Hurricane Hotshots

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” -John Quincy Adams, Sixth President of the United States of America

Phillip McAllister

Grad year: 2004
Major: Computer science
Current employer: Instagram
Job title: Engineering Manager
Location: New York, NY


What’s on your reading list right now?
Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman and Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki

Who are your “mustfollows” on social media?
@dogsofinstagram can generally bring a smile to anyone’s face.

Describe one of your best memories from your time at TU.

My favorite times at TU were the late night programming sessions in our research lab where everyone was furiously trying to complete their respective projects. It was a unique environment that mirrored many of my favorite professional experiences of collaboration, teamwork and fun.

Explain the leadership roles you hold in professional and/or community settings and why these responsibilities are important to you.

Professionally, I lead Instagram’s Client group which is responsible for the performance and quality of the Instagram app, which over 600 million people use each month. Our group also is largely responsible for on-boarding and training every mobile engineer who works at Instagram. We are a team of a little over 20 right now, and support the 100+ mobile engineers who work in the Instagram codebase. I am also helping to build out the Instagram office and presence in New York City.

What leadership qualities did you develop/gain as a TU student?

TU challenged me to think about participation in the world beyond Tulsa. I grew up in Tulsa and am still quite fond of it, but the experiences at TU encouraged me to move to D.C. to be a part of making an impact on a larger community while still retaining professional and personal values that were instilled in me from a uniquely Tulsa experience.

What advice would you give current students on applying their TU experience in professional and/or civic leadership opportunities?

Whatever it is, just go for it! TU provided you a world-class education, so put it to use and stretch yourself!

What are your short-term and long-term goals, professionally or personally?

Short term, I want to see Instagram’s continued success both as a product and a newer technology company in New York. Long term, I am interested in helping to support more diversity in computer science and raising awareness that computer programming is a skill most everyone should develop as part of our changing economy.

Describe your leadership style.

Help people discover what they do best. Help people be able to do that thing every day.

What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken, personally or professionally?

I quit my comfortable government job, drove across the country and started working for a company I found on Craigslist. It was another 7 years of rollercoaster startup experiences, but eventually that gave me the experience and judgement I needed to land at a place like Instagram.

How do you stay motivated?

Curiosity! Life is super interesting, and if you tap into your curiosity, you naturally wake up every day wanting to do something new, ambitious and exciting.

What historical figure inspires you and why?

Both Warren Buffett & Bill Gates are pretty inspiring figures in recent history. They pursued their professional passions to the highest level of success, enjoyed life and yet have committed to giving most all of their wealth back for the greater good of society.

Imagine you’ve been selected to give the TU commencement address. What’s your closing line to graduates?

Steve Jobs gave an amazing interview in 1994 that has a quote that I think could be read to end any commencement address:
“When you grow up you tend to get told that the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family life, have fun, save a little money. That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it … Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.”

Eric Marshall

Grad year: 2004
Major: International Business and German Language
Current employer: Marshall Brewing Company
Job title: Founder/ Brewmaster/ CEO
Location: Tulsa, OK


What’s on your reading list right now?

PinkaliciousLlama Llama I Love YouLittle Blue Truck, and DADA. Good thing my kids have the same taste in books I do!

Who are your “mustfollows” on social media?

Marshall Brewing, Elgin Park Brewery, Horton Records, National Geographic, Tulsa Football.

Describe one of your best memories from your time at TU.

Studying in Siegen, Germany, the spring and summer of my junior year. The cultural experiences and relationships I developed are some of the most important in my life and led me down the path I am on today. I also gained a true appreciation for good, fresh, local beer and an even greater appreciation for the culture of beer and the sense of community it fosters.

Explain the leadership roles you hold in professional and/or community settings and why these responsibilities are important to you.

I serve on the boards of Tulsa Global Alliance, Kendall Whittier Main Street Association, Kitchen 66, the Oklahoma Restaurant Association and the Craft Brewer’s Association of Oklahoma — all organizations I am passionate about. Being involved in two industry-focused organizations has given me the opportunity to educate legislators and advocate for responsible change that will positively affect our industry and the quality of life in Oklahoma.

What leadership qualities did you develop/gain as a TU student?

My study abroad experience gave me confidence in the unknown and the ability to approach new situations opportunistically. The learning and campus leadership experiences I had through Sigma Chi were also valuable.

What advice would you give current students on applying their TU experience in professional and/or civic leadership opportunities?

I would encourage students to take advantage of study abroad opportunities. It is a relatively inexpensive way to see the world that also takes you outside of your comfort zone.

What are your short-term and long-term goals, professionally or personally?

My short- and long-term professional goals have been the same since we started: I want to make high-quality beers, create an environment where my employees love what they do, be a good partner in the community, and I want people to be proud of what we do and to take ownership in our products. Personally, I want to be the best dad and husband I can be.

Describe your leadership style.

I have a relaxed style of leadership. It’s important to allow people the freedom to use their temperaments and talents to better the whole, and to make mistakes and learn from them. I’m a fan of giving people the proper tools and knowledge to do their job without micromanaging. I also have an open door policy with my employees.

What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken, personally or professionally?

Definitely starting a brewery in Oklahoma! At the time, there were only our friends at Choc Brewing in operation and a lot of hurdles and red tape. Tulsa had not had a production brewery since the early 1940s and never a “strong beer” brewery, so in a lot of ways, we had to blaze our own trail. I also started a business, bought a house, and got married all in the span of six months.

How do you stay motivated?

It is easy to stay motivated when you have great people on your team!  Also, a good work/life balance is key.

What historical figure inspires you and why?

Ken Grossman, who founded Sierra Nevada Brewing Company and is a pioneer of the American craft brewing movement. He started a small brewery with old wine and dairy equipment before it was cool to do so, and in the process, started a revolution. He and his team are constantly innovating and educating fellow craft brewers, making the craft community stronger and better.

Imagine you’ve been selected to give the TU commencement address. What’s your closing line to graduates?

If there is something you are passionate about and want to pursue, take the opportunity in front of you. If that opportunity does not exist, go out and create it.

Tina Tran Neville

Describe one of your best memories from your time at TU.

Professor Steve Steib’s mentoring moments. Whether it was pushing me to pursue research interests with the Tulsa Undergraduate Research Challenge (TURC) program or providing additional reading materials in his economics or environmental policy classes, Steve made time to mentor his students. His support during such a pivotal time in my life is what inspires me as well to make time to support the development of the young women and men with whom I work.

Explain the leadership roles you hold in professional and/or community settings and why these responsibilities are important to you.

I have always tried to expose myself and others to the wider world. When I was at Washington Latin Public Charter School and my students were learning about ancient history, I organized a Greek festival at the school with the Greek Embassy in Washington, D.C. When I was at the National Cathedral School, I organized a service and study trip to an orphanage in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, so that my geography students could experience the real-world application of what they were studying in their textbooks. Even after I left the school, the service and study trip continues to impact the lives of more students.

What leadership qualities did you develop/gain as a TU student?

Diversity of perspectives from being in leadership positions in Student Government, the Women’s Rowing Team, Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority, Vietnamese Student Association and other organizations. This array of experiences set the foundation for a career in international relations, when engaging with foreign communities; and in education, when working to empower the lives of young people with diverse backgrounds.

What advice would you give current students on applying their TU experience in professional and/or civic leadership opportunities?

Carpe Diem.

What are your short-term and long-term goals, professionally or personally?

Personally, I hope to be a great mother, wife, sister and daughter. My family is so very important to me. I try to “stop and smell the roses” in the everyday moments of life. Currently, my two-year-old is learning to speak in full sentences. He is also developing his own sense of humor by already mimicking and mocking mommy and daddy! I do not want to miss those special moments. Professionally, I hope to continue to contribute to the world in my many areas of interest in international affairs, economics, environmental policy and education regardless of the professional form – whether as a U.S. foreign service officer, educator, entrepreneur or public servant.

Describe your leadership style.

I try to lead, empower and guide the pursuit of others gently. Individually, we can make small impacts. Collectively, we can make large-scale impacts that affect the lives of others and the world.

What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken, personally or professionally?

Leaving the U.S. Foreign Service and starting my own education company. The professional leap from a coveted, stable professional career to a more risky entrepreneurial endeavor cultivated confidence, determination, management and operational skills. Now in my current work for the Lieutenant Governor’s Office in Washington state, I am able to make use of large scale, long-term strategic thinking with immediate, detailed operational planning to manage people and programs to further economic development and international affairs goals.

How do you stay motivated?

It is easy to stay motivated when you have great people on your team!  Also, a good work/life balance is key.

What historical figure inspires you and why?

Morning workouts. Starbucks cappuccinos. And a healthy dose of banter and laughter with friends and family. I also really like to-do lists.

Imagine you’ve been selected to give the TU commencement address. What’s your closing line to graduates?

Mother Teresa: She is an inspirational figure who exemplified a life of service.

Daniel Wilson

Explain the leadership roles you hold in professional and/or community settings and why these responsibilities are important to you.

I am a speaker at libraries, schools and STEM/FIRST events.

What leadership qualities did you develop/gain as a TU student?

During my time at The University of Tulsa, I had the opportunity to serve as a resident assistant in John Mabee Hall. At any given moment, I could be negotiating, de-escalating, or just joining in the fun with athletes, scientists, and business students from all around the world and all walks of life. The ability to bravely walk up and knock on a door and then reach a solution with whoever answers has served me well my whole life.

What advice would you give current students on applying their TU experience in professional and/or civic leadership opportunities?

My advice would be to let the people around you make you better than you are. In other words, identify the positive attributes you see in others and incorporate them into your own philosophy of life. In a great environment like TU — surrounded by great people — there are a lot of opportunities to learn and improve.

What are your short-term and long-term goals, professionally or personally?

My goal is to continue honing my skills as a writer right up until I kick the bucket or a robot takes over the job. I love telling stories in every medium, whether it be novels, screenplays, comic books, short stories, video games, or most recently, cinematic virtual reality. And as a native Oklahoman and a Cherokee citizen, it’s an honor to publish work that represents a unique mindset and upbringing. My next book, The Clockwork Dynasty, will be released on August 1, 2017. Follow me on Twitter @danielwilsonPDX or visit danielhwilson.com.

What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken, personally or professionally?

After finishing more than 10 years of school to earn degrees in computer science and robotics, I decided to write science fiction instead of getting a “real” job. It was a calculated risk in that I knew I could try to hit the job market if my books sputtered. But after a few years, I realized that I was really committed—there was no going back. Living project to project is a little bit terrifying, but it’s exhilarating too. I never know what I’ll be working on next week!

Chris O'Hare

Nick Doctor

Katie Irish

Christopher Lastrapes

Amanda R. Aragon

Sarah Hummel Brown

Katie Rain Hill