Posted on October 25, 2013 by

Invest in Introductions.

Last Wednesday, I spoke to the inaugural Startup Institute class in Chicago about how to “introduce” themselves to startups.  This reminded me of an introduction I gave for Georgetown’s business school head, Dean David Thomas.  I’ve copied the intro below and included a few takeaways on what I did right and could have done better.

  • Be thoughtful.  Research your audience.
  • Be creative.  Following the herd doesn’t leave an impression.  Stand out.
  • Follow-up.  I’m writing this post over a year after I met Dean Thomas. Aside from a follow-up tweet he sent my way, my relationship with Dean Thomas doesn’t exist because I didn’t take the time to follow-up.  That’s my fault.

“Hi Everyone, my name is Rick Desai and I have the great privilege of introducing the Dean of our McDonough School of Business, Dr. David A. Thomas. Justine asked me to review Dr. Thomas’s profile.  I interpreted that as memorize his accomplishments and present them tonight.  That’s next to impossible. He’s done everything.  Dr. Thomas spent over 20 years on the faculty of Harvard Business School.  The H. Naylor Fitshugh Professor of Business Administration.  Directed HBS’s Organizational Behavior unit.  Dr. Thomas is widely published, having co-authored two books and over 60 case studies. He has been honored with a number prestigious awards and is widely regarded as a thought leader in organizational behavior and strategic human resource management.  As now he is guiding the MSB into the future.

Now, with all that said, I did want to get to know the “real” Dr. Thomas before introducing him today.  So I did a little internet recon.  Google through the interviews and profiles reiterated that Dr Thomas is an extraordinary leader.  LinkedIn provided his resume – and Facebook came up empty. And then I checked the last place I thought I would find our Dean: Twitter.  Lo and behold, Dean Thomas tweets actively.  And I want to share a few of his tweets which really resonated with me.

Dean Thomas is man of the people.

The next will resonate with many of us in this room who are investing – time, energy, mentorship and capital – to transforming not only Georgetown but also Chicago.

And we also learned about the Dean’s interests.

He disliked the Hunger Games movie, tweeting about giving it 9 thumbs down. And he is a big fan of Jeremy Lin, tweeting about Linsanity and being Linsane a number of times.



Dr. Thomas, I assume you’ll be supporting Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls while you are here this week.

So, as a Georgetown alum, a Chicago resident, and our Dean’s 1,089th follower on Twitter, I’m honored to introduce Dr. David A Thomas, the Dean of Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business.”

-April 2012