Kam Phillips-Sadler
Home Region

Fort Worth, TX

Undergrad Education

University of Missouri

Previous Experience

Dream Outside the Box, Office of Senator Wendy Davis, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

HBS Activities

Black New Venture Competition Co-Director, Women in Investing Club Board Member, African-American Student Union

“This is what an education experience is supposed to be like.”

A native of Fort Worth, Texas, Kam Phillips-Sadler was “virtually born in a saddle.” Kam’s parents are both riders and ranchers who instilled a love of all things horse and cow in Kam. “I was a rodeo cowgirl,” says Kam, who participated in a number of timed events including barrel racing, pole bending, and goat tying throughout childhood and into her young adult years.

In college, however, she turned from wrangling cattle to mentoring children. “I volunteered with children in dream deserts whose idea of fun was throwing rocks at cars,” Kam says. “I wanted to broaden their horizons beyond their neighborhoods.”

What began as a once-a-week school visit evolved into a much more ambitious nonprofit, Dream Outside the Box, dedicated to introducing school children to a broad range of career possibilities. Now in its tenth year, the nonprofit covers colleges across the United States, each independently mobilizing college students to work with local students eager to learn about otherwise unfamiliar career choices.

Expanding her own tool kit of skills

Last year, Kam visited China as a Global Innovation Fellow. There, her hosts were especially enthusiastic about the start-up Dream Outside the Box created, Dream Delivered. Dream Delivered developed career kits with imaginative activities and reading materials to further the organization’s reach. They asked for their own kits in China. “I realized,” Kam says, “that the scope was beyond my range of skills at the time.”

With an interest in a business degree, Kam began exploring MBA programs, “but nothing made me excited. I didn’t like the courses; I didn’t like the idea of moving.” A visit to HBS changed her mind. “I was like Goldilocks: one school lacked innovation, another lacked rigor. Then one felt just right – HBS. There was a magic about the classroom experience I’d never experienced before. Only HBS had the combination of dynamically engaging class settings, world renowned professors and course materials, and a feeling of invincibility that would come on the other side of graduation – it would unlock a power I never previously had. I thought to myself, ‘This is what an education is supposed to be like.’”

“When I came to HBS in the fall,” says Kam, “I expected the academics would be easy and the relationships would be difficult. But it has proved to be just the opposite: the friendships here are more genuine and fulfilling than I expected. Academically, I’ve been stretched in ways I hadn’t been before.”

Kam will spend her summer internship with Indicator Ventures, a Boston VC fund. “The HBS career team has encouraged me to dream bigger. Just as I’ve done with children, I need to do this for myself – expand my horizons. I want to work for a VC that invests in startups that can transform our lives.”