Of the many lessons the Honorable Carl E. Heastie took from his Baruch MBA program, the most influential may well have been one on management style. “I took a class that talked about types of leaders,” he describes, explaining that he recognized his personal style—“democratic leader, which is a consensus builder”—among those types. The categorization has proved apt: recently Heastie was elected speaker of the New York State Assembly, the first African American to hold the position.

One of the state’s youngest African American legislators, Heastie was elected assemblyman for the 83rd Assembly District in the Bronx in 2000. He has been an active member of the assembly, authoring its green taxicab bill and securing funds for his district in the areas of housing, education, afterschool programming, health and human services, job readiness, and computer training. Speaker Heastie is also the chairman of the Committee on Rules and, as speaker, represented the assembly in state budget negotiations for the fiscal year 2016 budget. It is a leadership role he takes seriously, given his appreciation of how government “affects every phase” of our lives.

Carl Heastie hosted Baruch students attending the SOMOS Conference in Albany in February 2015. The distinguished alumnus and his office have consistently supported Baruch students’ involvement in state policy conferences.

Prior to his election as speaker, Heastie was honored by Baruch as a Distinguished Alumnus in December 2014. At that time, Baruch College President Mitchel B. Wallerstein noted: “Assemblyman Carl E. Heastie has been a strong advocate for funding the Field Building at 17 Lex—the College’s historic hub and site of the Free Academy—helping garner the College $91 million in capital funding to date. The assemblyman and his office have also supported our students’ involvement in state policy conferences.”

Of the award, Heastie, who also holds an undergraduate degree in applied mathematics and statistics from Stony Brook University, said, “I am honored fairly often, but some honors mean a lot to me—especially this honor from Baruch College. Baruch taught me how to be a functioning human being in society and how to get things done.”

As Heastie works to get things done in his new leadership position, he’ll rely in part on the skills and knowledge from his MBA classes. In his role as budget negotiator, he employs a philosophy that bodes well both for those he represents and for his colleagues. “I like to build consensus,” he says. “I don’t think I am the only person I should listen to.”

—Eric Lugo (MA ’14)