2021 Best & Brightest EMBAs: Sheila Taylor, New York University (Stern)

Sheila Taylor

New York University, Stern School of Business (New York City)

Age: 38

A welcoming person who loves to meet people and help them in any way possible.” 

Hometown: Pearl River, NY

Family Members: Mom, Noreen and one brother, Brian

Fun fact about yourself: I dressed up in costume for the last 15 minutes of almost every Zoom class during COVID, just to break up the monotony. You name it, I wore it – Super Mario, the Kool-Aid Man, Lego Lady, tiny hands, a penguin, Freddie Mercury, a squirrel. Made things way more interesting!

Undergraduate School and Degree:

Providence College – BS in Health Policy and Management

Manhattanville College – MS in Organizational Development and Human Resources

Where are you currently working? I am the Senior Vice President of Human Resources at Kadmon Corporation, a publicly-traded biotech firm which discovers, develops, and delivers transformative therapies for unmet medical needs.

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles: Interested in photography, traveling and providing HR assistance to non-profit start-ups.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? It was having my study group make it to the finals in our Leadership in Organizations class competition. It was an elimination-style bracket for team presentations where we submitted videos summarizing a case study and developing a solution. All of the teams brought their A-game and healthy competitive spirit. I was really proud of the fact that we made it to the finals, and we had a great time making the videos!

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? My previous employer, a manufacturer, had never provided employees access to medical insurance due to the cost of an employer-sponsored plan. Within my first few months there, I presented a business case for why all employees should have access to a medical plan. After a long debate, I persuaded management that the benefits outweighed the cost. It seems like a lifetime ago (it was!), but doing what is right for employees has been my North Star since then.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Sonia Marciano, who taught us during her Strategy course the invaluable lesson of “sock puppets,” an analogy she used which compared her daughter, who created a detailed, intricate (and time-consuming) puppet for a school project, with her daughter’s classmate, who received a similar grade for submitting a sock with eyes. The key takeaway is that in life, some projects are worth a lot of time, while others are not worth a great deal of effort.

Why did you choose this school’s executive MBA program? I felt NYU Stern had the greatest diversity of student body and professors. I attended an information session and saw that the people there were interested in learning and growing as a group, not just individually.

What is the biggest lesson you gained during your MBA and how did you apply it at work? I have learned a great deal about finance and accounting and have leveraged that knowledge to have more insightful conversations with my executive management about the direction of my company. For instance, as our company prepares for FDA approval of our leading drug candidate, I have been intimately involved in the strategy of creating and growing our commercial imprint. With our CFO and CCO, I make hiring decisions to support our commercial infrastructure and develop incentive compensation plans for our expanding sales force.

Give us a story during your time as an executive MBA on how you were able to juggle work, family and education? It was not easy at times, but thankfully I have a really supportive network. It was often a matter of maximizing time – for instance, during a long car drive with a classmate, we took turns as driver and passenger – with the passenger reading aloud from case studies to make sure no time was lost and that we were fully prepared for class.

What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an executive MBA program? Network as much as possible outside of the classroom. It can be tempting to go home right after class ends on the weekend, but I have built solid relationships with my classmates by spending time with them outside of the classroom.

What is the biggest myth about going back to school? (That it can’t be fun! I knew I would meet like-minded professionals, but I didn’t think I would have this much fun. I have made some amazing, meaningful friendships in this program that will last a lifetime, for which I am eternally grateful.

What was your biggest regret in business school? Due to COVID, we did not have a ton of time to interact with the other cohorts in person, which I think is a missed opportunity.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Emily Weisenbach, A21. Emily embodies what all executives should be – professional, compassionate, and trustworthy. As a full-time mother of two who is the Deputy Regional Human Resources Officer at a Manhattan hospital, her life was incredibly busy without taking on any additional time commitments.

Emily still made the decision to come back to school, with the full support of her parents and children. While it meant being away from her family every other weekend, Emily chose to continue to challenge herself and grow as a professional and person. Even when confronted with COVID-19, particularly difficult as a hospital executive working in the epicenter of the pandemic, she was nothing but graceful under pressure.

And somehow, she is always fully present in class, with her family, at work and in her personal relationships, and never fails to do it all with a smile.

Emily inspires me to be a better classmate, employee, friend and version of myself.

What was the main reason you chose an executive MBA program over part-time or online alternatives? I chose an executive MBA because I wanted to be with classmates who were in similar situations and would understand when work or life got crazy and be there to help and not criticize. I am happy to say that I am very fortunate here – the people in this program are always there for you and never let anyone fall behind.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? I would like to be a Chief Human Resources Officer for a company that has a large US or international presence, guiding strategy for the organization.

What made Sheila such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2021?

“From the first day Sheila joined the Executive MBA program, it was clear that she would be a leader and a valuable addition to the NYU Stern community. As Senior Vice President of Human Resources at Kadmon Corporation, Sheila brings her HR background and incorporates her professional experience into the classroom. Sheila is first-and-foremost a people person and always strives to connect individuals to bring people together. As the Class Representative serving her cohort for two years, she builds community by establishing tight-knit relationships for the overall benefit and growth of the EMBA group. We are a stronger NYU Stern EMBA community because of Sheila and we look forward to hearing about her successes in the HR space and beyond.”

Alanna Valdez
Senior Director, Executive Programs

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