Get to Know the Elliott School Board of Advisors
In this first installment of a new series featuring members of the Elliott School Board of Advisors, we introduce the board’s chair and chair emeritus.
Alia Eyres, BA ’01, Chair
Born and raised in Hong Kong, Alia Eyres is CEO of Mother’s Choice, a local charity serving Hong Kong’s pregnant teenagers and many children without families. Prior to joining Mother’s Choice in 2012, Alia was a corporate lawyer in Hong Kong and New York.
What is the last great book you have read?
After facing a tough season over the past year – including the social unrest in Hong Kong – I realized that the way I was thinking about things was having a real impact on my leadership at work and at home. My executive coach recommended Positive Intelligence by Stanford lecturer Shirzad Chimane, which has been a real game changer for me. The book combines neuroscience, psychology, and performance research, and it helped me to recognize some of the negative thought patterns that were holding me back. I have been very grateful for the practical tools for living with less stress and increased clarity, creativity, and joy.
How do business leaders bring about positive social change?
After having made the transition from the corporate world to being the CEO of a nonprofit, I passionately believe that business leaders can help bring about positive social change not only by writing a check or volunteering but also by collaborating intentionally with their nonprofit counterparts. I would challenge business leaders to consider spending time mentoring a nonprofit or social sector leader. Many nonprofit leaders do not have access to relationships where they can benefit from the experience and training of other business leaders.
Are you a morning or an afternoon person? Why?
My years as an undergraduate rower on the GW women’s crew team are probably the reason why I’m still a morning person more than 20 years later! The nonprofit that I run serves women and children in crisis and my daily schedule can be extremely unpredictable, but when I have taken time for myself early in the morning, I am much better at crisis management and high-pressure decision-making.
Steven L. Skancke, BA ’72, MPhil ’78, PhD ’81, Chair Emeritus
Dr. Steven L. Skancke is chief economic advisor at Keel Point, a $2.5 billion wealth management firm, and has more than three decades of experience in his field. Dr. Skancke is also an adjunct professor of economics and international affairs and co-author of two books on productivity and profitability. He is a frequent guest on Bloomberg Radio, Yahoo Finance, The Street and Cheddar TV.
What was your first job out of college?
I served as White House National Security Council research clerk, under Henry Kissinger (1969-1976), which I actually began while an undergraduate and continued into my PhD program. Beginning in the first year of the Nixon Administration, the job continued through the Ford Administration, though it changed focus several times, from information and policy management to Soviet, Middle East, and intelligence community matters. It provided an opportunity to serve my country and to have a hand in and a bird’s-eye view of momentous times in U.S. national security policies and events: U.S.-Soviet detente, opening of U.S.-China relations, Middle East and India-Pakistan conflicts, and intelligence community investigations.
You are giving out the 2019 Oscar for best picture. Which movie do you select?
“Ford v Ferrari,” with Matt Damon and Christian Bale, is filled with passion and determination. The characters strive to go beyond the laws of physics and corporate bureaucracy to create American success over long-time champion Ferrari in the 1966 Le Mans 24-hour race. They have depth and virtue and remind us of what makes entrepreneurism vital to success in a global environment.
What is the last great book you have read?
The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown, which highlights the strength and joy from overcoming adversity when focusing on helping others succeed. It is heart wrenching and encouraging and full of life lessons. I would recommend it to students of global affairs for its insight into helping achieve success in a global environment.
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