Growing up in Albuquerque, N.M., R. Martin (Marty) Chavez relied on his mother’s wisdom to help him forge his personal and professional identities.
“I remember sitting around the dinner table and by brother said, ‘I want to do something that helps Hispanics,’” Chavez said at an April Haas Dean’s Speaker Series event, co-sponsored by the Berkeley Culture Center. “My mom said, ‘that’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. If you really want to help Hispanics, be really successful and be really visible, and that’s the way you can help Hispanics.’”
Chavez went on to do just that. After serving in a variety of senior roles at the investment banking company Goldman Sachs, he is now vice chairman and partner of Sixth Street, a San Francisco-based global investment firm.
A trailblazer who was among the most senior openly gay Latino Wall Street executives, Chavez helped turn trading into a software business by using data-based modeling.
“One thing that Goldman taught me is we don’t predict the future, because we can’t,” Chavez said. “Anyone who’s predicting the future is a charlatan.” Instead, he said, focus on having a “really deep model of what is going on right now, and then you can inspect that model and maybe you’ll find things that can go wrong in the future.”
A successful professional life, Chavez added, is about striking a work-life balance.
“There is just your life, and your short, sacred list of personal priorities,” he said. “Know those priorities. Make every choice according to the waterfall of your priorities.” Chavez shared his priorities, which start with “peace of mind” (which includes sleep and meditation), family, and then work.
“If (work) is not on your top-three list of priorities, you’re in the wrong company,” Chavez said.
Takedra Mawakana, co-CEO of autonomous driving technology company Waymo, urged Dean’s Speaker’s Series attendees to embrace the ambiguity required to bring true innovation to the mobility industry.
“One of the reasons this industry is so exciting to me is nothing is set,” said Mawakana, who joined Mountain View-based Waymo in 2017, and was named co-CEO in 2021. “Everything is up in the air. The regulatory environment isn’t set, the customer adoption plan isn’t set, and the technology isn’t done. I thought my relationship with ambiguity was quite advanced … but ambiguity at every level means never walking on solid ground.“
Some things are going to go wrong, she added, and that’s OK. “You can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs.” Waymo operates in San Francisco and metropolitan Phoenix, with plans to expand to Los Angeles. Its taxi service, called Waymo One, does not require a human driver.
Watch the DSS talk here. Prior to joining Waymo, Mawakana led global teams at eBay, Yahoo, AOL and Startec. She said she joined Waymo because the company reflects her values, with its mission is to make it safe and easy for people and things to get where they’re going. Research has shown that Waymo technology can prevent 75 percent of vehicle collisions, while reducing serious injury risk by 93 percent.
Mawakana said that two of her uncles were killed in “completely avoidable” traffic accidents, which has committed her to making driving safer. “I’m just deeply tied to the mission,” she said. “What I can’t say is that the journey is always going to be easy, but I can say it feels worth it when it’s deeply tied to what you believe in, which is very different than chasing the next software release.” Mawakana’s talk was sponsored by the Black Business Student Association and the Haas Transportation & Mobility Club.
Jensen Huang, co-founder and CEO of Nvidia, solved the 3D graphic challenge for the personal computer in 1999 with the company’s release of the first-ever graphics processing unit (GPU).
Nvidia’s vision for the chips that fueled new video games existed before they had a name for it, Huang said during last week’s Dean’s Speaker Series at Haas.
“It’s OK that you don’t’ have the words to describe it, but you need to know what the company does and for what reason,” said Huang, whose company was named to Time Magazine’s annual list of the 100 most influential companies of 2022.
Nvidia set new standards in visual computing with interactive graphics on tablets, portable media players, and workstations. Its technology has been used in movies like Harry Potter, Iron Man and Avatar and is at the center of the most cutting-edge trends in technology: virtual reality, artificial intelligence and self-driving cars.
Now, Nvidia and other chip-makers’ stock shares are rising over their potential to power OpenAI’s language tool, ChatGPT, a “chatbot” that interacts in a conversational way with users.
(Watch the DSS talk here.)
Huang calls ChatGPT “the iPhone moment of artificial intelligence.”
“When was the last time that we saw a piece of technology that is so versatile that it can solve problems and surprise people in so many ways?” he said. “It can write a poem, fill out a spreadsheet, do a sequel theory, and write Python code. We’ve been waiting for this moment.”
Nvidia is constantly reinventing itself, which is the key for every entrepreneur, he said.
“Creating something out of nothing is a skill that I think every company or startup needs to have,” he said. “The energy of looking for something new – a new way of doing something – is always there.”
Leadership requires both dedication and empathy, he added.
“Being a CEO, being a leader, it’s a craft. You have to dedicate yourself to the craft. I don’t think there’s any easy answer aside from that. You have to have curiosity, you have to have deep empathy for other people’s work.”
As co-founder of Rolling Stone Magazine, Jann Wenner published the first major interviews with dozens of top rock stars of the 1960s and launched the careers of generations of journalists, musicians and photographers.
AT 77, Wenner recently published a memoir, Like a Rolling Stone, which covers the launch of the magazine and the music, politics, lifestyle, and cultural change that swept America during the 1960s and beyond.
In conversation with writer author and music critic Greil Marcus last week, Wenner looked back on his time as a student at UC Berkeley, where he met Marcus and participated in the Free Speech Movement.
Running a groundbreaking publication brought its share of organizational challenges, Wenner said.
“Our main task in the first 15 to 20 years was learning how to be a business and how to manage growth,” Wenner said. “Our growth was rapid. We had no experience. Anything that you did that was wrong, you don’t learn from, you just move on. It leads you, obviously, into making some pretty dumb moves and mistakes, thinking you’re better than you are.”
Rolling Stone helped pioneer narrative journalism when two of the magazine’s reporters, Hunter S. Thompson and Timothy Crouse, eschewed conventional reporting during the 1972 presidential race between George McGovern and Richard Nixon.
“We did something so brilliant and exceptional that it changed journalism forever and put Rolling Stone up into the first rank of American publications,” said Wenner.
Wenner also published Outside, US Weekly, Family Life, and Men’s Journal, and co-founded the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Xavier Jefferson, MBA 24, worked as a general analyst in wealth management before arriving at Haas, where he planned to narrow his focus to land a job as a securities analyst concentrating on stocks and bonds.
“When I looked in the mirror, I saw a capital allocator, someone responsible for making investment decisions,” Jefferson said, “And I came to a point in my career where I needed to find ways to be exposed to the next level of investors and thinkers outside of books, podcasts, and blogs.”
That ambition led him to Haas, where he is now among the 2022 Finance Fellows, first-year, full-time MBA students pursuing careers in finance fields that include investment banking; private equity and investment management (including quantitative finance); and entrepreneurial finance (which includes VC, fintech, and impact investing).
Students receive a $5,000 cash award, and are assigned mentors, who are Haas alumni working in finance, including recent graduates and senior executives.
“The one-on-one mentoring by alumni in the field provides high-level perspective and advice, which the Fellows capitalize on in seeking opportunities, and then succeeding on the job in these fields,” said William Rindfuss, executive director of strategic program for the Haas Finance Group.
The 2022 Fellowship recipients, all MBA 24, include:
Investment Banking: Nick Goomer, Didi Pritakinari, Daniel Billostas, Adebola Adeniyi
Entrepreneurial Finance: Yining Yan, Elias Mufarech, Hoi Wong
C&J White Fellows (selected in the spring before matriculating): John Graft and Teo Gumusoglu
The mentor edge
The Finance Fellowship program launched 17 years ago, expanding over the years as more MBA students pursued finance careers. All Fellows are chosen based on their experience and preparation in their stated area of interest, the clarity of their goals and career plans, and interviews. They all receive priority enrollment for finance electives.
Finance Fellow Nick Goomer said the program has given him the opportunity to learn directly from his Morgan Stanley mentor.
“Despite his busy schedule and responsibility, he has taken a hands-on approach to help me curate my unique story, and learn about how the tech world is shifting in our new market landscape,” Goomer said. “He is a force of nature within the tech investment banking industry, and I am incredibly grateful to have him as my mentor.”
Yining Yan, who worked in blockchain venture capital in Singapore before coming to Haas, said that a mentor will play a critical role in her career development in the Bay Area.
“Having a mentor who is deeply rooted in the industry will be the most effective approach for an international student to plug into the local entrepreneurship and VC investing ecosystem,” she said.
Making venture capital more equitable
Fellow Hoi Wong, who was a business operations manager at fintech startup Bluevine before he arrived at Haas, is driven toward entrepreneurial finance for reasons that hit close to home.
“My parents were immigrant small business owners who leveraged a loan to start and grow their business, despite only having a grade-school level of education,” Wong said. “Entrepreneurship was one of the major levers that helped my family rise from poverty.”
Wong plans to pivot from the operating side of fintech to the investing side by joining a fintech-focused venture capital firm. He’s also exploring venture capital investing within major financial services firms.
“As a first-gen student, I believe one way to make venture funding more equitable is by changing who is in control of the money, and one way to do that is to become a VC investor myself,” Wong said.
Former Intel CEO Paul S. Otellini, MBA 74, an innovator who left his mark on the computing industry and inspired a global workforce, maintained a lifelong connection with the school he said laid the foundation for his success.
The first non-engineer to lead Santa Clara-based Intel, Otellini guided the company to new heights. During his eight-year tenure as CEO of the semiconductor chip and microprocessor maker, Intel generated more revenue than it did during the company’s previous 45 years.
In 2006, Otellini was named Haas Business Leader of the Year for “innovative new strategies … his ability to lead and inspire a global workforce, and for his unwavering commitment to conducting business with integrity.”
“Paul occupies a very special place in the Haas pantheon. More broadly, he was a great citizen,” says Dean Rich Lyons. “He was also super honest, which is part of why he ascended so far and so fast in the corporate world. We’ve lost an important part of our community.”
Laying the foundation for success
In a 2007 interview with CalBusiness magazine, he credited his Haas experience for laying the foundation for his success. “You learn a very thorough, analytical methodology at Haas,” Otellini said at the time. “That has worked extremely well for me in the high-tech industry.”
Otellini led Intel from 2005 until his retirement in 2013. Current Intel CEO Brian Krzanich called Otellini “the relentless voice of the customer in a sea of engineers.”
Otellini never strayed far from Haas, serving on the Haas School Board from 2002-2003. He and his wife, Sandy, were among the earliest benefactors to donate to the Chou Hall capital fund. The couple made a gift of $1 million to the new building. The $60 million facility, used completely for student learning and interaction, opened in August.
“That very early investment was a vote of confidence, and a lot of other people came into the project because he was in,” Lyons says.
For a guy with a non-technical background to be chosen to lead Intel may have struck some as quizzical. But Lyons says it made perfect sense.
“Paul brought a complementary skillset to a company that, at that time, needed it,” he says. “He had an ability to arbitrage business and technology, to understand two somewhat distinct fields and really pull them together.”
“Obsessed with making things better”
Lyons says Otellini’s work embodied Haas’ four Defining Leadership Principles—Question the Status Quo, Confidence Without Attitude, Students Always, and Beyond Yourself—which were established more than three decades after Otellini left Berkeley.
Otellini and Lyons spoke of the Defining Leadership Principles during their periodic lunch meetings over the past decade. Otellini remarked that the principles existed in his own Haas education more than 30 years earlier, even if they weren’t explicitly stated.
“Paul was obsessed with making things better,” Lyons says. “’Question the status quo’ is something where people are saying, ‘Look, there’s got to be a better way here.’ Paul had that in spades. He was confident, but he was grounded, and that’s why people appreciated him so much.”
Otellini was born in San Francisco on Oct. 12, 1950, and remained a fan of the city all his life, according to Intel’s website. He received a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of San Francisco in 1972 before earning an MBA at Haas in 1974.
From 1990 to 2002, he served as executive vice president and general manager of the Intel Architecture Group, responsible for the company’s microprocessor and chipset businesses and strategies for desktop, mobile, and enterprise computing—and as executive vice president and general manager of the sales and marketing group before becoming chief operating officer, a role he held from 2002 to 2005. As CEO, he grew the company’s sales from $34 billion in 2005 to $53 billion in 2012.
Since retiring in 2013, Otellini dedicated time to mentoring young people and was involved with several philanthropic and charitable organizations, including the San Francisco Symphony and San Francisco General Hospital Foundation.
Otellini is survived by his wife, Sandy; his mother, Evelyn; his son Patrick (Marissa), and daughter, Alexis; grandchildren Nico and Mia, all of San Francisco; and brother Rev. Msgr. Steven Otellini, Menlo Park.
In lieu of flowers, the family kindly suggests donations to the UCSF Foundation, with a note “Dyslexia Center in memory of Paul Otellini,” P.O. Box 45339, San Francisco, CA 94145-0339, or donations to the website makeagift.ucsf.edu, designating “Dyslexia Center” in the “other” gift category.