Interviewed by Sophia Gourley on 3/1/2019
ET: My year I had a small group of poli sci students. We had a small major and we focused on international affairs. Danny Meyers was one of them, he’s a good friend. Danny was hilarious. Danny had a radio show in the early morning. I don’t know how he did it. We had an advisor named Dr. Albert Gastmann who was wonderful. He was our professor too, and he was just the greatest guy. Danny and I stayed great friends with him until his death. And Danny used to imitate the professor because he was dutch and he was just a total character. So, Danny developed this whole character based on Dr. Gastmann that he had on the radio every morning.
SG: That’s really funny!
ET: I had a fabulous Trinity experience. One of the things I love (I don’t know if you know this) but I started a neuroscience fellowship at Cedars Sinai in Los Angeles, one of the leading neuroscience labs in the country, in conjunction with the head of the hospital. I wanted the world to know that Trinity has depth in neuroscience, which stemmed from the strong engineering department at the school. It has become a real strength of the school, and Trinity was one of the first liberal arts schools to offer a really strong neuro program.
SG: Definitely. I haven’t really heard about it at many other liberal arts schools before.
ET: A lot of them are jumping on it now. When I was on the Board of Fellows, we worked to highlight what Trinity was doing, what Trinity had to offer. I got internships for students at Cedars Sinai with one of the guys who cloned the sheep, Dolly. And I worked with the neuroscience department to identify students who were good candidates.
The reason I studied poli sci was that I wanted to learn about how people in leadership roles interacted. I was interested in lots of other stuff and I did think Trinity gave me the opportunity to explore a lot of other stuff. I wanted to study things that I probably couldn’t or wouldn’t study on my own. I went into poli sci and don’t regret it. I don’t think your major is that critical, unless you’re going into neuro or medicine. I think the Trinity experience is important too. What Trinity does beautifully is that it doesn’t put barriers up in terms of what you can be exposed to.
Trinity was fabulous about study abroad as well. I went to Vienna first semester of my junior year and I created an internship that Dr. Gastmann helped me with. I ended up getting an internship working for the chairman of the company, based in Paris, right after my semester in Vienna. That was awesome.
After I graduated , I was going to go to Columbia for public international affairs public policy. I just didn’t want to go to school right away. I had always been interested in design and because I had gone to Vienna, I spoke sort of German. Long story short, I went to Conde Nast and I ended up getting a job as an assistant to the editor of German Vogue.
She was a big wig. She was Viennese, which was the connection. I would book all the photographers. It was kind of like that movie The Devil Wears Prada, but it was great. I learned tons and how to put together books too. She had been the art director at Glamour and she had been the first one to hire Andy Warhol.
ET: Later I moved to NY and went to work for the Wall Street Journal and then I was on the marketing team that did the launch for the European Law Street Journal.
SG: This all sounds really interesting. It sounds like you’ve definitely had a lot of different roles.
ET: It’s been a really interesting, great ride. And Trinity has been a part of it. I stay involved and when I was in LA. I hosted an event that the Beverly Hills Peninsula for Trinity alumni out there. And for a while there wasn’t anything going on out there. But there’s a really interesting alumni group there and it’s one of the more loyal alumni groups.
SG: I definitely experienced that. I’ve never had a bad experience speaking to a Trinity alum. They’re always so willing to help, especially when it comes to applying for jobs and stuff like that.
ET: It’s really wonderful. To be able to keep that kind of a network for your life is just terrific. It’s really special.
SG: Absolutely. So what do you do now?
ET: Well, I have three companies. One I’m creating an app for tipping in the postal sector. The way I look at it, it’s a triple win because people need their packages delivered better. With Amazon having its relationship with the US post office, the amount of packages that are being dispersed is huge. We would hope to sell it to Amazon. And then I’m doing branding consulting for startup companies. It’s a lifestyle brand. I find that sometimes people have an idea and they have money, but they don’t know how to actually create a project, a product or kind of move forward with that. And I’m consulting for a biotech company that’s actually getting fast tracked with the National Institute of Health for alleviating infection in knee and hip joints. I still am involved with Cedars out in LA, with the neuroscience, you know.
Poli sci related, I co-founded a magazine for CEOs called CEO International Strategies. And we put together a company, called International Media Partners. We would take heads of US industry to foreign markets, emerging, initially emerging and then others. We’d bring in the [president?] of country and the secretary of commerce and we would try to match them up, so to speak, with the CEOs to encourage joint ventures. Because of my international background, I felt strongly about trying to get American CEOs to think out of the box and try to understand different cultures and realize we’re not the center of the universe. Something Donald Trump does not grasp. I’m worked with the IMF World Bank.
SG: On a more personal level, what are some of your hobbies or things that you’re interested in beyond your career. I know you said neuroscience was one of your passions.
ET: Yes, neuroscience is a passion. I still contribute to a bunch of different magazines. We live in France part of the time. I’ve really tried to encourage kids to get out there in the world and work, explore, meet new people. That kind of thing. I do a ton of sports. I love starting things. That’s my passion.
SG: What would you say your proudest accomplishment is since leaving Trinity? If you had to pick just one thing?
ET: The neuroscience fellowship was fabulous. I don’t want to really limit it to one thing. Life is an evolution and it’s such a gift. I really cannot stress enough that I think Trinity provided a wonderful platform for students, without slotting people and pressurizing students to feel that they couldn’t explore. I think that’s one of the real assets of Trinity. They encourage it and it’s really rare.