Goizueta Business School

Out with the old, in with the new! Since 2023 has officially drawn to a close, we invite Goizueta Business School faculty, staff, and students to reflect on the year they’ve left behind and anticipate what the new one one has in store.  

2024 promises to be an eventful year, especially for politics. Over 40 countries will hold national elections, including the United States. Several other big global events are also on the docket next year. Paris will host the Summer Olympics for the first time in a century, and Indonesia will officially designate Nusantara as its new capital city. Beyond the globe, NASA’s Artemis II mission will launch the first crew into outer space in 52 years. This mission will also bring the first female astronaut and Black astronaut to the moon. And in April, you’ll have a chance to glimpse a solar eclipse.

2024 is a leap year; it will be the Year of the Dragon according to the Chinese zodiac; and Pantone has designated “Peach Fuzz” as the Color of the Year.  

Below, the Goizueta community shares what memories and wisdom they intend to carry with them through the new year, how they hope to grow, and what big events they have marked in their personal calendars for 2024.  

Marisa Lazenby 25EvMBA 

What’s the most important lesson you learned in 2023 that you’d like to carry with you into the new year? Settling in friendships, love, life, or career is never worth it—ever. 

What song would you pick as the “soundtrack” of your 2023 year?  Beyonce’s “Break My Soul” was my entire 2023! 

What is one habit or skill you hope to cultivate next year? I want to make being bold a habit. 

Wes Longhofer: Goizueta Foundation Term Associate Professor of Organization & Management; Executive Academic Director, Business & Society Institute 

What event had a big impact on your life this year? 

My oldest daughter swam in her first Special Olympics meet. She had worked so hard over the year and was proud to take her spot on the medal stand. So many friends—and even some former students!—came out to support her. 

What’s the most important lesson you learned in 2023 that you’d like to carry with you into the new year? 

Patience. My Business and Society class requested a pet for the semester. We chose a stuffed sloth as a reminder to slow down and take our time.  

What song would you pick as the “soundtrack” of your 2023 year?

“It Must Change” by ANONHI and the Johnsons. The song is a pained yet hopeful call to action. It is probably the song I listened to the most (even if my Spotify Unwrapped says it was “Call Me Maybe”).  

What is one habit or skill you hope to cultivate next year? 

Plant-based cooking. I already love to cook but this year we are hoping to switch to more of a plant-based diet. 2023 is all about vegetables.  

What is one thing you’re looking forward to next year? 

We are planning our first trip to Korea in May to visit family and work on a project with some colleagues at Yonsei. Can’t wait for the food! 

What’s your favorite photo you took this year and why?

This photo was taken on a family trip to Los Angeles. This was during a windy hike in Baldwin Hills State Park. If my girls ever record a punk album, then this would be the cover.  

Thuy Nguyen: Graphic Designer 

What is one habit or skill you hope to cultivate next year? 

I’m a creature of habit when it comes to cooking, so I want to explore new recipes. I’d love to learn more Vietnamese dishes. In general, I want to be more inspired and enjoy cooking. 

What is one thing you’re looking forward to next year? 

I have little nephews and a niece who are toddlers. So, planning family events and celebrating holidays with them feels more special. For instance, every Halloween, my sister creates a whole Halloween-themed feast for the kids. And for Easter, my brother dressed up as the Easter Bunny. Watching them grow up and celebrating the milestones with them is something I always look forward to. 

What’s your favorite photo you took this year and why?

I took this photo at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago last May. It’s special to me because it was the first trip in years that my siblings and I took together. We all have busy lives and live in different cities, so I treasure anytime we spend together.

Libby Grant: Service Desk Analyst 

What event had a big impact on your life this year?

There’s a lot to choose from, including moving across state lines and starting a new job here at Emory. However, I’d definitely have to choose getting married in March. We chose the Walt Disney World resort as our wedding venue. The best part, other than marrying my best friend, was making everything themed to the 2009 Pixar movie, “Up.” There was a lot of first-time DIY involved, but it turned out great! 

What’s the most important lesson you learned in 2023 that you’d like to carry with you into the new year?

I’m normally a huge stickler for sticking to the status quo, but I’m learning quickly in 2023 to laugh off the things that happen beyond our control and go with the flow. I realized that nine times out of ten, the things I worry about are things that I completely forget about not long after. 

What song would you pick as the “soundtrack” of your 2023 year?

I started listening to a lot of country music this year and ended up having “When It Rains, It Pours” by Luke Combs on repeat because of how relatable it was. Even with all the exciting things that happened this year, there’s always gonna be bumps in the road, so this song always encourages me to embrace change and appreciate the little things that make us happy. 

What is one habit or skill you hope to cultivate next year?

I put a Cricut on my Christmas list this year, so we’ll see where that goes. I’ve gotten back into digital art and hope to start making stickers and designs going into the new year. 

What is one thing you’re looking forward to next year?

Above all, taking a honeymoon. Things have been so busy this year that my husband and I didn’t set aside time for a lengthy vacation. Hopefully there will be an Alaskan cruise on the 2024 calendar for our first anniversary! 

What’s your favorite photo you took this year and why?

Our apartment came with integrated bookshelves, so I got to work decorating each one with its own theme as soon as we moved in. For instance, this picture is my latest work on our Up-themed shelf. It includes a rare Disneyland Paris figure of Carl and Ellie as kids. It took me almost the entire year to find one, so I’m definitely proud of how it fits right in with the rest of the theme. 

Steve Savage 21EvMBA, Assistant Professor in the Practice of Organization & Management

What event had a big impact on your life this year?

Taking a job at Goizueta, honestly. It was not on my bingo card for 2023, and it’s been an amazing change. There’s nothing quite like standing in a classroom with incredible students who ask tough questions and think deep thoughts. I really loved my old job, and I had no idea there would be a job out there I could love more. But here we are. 

What song would you pick as the “soundtrack” of your 2023 year?

This is a wildly unfair question for someone who listens to A LOT of music. So let me give you my three most listened to songs from the year (courtesy of Spotify Wrapped!) 

Cowboy in LA by LANY 

Superglue by Joan 

The Wire by Patrick Droney 

And a bonus, Sam’s Town by the Killers is still the best album from the 2000’s and you won’t convince me otherwise. 

What is one habit or skill you hope to cultivate next year? 

Eat less red meat, get on a diet, go to the gym; you know all the usual things we talk about at this time of year 😉. The big one is really trying to carve out more disconnected time, and curbing the need to respond to every bell, beep and whistle from my phone, watch, or whatever device I happen to be near. There’s something I—and I think we collectively—have lost—the art of just being still. I’m the worst at needing to engage with every little piece of stimulation the world throws at me. I often forget to really care for my introverted nature. So slower days, less devices, and more enjoying the world just going by! 

What is one thing you’re looking forward to next year?  (Trips, events, milestones, projects, etc.)

I have a milestone birthday in 2024 (and no I won’t share which one) and there are some other family milestones on the horizon. My folks and some other relatives are flying in from the UK, and we’re spending a couple of weeks meandering down the Pacific Coast Highway (from San Francisco to LA) in June. It’s a trip I’ve made a few times, and I’d make a few thousand more. It’ll be their first time and seems like a great way to celebrate. I love getting lost in that part of the country. Maybe after a few more milestone birthdays for me, I’ll retire out there! 

Elle Hao 24EvMBA 

What’s the most important lesson you learned in 2023 that you’d like to carry with you into the new year?

The key lesson I gained from the Leadership Coaching Fellows program is that coaching involves inspiring others, collaborating on solutions, and taking ownership of implementing those solutions. 

What song would you pick as the “soundtrack” of your 2023 year?

“Wake” by the band Hillsong

What is one habit or skill you hope to cultivate next year? 

The “Good Time Journal” activity I learned from the “How to Design Your Life” program is very helpful to track your energy and engagement level of daily activities. 

What is one thing you’re looking forward to next year? 

Graduating from the MBA program. 

What’s your favorite photo you took this year and why?

I saw the Great Smoky Mountain synchronous fireflies event. The synchronized flashes of the fireflies created a mesmerizing display, casting a magical glow across the night. A sense of wonder and enchantment filled the atmosphere as the natural spectacle unfolded, leaving a lasting impression of beauty and harmony in nature. 

Abraham Oshotse: Assistant Professor of Organization & Management 

What event had a big impact on your life this year?

Between finally graduating my PhD, getting a job at Emory, and moving back to Atlanta from the west coast after nearly a decade away, it’s hard to pick just one. It’s been a very transformative year. Many identities I’ve carried for years (being a student, being a west-coaster, having only a sort of vague employment status) changed in the span of a few months and I’m still adjusting. But I was ready for those changes; I enjoyed that chapter of my life and felt probably as prepared as one can be for such a big shift. This next chapter is about discovering Emory, my new colleagues, the students, and all that Atlanta has to offer. 

What’s the most important lesson you learned in 2023 that you’d like to carry with you into the new year?

The two that most stand out to me concern primarily my professional and personal lives, respectively. On the professional front, my grad-school experience was in no small part an exercise in developing organization and consistency. I feel that in the final year, 2023, I integrated many of the insights that had been accumulating, and turned a corner. In personal relationships, I’ve learned to be much more patient and generous in understanding, an insight that derived from several events that took place this year. I plan to carry these lessons forward. 

What is one habit or skill you hope to cultivate next year?

After much encouragement, Gonzalo Maturana has convinced me to join his BJJ gym, so hopefully I can make some good strides in that domain next year. 

What is one thing you’re looking forward to next year?

Next year’s agenda has many trips and events planned. So, it’s hard to pick just one. However, two of my dear friends from graduate school are getting married. So I’ll have an opportunity to return to California for a bit. Another wedding I’m looking forward to takes place in Kenya, so I’m super excited for that as well! 

What song would you pick as the “soundtrack” of your 2023 year?

I can’t say that there’s any song that would thematically fit as the “soundtrack” for my year. It was too dynamic and varied. But according to Spotify Wrapped, this year I played Ijo (Laba Laba) by Afrobeats star Crayon an embarrassing amount of times. 

What’s your favorite photo you took this year and why?

I’ve taken very many this year that were great. I took many at events, during travel, and innumerable good times with friends/family. However, this graduation photo with my siblings is my favorite. 

Madeline C. Mulkey Ledford: 24MBA 

What’s the most important lesson you learned in 2023 that you’d like to carry with you into the new year?

This year my word was “intentional,” and I realized how important it can be to be truly intentional. I am a classic over committer, wanting to experience all that life has to offer. This year I saw how being intentional about what I was involved with, what I said yes to, and who I spent time with made a big difference in how my life looked on a day to day. It’s a good life lesson!  

What is one thing you’re looking forward to next year? 

I’m starting the next year off strong with a January study abroad program in Argentina. I’m really looking forward to experiencing the culture, learning from classmates around the world and trying some good food! In addition, I will graduate this upcoming May, and I’m excited to start the next chapter. 

What’s your favorite photo you took this year and why?  

This photo is my “why.” When we started at Goizueta in the full-time program, during on-boarding, they had us split up in the room as to “why” we were here, and in my mind, this photo was it. I am working to better myself so that I can be the best I can be for the family we are creating. This photo was taken on the Emory lawn, and it reminds me of the amazing support system I have. I’m forever grateful!   

Ash Moss: Senior Operations Manager 

What event had a big impact on your life this year? 

The event that had the largest impact on me this year would be accepting my role as Senior Operations Manager here at the Goizueta Business School. I had just closed down my business and was looking for a great place to land. I was very impressed with the school during my interview and all the people I met. Over the past eight months, I have really enjoyed working with everyone here and the opportunity to be a part of this organization. 

What’s the most important lesson you learned in 2023 that you’d like to carry with you into the new year? 

I came to realize this year that people are complicated and come from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences. That shapes how they view the world. It’s important to take that into consideration when interacting with anyone. Without understanding someone, it’s difficult to find commonality and achieve a connection. You have to look beyond your own experiences and ideas in order to be an effective leader. Otherwise, you’ll shut yourself off to new ideas and viewpoints. 

What is one habit or skill you hope to cultivate next year? 

Continuing to develop my managerial skills is a very important goal for me as I continue to grow and develop here at Goizueta. I have people who depend on me to be an effective communicator and organizer so that they can do their jobs effectively without undue stress. Being a manager is not for everyone and is a very difficult skill to cultivate. You have to be willing to put your needs aside and focus on what’s best for the organization and the people that report to you.

I think lots of people feel like becoming a manager is a career goal because “you’re the boss.” They may think you can do whatever you want or call the shots. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Great managers and leaders are selfless and work on skills that help them better serve others, not themselves. If you are a great manager, you will experience success automatically without trying to force it or take shortcuts. It’s important to remember that if the organization you work for succeeds, you in turn succeed and benefit. 

What is one thing you’re looking forward to next year? 
Moss took this selfie the day he interviewed at Goizueta.

With the recent pandemic and turmoil of running my own business for the last three years before joining Emory, I can honestly say that I am long overdue for a vacation! I would really like to take some time in 2024 to visit somewhere new. I’ve always wanted to explore rural Japan and visit the many ancient shrines. I’m hoping my husband and I can take some time to travel in the coming year. I want to just change gears and focus on our journey through life together. 

 What’s your favorite photo you took this year and why?

I’ve included a selfie I took of myself the day I came to Goizueta to interview for my current job. I was so impressed by this really nice building and the thought of being able to contribute to improving it was a very exciting opportunity. So I snapped this photo and sent it to my husband and close friends. I wanted to show them how excited I was about the interview and how much I wanted to land this role. 

Happy New Year, Goizueta friends and family! 

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