Index of Alumni Profiles

Browse a comprehensive list of all Harvardwood Alumni Profiles below, and find out who our regular Member Profile writers/interviewers are!

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August 2020 | Richard Cusick AB '92

rich-ces.jpgSVP and GM, TV and Digital Media at MarketCast

By Simi Shah AB '19

Richard Cusick AB '92 is in the business of media. Over the course of his illustrious career spent with organizations like Yahoo, IAC, and MarketCast, he has dedicated years to building, shaping, and re-inventing companies. 

But he wasn’t always in this business. Cusick's foray into media and technology began with a familiar crisis of faith in the wake of September 11, 2001. A banker for Lehman Brothers, Cusick worked a stone’s throw from the World Trade Center at the time of the attacks. As the world fell apart, Cusick fell back on an open question in his life: “doing what you feel like you should do versus what your gut tells you.” He decided to take the plunge.

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July 2020 | Suzanne Nossel AB '91, JD '96

CEO of PEN America, Author of Dare to Speak

By Carly Hillman AB '15

snossel.jpgIt was towards the end of my phone interview with Suzanne Nossel AB '91, JD '96 when I started to laugh at one of my own questions. I had jotted it down before we spoke, a standard interview line: “Who have you modeled your career after?” But now, after hearing in detail about the stepping-stones of her wide-ranging career, it was clear the question did not apply. Nossel’s path was unique, and she mapped it herself. 

Here’s a summary of the route: She’s worked as a mediator of political violence in South Africa’s townships, a law clerk on the DC circuit, a consultant at McKinsey, Deputy to Richard Holbrooke while he was UN Ambassador, a Vice President at Bertelsmann, an Executive at Dow Jones, the COO of Human Rights Watch, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations at the State Department, the Executive Director of Amnesty International, and finally, now, as the CEO of PEN America and author of the upcoming book Dare to Speak. Rather than climbing the proverbial career ladder, Suzanne Nossel has been scaling a career mountain.

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June 2020 | Matthew Aucoin AB '12

Composer, Conductor, Pianist, & Writeraucoin.jpg

By Simi Shah AB '19

Matthew Aucoin AB '12 has long been regarded a wunderkind in the world of classical music and opera. He has donned many hats as conductor, pianist, and writer, but first and foremost comes his role as composer.

The overture in the opera of Aucoin’s life sings to the tune of Bolivian street musicians and Beethoven’s 9th symphony. A precocious 9-year-old, he recalls feeling “dumbstruck,” upon hearing the latter for the first time. Within two years, he had composed symphonies, chamber works, and an entire opera based on a children’s book.

The child of a journalist, technical writer, and all-around bibliophiles, Aucoin’s passion for music was welcomed and celebrated in his youth. By the time middle and high school came around, Aucoin dedicated every waking moment to music.

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May 2020 | Megan Goldstein AB '05

By D. Dona Le

goldstein.jpgBefore college, Eagle Rock native Megan Goldstein AB ‘05 “was determined to go to New York City. I really wanted to go to Columbia, and if Columbia didn’t work out, I was going to New York University. Then when I got into Harvard, I thought, ‘Whoa. Yeah. Okay.’”

Today, Goldstein still lives in Northeast Los Angeles and is currently Vice President of Synch Licensing at BMG, a position that perfectly marries her training as a musician and her love of film and television.

“I am a musician and I’ve always felt like a musician, but it's not that I wanted to be a clarinetist in a symphony,” Goldstein says. “I just always thought of myself as a musician. I made music every day and practiced every day—that was the fabric of my life.”

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April 2020 | Silver Linings Playbook: The Harvardwood Edition

Ordinarily, we feature an alum profile in this section of the monthly Highlights, but this month, we're using this section to bring you some messages of solidarity from Harvardwood leaders and members!

mra.jpgI hope you are staying safe, healthy, and hunkered down during this surreal time! My family and I are looking for the silver linings each day—being able to eat every meal together, enjoying lots of family read-alouds and movie nights on the couch, and getting really good at riding bicycles (while practicing proper social distancing). Wishing everyone deeper connection to and gratitude for one another as we move through this act of human solidarity!

- Mia Riverton Alpert, Co-Founder

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March 2020 | Ben Forkner AB '01

(Producer, Entertainment One; Former President of Motion Picture Production, Management 360)

forkner.jpegBy Joel Kwartler AB '18

“Ben, Snakes on a Plane. That’s what you should be aiming for,” a colleague advised Ben Forkner AB '01 early on in his Hollywood career. The script had just generated a large sale, Forkner had just finished pitching an Atlantic story to a crickets-quiet Management 360 room, and the colleague was just trying to help give him direction. Luckily, Forkner, now a producer at Entertainment One and a past president of Management 360, learned to instead focus on the quality of the stories he champions rather than the money they might make. It’s a choice that has helped him build an enduring career in entertainment.

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February 2020 | Micah Fitzerman-Blue AB '05 & Noah Harpster

Co-Writers, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

By Stephanie Ferrarie AB '18

Micah_Noah_pdf.jpgThe partnership of Micah Fitzerman-Blue ‘06 and Noah Harpster, the writers and executive producers behind the Fred Rogers movie A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, began thirteen years ago with Jon Krakauer’s book, Under the Banner of Heaven. Each spoke to their respective college friends (Noah attended UC Santa Barbara) about the book, and those friends, who were dating, set them up on a “creative blind date.” At that initial coffee meeting, Micah and Noah quickly started throwing ideas around, and for the next two years, they continued to grow their friendship and write together while pursuing their own projects. Then they “made it official” and have been working together exclusively ever since, notably on Amazon’s Transparent and feature film Maleficent 2

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January 2020 | Abigail Hing Wen AB '99

Author, Loveboat, Taipei

By Joel Kwartler AB '18

Author Abigail Hing Wen AB ’99 is not Catholic, but the one time she observed Lent she gave up Fantasy books, just to see what it was like. She missed them. She came right back.

When it comes to storytelling, Wen knows that she’s “pretty obsessed.” It shows: on top of her thriving full-time tech law career, her debut novel, Loveboat, Taipei, comes out on January 7th.

Wen did not expect to end up a writer. At Harvard, she started as a chemistry concentrator before switching to government. Yet it was obvious, even in college, she loved stories: one time her roommate interrupted her raving about Harry Potter to admit, “I don’t love it as much as you do.” It was the first time someone had reflected her devotion to fantasy back to her. “I realized, okay, I guess I am really obsessed.”

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December 2019 | Special Humor Piece by Alison Rich AB '09

performers20th.jpgAt Harvardwood's 20th Anniversary Celebration earlier this year, we were fortunate to be joined by Diallo Riddle AB '97Dan Mintz AB '02, and Alison Rich AB '09, all of whom gave HILARIOUS comedic performances. Alison has kindly shared the (excerpted) text from her performance as a humor piece. Enjoy!

Harvard is not the place you’re supposed to go if you want a career in the arts. It’s Yale or NYU or no-school-at-all and just get an Instagram, be hot, and make 15-second videos of you Bird-scootering over watermelons at the Library of Congress. There you go: instant stardom.

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