06 Oct 2023

New Faculty Profiles: Louis E. Caldera


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.

Louis E. Caldera, senior lecturer, General Management

What did you do before coming to HBS?
The last few years, I've divided my time between public company board work, a lot of non-profit board work on matters I care deeply about, and, for a time, teaching law at American University, where I taught courses on legislative and pollical process. The issues and controversies those processes spawn have been center stage of late, so it was rewarding to work with students who were trying to understand not just the constitutional and legal frameworks at play, but how you get things done through the legislative process and how they as citizens might work to improve the quality of our democracy.

How have you exercised leadership in business?
A lot of my career has been in public sector leadership roles: as a state legislator and leading public sector organizations as diverse as the Department of the Army and the University of New Mexico, and more recently, founding a national non-profit organization to work on issues related to immigration and higher education. I think a lot of the principles for successfully leading a public sector organization are the same, from strategy to execution. Other things, such as building board-based support for a new policy initiative, can require a different set of leadership skills. I've tried to help students see that there are exciting opportunities in government and the nonprofit sector to be an entrepreneur and an excellent leader-manager whose efforts make a lasting impact on the lives of others.

What will you be teaching?
I am super excited to have the opportunity to teach Leadership and Corporate Accountability in the MBA program!

What would you be doing if you weren’t a professor?
I've wanted for some time to do more writing about the issues and experiences that have occupied a lot of my adult life: trying to increase educational and economic opportunity, addressing issues of inequality and exclusion; and strengthening our democracy and our nation's leadership role in the world. And, of course, we are now facing a whole new set of global challenges that we must collectively confront. I am hopeful that being at HBS will give me the opportunity to collaborate with and learn from others who are thinking about and working on these issues and to do some of that writing.

Where are you from?
My parents were immigrants from Mexico; I was born in El Paso, Texas, and was raised in Whittier, California. I consider myself an Angeleno but have spent half my life on the West Coast and half on the East Coast (NY, NJ, MA, DC), moving back and forth, plus six years in New Mexico. I love being from all those places.

What is something you like to do outside of your academic work?
We are very family oriented. My wife, Eva, and I have three adult daughters. One is an aspiring actor/screenwriter, one is a second-year law student at Stanford, and one is working as a research assistant here in Boston and hopes to go to medical school in a few years. They keep life very interesting, and we enjoy spending time together when we can. National parks, travel, museums, the theatre, books, and classical music have all been a part of our family life.

What’s your favorite book, movie, or piece of art?
I love Richard Serra’s massive sculptures. There’s a wonderful, relatively new one, Four Rounds: Equal Weight, Unequal Measure, which is a must-see at Glenstone in Potomac, Maryland, near where we live. Among my favorite books are Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, Willa Cather’s My Antonia, and Richard Henry Dana Jr.’s Two Years Before the Mast.

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