Moses Altsech, Class of 2008
IB is celebrating 20 years of the 40 Under 40 in 2020, and will be catching up with past recipients to see what they’ve been up to since they were honored. This week features Moses Altsech, president, Altsech Consulting and Wisconsin School of Business.
What have you accomplished in your professional life/career since your 40 Under 40 selection?
Executive Training & Consulting was rebranded as Moses Altsech Consulting, with a new website and greatly expanded services including customer and employee engagement, win/loss and brand assessment research, training seminars on a wide variety of topics, strategic planning, executive coaching, and marketing consulting. Our number of clients grew considerably and has included organizations like Mars Wrigley, Organic Valley, Esker, Mead & Hunt, Navitus, TDS, Dun & Bradstreet, First Business, Summit, CUNA Mutual, M3, Quartz, the YMCA, and many others.
It’s rewarding to have had the opportunity to help many clients take on the pandemic head-on with great success. My academic career evolved as well when I was recruited by UW–Madison in 2015. I currently teach in the top 10-ranked marketing department at the Wisconsin School of Business, having finally become a Badger after years of being a Badger fan. I’ve also had the honor of serving on the Dane County Ethics Board, the Middleton Police Commission, the Board of Directors of the Rotary Club of Madison, and the Madison Rotary Foundation for several years.
What accomplishments, milestones, or endeavors have you attained in your personal life since your 40 Under 40 selection?
Having researched, written, and spoken about the Holocaust over many years and how its lessons apply to modern-day struggles for social justice, I had the fortune to meet and befriend the late Nobel Peace Prize winner and author Elie Wiesel, who was at Auschwitz at the same time as my grandfather.
In 2013, now-retired IB publisher Jody Glynn Patrick unexpectedly featured me in a column titled “Announcing the Moses Altsech Random Acts of Kindness Award,” about my efforts to help family, friends, and mentors struggling with the effects of the Greek financial crisis. Over the years, in addition to my own students, I’ve served as a mentor to several Rotary scholars who have truly inspired me with their resilience and positive attitude. All in all, I’ve had the good fortune to benefit from great teachers, friends, and mentors, and attempting to pay it forward is the least I can do.
If you were to “do it all over again,” what (if anything) would you do differently throughout your career?
Anyone who has no regrets has either not tried very many new things or hasn’t reflected all that much on their mistakes. If I had to do it all over again, I’d do plenty of things differently; I would have taken more chances, invested more in maintaining relationships that time took a toll on, apologized sooner for my mistakes, given more credit to others for my successes, and more. But it’s never too late to try new things, to apologize and make amends, to say thank you more often, and to continue to learn and grow. Although we can’t relive the past, we can always work toward a better future.
How did your 40 Under 40 selection help your career?
40 Under 40 was a great honor but also the beginning of a long association with IB, which is a critical networking hub for the business community in Madison. I’ve regularly attended IB Introductions, the IB Expo, 40 Under 40, Exec Connect, and other events where I’ve expanded my circle of contacts and met both well-established and up-and-coming professionals. Many of my former students are now business leaders in their own right and have been selected for 40 Under 40 over the years.
The newly established 40 Under 40 alumni networking events have been a great new addition to the mix, having created the potential to bring together all of us who share this common bond. Even during the pandemic, IB continues to be the glue that brings the business community together.
Finally, being selected for 40 Under 40 didn’t make me feel like “I have arrived” as much as it made me feel that I had the opportunity and the responsibility to stay involved, become even more engaged, and try to give something back. Gratitude can be a very motivating factor and I’m grateful for having been selected.
What is something that you have a new passion for since the time of your induction — either professionally or personally?
I love to learn and the more I explore, the more I discover new passions. I’ve fallen in love with 17th and 18th century cartography, dinosaur fossils, and the history of the First World War. I’ve studied and grown to admire new role models, like Winston Churchill and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I’ve acquired the new mindset that giving back doesn’t require a reason, just an opportunity. Best of all, I didn’t do any of this at the expense of my long-standing interests; I just added to them, and look forward to more.
Based on your experience, do you have any advice for today’s young professionals (under 40)?
I’ve been teaching for almost 30 years now and have been a consultant for over 25, and over that time I’ve seen that people have become less proactive about building relationships. I’m not referring to making new contacts, but getting to really know people and learning from their mistakes and their triumphs — not just professionally but also personally. Nowadays, getting personal seems to cross a newly defined line of propriety, but looking back, I learned more about life and about myself from my favorite professors and mentors than I learned about business. I’d tell young people to find people who inspire them and grab on to them with both hands; I’d tell them not to judge someone based on their professional success or their professional relevance, but based on their character and life wisdom. Be kind, be curious, and the rest will follow.
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