It’s @jozjozjoz & @AndreaBelz at the Book Launch Party of Andrea’s new book! The McGraw-Hill 36 Hour Course: Product Development

I met Andrea Belz in 2006 when we were both getting our MBAs. We were only in one class together, but I can honestly say that she was one of my favorite people in the entire program. Not only is Andrea one of the smartest people I’ve ever met, but she’s also one of the kindest and most caring.

Aside from my friend and perennial business school teammate Ali– Ali & I had at least one class together every trimester and were always teammates– I didn’t know anyone in the class we were in. In a brief round of introductions, Andrea described herself as already having earned a B.S. in physics and a Ph.D. in physics from Caltech! (I guess she felt like slumming it with us M.B.A. students for a while!) Ali and I immediately looked at each other and decided we wanted Andrea on our team! Lucky for us, Andrea let us glom on to her to form a power trio!

Unfortunately, it was during this school session that my Dad suddenly had a stroke/brain aneurysm and passed away. I was a mess but was so grateful that Ali and Andrea were my teammates that session. I don’t really remember the class, the project or really anything from that class because that time in my life is now kind of a big blur, but I do remember feeling so much support and kindness from my two teammates. I don’t think I ever mentioned it online because I just disappeared from my blog for a while, but I missed 3 weeks of work– either being in the hospital or dealing with his memorial service or other affairs. (Anyone who knows me knows that I never take time off of work!) I’m not totally certain, but I probably missed at least 2 or 3 weeks of school, too– I will always remember the phone calls Andrea and I shared at this time– not necessarily for the content or the words (because my memory’s not THAT good!), but for the genuine compassion I felt from her. It was not an easy time in my life, but having her as a part of it made it a little easier to know that I didn’t have to worry about school so I could focus on my family.

I didn’t mean for this post to be about me, because it’s not! I guess I wanted to share the side of Andrea that I feel lucky to have had in a time of my life that I needed it the most. I look at the list of philanthropic activities and it doesn’t surprise for a second that a good portion of her business and time is dedicated to great causes.

It also doesn’t surprise me that she has written a book, not just on a topic that she knows a great deal about– Product Management– but more importantly, that she has written a book that is designed to help and inspire others build their businesses. I have only had the book in my hands for a few hours– long enough to flip through and skim a few sections– but I don’t need to read every chapter to know that it’s worth recommending to anyone who is interested in the subject. Every interaction I’ve had with Andrea has been insightful and inspirational– and I’m glad that her invaluable business advice is being shared with the world in this book.

I’m happy I was able to be a part of her book launch party and to be one of the first people to buy her book tonight. And of course, it is always great to see an old friend.

Her book: The McGraw-Hill 36-Hour Course Product Development
Her company:

Vroman’s Bookstore
Pasadena, CA

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