On Sept. 8, current and former George Fellowship recipients gathered with Bill George, IE 1964, HON Ph.D. 2008, Sean Malone, president of the George Family Foundation, and H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE) faculty for an afternoon “T.”
George is the former CEO of Medtronic and a senior fellow at the Harvard Business School, where he specializes in developing authentic leaders. His wife, Penny George, is a leader in the national movement to transform healthcare through the principles and practices of integrative medicine. In 1994, they founded the George Family Foundation to support transformative programs that use a systems approach to improve people’s lives. Their foundation focuses on Penny’s passion for integrative health and healing, Bill’s passion for authentic leadership, and a shared passion for community.
Through the George Family Foundation, the couple established a fellowship program in the ISyE at Tech to recognize exceptional students who are interested in research and activities related to health systems, and to prepare students for leadership roles in healthcare and medtech fields.
At the tea, George Fellows discussed their current research endeavors, which span a broad array of disciplines, from public health and policy to machine learning and data science. A shared sentiment among them was gratitude for their Tech education, their faculty mentors — including Pinar Keskinocak, the William W. George Chair, ISyE professor, and director of the Center for Health and Humanitarian Systems — and the leadership training they receive as part of the George Fellowship. This training, they said, allows them to know themselves
better and to gain clarity about their professional and personal goals, as they address questions such as “Who do I want to become?” and “Why do I want to become that?”
During his remarks, George emphasized the importance of these types of questions for bright, successful students who will soon enter the professional world of healthcare technology. “Most of you will be called upon to lead,” he said, “and I think we need more leaders with both sound knowledge underpinnings, like you’ll have with your master’s and doctoral work, and who also have the character and moral capacity to lead organizations to right ends.” He underscored how current and former George Fellows are the grounded leaders of tomorrow who will be able to find solutions to complex challenges within the medtech and healthcare fields.
George also urged the fellows to build their careers, whether in academia or industry, on a strong values-based and mission-driven foundation. “Think about how you’re helping other people in your work, and foster your life with a sense of purpose, where you find your personal goals and values can align with the organization that you’re working for,” he said. “If you have that sense, then you can build a great career and have great joy in your work. Always think about how you’re helping others and how the results of your work are impacting humankind.”
In addition to the George Fellows and Leadership Program in ISyE, the Georges have directed their philanthropy to undergraduate scholarships as well as endowed faculty support. One of the new towers in Tech Square Phase 3 will be named George Tower, in recognition of Bill and Penny George, and will house the top-ranked H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering.