In our Meet the Team series, we will be introducing members of the Summer team. Meet Dan, our Business Development Manager who joined the team this year!
What led you to take this role at Summer?
I joined Summer to support the Business Development team. At that time, I was finishing my MBA program at Cornell Johnson’s Executive MBA program with a focus on Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Technology. As a student loan borrower, I can empathize with the struggle that many Americans are facing and I was drawn to Summer’s mission, product and team. Working on the Business Development team allows me to work in a role at the intersection of my interests and my skills, while furthering our company’s important mission.
Tell us about what you do at Summer!
Every day is different on the Business Development team. Ultimately, our goal is to source new partnerships but I try to spend more of my time building relationships. A partnership is only as successful as both parties aligned goals.
When most people think of Business Development they think of sales pitches. While we are trying to acquire new partners, we’re doing more listening than talking. A misnomer about Business Development is that speaking and success are highly correlated, when in fact, the key to success is to do more listening than talking. We’ve had (and are having) a ton of conversations to better understand the priorities or our potential partners; listening to the needs of their employees/members; and following the debate in Congress about student loans.
What excites you the most about working at Summer?
I’m excited to know that our solution provides real, meaningful and actionable results for our users. Being a mission driven B Corporation® drives everything we do and allows us to align our North Star on helping students loan borrowers save money and get out of debt faster. With a small company, everyone’s contribution is important, valued and meaningful. It’s also exciting to work closely with all of our different teams and learn from their unique skills and expertise.
I love doing a product demo and watching the face of someone after they realize the potential savings that Summer’s algorithm just recommended. Some of the success stories are unbelievable. Imagine if the $100,000 in debt you thought you’d be paying for years to come suddenly became only $20,000!
What’s your proudest moment at Summer?
My proudest moment at Summer was the launch of one of our nonprofit partnerships. Student loans cut across all industries but Summer is able to add substantial value to organizations whose employees can qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). Employees at (most) 501(c)(3) organizations can have the balance of their student loans forgiven by entering into PSLF and making 120 qualifying payments. After the first week of our partner launch, the engagement was tremendous and the feedback we received was: We’ve never seen engagement like this for a voluntary benefit!
What’s the last book you read?
I recently finished Bob Iger’s autobiography – The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company. Currently, I’m reading The Color of Money: Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap by Mehrsa Baradaran, which is eye-opening.
What’s your favorite 90’s hip-hop artist?
Where’s your go-to place to eat in NYC? And why is it the best?
I love the West Village. I lived on West 4th Street for 5 years. I have a number of great memories at Palma (on Cornelia Street) but my go-to place is Molly’s Cupcakes on Bleecker Street. Oatmeal Cookies are my favorite dessert and Molly’s are The Best.