Hoya Influencers: Jessica Barrett (B’07)

Moveo Moti Motum – the Latin phrase defined as “to move, arouse, affect, influence.”  We’re happy to announce our first guest blogger in a series of posts we’ll be doing on the people within the Georgetown community that have moved, aroused, affected or influenced alumni throughout their journey to find career happiness and success.  We hope you enjoy these reflections and will comment on posts that resonate with your own experiences.

As an undergrad and more recently as an MBA student, I have gained an incredible amount of career wisdom in the classroom.

That being said, some of the most influential lessons that have shaped my professional decisions, and my life more broadly, have come from outside the classroom. In fact, I would attribute the top three tenants of my career approach to fellow Hoyas who I’ve crossed paths with since my time on the Hilltop. I am grateful for the inspiration they have provided to me, and hope that I can pass that along to others in the Georgetown community.

  1. Roger C. Altman (C’67), Founder, Evercore Partners – Failure is more important than success. This was the theme of Roger’s speech as the keynote speaker at my MBA graduation. He spoke about how his failures in life have been the best learning experiences, both for acquiring specific job skills, as well as in helping him shape his leadership style. The advice he gave to us was to be prepared for and accepting of failure, and most importantly, to have a positive mindset about it. Handling failures is the most important component for future success. One of my favorite phrases, in Latin, “ex tenebris lux” meaning “from darkness, light”, summarizes Roger’s advice perfectly.

  1. Mary Callahan Erdoes (C’89), CEO, Asset Management, J.P. Morgan – Be a subject matter expert. I had the privilege of working directly for Mary for almost two years. While her leadership style, charisma, confidence, and kindness are all incredibly inspiring and critical components of her success, she is impressively knowledgeable of her industry and the markets, which she has always prioritized. Knowing something critical to your business in more depth and breadth than anyone else makes you an invaluable asset. That concept motivates me every day to make the extra effort to learn more about the function and industry I’m in, and I believe it is what got be hired into my current role. I also see how my knowledge gaps play a more significant role in my credibility than I ever imagined – reinforcing Mary’s message of being a subject matter expert.

  2. My Classmates, (2007), Entrepreneurs, Visionaries, Risk Takers – Take risks + dream big. One of the best parts of being a Georgetown alum has been witnessing my fellow classmates emerge as successful entrepreneurs. From the guys who brought us Sweetgreen, first as a small shop on M Street, to now a national chain, or to my friend who left the art world in London to develop a hotel in the Bahamas with no prior hospitality experience, there are Hoyas across the world who have taken risks and believed that the impossible might be possible, and have made it happen. Seeing that in others is truly inspiring, and as I continue down my professional path with a goal of becoming an entrepreneur myself, I take comfort and encouragement from my fellow Hoyas who have taken big risks and done the same.

Jessica Barrett is a 2007 graduate of the McDonough School of Business and  received her MBA from Columbia this year.  She recently started a new position in business development and sales at pymetrics, a New York-based startup using neuroscience and data science to make the recruiting process more efficient and accurate.  To hear more about Jessica’s career journey, visit http://alumni.georgetown.edu/career/career_154.html.


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