Every January, Boothies choose new student government representatives in the annual Graduate Business Council (GBC) elections. Chicago Business reporter Nikhita Giridhar caught up with the newly elected GBC President, Elise Hogan, for her insights on leadership, life, and what it means to be chosen to serve her fellow students.
Nikhita Giridhar (NG): Leadership obviously comes naturally to you – what’s your earliest memory of taking a stand?
Elise Hogan (EH): I switched elementary schools between 2nd and 3rd grades and to ease the transition, my parents put me in a summer program at my new school. Part of the program was a musical production and I was very dismayed to learn that there was only one solo vocal part and that it was for a male character. I made my case for being allowed to audition for the male part and a video of the final performance may or may not be on YouTube. I made a great Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk.
NG: Who influenced you the most to get to where you are today?
EH: I have almost never not taken my father’s advice. My dad is my adoptive father – he opted in to being a parent to me when he met my mother, who was raising me on her own, and I think I would have been lost at points in my life without his love and support. I know that people say that you “don’t choose your family,” but I disagree – we do get to choose, every day, through our actions and commitment to the wellbeing of others. I was never shown the way or told what to do with my career… I mean, I got to college and didn’t understand why anyone who didn’t live in New York City would care to read The New York Times. That’s a silly example, but I think a good one. I’ve been shooting from the hip this whole time and struggling with imposter syndrome, but when I check in with my dad all of the noise quiets down and I know that I can keep pushing forward. Sometimes we are both out of our depth, but he believes in me and it is amazing how just one person believing in you can change your life.
NG: Is there anything no one (not everyone) at Booth knows about you?
EH: I started studying classical singing and musical theatre at the age of 8. That turn as Jack must have really lit a fire. In high school I performed in 9 musicals both at school and at the community theatre and competed in state-wide vocal competitions, one of which gave me the opportunity to perform with the Naples (Florida, don’t get too excited) Philharmonic. In college, I was the musical director of an a cappella group called the Dartmouth Dodecaphonics and continued to perform with the Glee Club, Dartmouth Chamber Orchestra, and local opera/theatre companies. Hit me up, AudioBooth!
NG: If there’s one thing you want your GBC slate to be remembered for – what will it be?
EH: I know that each member of our slate is talented, kind, and genuine and wants our GBC legacy to be one of servant leadership – we are committed to the growth of this community through empathetic and open-minded engagement with all of Booth’s varied stakeholders. We want to be remembered for taking action together as a slate, the student body, the alumni community, and the administration. If you leave Booth feeling like we really heard you, we will have done our jobs.
The article was originally published in its entirety on ChiBus.