06 Oct 2023

New Faculty Profiles: Gerald Chertavian


HBS faculty comprises more than 300 scholars and practitioners who bring leading-edge research, extensive experience, and deep insights into the classroom, to organizations, and to leaders across the globe. We asked new faculty at HBS about their background, their new roles, and their interests.

Gerald Chertavian, lecturer, General Management

What did you do before coming to HBS?
I founded the national non-profit Year Up in 2000 and continue to serve as the organization’s CEO. Year Up has served more than 40,000 low-income young adults and provided them with a path to a livable wage career. Prior to Year Up I co-founded a technology company called Conduit Communications. Conduit built knowledge management and e-commerce systems for large corporations and was sold to a public company in 1999. I started my career in banking as a credit officer of the Chemical Banking Corporation. I have a BA from Bowdoin College and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

How have you exercised leadership in business?
Since graduating from HBS, I have had the opportunity to start, grow, and lead several organizations. A large part of that leadership process revolves around shaping and nurturing a culture in which colleagues can add value to the organization and engage in meaningful work. I have spent much of my time in business focusing on finding the best people and helping to create the conditions in which they can thrive. Holding oneself to high standards and role modeling the values one wants to see is an important act of leadership.

What will you be teaching?
I am working with Professor Kash Rangan to design and co-teach a new course, Solving Complex Social Problems Using a Systems Approach. We are excited to offer students an opportunity to delve deeply into systems change and to learn the tools, frameworks, and leadership lessons required to solve some of our world’s most pressing social challenges.

What would you be doing if youweren’t a professor?
I continue to work at Year Up and am passionate about closing the opportunity divide. At my core, I am an entrepreneur and love to start and grow new businesses.

Where are you from?
I grew up in Lowell, MA, and spent time in NYC and London before settling in Cambridge, MA.

What is something you like to do outside of your academic work?
Spending time with my family and trying to stay in some sense of shape take up most of my free time. I love to ski, road bike, surf, and scuba dive.

What’s your favorite book, movie, or piece of art?
My wife is an art consultant, and I am fortunate to see and live with a lot of amazing art. My favorite piece, which was given to me by my wife, is a sculpture by the British artist Thomas J Price.

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