Emma Goltz, MBA’98J, became Chair of the INSEAD Alumni Fund (IAF) in January 2017, taking over the reins from Leonidas Los MBA’75. We caught up with Emma to find out how she’s settling into the role and what her plans are for the future of the IAF.
Typical of most INSEAD alumni, Emma Goltz has moved countries a few times and had a varied career. Originally from Ireland, Emma started her career in the banking sector in Dublin and London before moving to San Francisco, where she was a manager at consulting firm Bain & Company. She recently moved back to Europe and is living in the UK with her husband Fred (also an MBA’98J) and their three children. As well as running the family-owned farming and equestrian business, Emma is a Director at Hattington Property Management. She also engages in many voluntary activities aside from her role with the IAF, and sits on a number of Boards.
“I don’t think I’m too different from other INSEAD alumni. I like to be busy, I’m interested in the world around me and I like to grasp as many opportunities as life has to offer,” she says.
Emma currently holds positions with the Contemporary Art Society in London, the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin, the California College of the Arts in San Francisco and the March of the Dimes, a US non-profit for medical research into premature birth.
“I grew up in a family where it was a given that you would volunteer and participate in the local community. It’s just always been like that, and it should be, especially when you are fortunate in life,” Emma explains.
On her motivations for taking on the role of IAF Chair, Emma says it started with gratitude for the impact that INSEAD had on her own life.
“INSEAD changes your knowledge of yourself and gives you the ability to interact with any group of people,” she says. “It changed my life, both professionally and personally. It’s also where I met my husband and most of my closest friends!”
But Emma’s motivations to volunteer for INSEAD go beyond her personal experience. There’s also her core belief that education can change lives and communities. Then there’s her confidence in Dean Ilian Mihov, who has just been elected for a second term as Dean of INSEAD. She believes that Dean Mihov’s vision for the school is extremely relevant at a time when borders between countries are becoming more pronounced.
“I think the mission that INSEAD was originally founded on, of educating people so that they can work together in a diverse group, is more critical than ever today,” she says.
Emma’s vision for the IAF is to build on the legacy of her predecessor Leonidas Los and the others who came before him, by continuing to strengthen the impact of the network of volunteers around the globe. Her goal is to significantly increase the number of alumni donors over the next five years, as well as increase annual participation, so that the annual fund provides a secure revenue stream for the school to continue to develop and excel. Such regular support on an annual basis is extremely important given that INSEAD is a private, independent and not-for-profit institution.
Emma’s career path switched from the for-profit to non-profit sector several years ago when she had three young children at home under the age of two. She decided to use her business skill-set to do voluntary work, developing expertise in fundraising across a diverse group of organisations in education, science and the arts in the process.
“The ability to think strategically, manage a team and measure performance translates well from the profit to the not-for-profit sector,” she says. “It also helps that our network of volunteers are INSEAD alumni, so we all think in a similar way.”
Emma says that the close working relationship between the IAF, the INSEAD Alumni Association under the leadership of Sadia Khan MBA’95D, and the Advancement team at INSEAD is also key to making her vision a success.
“I would like to enhance the culture of giving at INSEAD, and the proof of this will be increased participation for the school’s alumni in both their reunion and non-reunion years,” she says.
In 2018, INSEAD will celebrate 50 years since the first women graduated from the school. Being a successful business woman and a mother of three, Emma is familiar with the challenges that women can face in the professional world. Although there is still plenty of work to be done to increase the participation of women both in terms of INSEAD’s programmes and the professional world, Emma sees a difference in her own experience and that of her lawyer mother. She is part of a generation who has had more choice and freedom to have a broader and non-linear career path, something that she says is true for both men and women.
To the women and men of the MBA‘17J class who have just graduated, Emma’s message is: “Try everything. There are so many opportunities out there. Throughout your life you should continue to make unexpected choices.”
Although Emma has been Chair of the IAF for a short time, there have been plenty of stand-out moments in her journey so far. She has found the INSEAD spirit to be alive and well across generations, promotions and nationalities, and has been thrilled by the level of enthusiasm to reconnect with the school.
“It has been amazing,” she says. “It’s like going back to INSEAD – I’m getting to know alumni from all over the world, from all age-groups and industries. Perhaps the most interesting thing is that despite our differences, how similar we all are in our outlook on life, our ability to move around and the fact that we can work and play hard!”
On that point, Emma recounts a recent experience of an impromptu sing-song in multiple languages on a bus to Fontainebleau following a dinner with alumni volunteers.
“It was just so INSEAD, with that same spirit of being the life and soul of the party!” she laughs.
But perhaps the moment that has stood out to her most is a scholarships dinner which was held in Paris in June. The event brought together donors and MBA scholarship recipients in a relaxed and intimate setting. For the donors, it was a chance to see in a very tangible way the impact of their support, through hearing the stories from the students present. For the students, it was an opportunity to thank those who had made it possible for them to study at INSEAD and pursue their dreams.
“That has probably been the highlight for me,” she says. “Seeing the INSEAD community come together to celebrate the success of the scholarships programme in a uniquely INSEAD way. It was a very powerful and moving evening.”
Emma’s message to her fellow alumni?
“Giving to INSEAD is not just about giving back to the school,” she says. “It’s giving forward by investing in the future of INSEAD and the next generation of global business leaders.”