After a year which featured the first new storefront in 14 years, Students of Georgetown, Inc., underwent a change in leadership in January, electing a new Chief Executive Officer, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer. The Hoya sat down with the outgoing and incoming leadership to reflect on their terms.
Reflect on your experience in The Corp. Do you think that you met your goals?
Sam Rodman (MSB ’15), CEO: It’s interesting how any leadership role works. You set an agenda when you come in to any role. You come in with a lot of ideas, and the more that you learn about the nature of the company through your own role and yourself as a leader, your goals and agenda change. [One of the] main goals that I had was to open The Hilltoss. We definitely nailed that. Obviously there is a load of work to do now that we are off the ground, but in terms of my role and making sure we can handle the financing, construction, design and payback plan, I am really happy with how the team handled that.
I’m happy with our philanthropy overall. We’ve been able to give away $85,000 this year. I think we found a lot of interesting ways to do that.
Patrick Moore (MSB ’15), COO: It’s hard to really understand the entire scope of the job until you’re in it. A lot of my goals came up as my time as COO, but I am excited about the stuff we have accomplished and initiatives that we’ve started. Hopefully the next year will continue to show growth. I was really happy to work with Sam and [Gene Ball (MSB ’16), CFO], and I thought that we accomplished a lot that we talked about. We go on an annual retreat where we talk about our goals for the year, and we reflected on everything and hit on a lot of those points.
Looking back, what would you have done differently? Is there anything that you wish you could have done?
Rodman: There is always room to do new things. Within The Corp, every year you look back and there is always so much more to do as far as strengthening our ties to the community and expanding our products. I wouldn’t say that there’s anything I regret doing or would’ve done differently, but in terms of things I wish I could’ve [been here for], I am excited to see where we take The Hilltoss. There is so much room for growth potential there in terms of introducing new products like smoothies and acai bowls and seeing how we can expand to new salads and hours.
Moore: There’s always more to be done. There are some initiatives that we are still working on that are in the pipeline that I think still have to be accomplished. But on the whole, there is not too much that I regret taking on.
What advice do you have for the incoming leadership?
Rodman: We found three incredibly qualified kids. The Corp is an incredibly complex organization that becomes more and more difficult to define as we add more facets to it. At its core, everything we do comes back to this idea of students serving students. Whether you are providing for the Georgetown community or employees or providing good customer service, it is that idea to give back to the community. So, remembering that and returning to the roots is very important. Being a leader in any Georgetown organization, the community of motivated people that you get to work with is hard to replicate, so cherish the opportunities you have to really make an impact and have fun along the way as you do that, even when times are stressful.
Moore: One of our themes was reinvention and thinking of things in new ways, by bringing in new products and vendors. So I would say just continuing that trend. The Corp is lucky in that we have our own financial resources and our personnel changes all the time. Remember we have a lot of flexibility, and continue the spirit of reinvention.
What goals do you have for the upcoming year?
Marnie Wallach (NHS ’16), CEO: In the upcoming year, I’m really excited to increase The Corp’s collaboration with student groups across campus. With such a vibrant student body, there’s so much to be done through partnerships among groups and collaboration on events, and I want to continue to strengthen The Corp’s campus involvement beyond our storefronts. Within the company, we’ll be looking to expand product variety, especially at The Hilltoss, and we’ll continue to look internally to see where we can tighten up operations.
Billy Bowers (COL ’16), COO: I have two main goals for the upcoming year. First, I want to empower Corpies at all levels of our company to create innovation for both their storefronts and the larger Georgetown community. Second, I’m looking to increase the educational opportunities that The Corp offers to its employees. Both goals will have a distinct and immediate impact on our employees and their storefronts.
Will Spach (SFS ’17), CFO: From a financial perspective, my goal is for The Corp to both improve overall efficiency and diversify its income sources. The Hilltoss was a step in the right direction and continuing to develop our newest storefront is crucial for our continued success. Outside of the financials, our new leadership team is focusing on continuing to improve the quality of our products. The past leadership developed an excellent framework for us to build on, and reinforcing the importance of quality is a top priority of our team.
Is there anything that you plan to change? Any new plans to be implemented?
Wallach: The Corp is coming off a huge year of projects — from the opening of The Hilltoss to the excitement surrounding Kickback — as well as some smaller operational switches, including expansion of vendors and product quality. I’m really excited to continue this momentum into the next year. We have some big changes coming, including a major switch in coffee vendors and transformation in our company-wide Spring Service Day. It’s going to be a really exciting couple of months.
Bowers: One of the main changes I wish to see is a greater look at our impact on the larger Georgetown community. This year, The Corp has made great strides toward improving its impact on the Georgetown community with its creation of Kickback and the opening of The Hilltoss. I would love to see this trend continue in our term and expand on the efforts made this year. The officer team also wants to continue to improve The Corp experience for the customer by continuing our move toward affordable but high quality goods.
Spach: In a couple of weeks, we are going to be changing coffee vendors and retraining our baristas. We want the Georgetown community to know that we are genuinely committed to serving them the best cup of coffee as possible. We are working to both maintain affordability and financial feasibility and assure that quality becomes a central focus in every storefront.
What excites you most about the future of The Corp?
Wallach: The thing that most excites me about the future of The Corp is the innovation that can come from a company of 350 incredibly motivated, dedicated, and passionate students. As we’ve seen over the last year with The Hilltoss and Kickback, The Corp has been able to take an idea and make it a reality. With a strengthened focus on campus involvement and partnership, I can’t wait to see what we’ll be able to accomplish in the next year.
Bowers: The thing that excites me the most about the future of The Corp is the larger on campus impact that we as an officer team wish to achieve. There are many innovative ideas that our team wishes to accomplish in the upcoming year, and many of these not only affect our company, but the Georgetown campus as well.
Spach: As a sophomore, I’m not even halfway through my time at the Corp, but I have already seen more than I could have expected. The focus on innovation that Billy and Marnie bring to the officer team assures me that I will continue to be impressed by what The Corp has to offer.
What excites me about The Corp is having the ability to help transform the ideas in the Georgetown community into a reality both in my time as CFO and beyond. The potential for innovation at all levels of The Corp assures me that its future will be both strong and exciting.The potential for innovation at all levels of The Corp assures me that its future will be both strong and exciting.