My philosophy is: Fail early, so you can eventually succeed.
In keeping with the entrepreneurial spirit of the Founders' Challenge, NMH honors both the school’s founder, Dwight L. Moody, and other members of the NMH community who have founded businesses, enterprises, or other ventures. Meet these #FellowFounders
- Justin Kittredge ’96
- Jason Wachob ’94
- Noah Levinson ’00
- Larry Chase ’81
- Dana Simmons-Greco ’98
- Tracy Koman ’81
- Candice Torian ’04
- David Kjeldsen ’71
- Pooja Desai Patel ’04
- Guy Clark ’78
- Elizabeth Fitzpatrick ’00
- Stephen Green ’87, P’18
- Emily Schwerin-Whyte ’98
- Lucinda Kidder ’62
- Jodi Lomask ’92
- Seamus Mullen ’92
- Benita Pierce ’56
- David Rowland, retired NMH faculty
- Jimmy (Jinglin) Zhou ’17
What is the name of the organization/business that you founded/co-founded? ISlides, the sought-after athletic sandal sweeping the world on the feet of such athletes and celebrities as Dwayne Wade, Justin Bieber, Ellen Degeneres, Lebron James, Diddy, and more. ISlide fuses fashion with athletics and has partnered with the NBA, the WWE, Def Jam Records, and a number of other teams, brands, and organizations for custom designs. We were recently featured on the season eight premiere of ABC's hit show Shark Tank.
What inspired you to start your business? As a 13-year veteran of the footwear industry and the head of Reebok basketball, I had seen slide sandals around for years in the world of basketball and other sports. I thought it would be really cool if kids were able to customize their own slides. Imagine the feeling of a high school basketball player rocking some slides with their school logo on them. Anyway, I found the right suppliers and ran and didn’t look back.
What are three words that describe your NMH experience? Unforgettable. Challenging. Real.
Who is your own favorite founder or mentor ? My parents have always provided me with neverending support and encouragement. There's no question of that. But one of my greatest mentors has always been Bob Hurley, head basketball coach of St. Anthony's in Jersey City, New Jersey. His passion is infectious, and his dedication to his team — both on the court and off — is inspiring. I've learned so much from him. One can only hope to be that kind of leader.
What is the name of the organization that you founded/co-founded? Mindbodygreen, a lifestyle media brand dedicated to inspiring you to live your best life.
What inspired you to start your organization? Yoga saved me from back surgery and led me on a personal journey where I discovered that true wellness is a blend of mental, physical, spiritual, emotional, and environmental well-being, and that these pillars are vital and interconnected; hence mindbodygreen is one word and not three! We are a lifestyle media brand that provides our audience of 10 million monthly readers/viewers with best-in-class content and online video classes. And we also do events.
What are three words that describe your NMH experience? Wow, three words is really tough. NMH was filled with authentic and mission-driven educators who are still some of the best teachers I've ever had!
Who is your own favorite founder or mentor ? Lew Frankfort. Lew is currently one of my lead investors and on my board of directors. As the CEO of Coach, he took the business from $5 million in revenue to $6 billion over almost 30 years. To build a brand with that type of scale over almost three decades is remarkable, and at this stage in his career he is the consummate teacher. To be able to tap into his brain on a regular basis is something that I am extremely grateful for.
What is the name of the organization that you founded/co-founded? Calcutta Kids, a community-based public health initiative working to improve the health and nutrition outcomes of impoverished pregnant women and young children in India.
What inspired you to start your organization? After graduating from NMH in 2000, I spent a summer in India volunteering at Mother Teresa's Home for the Dying Destitutes and went on to start Calcutta Kids. I spent the next 15 years living in South Asia building the organization, which currently provides healthcare to more than 600 families and employs a team of 24 people, many of whom were former Calcutta Kids beneficiaries. Among the most significant achievements of Calcutta Kids is a 70 percent reduction in severe malnutrition among children under age three, accomplished through inspired behavioral change communication and focused data collection and monitoring.
What are three words that describe your NMH experience? Enlightening. Challenging. Humbling.
Who is your own favorite founder or mentor ? Fazle Abed, a Bangladeshi social worker, the founder and chairman of BRAC, the world's largest non-governmental organization, with over 120,000 employees. For his contributions to social improvement, he has received the Ramon Magsaysay Award, the UNDP Mahbub Ul Haq Award, the inaugural Clinton Global Citizen Award, and the inaugural WISE Prize for Education. In 2015, he received World Food Prize for his “unparalleled” work on reducing poverty in Bangladesh and 10 other countries.
What is the name of the organization/business that you founded/co-founded? LCI Paper Company, which offers high-quality specialty papers, cardstocks, and envelopes to paper professionals and enthusiasts through our online store.
What inspired you to start your business? I started the company in 1995, right after my family’s printing business was sold. It was the right time to move into e-commerce, and with my knowledge of paper it was a natural transition for me.
What are three words that describe your NMH experience?
Friendship. Togetherness. Fun.
Who is your own favorite founder or mentor? My dad! He’s been gone over 30 years now, but I can still feel his belief that we are all special and unique in our own way.
What is the name of the business/organization that you founded/co-founded? Wino(t), a neighborhood wine and spirits shop located in Brooklyn, NY, with a focus on small producers.
What inspired you to start your business? When I opened wino(t) almost six years ago, I had been looking for a way to help my community grow and fill some of the empty storefronts. At the time, there were no other shops of its kind in the neighborhood. I lived in that area for several years, and I knew I couldn't be the only thirsty resident tired of commuting home with bottles, so wino(t) was born!
What are three words that describe your NMH experience? Redefining. Cultivating. Provocative.
Who is your own favorite founder or mentor ? My favorite mentor at NMH was my advisor Sarah Hoffman. Sarah offered me support and guidance reflective of my personality, and she encouraged me to push my boundaries. She also prompted me to explore skill sets I didn't realize I had while always reminding me of my ability to find my way independently.
What is the name of the organization/business that you founded/co-founded? Health Data Sciences Group, LLC, a leading healthcare consulting firm specializing in delivering advanced data analytics and innovative strategies to achieve better population health outcomes for payers, providers, and health service companies. Healthcare is experiencing unprecedented pressures from regulators driving value-based reimbursement, fragmented delivery systems creating enormous waste, and fast-emerging disruptive technologies rewriting the rules of engagement. Health Data Sciences Group provides data-driven capabilities and strategies required to thrive in the new healthcare economy.
What inspired you to start your business?
As a serial entrepreneur (Broadview Networks, Inc., 1996; Longitude Health, LLC, 2008), I have focused on businesses that can create great value for customers, employees, shareholders, and society. We founded Health Data Sciences Group to focus on supporting our most vulnerable populations in increasingly challenging environments.
What are three words that describe your NMH experience? The three words that best describe my NMH experience are clearly head, heart, and hand. As an entrepreneur, you need the idea that can break through, the passion that turns work into mission, and the sweat that gets the job done under any and all circumstances.
Who is your own favorite founder or mentor ? My favorite role model is NMH’s own Richard Odman, who had the vision, emotional intelligence, and chutzpah to create and lead the NMH farm program, and in doing so, he launched legions of environmental, food, agricultural, and entrepreneurial leaders.
What is the name of the organization/business that you founded/co-founded? NewbeeNetwork, an online community of past, present, and future migrants supporting each other in our next move. Our mission is to transform a cumbersome logistical moving process into one that is fun, interactive, and community oriented.
What inspired you to start your business? The business was inspired by my many moves for school, career, and personal relationships. It was also inspired by a need for small businesses to reach the 37 million potential customers moving within their communities every year.
What are three words that describe your NMH experience? Unique. Challenging. Revealing.
Who is your own favorite founder or mentor ? Don Russell '53. He taught me a career without a purpose is a job. And a job void of joy is work. My career decisions are always based on whether they are in line with my purpose and bring me joy. I find that I am more fulfilled and can do more for others.
What inspired you to start your business? I started Viking Athletics in 1995. The goal was to start a small million-dollar company and also to produce paddles for a sport called platform tennis. Over time, Viking grew into the largest supplier of paddles and balls in the sport, becoming a big fish in a very, very small pond. In 2008, I sold the company to Prince Tennis. In 2008, I was also inducted into the Platform Tennis Hall of Fame. In 2016, I came out of retirement (having sold my other businesses in 2015) and started a new platform tennis venture called Master Athletics. Now I will be competing with both Viking and Wilson. We started Master Athletics with one simple goal in mind: to design and produce the most technologically advanced and high-quality platform tennis paddles.
What are three words that describe your NMH experience? I need more than three words to describe my four years at Mount Hermon. They were great years; a much better experience than college/grad school. I created friendships that have lasted a lifetime. While I didn’t love the work program at the time, dusting under the beds in the infirmary and cleaning the lavatories gave me a respect that all work is valuable, and it helped to shape my value system throughout life.
What is the name of the organization/business that you founded/co-founded? PoojaMeraki, a women and baby e-commerce clothing brand where the pieces are all about fashion meets function; elevating, through fit and fabrics, the classics in which many women feel comfortable. The clothes are meant to transition with you as your body changes through the years. In fact, most of the women's line is bump/breastfeeding friendly. My husband and I are both full-time, working parents, and after talking about this passion project for a while, we decided to dive in head-first. In the future, we hope to be able to grow this into a complete family brand.
What inspired you to start your business? I started PoojaMeraki out of a need and a want: a need to create fun, chic, and functional clothing for women and babies, and a want to share that vision with women everywhere, empowering them to feel beautiful and confident in their own skin. My life includes two amazing (and exhausting) boys, a husband who I rarely get any alone time with, and a full-time job. I wanted clothes that helped me seamlessly transition in and out of all of those roles with ease. PoojaMeraki is meant for friends, multi-taskers, go-getters, independent spirits, and dreamers.
What are three words that describe your NMH experience? Life-changing. Empowering. Diverse.
Who is your own favorite founder or mentor? One of my favorite founders is Yvon Chouinard, creator of Patagonia. His conviction and inherent desire to travel the road less traveled are infectious and inspiring. He has created and grown Patagonia by doing what is he believes is right, based on his moral compass. He values employees, company culture, and experience over the bottom line, even encouraging employees to take surf breaks and time to visit with their kids at the on-site experiential child care center. And yet, it is this exact human touch that has made Patagonia as successful as it is today. Someday, I hope I can grow PoojaMeraki with the same sense of purpose, humility, and humanity.
What is the name of the organization that you founded/co-founded? Guy Clark Interiors, Inc.
What inspired you to start your organization? In 1998, when I retired at 38 years old from the jewelry industry, I started a new career in interior design. I wanted to work for myself in a job that was more creative and flexible.
What did you learn at NMH that most affected your career? I developed a love of all things artistic at NMH. I took silversmith classes, painting classes, and clarinet lessons, sang in MODOS, and even acted in the school plays.
What advice would you give to current NMH students? Don’t stress too much about what career path will make you the most money, but rather concentrate on what careers might make you happy. The money will either follow you, or the money may not end up to be so important.
Why do you support NMH? My family legacy
What is the name of the organization that you founded/co-founded? My Closet Concierge
What inspired you to start your organization? Real estate is so expensive in Manhattan, nobody has enough closet space. I wanted to create a safe, secure, convenient, and reasonably priced service for clients to store their clothes, access them through a private virtual closet, and have them hand-delivered the next day.
What did you learn at NMH that most affected your career? Anything is possible, but you need to be willing to take a chance and put in the work to achieve it.
What advice would you give to current NMH students? Be excited and curious about the world.
Why do you support NMH? Inspiration
What inspired you to start your organizations? I was inspired to found these companies and build their successes on the back of the skill sets and confidence that I developed at NMH. My three years at NMH transformed me in ways that I would realize only later. In college, I had the confidence to study abroad and work abroad. As opportunities developed, I worked harder to secure my future. I wasn’t afraid to get my hands dirty, and I became invaluable to my employers. Bicycle manufacturing is certainly not as dirty as shoveling horse droppings on the NMH farm at 6:30 am. Early morning meetings are certainly warmer than early morning crew on the Connecticut River. When it came to founding my company and my brands, I was not afraid of hardship. I had the confidence to follow opportunities and the work ethic to turn them into successes.
What did you learn at NMH that most affected your career? I took Chinese with George Henrichson. His teaching style was alive and it transformed my education forever. In the summer of 1985, I attended the first NMH study-abroad program in China. I continued to study Chinese my junior and senior years. My third year in college, I studied abroad in Taiwan at Tunghai University. I ended up staying in Taiwan for six years. To this day, I am reading, writing, and speaking Chinese daily in my career and life. I travel to China and Taiwan six to seven times a year to work with suppliers and design products. I write emails and have conference calls and meetings in Chinese. Everything that I have developed, including my companies, can be traced back to the spark that was ignited by NMH teacher George Henrichson in Chinese in September 1984.
What advice would you give to current NMH students? It is not possible to predict what the spark will be that ignites the flame in your life. Do everything with purpose and to the best of your ability. Someday you might look back and realize that a language course — or a calculus teacher, or the dissection of a fetal pig in biology, or a dance class — changed your life. Put your heart into everything you do, as if it might be that life-changing event. Someday you will be looking back on your days at NMH, on the teachers that challenged you but made you better, the friends that helped you keep your sanity. You will remember walking up the hill after farm work, crew, art class, dance, basketball; and these memories will give you the confidence and drive to follow your dreams.
Why do you support NMH? NMH founded me.
What is the name of the organization that you founded/co-founded? My father, William Whyte, started W.S. Badger in 1995 while my sister, Rebecca Hamilton ’01, and I were students at NMH. I joined the company in 2002 after college, and my mother, Kathleen Schwerin, and sister have both joined since then. We now co-own and run Badger and we get to work together every day!
What inspired you to start your organization? My dad had dry, cracked hands from doing carpentry work in the winter. He had the idea that he could make a balm to heal his hands and that other carpenters would want the same thing. The business was started with a single product: Badger Healing Balm for Hardworking Hands. During our summer breaks from NMH, we would help pack boxes and ship them from our dining room table.
What did you learn at NMH that most affected your career? I had the most amazing teachers at NMH. Their commitment to an engaged learning process made my education rich in creative and critical thinking, and fun! My experience with those teachers demonstrated what it means to be fully invested and passionate about what you do for work, and that has come through in how I approach every job I've had.
What advice would you give to current NMH students? Dive in and experience everything that NMH has to offer! The diversity of classes, teachers, sports, and arts make it a very special school.
Why do you support NMH? Happy memories
What is the name of the organization that you founded/co-founded? Silverthorne Theater Company
What inspired you to start your organization? After a lifelong career working in theater as a teacher, director, producer, and administrator, I was ready for a new challenge when David Rowland suggested we start a new professional summer theater to be based at NMH.
What did you learn at NMH that most affected your career? I learned the value of perseverance.
What advice would you give to current NMH students? If you are truly passionate about something, find a way to weave it into your life. The satisfaction of never letting your dreams go is worth whatever sacrifices are demanded of you. But never underestimate the amount of hard work that will be demanded of you.
Why do you support NMH? Friendship, faith
What are the names of the organizations that you founded/co-founded? Capacitor and Enliven
What inspired you to start your organizations? I have been choreographing since I was nine years old. I really liked doing it, and I decided that I wanted to direct my own company one day. I wanted my fantasies to meet reality. For Enliven, I wanted to help performers find more work. I wanted to increase demand for the performing arts. It is a very new project.
What did you learn at NMH that most affected your career? I learned that no matter what I was interested in, I could pursue it. I could get into it. I could research it. I could learn something and do something with what I learned. I also learned to locate and take advantage of resources.
What advice would you give to current NMH students? Take advantage of the rich environment. Take advantage of your access to all the smart, passionate teachers. Make your time worthwhile, because it is such a special environment and opportunity to learn and create.
Why do you support NMH? Because of the school’s sincerity, follow-through, and vision
What inspired you to start your organizations? I always had a passion for cooking, which derived from my grandmother; I spent a lot of time with her in the kitchen. During a visit to Spain, I fell in love with the food and culture, and I wanted to bring back to New York City the same detailed attention to delicious food that I found there. After a long, difficult battle with rheumatoid arthritis, I looked to food as a way of healing myself. I wrote my first cookbook, Hero Food, and now I continue on a crusade to teach people how real food can heal and to inspire people to get out of their comfort zones and try something new.
What did you learn at NMH that most affected your career? One of the most important moments in my career development happened at NMH ... actually, two of them. First and foremost, the role of workjob and all the various jobs I had in the kitchen were the very beginning of my foundation as a chef. Besides the skills I learned working with Miss Wiggins in Wilson Hall, there was also the discipline of waking up early and having a job that had to be done in a fixed amount of time. The second was my experience on the NMH exchange program in Burgos, Spain. That experience laid the foundation for my love of both the Spanish language and the culture of Spain. I was fortunate enough to live with a family that loved to cook and loved that I loved to cook as well! I still cook some of the Spanish classics today.
What advice would you give to current NMH students? Try anything and everything at least once. Relish the experience you have at NMH; it is one of the most diverse, open-minded, and creative learning environments I have ever experienced. Now, nearly 25 years after I graduated, my closest and dearest friends are my former dorm mates in Wilson Hall! Embrace, foster, and maintain the friendships you develop at NMH. Your classmates, just like you, will go on to do great things and to be the next important leaders in our world.
Why do you support NMH? Diversity, creativity, and challenge
What is the name of the organization that you founded/co-founded? B. Pierce Co., Inc.
What inspired you to start your organization? I wanted to make a difference in the financial markets as a minority woman.
What did you learn at NMH that most affected your career? Northfield gave me the necessary tools to succeed in a very competitive environment.
What advice would you give to current NMH students? Never give up — keep on trying. Follow your dream!
Why do you support NMH? To give back
What is the name of the organization that you founded/co-founded? Silverthorne Theater Company
What inspired you to start your organization? A love of live theater and a belief that Franklin County is ready for a professional theater company
What did you learn at NMH that most affected your career? As director of the theater program at NMH for some 35 years, I had the marvelous opportunity to create and work with a rich constellation of academic classes and full productions. I retired from NMH in 2013, but I have no intention of retiring from theater. As Shakespeare said, “What’s past is prologue.”
What advice would you give to current NMH students? Keep an open mind and try new and challenging things at NMH. One alum who comes to mind was an athlete who had never been on stage until his junior year, when simple curiosity brought him to auditions. This openness took him on to Julliard, then Broadway and films. High school is a wonderful time to explore possibilities. And NMH offers an extraordinarily enriched and supportive environment for just that sort of exploration.
Why do you support NMH? Every individual matters.
What is the name of the organization that you founded/co-founded? Love Makes Us Grow Up Together
What inspired you to start your organization? When I was in eighth grade, I was selected to join 19 other students and three faculty members traveling to the Dominican Republic to teach English to students in grades pre-K through 10 through the Outreach 360 program. During the week I spent there, I learned a lot about the culture. It helped me to understand my role and to appreciate how much I could learn from the children and the local people of Monte Cristi. I taught at three different places each day: a kindergarten class in a public school, a language institute for older students, and a recreation center that served the neediest children, including Haitian refugees who needed to learn Spanish before being taught English.
This experience was life-changing for me. It showed me the impact I could have on the lives of others. It showed me the power of human connection; I learned as much from them as they did from me. This is when I began to imagine how I could recreate this type of project in my native country of China. When I was in ninth grade, I founded Love Makes Us Grow Up Together to provide education to children in orphanages. Since then, the organization has provided one skilled full-time teacher, school supplies, and student volunteers from the United States to teach English in China. Every time I return to China, I visit the school. I am really proud of the impact these efforts have had on the children.
What did you learn at NMH that most affected your career? This question is hard to answer, because I am a current NMH student, but I just finished an ethics class in which we explored issues such as children whose needs are not being met. We were given the task of identifying a solution to a problem, and I proposed an NMH club that would partner with my nonprofit to raise awareness about this issue in China and provide a service opportunity to my fellow students. My biggest hope is to help my NMH peers form connections with the children of the school that my nonprofit supports.
What advice would you give to current NMH students? Don’t think that just because you are young, that you cannot make a positive impact.