The Brain Food/Junk Food Conundrum, Solved

July 31, 2020

Dear Fellow SOM Alumni:

I am struck by two contradictory truths as we move through this pandemic year. One is that, in the U.S., there has been a huge boom in demand for in-home exercise equipment, bicycles and other fitness gear.  The other truth is that, apparently, tailors in New York City are seeing increasing demand from their customers to relax waistlines to accommodate pandemic weight gain.  Somehow, Americans are both getting more fit and more fat at the same time.

Such is life in the pandemic year.

There are other conundrums, too. Amid the unrelenting waves of bad news, our minds want two things at once: the guilty pleasure of escapist television, books or hobbies, and the rewards of staying sharp professionally and acquiring theoretical and practical tools to help us be better people and leaders. Fortunately, SOM is here to help.

For those times when you want to hone your toolkit, SOM has ample resources. There is a dynamite online series of interviews called “Leading Through Covid” that showcase how SOM alumni have taken on the challenges of the pandemic in brave and creative ways. One article describes how a graduate of the Global Executive Leadership Program retooled her nonprofit to teach women the building trades—virtually. Another shares the experiences of a SOM alumnus whose software company has served first responders in numerous emergency and pandemic situations over the past 25 years. It’s a fascinating window into leadership lessons, delivered in bite-size interviews that will leave you wanting more.

Another good resource is the newly-launched Let’s Discuss series of video conversations with SOM alumni. These are small by design, just a couple of dozen spots per event, in order to promote a robust exchange during the 45 minutes the event lasts. Initial conversations have ranged from technology trends in health care to bail reform, and more are planned. You can learn more about Let’s Discuss events from this alumni newsletter, or by visiting Alumni Groups.

If you’re in the mood for lighter fare, SOM can help you there, too.  There was the July 8 webinar on cartooning with Disney artist Keelan Parham, and the July 29 session with catering specialists Robin and Jeffrey Selden where participants learned how to make two different cocktails, a summer soup and risotto. More such diversions are planned, also accessible through the alumni portal.

We are all learning the limits of what we can control and what we can’t. When you need a break from your version of the pandemic—either to escape or to get smarter—take advantage of what SOM has to offer.  And it’s all free.

Your Alumni Advisory Board is the voice for SOM’s 10,000 alumni to the school. If you have a question, a concern, or an issue you’d like to raise, please feel free to drop us a line at any time.  You can reach us at

Thank you!

Matt Broder ‘87

About the author

Matt Broder