Future Young Leaders Who Will Shape History
What changes would you like to see in our society?
Ideally, I’d like to see a society that values the arts more. I’d like to think that all the kids going to college for music, dance and the visual arts will have their investment returned one day by a society that appreciates what they do and recognizes the hard work that goes into being an artist. I also think there needs to be some serious attention paid to the student loan crisis in this country. If the cost of education keeps soaring it will eventually become completely unaffordable for middle class families and that will only impact society negatively. I feel that education should be a reality for everyone. Finally, I want to see equality across platforms from marriage equality to gender equality and beyond.
What books influenced you most as a student and how?
I read everything from Shakespeare and Dickens to Tolkien and Jonathan Franzen when I was in high school- I love to read. I’d just encourage high school students to find something that interests them and read about it! In this Internet age, I think any extra-curricular reading should be considered a victory.
If I had to choose one book that really made an impact on me in high school I would choose “The Music of Life”, which is a compilation of teachings from Hazrat Inayat Khan. While he was the founder of the Sufi order in the west, I feel that his teachings resonate with anyone involved in music regardless of their spiritual followings and religious beliefs. Reading that at a relatively young age helped set certain aspects of my life in motion.
What kind of contribution would you like to make to society?
I’d like to continue working to promote music and music education because I feel that its one of the great tools to improve society. I’ve traveled to places before, like Panama, where involvement in music was the only way some teenagers from troubled areas were able to make it out and I find that very inspiring. I believe that music is the great uniter.
What– in your opinion– makes a good leader?
In my opinion, the best leaders are those that listen. Listening is such an important aspect of successful leading because it shows that you care about the opinions of those you work with. Plus, you might learn something.
What inspires you to be the person you are today?
Both of my grandmothers were incredible people. My father’s mother, Frances, was in the first class of women to graduate from Hunter College and she went on to have quite a career in education. My mother’s mother, Natalie, was running a highly successful business with my grandfather by the time she was twenty. I was particularly close to Natalie and she inspired me to pursue an MBA, which is the next step for me in my education. Both of them were very powerful women and I’d like to think I could carry their legacy on.