Park Fellows alumni spotlight: Jennifer Dulski, MBA ’99
Next time you check into your Facebook Group – whether it be for wine tasting, parenting, or diabetes management – you’ll be in the capable hands of Jennifer Dulski, the new Head of Groups & Communities at Facebook. “We build the product that brings billions of people together into meaningful groups where they can create community and bring the world closer together,” she says.
“Much of my career has been at the crossover between technology and impact – leveraging technology to make the world better,” explains Dulski, a veteran leader and entrepreneur with experience as an executive at Yahoo! and Google, as a startup founder and CEO, and who most recently served as president & COO of social-change platform Change.org. She’s also written a new book, Purposefulstyle, that hits the bookstores next May. “It’s about how leaders can be most effective when they see themselves as movement starters, rallying people around common causes,” she explains.
Her experience with the Park program nurtured her view of leader as servant. “I had this thread running through my life that was strengthened in the Park program: Leadership is not an end in itself,” she says. “Leadership is a vehicle for doing something that matters.”
Dulski describes her own style as coach and teacher. Before attending Johnson, she taught high school and founded Summerbridge Pittsburgh, a nonprofit to help under-resourced students be first in their family to attend college. “Coach/teacher is in my blood,” says Dulski, who served as crew-team coxswain in high school and at Cornell. “My leadership style is about empowering other people to be their best, bringing together the right people and helping them find their own natural talents.”
That thought crystallized during a Park speaker series lecture. “Ken Blanchard said, ‘Even the best athletes in the world have coaches,’” says Dulski. “That made me really think about the kind of leader I wanted to be, in terms of both empowering other people, and in my own willingness to be open to the feedback of others.”
As one of the class of inaugural Park Fellows, Dulski also learned much about creating a program that would have lasting impact. “Clint had not been hired yet, and we as the first class got to spend a fair amount of time inventing what the program would be,” she says. “There was real power in that; it was a meaningful experience, and something I would go on to do many other times.”