Meet the Board – Part 3: Rachel Silverstein, Chris Crump, Joe Shields

This is the third of a series of posts we will be doing dedicated to introducing you to our BHP Advisory Board. The BHP Advisory Board is comprised of around 20 alumni representing a mix of class years, occupations and locations. The mission of the board is to drive continued excellence of the BHP and development of leaders through advocacy, connection, and engagement. The board will be ambassadors for the program in their communities, support fundraising objectives, and assist with recruiting the top students in the nation to the program. Board terms are two years. We greatly appreciate the service of these alumni to BHP!

Rachel (Robinson) Silverstein, BHP 2010, started her career in corporate finance at large public companies such as Dell and American Express. The large company experience gave her a great foundation and the opportunity to live in new places like New York City and Singapore. Luckily, she found her way back to Austin a few years ago where she has been leading financial planning at Snap Kitchen, a healthy food start-up. At Snap Kitchen, she has learned that she thrives in a high-growth environment where she can have a direct impact on the company’s future success. She also enjoys being back in Austin as it has allowed her to get more involved with the university and with BHP.

Chris Crump spent 22 years at Accenture, 12 of those as a partner in their Strategy practice. After preaching change management to clients, he decided it was time for a change himself, so he took a sabbatical with no plan. This time away has given Chris the opportunity to experience opportunities that might not have happened without pushing back from the corporate world.  For example, Chris’ current adventure is a one year program at Harvard University called “The Advanced Leadership Initiative.”  This program is designed to prepare experienced leaders to take on new challenges in the social sector with the goal of making a greater societal impact than they perhaps did in their working careers.  With greater appreciation for pressing topics such as climate change, health care, inequality, and education, Chris will leave the program ready to apply his learnings for positive change starting in 2019.

Joe Shields works for McCombs Enterprises in San Antonio, where he’s primarily involved in the operations of Red McCombs Automotive, comprised of six car dealerships and ancillary businesses.  Joe focuses on the group’s marketing efforts and business strategy.  In addition, he helps in the management of oil and gas operations through McCombs Energy, real estate development through McCombs Properties, and private equity investments through McCombs Partners.  Between graduating from UT and moving back to San Antonio, Joe worked in Austin for the Circuit of The Americas, a McCombs Partners investment, as the Track Rental Coordinator.

Applications for the BHP Advisory Board are accepted once a year in the Spring. If you have feedback for our current board, please reach out to our board chair, Michael Daehne.

Alumni Spotlight – Chris Crump – Class of 1991

Like most BHP students, I started my career with a desire to achieve as much as possible.  A 1991 BHP graduate, I started at Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) in 1992 after getting my MBA at McCombs.  I worked at Accenture for 22 years, 12 as a partner in Accenture’s Strategy practice.  Focusing on organization change, leadership, and employee engagement, I worked on some of Accenture’s largest global accounts at places like Exxon, Chevron, Cargill, and DuPont.  Along the way, I enjoyed exciting work; fantastic teams; and the opportunity to be on the inside of some of the biggest companies in the world.  I also earned 4 million airline miles, and though that sounds great, the travel began to take a toll on my health and well being.

Time for a Change

The plan was never 22 years.  Like most new consultants, I thought 2-3 years of experience across industries would give me a good idea on what I wanted to do next.  As it turned out, I was too busy to figure out what to do after consulting.  After preaching change management to my clients for two decades, it became clear that I needed to embrace change in my own life.  So I walked away from consulting to start a sabbatical, and I did so without a plan!

So, Now What?

On March 12, 2014, I was unemployed for the first time since the Reagan Administration.  Not surprisingly, I was a bit lost on what to do next.  There was no new promotion to go after, no new client to win over, no important executive to network with.  With none of the usual demands on my time. I was able to spend more time with my family and friends and to nurture some new interests.

When I left Accenture, my son was a 7th grader.  After having missed way too many teacher conferences and school events due to business travel, I fully embraced being a stay-at-home dad.  Making breakfast every morning, and cooking with my son in the evenings are memories that will stay with me forever.  Even though he is about to be a high school junior, I am still the first 30 minutes of conversation after school each day.  It is nice to be available at 3:30!

All this is great, but I still needed to figure out what to do with my time and energy.  I considered any number of possibilities, from writing to teaching to opening my own coffee shop.  As nothing seemed quite right, I decided to spend my time learning instead of stressing on what’s next (didn’t I leave work to avoid stress in the first place?).

First, I dusted off the French textbook from college and committed to learning a second language.  Three years later, I am largely fluent, devouring French newspapers, movies, and novels.  Despite all my business travel, I had rarely traveled internationally for leisure.  With my new found language skills in tow, that quickly changed.  With time for longer trips abroad (yes, I backpacked, no I did not stay at a youth hostel), I gained a deeper appreciation and study of European history, politics, art, and architecture.  No longer worried about the next client, I can now be found tweeting on the French election instead.  I have enjoyed the process of learning French so much, that I have recently began learning German as well.

The break from work also gave me more time to reconnect with the University.  Now serving on the BHP Advisory Board, I enjoy the time I have spent talking to students and other alumni.  It has served as a good reminder about how much I care about the University and how nice it is to connect to today’s BHP students.  They are truly an impressive group of young people.

Second Act

Still in my forties with lots of energy, I have started a more active search for what’s next.  Freed from concerns about the next promotion or the next deal, I am looking at opportunities differently  than I did in my prior life.  One of my favorite things about Accenture was working on globally diverse teams.  Of all the  I miss from my prior career, what I miss most is the opportunity to work with smart people from other countries, learning how they do things and what they value.

Given my preference for international work, and my new-found language skills, I have begun the process of networking in Europe with the goal of finding meaningful work there.  Specifically would like to apply what I learned in the business world to education, teaching, and preparing future leaders.  I’m not sure yet if that will lead me to a think tank in Paris, a classroom in Zurich, or the UN in Geneva, but, as I now live my life free of plans and expectations, I am happy to patiently wait to see what comes my way.

Like many BHP graduates, I left school looking to always have a plan and to be in control.  Surprisingly, I have found that giving up control can actually lead to a more fulfilling life. I know not everyone can take multiple years off from work, but for those that can even take a short sabbatical, I highly recommend it – you never know where you may end up!