Announcing the Chili Cook-Off Winners!

Chili SignMany thanks to the entrants and participants in yesterday’s Engage@Haas’ Chili Cook-Off.

The competition was fierce but after tabulating the votes the big winner is…Eric Abrams for his beef chili!

Kate Bonk takes the runner-up spot with her delicious vegetarian chili. (As Karen Twelves was an event organizer in addition to a contributor, she recused herself from the running.)

The Engage team will be in touch with Eric and Kate to award them with their fabulous prizes!

Additional thanks to everyone who provided extras: the salads, toppings, and multiple cornbread treats were a great accompaniment.

We hope everyone enjoyed themselves and keep your eyes open for future Engage@Haas events.

(Editor’s note: Thanks to Engage@Haas for organizing fun events that bring Haas staff together!)

Chili Chili

Got ideas for the Dean’s Advisory Committee? Please share them!


By Drew Ollero, Dean’s Staff Advisory Committee member and Associate Director, Evening & Weekend MBA Program

The Dean’s Staff Advisory Committee (DSAC) hosted our first feedback sessions last month to gather staff thoughts and comments about our focus areas for the year. Over the past four months, we have developed our working norms and identified three areas of emphasis: non-traditional compensation, professional development, and workplace norms. We held the feedback sessions to give staff the chance to vote for areas you find important, and to share your own ideas for the committee to review.

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At the sessions, we were able to have insightful conversations about topics such as work-life balance, mentoring opportunities, and better understanding of staff benefits. Dean Lyons even chimed in on the importance of these areas as it relates to the new Haas Strategic Business Plan. The committee hopes to use the feedback data to prioritize projects and inform senior administration on the how to enhance the staff experience at Haas.

If you weren’t able to attend, we would still appreciate your feedback via our survey. The survey will close at the end of the day on Thursday, Aug. 14.

The Dean’s Staff Advisory Committee (DSAC 2.0) serves to:

  • Enhance the staff experience
  • Act as a conduit for communication between staff and administrators
  • Increase staff awareness and understanding
  • Promote the Defining Principles

For more information about DSAC, visit the staff organizations page.

Haas ECSM & CSS-IT: Expanding Synergy

By Edwin Khu, ECSM

CSS Cake

Haas Enterprise Computing & Service Management (ECSM) and Berkeley Campus Shared Services-Information Technology (CSS-IT) celebrated their expanding synergy with the allocation and sharing of staff and services. Four members of ECSM were officially integrated into CSS on July 15, enhancing campus’ service capacity for customers within Haas and its vicinity. The partnership pools resources from both organizations and reinforces their respective IT infrastructure.

The event was honored by the attendance of CSS-IT’s Director of Information Technology Jerry Yerardi and Haas’ Chief Strategy & Operating Officer Jo Mackness, who jointly cut the celebratory cake.

Here’s to the deepening relationship between the two organizations!

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Jo and Jerry raise their knives in salute of the partnership.

Jo Mackness (center) and Jerry Yerardi (right) cut the cake.

Jo Mackness (center) and Jerry Yerardi (right) cut the cake.

Health*Matters Team Visits Haas

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On Wednesday the entire Health*Matters Team from University Health Services came to Haas to offer the Know Your Numbers Health Screening to our staff! This onsite Know Your Numbers session was sponsored by Engage@Haas and Haas HR-Work/Life Integration initiative. Several staff participated and took 20 minutes out of their work day to get a voluntary health screening […]

Coffee, cream & sundaes on a Thursday


The Staff Lounge became part laboratory, part tasting room on Thursday as several self-proclaimed Haas coffee geeks set up shop as baristas.

“I’m an artist, not a chemist,” joked Sam of the Full-time MBA Program office, as he tipped the spout of a Hario gooseneck kettle in slow concentric circles around the cone of his V60 dripper.

Staff members lined up for Blue Bottle, Sight Glass, Red Bay Coffee, and Four Barrel brews prepared-to-order by Sam (who used pour-over methods) and fellow baristas Rocky and Ernie (who each worked an Aeropress).

In addition to the artisan brewing demo, the Engage@Haas Coffee Break had another purpose: voting on a new signature blend for the Staff Lounge. The taste test pitted Berkeley-bred Peet’s Coffee against San Francisco upstart Philz.

The winner by a landslide was Peets’ Cafe Domingo. The current staple French Roast will be switched out mid-July.

Thanks to the Engage@Haas for organizing, and to our baristas for caffeinating our morning.

And later that same day, just around the time the caffeine was wearing off, there was this:

The Haas Staff Ice Cream Social and First (Annual?) BYOB Split Contest (bring your own banana!).

If you think some Haas staff take coffee seriously, you should see how they take on banana splits. This is a competitive bunch.

There was Sherrell’s masterpiece:

Karen’s pyrotechnics:

And Ursela’s creation (with ingredients scavenged from her office just moments earlier):

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The contenders:



The judges conferred, and made this announcement:

The winners:

  • Neatest: Micah from the Mailroom
  • Most Spirited: Miguel from ECSM (Cal written in fudge)
  • Best Toppings: Ursela from the International Business Development Program (cookies + candy)
  • Runner-up: Sherrell from Facilities (bowl from home + pinwheel)
  • Grand Prize: Karen from Faculty Assistants (sparklers + tiny stars!)
  • Late Entry: Shar from H.R.

Thanks Sherrie from the Dean’s Office for making Thursday so sweet!

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81 Haas staff + 1 afternoon at the zoo = 150 hours of scooping, weeding, & building. Woo hoo!

Thanks to all who pulled weeds, built fences, tidied school areas for incoming summer classes for kids, swept, got the Zoo ready for health inspections, cleaned Zebra and Camel poop, and much much more at the 3rd Annual Haas Staff Volunteer Day.

And big thanks to Engage@Haas and the Green Team for organizing the day, and to the Dean’s office for supporting it. Special shout out to Danner Doud-Martin, Alexandra Daily, and Jo Mackness for making it happen!

Check out the highlights: 

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The OGST and Me: a Q&A with Dean Lyons on the New Strategic Business Plan

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By Susie Hanna Jordan, Dean’s Analyst

Over the past six months, working groups of Haas managers and leaders have been developing a new strategic business plan that will guide our school over the next five years. Positive Haas faculty and Advisory Board votes on the plan earlier this month mean we’re gearing up for implementation, and on target to begin work around the start of our fiscal year on July 1.

I spent a few minutes with Dean Rich Lyons to find out what the heck an OGST is, what’s new in this plan, and how our jobs will change once it’s in place.

Q: How is this new plan different from our last strategic plan, developed in 2010?

A: The simplest way to describe the difference is that in the 2010 plan, we focused on what we are about; this time, we’re focusing on how we will get to where we want to be.

In 2010, we codified our culture into four Defining Principles, and we defined our mission. We developed a wide-ranging strategy that resulted in many changes, including revamping parts of the MBA curriculum and setting in motion the design and funding of our new building.

The new plan takes us further down that path. It’s a more detailed roadmap—a school-wide strategic business plan—with specific priorities and outcomes we can measure, and an underlying financial model. In creating it, we spent a lot of time defining our assets: what makes us special, and different from our peers? We identified gaps, and determined where we want go next.

The new plan:

  • is more streamlined, with fewer strategies.
  • has an underlying five-year financial model.
  • contains goals and metrics that align with building the reputational and financial strength of our school.
  • provides greater accountability: each strategy tactic includes an owner, action plan, and due date.

Q: The plan is built around a strategic framework called Objectives, Goals, Strategies, and Tactics (OGST). Why did you choose this particular framework?

A: Why OGST? We found this structure to be particularly helpful because it forced us to tightly align all our activities—from major initiatives down to unit-level activities—with our mission.

The objective of the plan is to build the financial and operational strength of Haas to further our mission. We have defined two high-level goal areas to focus on: reputation and financial strength. To achieve our goals, we then identified four key strategies—each owned by a senior leader:

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1. Build on our strengths as part of UC Berkeley

2. Capitalize further on our Bay Area location

3. Employ an organization-wide approach to activate our alumni network

4. Build a stronger people organization by embodying our Defining Principles

The plan tactics are organized around these four strategies. The tactics are specific actions we believe will allow us to best reach our goals within the next five years. Each tactic also has an owner, who has worked with stakeholders to incorporate them into unit-level business plans.

Aligning our daily activities with the big picture will provide focus for all of us, and create opportunities for more collaboration across units.

Q: What’s the relationship between our Defining Principles and the Strategic Business Plan?

A: The strategic business plan builds on our deep assets–people, place and culture—to further our school’s objective. Our Defining Principles remain a core element of how we work at Haas.

As you read the plan, you will notice that the DPs are specifically mentioned in several tactics. For example, the Diversity Advantage tactic centers on the Beyond Yourself principle, encouraging us all to develop a global mindset and cultural dexterity.


Q: How will my work change with this strategic business plan in place?

A: All of our jobs will touch on these goals in some way. Here are three ways the plan will change your work, and what you can do to help support it:

  1. Integrate your performance goals: Beginning this fiscal year, each staff member will be required to have at least one goal that links directly to the strategic business plan. Your manager will be sharing some examples of how you might develop your goals.
  2. Think collaboration: In order to accomplish these goals we all need to work more collaboratively across Haas, and in some cases, across the university. Review the plan with your team and highlight each area where you think you could deepen ties to colleagues’ work. Try this in areas your unit already collaborates on, and also with units you don’t typically work with. Research shows that collaboration is critical to achieving strategic goals.
  3. Evaluate value: By definition, a strategy is intended to focus efforts and allow the organization to stop doing, or place less emphasis on, certain activities. Add a topic to the agenda of your next team meeting about a program or activity in your unit that, to align with the strategic plan, could be tweaked to add more value or that is no longer adding value and could be eliminated.

HaasLL-181Q: What if I come up with a good idea to add as a tactic, strategy, or goal?

A: This five-year strategic business plan is a living document, and we anticipate that it will be refined over time. For now, we don’t anticipate the strategies changing; however, the goals and tactics can be adjusted and refined as we go.

We welcome your ideas, thoughts and suggestions along the way. Please share any specific goals, strategies, or tactics you or your team develops with the named strategy or tactic owner in the plan.


For 15th Year, Staff Reap Awards and Savor Appreciation

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In the 15th annual Outstanding Staff Awards celebration, Dean Rich Lyons honored four staff members with awards linked to the school’s four Defining Principles. The 2014-2015 awards were presented at the Staff Appreciation Lunch last Thursday at the Bancroft Hotel.  Alessandra Demmons, Barbara Felkins, Mary Ann Huisman, and Tom Tripp were each recognized for exemplifying […]

Congratulations, Joacim! Chancellor’s Outstanding Staff Award Recipient

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We’re proud of Joacim Benitez of our finance team, who has received one of the university’s top honors for staff. The Chancellor’s Outstanding Staff Award (COSA) is presented to staff members and teams who have demonstrated exceptional initiative in contributing to the UC Berkeley campus community. Joacim is one of 15 Berkeley staff members and three teams who […]

Haas Help For Nepal


The women of Beauty for Ashes, a Nepali organization that MBA students in the International Business Development program worked with last spring.

UPDATE: The campaign wrapped up May 8 with $6,000 raised! Many thanks to all who went beyond themselves to contribute. The organizers will keep all donors informed on which organizations receive the funds.

MBA students who traveled to Nepal last year with the International Business Development program have spearheaded a crowdfunding campaign for earthquake relief in the devastated country—and they need our help!

Launched on Tilt through C4C (Challenge for Charity), the MBA fundraising organization, the campaign funds will target non-governmental organizations on the ground in Nepal. Student organizers are working with contacts in their networks to identify the most high-impact organizations, and will keep all donors apprised of how the funds are distributed.

“It’s a very, very scary situation over there,” says Jackie Laird, MBA 15, who was part of Team Beauty for Ashes in Kathmandu last June. “We are trying to get funds there sooner rather than later.”

You can donate here.

Jackie says she and other students have been in touch with the women they worked with, and all of them are OK—but their families are not. They are not only trying to get help to their relatives, but they are fanning out throughout the city on foot—the only way to get around at this point—trying to help others in need, especially children.

“The way the hospitals work in Nepal is that you don’t get anything for free—including water. Your family and friends have to bring it to you,” she says. “Hospitals are way underfunded.”

Jackie says her experience in Nepal was eye-opening. “Nepal was far worse than I expected, in terms of how destitute it is. If that’s the way it was like in good times, I can’t imagine what it’s like now,” she says.

With monsoon season looming and tens of thousands without shelter, the situation is critical. The 7.8-magnitude quake that rocked Nepal last Saturday killed more than 5,500 people, and injured at least 12,000. The death toll continues to rise, with many remote villages still inaccessible.

MBA students will be in the courtyard from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday (with baked goods!) to raise awareness for the campaign. If you have any questions about the campaign, please reach out to the C4C organizers: Marisa JohnsonJohn Maus, and Sara Oon. You can also contact Jackie Laird with questions abut her team’s experience.