Pass the pen: Alumnae nominated spotlight

3 Mins read
Leslie Bell-Friedel speaking at an event

As part of an ongoing series, we give alumni a chance to share their favorite GPS memories

By Rachel Hommel | GPS News

Leslie Bell-FriedelIn this new series, we ask alumni from the UC San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy (GPS) to share a more personal side of themselves by answering seven or more questions from a potential list of 15. This will be a quarterly spotlight with the alumna or alumnus in the spotlight passing the “virtual pen” to the next person.

This month we feature alumna Leslie Bell-Friedel, MPIA ’97 who currently works as the Product Support Strategy and Business Excellence Manager for Caterpillar Marine and leads their strategy development and business process enhancement for marine aftermarket services.

Spending nearly a decade in Germany, she was one of the early active members of the GPS Alumni European chapter, meeting in a new city every six months to reunite with fellow GPS Globetrotters. Now living in Virginia Beach, she is eager to reconnect with her community of GPS alumni at a yet-to be planned reunion next year.

Read on as she shares highlights of her career and how she uses her GPS toolbox along the way.

Q: If you could go back to GPS as a professor or special guest lecturer, what would you like to teach?  

A: I would like to teach how to use analytical methods to make decisions. There is a fantastic book out there called “The Thinker’s Toolkit: 14 Powerful Techniques for Problem Solving” by Morgan D. Jones. Everyone should have this book in their pocket and I’ve given away a few copies over the years. I use these methods every day and have become a master of pairwise comparison and decision making tools like the Pugh Matrix (if I do say so myself). Combine this with “How to Measure Anything by Douglas Hubbard and you’ve got a class that can help you with just about anything life throws at you.

Leslie Bell-FriedelQ: What book have you read recently and would recommend?  

A: I would like to recommend “The 4 Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom” by Don Miguel Ruiz. It gets a bit religious, but the four agreements you make with yourself are both simple and profound, and of course harder to do than said. This book was recommended to me by a professional coach and has helped me both with leadership and personal development. What are the agreements? 1) Be impeccable with your word, 2) Don’t take anything personally, 3) Don’t make assumptions and 4) Always do your best.

Q: What did you learn at GPS that has been most useful in your career?  

A: This would have to be the level of writing proficiency. As an engineer, I had written technical papers before, but the amount of practice I got at GPS for all kinds of writing really helped my written and oral communication skills. It has definitely come in handy with all the marketing material, industry papers, interviews and presentations I’ve done in my career.

Q: What do you like to do to relax on the weekends? 

A: I really like landscaping and am never happier than when I’m elbows deep in muck laying a pathway or building a rock wall. I travel a lot for work so the time I get to spend at home playing outside in the yard is special for me.

Leslie Bell-FriedelQ: If you could live anywhere, where would you like to live?  

A: I’ve started to get hooked on sailing, so where I’d really like to live is on a 54ft sailing catamaran somewhere in the tropics. My husband, Micky, would captain and I’d get all the less glamorous jobs, but I can’t imagine anything more fantastic than living “outside” anywhere the wind takes us, snorkeling, diving, etc. from our backdoor. Alas, this will have to wait just a bit longer.

Q: What would make your life easier?  

A: I wish I could beam around the world visiting friends and family whenever I wanted. My business travels allow me the opportunity to catch up with people I may not otherwise see very often, but they are not always at the right place at the right time. For an easier life, I either need to force everyone to live a lot closer together, or I need Scotty.

Q: A memorable travel experience you’d like to repeat.   

A: Did I mention the sailing catamaran already? Two years ago, we rented a cat for two weeks down in Tahiti and sailed around the Bora Bora islands. Everything about it was AWESOME!

Q: Who would you like to pass the pen to and why? 

A: While there are so many fantastic alumni I could nominate, I choose Scott Park ‘90 because he is one of the first graduates and, having gotten to spend quality time with him and other alumni in Europe from 2004-2010, I find that he is not only amazing professionally, but he is also a lot of fun to be around. He’s a good egg.

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