affect every aspect of my life, from the court to the classroom. It was an honor to have such an accomplished man, and alumnus, speak with us.” - Women's Volleyball athlete, Ali Nichols