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Participant Journey

Meet the Class: Michael Boord

September 22, 2016

The Berlin School embraces innovators and Class 18 participant Michael Boord is no exception. This New York native and new media professional puts his passion for innovation to work as the Global Director of Mobile Products at the Associated Press.

Michael answered a few questions about his Berlin School experience so far, his scholarship win and how the Berlin School is already making an impact.


You won a scholarship from INMA and were selected from numerous applicants from around the world. What did this award mean to you?

Being selected for the INMA scholarship among all of the deserving applicants was an honor and validation that the work that we are doing at the AP, and that my team and I are doing in the mobile arena more specifically, is in line with the principles of INMA as we try to flourish in an environment of profound market changes.

You’ve taken part in a few modules, has the Berlin School started to change your approach to leadership? How so?

Absolutely, 100%!  I've always considered myself an authentic leader, but I have a newfound, and far more profound understanding of what that means and how to become an even better and more effective leader.  I'm more conscious of my actions, understand them better, and more than anything, know that I am empowered to improve and make meaningful changes.  And, I've realized that there is much more that I can do to develop talent and push the boundaries of our business.

How is creative leadership relevant to your role as Global Director of Mobile Products at the Associated Press?

The truth is that without a creative culture news organization like the AP would not have been able to navigate the constant evolution and disruption that has taken place over the last 150 to 200 years as new platforms appeared; whether it be radio, photography, satellite transmission, video, or even carrier pigeon.  This doesn't mean that there aren't challenges, of course there are.  But we have to push forward, experiment, and create a future for ourselves as the mission of a free and unbiased press is just too important, especially in the current environment.

Creativity comes in many forms.  It's not just about how well you draw, or write, but how you think and impact others.  In my role I have to figure out how to best showcase the important work that we do at the AP.  It requires working with new and emerging platforms and, often times, taking people out of their comfort zones towards something that you believe can have a lasting impact.  News organizations are often thought of as "traditional" or  "legacy," but this is not accurate, especially as younger generations of more native and savvy technology journalists and consumers emerge on the scene.  My job is to push the thinking, and provide the platforms to thrive.

What’s the most valuable or memorable thing you’ve learned during your Executive MBA Studies so far?

Actually, we just finished a very emotional couple of weeks in Berlin.  I found the Leaders on Stage exercises to be extremely powerful and profoundly moving.  I learned so much about my amazing classmates, who are some of the best minds (and people) in creative leadership.  By hearing their journeys and stories, witnessing them being vulnerable and open, I was able to stretch myself, outside of what I thought was my comfort zone.  We learned techniques that allowed us to improve how we communicate to others and also, how to empathize with them and leverage this for positive change.  This is so critical in authentic leadership.

I realized that my true comfort zone and potential is actually far bigger and that I had put self-imposed restraints on myself, which limited my willingness to stretch.  My classmates, by giving me the courage, were able to push me to places that I would never have gone to otherwise.  This is leadership, having the courage to be vulnerable for what you believe and inspiring others to do so.  Collectively this pushes everyone forward.  Now I know that I can push further, strive more, achieve more, without having to be afraid of the journey, or the outcome, and that by doing so, will hopefully inspire others as my classmates had done for me.  Be open to outcomes, not attached to them.

Describe your Berlin School experience to date in 140 characters or less.

The Berlin School has changed my life.  New friends, perspectives, and motivation to make an impact and inspire others. #righttimerightplace

Inspired by Michael’s story?
Apply for the INMA scholarship today. Applications are now being accepted: