She set in motion a series of introductions that led me to my career path today.

Michael B. Horn

Distinguished Fellow, Christensen Institute

Lexington, MA

People have paved the way for me in life. One influential person has been Linda Lorimer, the former secretary of Yale, who I got to know when I was a reporter at the Yale Daily News. As I covered Linda and her office over the course of a year, she took an interest in me, and set in motion a series of introductions that led me to my career path today.

During my junior year, she introduced me to her husband, Charley Ellis, the founder of Greenwich Associates. Charley hired me and a friend to help him research a biography he was writing on Joe Wilson, former CEO of Xerox. I lived in their house, and Charley became an incredible mentor to me.

A few months later, Linda helped again. In December of my senior year, she introduced me to David Gergen, the renowned political commentator who has worked for four U.S. presidents and was a trustee at Yale. David was looking for his next research assistant, and I was looking for a job for after graduation. He hired me, and David has also become a valuable mentor who was influential in my decision to go to the Harvard Business School.

Attending Harvard led me to meet Clay Christensen, which, when I signed up to write a book with him on improving public education, set my life on a course of helping transform education. None of these dominoes start to fall into place without Linda.

The impact that people have had on me has made me determined to always try to pay it forward and be there for other people such that they can similarly enjoy opportunities that change their life course for the good and positively impact the world.

Michael B. Horn is the Chief Strategy Officer at the Entangled Group, and Co-Founder and Distinguished Fellow at the Clayton Christensen Institute in Lexington, MA. He is also the author of Disrupting Class and Blended.