WDYDWYD?Why do you do what you do?
I grew up in a working-class town where children grew up, got married, and moved into their childhood homes.
Everyone was happy but didn't much care about the rest of the world. I read every copy of National Geographic I could, and on a school assignment where I wrote about my hopes for the future, my teacher commented that I was "restless" and "not realistic."
My grandmother first noted, "Oh Diane, you're in trouble. You want a big life."
I was the radical for going to college, but I wanted a bigger life: to see the world outside of my town, to push myself, to experience the impossible, and to make a difference. This inspired me.
My first bucket list started in 1975 with ten items. As I accomplished something on it, I replaced it with a new adventure. I still have that list today and have crossed out many big dreams: build a great company, write a book, be on a public company board, conduct an orchestra, and more.
Life is not about creating balance, but about creating more possibilities: to learn more, to love more, to help more, to see what's around the next corner.
— Diane Hessan
Photography by Maria Vasallo
General Foods; Resource Planning Associates; The Forum Corporation; Communispace
Tony Deifell (MBA 2002) created WDYDWYD?, a social media meme of people answering the simple question, “why do you do what you do?” by combining an image and text. To honor the 50th anniversary of women students at HBS, the Women’s Student Association Alumni Team (Annie Wheeler, MBA 2013; Danielle Slutzky, MBA 2013; and Tara Hagan, MBA 2014) partnered with Tony and asked alumnae to answer the question, “why do you do what you do?”