Hilltops
Hartwick College's Student Newspaper

The View From Oyaron Hill

Commencement Speaker Announced

02.21.18


Julia Marquis


Commencement: an important date in any graduate’s life where family and friends gather to watch students receive their degree. The Commencement ceremony consists of baccalaureate, and the awarding of degrees to students who are graduating Hartwick College. Of course, this is also the moment where students officially become alumni so Commencement weekend is not only packed full of events for graduating seniors, but a very exciting and nerve-wracking time in someone’s life as they begin their life-long journey.


Along with friends, family and Hartwick College staff, a guest speaker attends the ceremony each year to deliver the main address to students and faculty. For this year’s Commencement ceremony on May 19th, Dr. Nadya Zhexembayeva has accepted this role. Dr. Zhexembayeva is a Hartwick Alumni from the class of 2001 who is currently a business owner, educator, and author.


Dr. Zhexembayeva was born and raised Almaty, Kazakhstan. When she was in high school, she earned a Freedom Support Act scholarship that allowed her to attend Hartwick college, where she completed two Bachelor degrees—in one in management and on in psychology. Along with this she was named a Faculty Scholar and John Christopher Hartwick Scholar, the highest honor a student can receive from Hartwick College. Since her graduation, Nadya has gone on to earn her Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior from Case Western Reserve University in 2008.


Dr. Zhexembayeva has written two books and contributed to three more; each about business, strategy, and sustainability. She has also contributed to organizations and companies including Coca-Cola, ENRC PLC, IBM, CISCO, and Erste Bank among others. She works with them not only to help improve their products but their leadership practices as well, which is the goal of her own company.


Along with this, Dr. Zhexembayeva has also served as the Coca-Cola Chaired Professor of Sustainable Development at IEDC Bled School of Management. Dr. Zhexembayeva is also a public speaker, sharing her insight with countries around the world. She’s delivered three TEDx talks, in Slovenia, the United States and Austria respectively.


Along with everything else she has accomplished, Dr. Zhexembayeva co-founded WE EXIST Reinvention Agency which is a company that is contracted by other companies—whether it be companies as large as Coca-Cola or smaller companies that are just starting out—to help reinvent themselves, their products, and their leadership skills by using opportunities presented to a company to their advantage.

Dr. Nadya Zhexembayeva has accomplished many things in her lifetime, putting her vast knowledge to use and still continues to share her insight and knowledge with the world. We are very pleased to welcome her back to Hartwick College as the 2018 Commencement ceremony speaker.