MBAs on the Move

Nine Women You’ll Wish Were Your BFFs

What do these women have in common? A Taiwanese immigrant who works on Airbnb’s global construction team, a numbers whiz at Apple, an entrepreneur who launched an urban hiking tour business, an international brand manager for Clif Bar, a venture capitalist who supports innovation in education, a savvy marketing leader at Lyft, a technology investment banker at Goldman Sachs, a public relations maven with a focus on sustainability, and a human resources expert who volunteers to help get more women into public office?

They are Forté’s 2017 MBAs on the Move Role Models, all based in the San Francisco Bay area. MBAs on the Move features women with MBAs who are making meaningful contributions to their industries, careers, and/or communities.  It is the second year the campaign has been in existence – last year’s Role Models were based in New York City.

The first of nine monthly stories will arrive in your inbox on April 26. Find out who you’ll meet and what makes them unique.

Leaders in their fields: Uniquely San Francisco

The nine women Role Models are thriving in a range of industries less than 15 years after earning their MBAs. Their stories are meant to inspire, to highlight the value and diversity of an MBA, and to demonstrate the success of women in business.

Their roles are reflective of their location in San Francisco – some work at start-ups (Urban Hiker SF), some in the technology field (Asana, Apple and Goldman Sachs), some in hyper-growth businesses (Airbnb, Clif Bar, Lyft), and others are mission-based with emphasis on sustainability and education (Edelman, NewSchools Venture Fund).

While cultivating diverse stories was a priority, these women also have common qualities: All MBAs on the Move attended Forté sponsor schools, one works at a Forté sponsor company, and some volunteer for us.

Each of them has a unique, personal story to share about career paths, biggest career lessons and blunders, the people they admire, the song that gets them pumped up, and what motivates them to get up every day and be extraordinary.

Sneak peek: 2017 MBAs on the Move Role Models

This April through December, we’ll send you one MBAs on the Move story each month via a dedicated email. We’ll provide the women’s career perspectives via short question and answer articles, or a video. Here’s a preview of the extraordinary women we’ll feature:

Anna Binder
Asana, Head of People Operations
IESE Business School (Barcelona)/2005

“Be the CEO of your own career. You have one wild and precious life, it’s yours, and don’t follow somebody else.”

Emily Chan
Edelman, Vice President, Business & Social Purpose
University of Maryland, Smith School of Business/2009

“We get to work on so many interesting projects, and it’s like starting a new adventure every couple of months.”

Brenna Fleener
Clif Bar & Company, International Brand Manager
Georgetown University, McDonough School of Business/2009

“It was a transformative career experience because it was my idea, they sent me to Paris alone, and it was an entrepreneurial adventure.”

Nicole Irvin
Goldman Sachs, Vice President, Goldman Sachs
Columbia Business School/2008

“More and more women are coming into finance. Women have mentored me through the birth of my children because they had children while they were investment bankers.”

Jessica Kapadia
Apple, Global Retail Service Operations Strategist
Indiana University, Kelley School of Business/2010

“I sold all my things and bought a one-way ticket to India.”


Alex Kenin
Urban Hiker SF, Founder and CEO
University of Pennsylvania, The Wharton School/2007

“You can start a company with as little as $100. You can try it while you’re at your full‑time job. If your side‑hustle starts making money, you can turn it into a full‑time thing.”

Frances Messano
NewSchools Venture Fund, Chief of Staff, Managing Partner
Harvard Business School/2008

“My job has allowed me to align my values and personal story – those things don’t have to be separate.”

Nancy Wang
Airbnb, Global Project Manager, Real Estate and Construction
Vanderbilt University, Owen Graduate School of Management/2005

“If I can do it as an immigrant, everyone can be successful pursuing the American dream.”

Melissa Waters
Lyft, Vice President, Marketing
Babson College, Olin Graduate School of Business/2007

“My first day, the president came to me and said: “The CMO is leaving, and you will lead the department.”


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