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Richard Pearl- HEAA Secretary

February 24, 2024

Richard Pearl ALB ’97 is the senior advisor to the United Nations Global Compact Network USA. Pearl previously served on the board of Network USA for five years, including three as chair. In addition to his work with the Network, Pearl provides private consulting services to companies developing or enhancing their Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) programs. He also serves as an executive advisor to the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship. Pearl was State Street Corporation’s global corporate responsibility officer for over 20 years. Prior to that, he had several diverse roles in the newspaper, wireless telephony, and early Internet commerce spheres. He currently serves as Secretary on the Harvard Extension Alumni Association Board of Directors.

As the Secretary of the HEAA Board of Directors, what do you hope to accomplish during your tenure?

My goal is to help to develop a level of professional oversight to the management of the HEAA program and to expand engagement between Harvard Extension School and other Harvard degree programs, faculty and administration.

What do you enjoy most about volunteering for this role?

I most enjoy interaction and engagement with fellow board members and other HES alumni. HES students often feel separate and distinct from the college and on-campus students; HEAA helps to create a sense of shared community that is a cherished part of the Harvard experience.

What impact do you hope to have on the HEAA community?

The only impact I, or anyone at Harvard, can have is to make the most of my education and contribute to the betterment of society. Whether that is through the traditional undergrad college, or through an advanced degree or extension program, really doesn’t matter. It is what we do with our education that is important, not the path we took to attain it.

What opportunities did your HES Degree unlock for you in your professional and personal life?

For better or worse, a Harvard degree carries some cachet in the business world. It can open doors. My Harvard degree certainly helped do that. But as importantly, it prepared me for future challenges in my career, and made me more confident in my ability to navigate them and succeed. From a personal perspective, I tend not to belabor the point that I am a Harvard grad; but I believe my extension experience – getting a degree at night while working a full-time job during the day – set a good example for my two daughters, both of whom are extraordinary women who have accomplished great things in their lives.

If you could live anywhere in the world for a month free of responsibilities where would it be and what would you do there?

I am fortunate enough to have traveled around the world for business, and have developed some great friendships in the process. I think travel can help to break down our stereotypes and prejudices and increase our understanding of others. That said, there are still areas of this country (USA) that seem exotic (even foreign) to me. As a result, I’d probably spend time in some of the southeast or northwest states and immerse myself in its culture to break down any preconceived notions that I may have developed about my fellow Americans.