Member Spotlight: Stephen McMullin13 Oct

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Stephen McMullin and Srujan Linga at Yankee Stadium

Fortune Favors the Bold.

In this member spotlight, Stephen McMullin, Founding Member of the Global Catalyst Group shares his stories of earning acceptance into Georgetown University and his resiliency through the arduous hiring process of Goldman Sachs. Stephen’s reflection shows us that through tenacity and perseverance, goals can be attained and ambitions quenched.

Stephen also shares his insight into how Rugby taught him to “leave it all on the field” and to pursue a “common sense of teamwork and resiliency.” Through rugby, he acquired attributes that have been applicable to both his personal and professional life; most notably “playing smart as well as hard.” Stephen says that “everyday I try to make the smartest decisions I can, to be as productive as I can, and to rely on my team to fill in the holes that I cannot fill.”

Finally, Stephen reflects on simple human limitations with a wise and unique account of the success and failures of Wall Street. He speaks of the fearful reality that no one particular person is omnipotent and that life is full of unknowable variables. However, Stephen contends that this reality, when viewed from the proper perspective, can be the source of an overwhelming sense of empowerment. Stephen’s states that we “all have an opportunity to set the agenda, to define the world around ourselves, and to engage others to join us in our respective visions for the future.”


Member Spotlight: Donald Ball10 Sep

Donald Ball

“Dream big and take risks.”

In this Catalyst Spotlight, Don reminiscences about his study and travel to Hong Kong. For Don, this was an experience of a lifetime and one that was a game-changer. During this talk, Don sets the stage for group members to connect and converse about their experiences. Don articulates a key theme that inspires his listeners to, as Don states, “dream big and take risks”.

While in China, Don finds that relationships are forged during new and challenging circumstances; his experience in China and at the Chinese University of Hong Kong creates deep and meaningful relationships with his colleagues, including GCG founding members, Stephen McMullin and Justin Tsang.

Don has been shaped and influenced by his experience in China by witnessing firsthand, the miracle in Asia and corresponding economic boom. Traveling gave Don an opportunity to not only share his story with his colleagues, but also to build a new and exciting story with them.

Listen to the podcast here:


Leadership Discussion: High Tech Crowdsoucing Driving Innovation and Opportunity with Liam Cleaver09 Aug


High Tech Crowdsoucing Driving Innovation and Opportunity

Prepared by Ryan Coleman and Kevin Walsh

The Global Catalyst Group revisits the reoccurring topic of crowdsourcing. Our guest for the call, Liam Cleaver is the Program Director of IBM’s Innovation Jams. Liam will share with us the background, technology and theory behind IBM Jams. Innovation Jams are online brainstorming events hosted over the course of 72 hours and synthesis the ideas, thoughts, recommendations and opportunities of thousands of participants across the world.  IBM hosted Jams that incorporated over 300,000 members of its global workforce and has dedicated more than $100 million to fund the development of ideas present from Innovation Jam  Events.

IBM’s InnovationJam 2008 took crowdsourcing to its truest form by “tapping the collaborative insight of leading thinkers from thousands of companies to help advance the vision of IBM’s CEO Study, “The Enterprise of the Future.” The event hosted 90,000 login’s and over 32,000 post over a 90 hour period.
Read more at:


  • Discover the fundamentals behind IBM’s Innovation Jams
  • Explore the intrinsic benefit of companies hosting events like Jams on a) innovation and b) corporate culture
  • Identify key attributes of successful crowdsoucing and corporate wide brainstorming sessions (Risk associated with/Opportunities/Key Management Principles)

Guiding questions:

  • How can we translate internal or corporate crowdsourcing into consumer driven innovation?
  • What opportunities exist by innovating through crowdsourcing in the high tech industry?
  • Based on previous conversations and insight into IBM’s Innovation Jams, what business opportunities present themselves through platform creation to facilitate crowdsourced innovation in emerging industries (3D Printing, Nano Tech, Bio-Medicine)
  • Based on the IBM case study what key lessons surfaced as essential to creating innovation programs like InnovationJams.

Leadership Discussion: Green building and Construction09 Aug

Any consideration of the future of green industries, green policies, or the green movement itself must take into account the built environment. The built environment has a profound impact on our natural environment, economy, health, and productivity.
In the United States alone, buildings account for:
•    72% of electricity consumption,
•    39% of energy use,
•    38% of all carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions,
•    40% of raw materials use,
•    30% of waste output (136 million tons annually), and
•    14% of potable water consumption.
This Leadership Discussion was with Emile Chin-Dickey, LEED-AP, Sustainability and Energy Design Principal. Mr. Chin-Dickey manages Sustainability Consulting and Energy Design projects for the firm.
GCG discussed the Leadership in Energy Efficient Design was developed by the US Green Building Council as a system to certify the greenest buildings in the world. LEED provides building owners and operators a concise framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions.

Key questions we would like to investigate:
What are some of the challenges and drawbacks to green construction and building?
What are the business opportunities in Green design for residential and commercial construction?
How are companies and governments capitalizing on green design movements?
How can green design/construction be coupled with other policy or economic goals to encourage implementation?
Government, Healthcare, Interviews

Healthcare Conversation with Richard and Joseph Hsieh09 Aug


We are pleased to have the following two guest speakers for our call this Sunday. They are professionals focusing in the healthcare space. And yes they are in fact brothers. Richard is in healthcare investment banking. Joseph is a neurosurgery resident with a background in healthcare policy and public health. We will begin with introductions of each GCG member, and the introduction of our guests. Then start asking questions to begin our discussion. The moderator will initially begin with the following questions:

  • What do you think are the greatest challenges facing the US healthcare delivery system today?
  • What do you think of the White House’s current healthcare reform policy? Is it feasible? Is it the best proposal?
  • What are the greatest barriers to the healthcare reform?
  • What models of healthcare delivery are currently operating at the micro level here or abroad that you think we all could learn from?
  • How are or how should small business respond to the changing financial environment of healthcare funding, financing, and delivery?
Richard Hsieh is currently an associate at Edgemont Capital Partners, which provides investment banking, corporate financial analysis and consultation for healthcare companies in the areas of business acquisitions and mergers, pharmaceutical licensing, private placements of debt and equity, financial valuations of business assets and fairness opinions.Previously he was an analyst with MTS Healthcare Partners (“MTS”), a New York-based healthcare merchant bank, where he worked with middle market and large capitalization healthcare services companies. While with MTS, he executed a range of strategic advisory assignments including merger, acquisition and spin-off transactions. His favorite professional accomplishment was being able to participate in the UnitedHealth acquisition of PacifiCare in 2005. He was raised in the suburbs of Los Angeles, California and moved to the east coast to attend New York University, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Economics, concentrating on policy.
Joseph C. Hsieh is a senior neurosurgery resident at the University of Chicago Hospitals, and has done primary research on heath and neurosurgery policy.  He completed his BAS in biology and psychology and MS in biology at Stanford University, MBA at the Anderson School of Management at UCLA, MPH at the School of Public Health at UCLA, and MD at Harvard Medical School.  He recently served full time as the Plante public policy fellow for the American Association of Neurological Surgeons/Congress of Neurological Surgeons in Washington D.C. and is continuing his work as socioeconomic fellow for the Council of State Neurosurgical Societies.
Environment, Government, Interviews

Global Environmental Carbon Policy09 Aug


As mounting concern about the ramifications of climate change presses global leaders to look for viable means to reduce carbon emissions, all attention has come to focus on the United States. As one of the largest overall emitters, both in volume and per capita, the decisions made here over the next year will determine the shape and pace of global climate policy over the next decade.  Most have come to agree that linked carbon markets are one of the most feasible ways to price and constrain emissions, though consensus on specific measures will depend heavily on how OECD and industrializing nations are able to reconcile their conflicting perspectives on what is fair, and what is reasonable.  This Sunday evening, our conversation will focus on the primary policy vehicles under consideration, the roadblocks and the possible avenues for collaboration in addressing what may prove to be the most important international issue and diplomatic challenge of the 21st century.

With ever increasing levels of carbon emissions and their threat to global warming, a fiercely deliberated issue has been around what is the best way to structure a global environmental policy. With Clinton’s recent visit to India and China’s hard stance during the G8 talks clearly showing the unwillingness of the developing countries to accept limits set by the developed nations, an interesting and timely topic for GCG members to discuss would be the issue of international environmental policy. In specific, we would like to discuss the following questions:

  • 1) Is it fair for the developed nations to impose carbon emission limits and increase tariffs on goods imported from developing countries and hence hinder their industrial development?
  • 2) What would be an effective & fair policy which would both not hinder industrial development of the emerging nations and at the same time limit carbon emissions?

The following articles will serve as guiding material for our discussion:

1) Poor countries wrangle with rich ones about who can burn what and when? (

2) How to Set Greenhouse Gas Emission Targets for All Countries?

Our guest speaker, Allison Shapiro, is a carbon markets specialist that has spoken to audiences across the globe on these looming issues.

Allison Shapiro Bio

Allison Shapiro is a Program Associate in the Carbon Markets program of the Ecosystem Marketplace. At Ecosystem Marketplace, she has contributed to the 2008 and 2009 ‘State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets’ reports, writes for the V-Carbon News, and updated the second edition of the book Voluntary Carbon Markets: A Business Guide to What They Are and How They Work. She was also a contributor to an Ecosystem Marketplace study on conservation banking in the United States for the information clearinghouse Before joining Ecosystem Marketplace, Allison worked at ICF International, where she provided environmental management support to US federal government and foreign clients. Allison holds a BS degree in Science, Technology, and International Affairs with a concentration in Environmental Studies from Georgetown University. She speaks English and Spanish.  This coming year she will be attending Michigan Business School.

Interviews, Media

New Media and Transparency09 Aug


This week’s guest speaker will be Andrew Cedotal, Director of New Media Strategy at Abrams Research.

This week’s topic:

The recent Twitter/Techcrunch leak controversy has put the issue of transparency in new media and technology companies front and center. Despite the Internet’s supposedly democratizing effect on society at large, it is arguable whether or not this trend is effecting the companies that, for lack of a better term, are “running” the internet.

Is new media itself making new media companies more or less transparent? And, for companies on the leading edge of social innovation, is transparency necessarily a good thing?

Possible avenues of discussion include:

  • New media companies frequenly deride old-model public companies (General Electric, Coca-Cola) as relics of the past…but is there any way that the industry’s relationship with venture capital can make corporate governance into anything other than a smoke-filled room?
  • What effect is cloud document storage having on corporate security issues? And how does this effect corporate cultures, where sharing strategic plans or revenue projections with lower-level employees is just a click away?
  • Even when new media companies books are laid completely open, due diligence hasn’t prevented disasters like Bebo and The Learning Company. Is there any way to make new media businesses truly transparent to non-new-media businesses?
  • Google and Microsoft are both publicly-traded companies, and yet their backroom anti-trust fencing on search has taken on the character of palace intrigue in 15th-century Florence. In an era where the average investor, journalist, or bystander can’t be expected to understand all the issues facing tech conglomerates, how can “real” transparency translate into “effective” transparency?
  • Long ago, new media was supposed to put content distribution back into the hands of the masses, However, Hulu has succeeded wildly with the backing of Fortune 100 media companies, and while the music industry hasn’t come up with a viable alternative themselves, they’ve at least been able to crush opponents like SeeqPod under litigation. Even the Pirate Bay is nominally corporate now! Did crowdsourcing the content revolution really fail, and if so, why?

Official Bio:

Andrew Cedotal is currently designing a content network for Dan Abrams’ Abrams Media, one which will reinvigorate the now-stale medium of blogging, just as sunlight causes toadstools to shrivel, die, and blow away like so many cheap corsages. In this capacity, he is a Contributing Editor at

He attended Yale University, where he double-majored in Hipster Crap and Server-based Gaming. Before that, he was forced to learn QBASIC for “Computers,” the Boy Scout merit badge.

Some readings:

In Our Inbox: Hundreds of Confidential Twitter Documents

Will Twitter Sue TechCrunch?

Twitter Breach Revives Security Issues with Cloud Computing

Mattel Learns Hard Lessons with The Learning Company

Google Argues it Really Isn’t So Big

Our Mantra

The Global Catalyst Group seeks to gather persons of unique potential into a community dedicated to thought leadership, shared resources, and mutual improvement. Through deliberate collaboration, collective mentorship and continuous dialogue we believe that we can support and stretch one another with meaningful insight and thoughtful guidance. We encourage our membership and partners to exercise, together, their ambition, creativity, and both their professional and social networks to pursue a greater purpose than oneself. We challenge them to leave a legacy and we support one another towards this end.

Contact Us

We are actively exploring new opportunities to connect and collaborate on projects that add value to our mission. Contact us to start the conversation.