As the executive director of the National Alliance for Musical Theatre, Trudi McCanna had a successful career that built on her background as a theater director and allowed her to make contributions to the performing arts. Yet she felt that something was lacking. A visit with a career counselor opened her eyes to a new possibility. “When I mentioned everything I loved about work,” says McCanna, “I learned I was already doing organizational change management and I didn’t even know it.”
McCanna learned that earning a master’s degree would make the transition to a career in organizational change management easier. In her search for the right program, she met Mark Lipton, a professor of management at the Milano School. “When I met Mark, I was blown away. He was open and enthusiastic about my interest in the field. He had a huge impact on me and is still a mentor,” says McCanna.
The faculty and students in the program enriched McCanna’s experience at Milano. “There are people who are consumed by the work—they go out to restaurants and instead of simply enjoying the meal, they focus on how the restaurant is organized. It was amazing to go to school and meet people who love to ‘geek out’ about the field. I also found the professors to be unique in their ability to balance concepts and practice. They helped shape how I work, and I have been very successful because of it.” McCanna, who now leads executive and team development at Google, says that attending Milano changed her as a professional and as a person. “The program significantly increased my self-awareness, which is the key to being a successful practitioner in the field. This is particularly true for a global company such as Google, where I engage with diverse teams from around the world on a daily basis and am able to work fluidly across all these boundaries.”