Jonathan Lane MPA/MBA 2018 wants to lead by focusing on root causes, not quick fixes.


Student Jonathan Lane HKS MPAMBA 2018
Jonathan Lane MPA/MBA 2018

Name and HKS degree: Jonathan Lane MPA/MBA 2018, concurrent with MIT Sloan School of Management

Hometown: San Antonio, Texas

Education: BBA, Southern Methodist University

Favorite spot on campus: Along the Charles River, especially going for runs on the riverside path in the fall.

Favorite HKS courses: Shelby Chodos' class, State and Local Financial Policy, offered political and economic frameworks for understanding the role of different levels of government in providing key services.

Hugh O'Doherty's Exercising Leadership: The Politics of Change was wholeheartedly transformational to the way I see myself and others in the context of groups and change.

Random fact: I once spent four and a half months backpacking through indigenous territories and communities in Central America, from Costa Rica to Chiapas (Mexico).

“To me, ‘Ask What You Can Do’ is about creating and helping others create opportunities—economic and otherwise—for people who frankly never thought they would have them.”

Jonathan Lane MPA/MBA 2018

Why did you come to HKS?
After several years of field-based international and economic development work in Latin America with the U.S. Peace Corps, I decided to transition to supporting cities and communities in the United States through municipal management and economic development. The MPA/MBA concurrent degree program was an opportunity for me to customize my coursework around my specific interests and pursue two complementary tracks: on one hand, to better understand a range of topics for which city leadership is tasked with making daily decisions—transportation, infrastructure, violence and criminal justice, education, and health care among them; and on the other, to build a set of skills, including adaptive leadership, effective campaign management, and negotiations, that would allow me to effectively manage organizations and stakeholders.

Stand-out activities at HKS
Serving as co-editor in chief of the LGBTQ Policy Journal where I was, for the first time in my life, able to step into an explicit advocacy role for the community that I joined only two years prior to coming to HKS. I'm also a proud member of the LGBTQ Caucus and the City+Local Professional Interest Council.

Acting as the MPA Program’s orientation leader, which was a great opportunity for me to give back to HKS and my program.

What does being a leader mean to you?
To me, leadership is about moving others to action. It's a way of skillfully considering and curating the environment in which change takes place, leveraging the motivations of its actors, and getting the group, organization, or society to realign its resources or priorities with root causes rather than temporary fixes.

What’s next for you?
I'm interested in working at the intersection of the private and public/nonprofit sectors. I'm considering roles that help attract and deploy private sector capital—be it financial, human, or technological—to intractable public sector challenges as well as to public and nonprofit roles that create strategies to steward that same capital.

Because ultimately, “Ask What You Can Do” is about creating and helping others create opportunities—economic and otherwise—for people who frankly never thought they would have them.