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Behind the Scenes with the Board of Trustees: Get to Know Tammy J. Samuels, Lina Y. Bell & Beth Briggs

The Consortium for Graduate Study in Management prides itself on being made up of a diverse range of professionals from across the graduate business education and corporate landscapes. Our Board of Trustees is no exception, with representatives from each of our 20 member schools as well as alumni and leaders from some of our corporate partner companies.

Through this monthly series, we encourage you to go behind the scenes with us to get to know members of our Board of Trustees, beyond just their professional titles, as they respond to a series of fun, thought-provoking questions. 

Tammy J. Samuels, Executive Director of Career and Leadership for MBA and Alumni, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Kenan-Flagler Business School 

What is your favorite quote, and why?

Tammy SamuelsNelson Mandela: “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

I really like this quote for a number of reasons, primarily because it reminds me that persistence and patience eventually pay off. The balance of life — personal and professional — always presents so much to be done in what seems like so little time. However, I give 100 percent of myself in all that I do, and as I rise each morning, putting one foot in front of the other, I know the possible will get done one step at a time.  

What is your favorite thing about the work that you do?

The work that I do is most rewarding, which is one of the many reasons I have been in higher education for over 20 years. I really enjoy being a contributor to others’ success. Having been in career coaching/management for the vast majority of my career, I am passionate about empowering all those around me to develop themselves professionally and achieve success. I thrive in holding myself and others accountable in order to optimize our work, problem-solve challenges and ensure that students receive nothing short of a class act — in professionalism, service and support.  

When it comes to food, what is your guilty pleasure?

I have a sweet tooth, so there are quite a few foods that I find guilty pleasure in. My favorite would probably be a baked chocolate chip cookie — I love it! I especially love them hot out of the oven with a cold glass of milk. They’re absolutely delicious!

Lina Y. Bell, Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Rice University Jones Graduate School of Business

How do you start your day every morning? 

Lina BellI begin my day with gratitude that I woke up and usually some sort of lemon-water concoction followed by COFFEE!!

When it comes to food, what is your guilty pleasure?

This is a difficult choice to make for a self-described “foodie,” but I’d have to say potato chips — pretty much any flavor, although I’m partial to Lay’s or Ruffles plain ones. No dip required!

What is the best movie of all time, and why?

I believe the best movie of all time is Age of Innocence — book by Edith Wharton, film directed by Martin Scorsese. Why? Daniel Day Lewis in his prime! But, seriously, it addresses some common themes about the consequences that occur when individual wishes and familial expectations conflict — insiders versus outsiders and protecting and keeping family order.

Beth Briggs, Associate Dean, Career Services, New York University Stern School of Business

How do you start your day every morning?

Beth BriggsMornings are my favorite time of day! And, over the past 10 months, I have really come to treasure my morning rituals. Living and working from my Brooklyn apartment with two teenagers, my husband and a dog can be hectic and a bit crowded. I typically set my alarm for around 6:00 a.m. so that I can have a quiet hour before the rest of my family starts to wake up. I’m lucky that my Brooklyn apartment faces east, so I often get a beautiful view of the sunrise over my neighborhood. The most important part of my morning is my coffee. I joined a coffee subscription service during quarantine which lets me sample and enjoy coffee selections from a variety of small roasteries. 

Once I get the coffee started, I settle in for a 20-minute meditation. I never thought I could meditate, and now, I can’t imagine not doing it. The quiet really sets the stage for the rest of my day and helps to reduce stress and process whatever may have happened in the last 24 hours. A ready cup of coffee is my reward for meditating — coffee and some email and social media scrolling. Then I try to get in some type of exercise. My husband and I have been doing a lot of walks in our neighborhood. It has been a really good way to connect and see our neighbors, plus our dog loves it! After all this, I move into my work day, which means sitting at my makeshift desk in my bedroom for a day full of Zoom calls — and definitely more cups of coffee! 

What item in your office could you not live/work without?

Throughout my professional life, I have always tried to have my work space reflect parts of me. My office at NYU Stern is filled with photos, art and precious items that I have received from colleagues and students over the years. To feel comfortable, I really need my work space to feel like an extension of my personality. I have really missed my office — and my colleagues — during quarantine. To try to replicate this feeling, I’ve set up my bedroom workspace with items that are inspiring and meaningful. 

But, what I really can’t live without are my Muji notebooks and pens. I’m a note taker, and I fill my notebooks with all sorts of notes that I may or may not refer back to. I use specific, non-lined notebooks and black Muji gel pens; I had to order a bunch midway through quarantine because I could not dip into the stash in my office. They really are the best! 

When it comes to food, what is your guilty pleasure?

I have a few guilty pleasures, and I try not to feel too guilty about them when I have them and, instead, just enjoy them. My more regular guilty pleasure is strawberry licorice  — the Australian version. I just love it and have been known to eat an entire bag on my own. My daughter has called this my “licorice problem.” 

My less frequent guilty pleasure is pie, specifically sour cherry pie. There is a wonderful bakery in my neighborhood that makes the most delicious sour cherry pie, and it is my go-to for special occasions. This year, I may have found more reasons for special occasions, but it has always been worth it to enjoy that delicious sour cherry pie!

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