Wilfredo ‘Alex’ Sanchez Honored for Leadership, Innovation, Systems Thinking

By Lois Slavin, MIT SDM Communications Director

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Alex Sanchez
Photo by Dave Schultz

March 10, 2014

On March 10, 2014, the SDM community convened for the presentation of the Class of 2013 MIT SDM Student Award for Leadership, Innovation, and Systems Thinking. The award, created by the SDM staff in 2010, honors an SDM student who, during his or her first year of matriculation, demonstrates the highest level of:

  • strategic, sustainable contributions to fellow SDM students and the broader SDM and MIT communities;
  • skills in leadership, innovation, and systems thinking; and
  • effective collaboration with SDM staff, fellow students, and alumni.

All nominees and the winner are selected by the SDM staff.

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Marianna Novellino
Photo by Dave Schultz

This year’s winner, Wilfredo “Alex” Sanchez, received a cash prize. He was honored for numerous contributions, including:

  • serving as chair of SDM’s Student Leadership Council;
  • coordinating logistics for the MIT Career Fair attended by 6,000 students—including contracting, catering, mail service, hotels, and parking for 400 organizations and 1,500 human resources representatives as well as corresponding with 400 organizations to raise SDM’s visibility in advance of the event;
  • assisting with SDM Silicon Valley Tech Trek outreach and recruitment efforts; and
  • fostering an environment of inclusion for all SDM fellows by serving as an active member of Sloan LGBT, participating in an LGBT panel during fall 2013 Sloan Innovation Period, and meeting with Sloan LGBT AdMITs during campus visits.

Finalists for the award included SDM ’13s Suzanne Livingston and Marianna Novellino. Both were cited for several significant contributions, including serving as key members of WiSDM (Women in SDM) and cofounding (with others) the MIT Product Management Club (PMC).

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Suzanne Livingston
Photo by Dave Schultz

Since its founding in spring semester, 2013, the PMC:

  • grew from fewer than 20 members to over 300;
  • offered meetings and workshops for students with experts from Microsoft, LuckyLabs, Google, Cisco, Yelp, the venture capitalist community, and product management educator John Mansour;
  • created a highly attended (80+ students) mock interview event that brought experienced project managers from Google, IBM, Akamai, and others to MIT to help students sharpen interviewing skills;
  • became the first SDM-initiated club to be recognized by Sloan, which provides significant funding and marketing opportunities;
  • established a partnership between MIT and the Boston Product Management Association (BPMA), enabling all MIT students to attend BPMA events and recruiting sessions at reduced membership rates.

In addition, Novellino:

  • Served as managing director of MIT’s 2014 Sustainability Summit and as a panel coordinator for the 2013 Sustainability Summit;
  • Helped coordinate 32 events during 2013 as a member of the SDM Student Life Committee; and
  • Currently works on water supply systems in rural communities in India as a Tata Fellow.

Congratulations and thank you to all!