McDonough School of Business
News Story

Creating Opportunity

When he was working on Wall Street, John Saunders (EMBA’17) discovered so much talent in his peers whose skills, he observed, were under-utilized due to their fear of a changing environment. After writing about his observations in a LinkedIn series, Saunders will publish a book titled “The Optimizer” this December.

Saunders wanted to create a greater awareness and show how innovation, albeit frightening, is necessary.

“I really hope to instill this same sort of passion and excitement that I have for leading change in people who read this book,” said Saunders “I hope readers discover how you can build a team of what I like to call “optimizers” or a “team of optimization” to drive meaningful change within your organization.”

The book can be a tool to engage people around in specific missions and processes. When people are energized by being part of the organization, he said, that’s what will drive change. Rallying around the energy they have around their passions is what fuels ingenuity in a business. 

He shared that he had not intended to write a book, but after sharing his series of posts with Prashant Malaviya, senior associate dean for MBA programs and associate professor of marketing, Malaviya suggested the posts could be something larger. 

Saunders’ engagement at Georgetown extends past the Executive MBA (EMBA) program. He is a member of McDonough’s MBA Alumni Advisory Council (MAAC), he mentors students on Hoya Gateway, and he is a formal EMBA mentor. He attributes this passion for leadership from his time at Georgetown McDonough.

“I will never forget advice I received from Bardia Kamrad, senior associate dean for executive degree programs, who helped me solidify the lessons our professors taught us during this program,” he said. “He asked us to carry the Georgetown values forward by creating opportunities for others, not just yourself.” 

“The Optimizer” highlights these pivotal moments during his time at Georgetown McDonough. Saunders suggests that instead of berating failures, that you celebrate and learn from them. That way innovation keeps surging forward to create new opportunities for others down the line. 

Saunders donated 25% of his pre-sale profits from The Optimizer to the Georgetown University COVID-19 Resilience & Response Fund.

His book is available for purchase on Amazon.