The Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship is pleased to announce the recipients of its 2020 awards, one bestowed upon a student and one on a mentor, who are honored for their leadership in supporting, amplifying, and impacting the spirit of entrepreneurship at the Institute. This year, the Patrick J. McGovern, Jr. Award has been awarded to Stephanie MacConnell MBA ’20, and the Adolf F. Monosson Prize for Entrepreneurship Mentoring was given to Kirk Arnold.
Kirk Arnold is a Senior Lecturer at MIT Sloan where she has been teaching and mentoring for over six years. She has co-created and co-taught the extremely popular Entrepreneurial Sales (15.387) course over this time period. In addition, she has been a valued faculty member in the Advanced Seminar: Tools and Techniques (15.378) course. This is in addition to Kirk providing countless hours of support to other classes and programs such as New Enterprises, the Entrepreneurship Development Program, delta v, international MBA programs, and many more. She mentors dozens of students on their personal entrepreneurial journeys and is constantly sited, especially by female students, as an inspiring and powerful role model. Students, faculty, and staff all applaud Kirk’s empathetic, professional, and extremely knowledgeable contributions across the board as a highlight of their educational experience at MIT.
Kirk has been a very successful CEO and senior executive in eight different companies (including IBM, Fidelity, Avid, Keane, CSC Consulting, and Data Intensity) that allows her to bring a wealth of business and entrepreneurial experience to students. Today, she is a highly sought after board member serving on such boards as Ingersoll Rand and Thomson Reuters, and gives back by serving on the Executive Committee of the Board of Overseers of the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council. Kirk stays current in the field of new venture creation by serving as an Executive in Residence at General Catalyst, a premier global Venture Capital firm based in Cambridge.
“It is a privilege to be part of the amazing MIT community and, in particular, the innovation-driven entrepreneurial ecosystem that the team at the Martin Trust Center has fostered,” Arnold said. “More than anything, I am so honored to work with our amazing students. I have no doubt they will fuel a better future for all of us and I am inspired by them every day!”
Created to honor the memory of Adolf F. Monosson ’48, the prize recognizes entrepreneurship mentors who have committed their time, energy, and/or capital toward future generations of entrepreneurs. Established at the MIT Sloan School of Management and made possible by Mr. & Mrs. William S. Grinker ’56, the prize continues Monosson’s mission of providing mentoring to potential entrepreneurs. Prior recipients include Bob Metcalfe, Shari Loessberg, and organizations such as the MIT Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation and the MIT Venture Mentoring Service.
The student prize, the Patrick J. McGovern, Jr. Award, is given annually to an individual or team that, in working closely with the Trust Center, has made a significant impact on the quality and overall spirit of entrepreneurship at the Institute. The objective of this Institute-wide award is to motivate future student leaders, raise the profile of student-led organizations, and reward individuals for outstanding achievement in building entrepreneurial excellence on campus.
“I’m not getting teary eyed, you’re getting teary eyed,” said Stephanie MacConnell MBA ’20, when informed she was this year’s recipient. “I love MIT; it’s the only school I wanted to go to for my MBA, so much because of the entrepreneurship ecosystems here, and because of how contagious it all is. This award is incredible. I’m so excited.”
MacConnell was an easy choice for this year’s award given her exemplary record of activity and leadership during her two years at MIT Sloan. With dual interests in both the FinTech and healthcare spaces, Stephanie provided tremendous leadership as the Trust Center’s Healthcare Sector Practice Leader (SPL) in the 2019-20 academic year while also co-chairing the annual MIT FinTech Conference.
To cap things off this spring, when the coronavirus pandemic hit, she jumped immediately into action. Stephanie was one of the lead organizers who have launched the MIT COVID-19 Challenge, a virtual global hackathon that ran its first event mere days after the shutdown of the MIT campus, which has exploded into a regular series of online challenges focusing on actionable solutions to current challenges, attracting thousands of participants from six continents working with dozens of organizations, non-profits, and corporations.
Past McGovern honorees include founder and former CEO of MassChallenge John Harthorne (2007), Okta co-founder & COO Frederic Kerrest (2008), CEO of Oceanworks Vanessa Coleman (2011), PillPack co-founder Elliot Cohen (2013), MIT’s The Engine senior associate Ally Yost (2013), and Cornell University lecturer Andrea Ippolito (2014), , among many others. For a complete list of winners of both prizes, please visit entrepreneurship.mit.edu/awards.
“Kirk and Stephanie are magnificent examples of the type of leaders we are fortunate to have as part of the MIT entrepreneurship community,” said Bill Aulet, managing director of the Trust Center. “All the work that we do focuses on our students. The effort Kirk brings to her teaching and mentoring of students and startup teams, and the passion that Stephanie brings to the initiatives she’s been at the front of during her time at MIT, really speaks to the power of our strong culture, content, programs and human capital. They also demonstrated that even with this vibrant ecosystem, the impact individuals can have on helping to create an even better educational environment for our students and community.”