John West, M.B.A. ’95, says teamwork, bridging differences, and consensus-building have shaped his approach to life — and will remain guiding principles when he begins his term as president of the Harvard Alumni Association (HAA). As he prepares to step into the role on July 1, West plans to draw on his experience uniting people to strengthen the alumni community in this time of crisis and historic change.
Especially in turbulent moments like these, West said he believes it’s essential that all alumni feel included and welcome in the Harvard community. “The relationships we make across the HAA as we connect across our diverse experiences are phenomenal,” he said. “The alumni community is here to support you. If you need help, I guarantee your fellow alumni will be there.”
West’s vision for the year ahead is an extension of his commitment to “One Harvard,” bringing alumni from all of Harvard’s Schools together to play an even more catalyzing role in shaping a better world, as well as to connect, support, and learn from one another across perspectives. “This is needed more today than at any other point in our lifetimes,” he said.
West is no stranger to building inclusive communities, online and beyond. Eleven years ago, he launched Team Whistle, a digital media company that produces sports and entertainment content for young audiences focusing on core values such as teamwork, empathy, and giving back to others. West said one of his priorities as the HAA’s president for 2020‒2021 is to humanize digital approaches to connection and strengthen meaningful personal relationships among Harvard’s increasingly diverse alumni community — a focus that has taken on new urgency with the current unrest in the social, economic, and public health spheres.