Eddie Turner, HKS Executive Education alumnus, on campus in Cambridge, MA
Eddie Turner, HKS Executive Education alumnus, on campus in Cambridge, MA

Eddie Turner Reflects on his HKS Executive Education Experience 

As a leadership consultant and owner of Eddie Turner LLC, Eddie didn’t expect to find himself at the school of government at Harvard. Now, Eddie has completed four Harvard Kennedy School Executive Education programs - Promoting Racial Equity in the WorkplaceNegotiation Strategies: Building Agreements across BoundariesMoral Leadership in an Imperfect World; and Art and Practice of Leadership Development – and has more in his sights. 

HKS Exec Ed: Why did you choose to attend a Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) Executive Education program? 
Eddie: I found a Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) Executive Education when I searched for a program to help my wife, who is a government relations executive, develop and grow (I have a philosophy that you should have a significant formal education experience every year). I found a program for her here at HKS. She enrolled and by the end of the first day, she was telling me I should consider attending HKS. I said: "Me? No...HKS is for YOU. Programs for me would be at the Business School!" After saying that I decided to take a look at the catalog again. This time rather than looking with her in mind I would look to see if there was anything that might be of remote interest to me. This is the school of government, right? How could there possibly be anything for a person like me focused on business? How wrong I was! I found a program that said "Art and Practice of Leadership Development." I said, OK. I'll give this a try. Maybe this will be worth attending. It was more than I could have imagined. It turned out to be TRANSFORMATIONAL! I studied under Dr. Ronald Heifetz, who I would later learn was legendary. Thus began my journey at and my passion for HKS.

Eddie with his wife and fellow executive program participant, Ashlea Turner
Executive Education program participants, Ashlea and Eddie Turner

What about the programs do you find as key takeaways and what keeps bringing you back to the classroom?
#1: Content, Content, Content: I went to a top school for my undergraduate degree. Wonderful instructors and professors. However, it’s one thing to have someone assign you a case study or text. It's quite another to study under the person who wrote the case study or text. That is the main take away. Firsthand knowledge from the source. That is priceless in my book. 

#2: Network and relationships: In the in-person programs I developed a tremendous global network of colleagues I remain close to five years later. That has not been the case with the virtual program. There are a couple from each virtual program but from the in-person program I'd easily say there are 20 people I regularly stay in contact with and have had other in-person touch points with since leaving the campus. 

#3: The experience: There is value in being on site to have the rich Harvard experience. The rooming, the walk to class, the meals on campus, the meals after campus, the morning run and walk, the access to the Harvard libraries and more--all of these leave an indelible mark on participants. They are experiences that you cannot fully put into words and that far exceed the value of the tuition you pay. I am very grateful for the memories I made on the HKS campus. 

How have you implemented lessons from your programs in real-life situations? 
I have used the lessons learned to make better leaders and better leadership decisions using the frameworks learned. I have used the content in my classroom teaching, in speeches, and in writing (with attribution of course). I'm most proud of using my experience at HKS Executive Education to inspire a client I was coaching who was working on his MBA to pursue his graduate degree from HKS. He did not think it was possible for him to get into Harvard. Because of our work together he has now been admitted to HKS as part of the Class of 2023! I would NOT have known to suggest HKS or have the absolute confidence and authority to speak as vociferously as I did about HKS without my experience in Executive Education. This young man is destined for great work in the health care community. He is already managing hospitals in China. I know he will add even more value and contribute to the discussion on public policy there as a result.

Eddie with Professor Ron Heifetz
Eddie with Professor Ron Heifetz

Is there anything else about you, your work or your program experience that you would like to share with the alumni community? 
I appreciate the caliber of intellectual heft and depth each professor in the HKS programs has. What I appreciate more is how approachable and down to-earth each one of them is. One may not expect that when coming to a place like Harvard. It’s a pleasant surprise and very refreshing. My work involves working with senior and emerging leaders. The mission of HKS of making a difference and having a global awareness is something that resonates with me and that I always leave with a renewed sense of maintaining after an executive program.

To read more about our alumni and their accomplishments, click here