Susan Hunt Stevens
Founder & CEO, WeSpire
I love business and technology and innovation and I love proving that all these things together can be a really powerful force for positive change. I fundamentally believe that business can be an extraordinary force for good in this world.
It all started around 2006 when Susan Hunt Stevens’s then two-year-old son was diagnosed with a slew of serious food and environmental allergies. “We were really having to change our life to keep him healthy,” Stevens says. “It was a big eye opener. I thought I was educated about this stuff, but the reality was I was clueless.”
So, she decided to do what a lot of people were doing at that time: She started a blog, which she called Practically Green. It was, as she called it, a guide to going green without going berserk. Granted, Stevens wasn’t just a regular blogger. She’d built her career in digital media, beginning from the very early days of the Internet.
Stevens went to undergrad at Wesleyan University, where she was a government major. After graduating in 1992, she worked for three years in management consulting and then set off to backpack around the world for nine months before starting at Tuck. Choosing Tuck, she says, was easy. “The most important thing for me was the emphasis on teaching. You could tell that teaching was their passion and love and why they were professors,” Stevens says. “When you have amazing professors, they can help you be passionate about things you never thought you’d be interested in.”
At Tuck, she played ice hockey and helped start a women’s crew team that won the MBA World Championships. She spent half of her second year living in Spain, taking classes in Spanish, and getting a sense of international business. She also joined Tuck faculty as a student assistant on a trip to visit the Hanoi School of Business in Vietnam.
After graduating from Tuck in 1998, she moved to New York and began working at the New York Times on the digital side of the company, as director of marketing and business development. “It was the early, early days of the web,” she says. “We were seeing amazing growth. I helped write one of the first white papers on behavioral advertising. It was an amazing opportunity to be in on the ground floor of digital media.”
At age 28, she became a co-founder and later CEO of a New York City-based data mining company called Abridge, which dismantled after 9-11. “It was hard to lose our startup, but the world changed that day,” she says.
When she started her blog Practically Green, she was living in Boston and working for the Boston Globe as the senior vice president and general manager of Boston.com. Practically Green gave her the window into the growing interest in living more sustainably. While leading a project to bring the New York Times onto Facebook, she saw the power that combining social mechanics, game mechanics, and content—like LoseIt or Runkeeper—had on engagement and impact. That was the a-ha moment when she realized there was an opportunity to build a behavior change app focused on health and sustainability. When she pitched the idea to some friends in venture capital, one told her, “Quit your job today and go do this.”
Eventually, she did quit her job at the Boston Globe and dove full-time into running her own startup. “There was this calling to start this company. So I took the plunge,” she says. The first version of the app debuted on Mother’s Day in 2010. After the app appeared on The Today Show, Stevens started getting calls from heads of sustainability at big companies who were looking to use her technology as a way to promote sustainable work cultures among their employees. Since then, the platform has expanded include corporate social responsibility programs, wellbeing programs and positive workplace programs, particularly diversity and inclusion.
“We rolled out our first enterprise programs in 2012 and by early 2014, it was clear we were going to become 100 percent enterprise,” says Stevens. So they re-branded and named the new version of the company WeSpire. “It encompassed more of what we thought we were good at, which was using the power of a social network to inspire positive change.”
WeSpire now works with over 30 companies, collectively totaling over 2 million employees, including big brands like MGM Resorts International, Timberland, NRG Energy, Unilever, and more.
"I love business and technology and innovation and I love proving that all these things together can be a really powerful force for positive change," she says. "I fundamentally believe that business can be an extraordinary force for good in this world."
How to Be a Successful Operations Leader
To succeed in operations, says ZOE COO Nicole Xu T’11, you need the short-term vision to run the business day-to-day, but you also need to be able to think three to five years ahead to build for the future.Read More
After spending eight years in the military, Maxwell says Tuck’s general management curriculum gave him the foundation in business he needed, and he still relies on what he learned in his business strategy, communications, and negotiations courses. “Those soft skills courses really stay with you because they’re timeless.”Read More
The next generation of operations leaders looking to drive growth and optimization will need to be students of technology, says Peter Giordano T’11.Read More
Making the Impossible, Possible
A conversation with Vincent Wu T’11, COO of NewsBreak, about the broad skillset it takes to become a “full stack COO” at a rapidly growing media company.Read More
Answering the Call
How Tuck and Amazon prepared Cem Sibay T’05 to embrace change and navigate disruption.Read More
Why We Need More Women Entrepreneurs—And Investors
A conversation with venture capitalist Elizabeth Davis T’20, an investor with the Anthemis Group’s Female Innovators Lab.Read More
With the potential to become the world’s first self-flying air taxi service, Chief Financial Officer Caryn Nightengale T’02 says the company is poised to become a game-changing disruptor in the aerospace industry.Read More
Meet Blair Crichton T’18, co-founder of Karana, a new whole-plant based meat company launched in Singapore.Read More
Meet Allobee Chief Strategy Officer Anne Forsyth English T’08
Allobee is connecting business owners nationwide to an underutilized workforce of experienced, professional women—a mission that deeply resonates with Chief Strategy Officer Anne Forsyth English T’08.
Meet Military Veteran and Fitfighter CEO Sarah Apgar T’11
A commitment to public service is a current that runs through T’11 Sarah Apgar’s career and education.Read More
Driven by Wanderlust: Peter Sisson T’94
For serial entrepreneur Peter Sisson T’94, life has been one big adventure.Read More
At Wayfair, Tuck alumna Laura Scott completely transformed the company’s operations. Now she’s dipping her toes into the startup world with Takeoff Tech.Read More
Work Hard, Dream Big
From Buffalo to the boardroom, Yancey Spruill T’97 has found the formula for success.Read More
How to Keep Your Company Data Secure
What Alison Connolly T’11 finds fascinating, most corporate leaders find terrifying. The director of strategic partnerships at DarkOwl is an expert on the darknet.Read More
With Everly, Juliet Horton T’14 is changing how couples plan their weddingRead More
How to Make a Successful Startup Pitch
In her seven years as a venture partner at LaunchCapital in Cambridge, Mass., Heather Onstott T’07 has heard about 1,000 pitches from startups.Read More
Marketing a Disruptive Brand
Together, two Tuck alumni, Kate Jhaveri T’03 and Michael Aragon T’01, led marketing and innovation at the growing global brand Twitch.Read More
CEO of Lixil Corporation Kinya Seto T'96 is leveraging his entrepreneurial smarts to tackle the global sanitation crisis.Read More
With PK Coffee in Stowe, Vermont, Katrina Veerman T’01 turned a passion into a livelihood.Read More
Before you know what she is, you first need to know what Betsabeh Hermann T’13 is not: She is not an astronaut. Or at least, not yet anyway.Read More
Sprague Brodie T’14 works in the heart of Silicon Valley at the sprawling Mountain View, California, campus of tech giant Google.Read More
Andrew Smith T'07 chose Tuck first because he was looking for a beautiful environment where he could spend time thinking about how to maximize his impact on big challenges in the world.Read More
One size does not fit all—that’s the philosophy of Torlisa Jeffrey T'12 , a senior product manager for Williams Sonoma.Read More
Poshmark co-founder Tracy Sun T’05 turned her love of fashion and psychology into a leading mobile commerce app. Shopping will never be the same.Read More
As director of global connectivity for Facebook, Chris Weasler T'97 is helping to bring online the 60 percent of the earth's population currently without internet access.Read More
Gibson “Gib” Biddle
NerdWallet's Gib Biddle T'91 came to Tuck as a marketer, but then realized he was more of a builder.Read More
Evernote CEO Chris O’Neill T’01 is helping the digital productivity and note-keeping company do more by focusing on what it does best.Read More
Former investment banker Rohit Dugar T'07 is transforming his beer-brewing hobby into Hong Kong's first craft brewery—and using his Tuck experience to navigate the challenges of entrepreneurship.Read More
As head of strategy and product development for Beats Electronics, Elisabeth Hartley T'05 is on the cusp of creating what the future of music could look like.Read More
People call Eric Spiegel T'87 the most natural leader they’ve ever met. Now CEO of Siemens USA, a global electronics and engineering powerhouse, he gets to lead on the issues that matter most. To his company and the country.Read More
For Jack O’Toole T’14, “building” and “contributing” are words to live by. As a Marine, he did both.Read More
Investor. Philanthropist. Entrepreneur. Roger McNamee T’82 is all of these and more in a career that has taken him to the top of the tech world.Read More
After graduating from Tuck, Barry Hume T'95 joined PepsiCo’s Boston-area operations as finance director—a position that quickly provided the opportunity for advancement, but with a difficult choice to make.Read More
What's for dinner? Pantry, a new food retailer founded by Dennis Lasko T’08, has the answer.Read More
T’87 Jeff Coleman’s quest for better nutrition led him to a new, whole-food fuel for athletes and a surprising second act.Read More
PureLiving China founder and CEO Louie Cheng T'03 is helping to improve indoor air quality in a country known for its pollution problems.Read More
According to Jacques-Philippe Piverger T'07, the one-word solution to energy poverty in developing countries, is Luci, a low-cost solar light.Read More