What do Jeff Bezos and I have in common?

In undergrad I took a class about how to make compelling powerpoint presentations. It was 2007 and people were losing their minds over making the best, most media packed, over the top presentations, to get an A.

I feel like that was the start of my arranged marriage to powerpoint for the rest of my academic and professional life. In Bschool, after you got through the Core and away from excel, you were thrown back into powerpoint presentations, searching the web for .png files to make the perfect mock up of your point. I took immense professional pride in working on the Upfronts deck at NBCU, and at Telemundo I spent 2 weeks storyboarding a post mortem for the marketing done around The World Cup coverage. A few years ago I was making 4 decks a week, and in my role at BET+, I made an 86 page brand deck, that I’m incredibly proud of, but man was it an inefficient way to explain anything.

So what does all of this have to do with what Jeff and I have in common? Well Jeff Bezos hates Powerpoint!

Here’s an email from 2004 where Bezos talks about how much he can’t stand Powerpoint:

Narrative structure

A few years ago, Brad Porter, Amazon’s VP of Robotics, quoted Bezos on this:

“The traditional kind of corporate meeting starts with a presentation. Somebody gets up in front of the room and presents with a PowerPoint presentation, some type of slide show. In our view you get very little information, you get bullet points. This is easy for the presenter, but difficult for the audience. And so instead, all of our meetings are structured around a six-page narrative memo … If you have a traditional PPT presentation, executives interrupt. If you read the whole six-page memo, on page 2 you have a question but on page 4 that question is answered.”


On Easter Vacation last year I came across “Working Backwards” by Colin Bryar and Bill Carr, both former Amazon execs.

As someone who worships at the alter of operational excellence I was super into the idea of eliminating Powerpoint for a more efficient method, and wanted an excuse to implement the idea.

Bryar and Carr explain in the book that powerpoint lacks nuance, but narrative documents are portable and scalable. They allow for nonlinear and interconnected arguments. They’re better for decision making, you’re able to write while anticipating objection, you can connect the dots for the reader, and a narrative is more interactive.

Amazon meetings allegedly start with 20 minutes of silence while everyone reads, and then they can get down to brass tacks. Every narrative doesn’t have to be 6 pages, but they cannot be more than 6 pages. And your ability to craft a narrative can be a make or break for your success at the company. You are ultimately writing 1 page for every 10 minutes of a meeting/presentation.

A few months ago when I was speaking with a mentor he was encouraging me to make a walking deck, to prepare all senior and executive leadership for my 2022 vision by presenting a powerpoint of what I was thinking for the year ahead. It hit me after we hung up, that there was no way that I could present to every single person I needed to, and that my little neurodivergent brain would get exhausted with my own road show. So this year I figured was the perfect time to try my hand at the Amazon memo technique.

I’m proud to say that after 6 pages, size 10.5 font I was able to express some ambitious goals and strategic priorities in that document. And as a writer, I found it to be a more fulfilling exercise, it took the mental load off from presenting, and it’s allowed me to have some really in depth convos with internal stakeholders once it was sent around.

Now I won’t be sharing my document, but I did find another blogger, who not only explains the 6-pager but also shares his own 6-pager from his time at Amazon. You can find it HERE. Seriously, hit that link if you want to try your hand at a new technique for presentations and meetings.

I don’t think I’ll be able to eliminate powerpoint forever, but when it comes to presenting more strategic initiatives I can’t wait to dive into more Amazon memos.

Now if you’ve made it this far and you neither want to read a book or a blog post, enjoy some YouTube videos…

What I Wore In A Week…on the wrong day

First off, pardon WIW coming to you on a Monday…I had finals and midterms all last week and the idea of blogging and posting seemed painful to deal with.

So you are getting this post several days late, but at least you are getting it…so let’s get some clothes…

You can tell these outfits where during finals and review sessions…because everything is varying degrees of comfort. My rule when dealing with review weeks and tests is if I can’t comfortable cross my legs and sit on the floor in it, than I will spend my whole test/review fidgeting with what I have on.

The flannel/camo combo was inspired by a suggestion I got on my Stitch Fix account. By the way Stitch Fix is amazing (that’s where I got my awesome new jeans from!), and no they aren’t paying me to tell you that they’re amazing.  If you want to check the site out, follow this link. That same day I had to take the club photo for the Black Business Students Association.  I wore a gorgeous David Meister dress and Jimmy Choo heels, however I wasn’t feeling particularly girly lugging my backpack while wearing it, so I changed out of it in under 30 seconds and never took a picture (maybe I’ll do a post of all the outfits I’ve worn and never talked about).

Hopefully something on here inspired you to add a little umph to your super casual wear…or maybe buy a beenie for bad hair days (they’re a lifesaver for bad hair days if you have a giant head).



What I Wore In A Week, A Trip To the Fun Home and the Breakfast At Estee Lauder

This week there are only 4 outfits because I was so excited to head home that I didn’t stop to take a photo of what I was wearing…but I’ll eventually restyle to outfit and post it. But moving forward, since we don’t have class on Fridays, you probably won’t be seeing 5 outfits anymore (because I go heavily athleisure on my off days).

I won’t lie to you, I was white knuckling to the end of the week, so I relied heavily on trying to make myself feel up to conquer the day by putting a wee bit more effort into my look. Also, I was lucky to have some fun moments this week to take my mind off of all the stress.

This was a heavy high/low mixing week. I felt a little like I needed to approach my clothes like costumes this particular week. I went to Fun Home Grandpa Chic in my plaid pants and sweater, since I knew the play was set in a funeral home. Also I had the opportunity to attend a sports/technology event, and since I refuse to wear a suit, the second outfit with the leather jacket was my take on a suit. I’m always pushing the boundaries of work wear and what is appropriate, I’m a habitual line stepper when it comes to appropriate attire.


If you are a broadway nerd like me I would recommend Fun Home because they are doing some interesting things in that play with staging, visuals, and music. I wasn’t in love with the entire experience, but I thought the unique ideas they tried were really fascinating.  Its innovative and interesting, and I would say you should see it if you can.


I’ll talk more about the Estee Lauder breakfast in a future post about recruiting and informationals, so hang tight on that.



Finding the Motivation

I’ve talked before about how overwhelming business school is, now let me tell you how motivating it can be.

Every day, when I’m exhausted, leaving home before the sun comes up and coming home after the sun goes down…I feel encouraged.  I’ve had lots of career meetings recently, and I get so excited after every one, because I know I’m closer to my dream career.

I think the best silver lining every day is that this journey has just begun, and already so many amazing opportunities and connections have come my way.

Every week I read the Hollywood Reporter and visualize my name among those pages.

What business school has given me again, the audacity to dream big and believe for even bigger.

This blog entry is short…but it was how I was feeling once I walked through the door of my apartment.

Now I have to read an accounting case, and do my best to understand what the heck they’re talking about.



Poets and Quants

I promised this weekend that I would post a new post daily…but I never promised what those posts would be.

Sorry to be so sneaky, but I’m in the middle of trying to figure out marginal costs for a hot dog stand, corporate finance, and watch the Emmys red carpet/swoon over gorgeous people in gorgeous dresses.

I had the pleasure of offering some of my insight for the MBA Admin process to Poets and Quants, and get a shoutout as a member of the Columbia Business School class of 2017.

First off I would like to point out that my Miss USA headshot gets more action now as an MBA than it did when I was actually competing.  Also, I’m still humbled and overwhelmed to have been mentioned among a class of such amazing peers. In all honesty, school is flying by (we’ve already had A Term midterms), but I’m loving every moment of learning new things and moving toward my goals.

Look at that Blue Steel...always and forever my favorite photo shoot. Thank you Carter Studios!
Look at that Blue Steel…always and forever my favorite photo shoot. Thank you Carter Studios!

I’m off to finish yet another assignment and cross my fingers that Taraji slays the carpet, and Gaga gives me all the life.



Legally Brown

From the moment I told my pageant sisters that I had “a completely brilliant plan,” I was going to an ivy league business school…I felt like Elle Woods! I even answered people that questioned my plan with, “what, like it’s hard?!?” (It was, but I we’ll save that for another time.)

Let’s be honest, my bschool app about competing at Miss USA was one step down from Elle’s Harvard admission video where she talked about soap operas and law jargon. And believe me when I say I fully embrace it.


Today is the official start of classes, and thankfully I’ve done the reading, so I won’t get totally owned like Elle on the first day. But I’m not afraid to welcome the strange badge of honor that I carry…I mean think about it, how many MUO titleholders have attended an ivy league business school.

I even had the pleasure recently of seeing my name on Fortune Magazine’s website, along side my title.


“Columbia Business School’s Mackenzie Green won the Miss District of Columbia USA in 2010.”

It’s crazy, amazing, and humbling to have my name included among so many amazing MBA candidates.  But my hope is, like Elle, I leave and amazing and glitter covered trail of excellence behind me when I graduate in 2017.

With today being the first day, I wanted to take a moment to celebrate the official start of being Legally Brown…now to find something pink to wear today to celebrate!



Feminism Flashback

I had a sneaking suspicion that today I would be exceptionally busy.

So as a precaution, I decided to throw back to a post from 2014 that still holds relevant as I head into business school orientation.

Hope you like it, and stay tuned for a NEW post Wednesday!

Now for a little lesson on “The F Word”…


As I embark in to the business/financial world I find the issue of appearance and what’s “appropriate” coming up with my peers and mentors…I remember my Riordan GMAT teacher says, “everyone dresses like they’re going to a funeral for recruiting events.”

I find it interesting that in order for a woman to be taken seriously she must dismiss their personal style in favor of being taken seriously.

My mom always taught me that feminism isn’t a linear scope, that the point of feminism is to give a woman the right to choose whatever she wants in life.  I think far to often feminists, judge other women in the scope of what we are comfortable with.  A feminist can be Dita Von Teese, Beyonce, Gloria Steinem, Jane Goodall, and Hilary Clinton.  Feminists walk across pageant stages, sit in the pages of magazines, work on construction sites, or can be stay at home moms.  Like in that movie “Mona Lisa Smiles,” when Julia Stiles’ character decides not to go to graduate school and instead wants to get married and have a family (hopefully I got the plot line right).  But she explains to Julia Roberts’ character that she is a feminist, and that means she has the right to choose whatever life path she wants, there is no right or wrong choice.

I came across two amazing articles a while back about White Privilege, Feminism, and Beyonce (I’m a woman of color and the issue of diverse feminist voices is another hot bed issue that rumbles around in my thoughts from time to time…and finding a way to incorporate Beyonce in to a current event post is a win all around) and recently an article in Elle Magazine called, “Why Can’t a Smart Woman Love Fashion,” piqued my interest.

I hope you take a moment to read both of these articles, and I would love to hear your thoughts on them.



Update: I was reminded after I published this that today is International Women’s’ Day…what a fitting post to mark the occasion! 

My Superhero Origin Story


This post was inspired by two things…I saw Fantastic Four yesterday (p.s. it wasn’t what the reviews made it out to be), and a classmate of mine from college.

The guy in the picture is my classmate King (that’s really his name, and it’s amazing). We worked on a group project together, and called me Superwoman. I can always count on King to remind me that I’m Superwoman, or to watch Orphan Black. He and his wife are two of the kindest people I’ve ever met, so this post goes out to you King.

Since I’m Superwoman, this post is my superhero origin story…an explanation of how I became the Type A, hardworking, overachieving, former jock turned beauty queen that I am now.  This is post was my business school essay for a particular Ivy, and I previously posted it on my last blog.  But two days out from beginning my next super adventure, it seemed only fitting that I shared this story again.

I remember the day vividly. I was six years old and attending my first end of the season banquet for the Kenwood Country Club swim team. I sat on the floor in front of the stage, while the parents and big kids occupied the tables scattered around the ballroom. My heart skipped a beat every time my coach picked up a trophy, announcing the winner. Girls High Point, 6 & Under High Point, Most Improved, the list continued to rattle on. I was one lone chocolate chip in a sea of vanilla ice cream.    I started to feel my little heart sink further with every name. Finally, I heard my name; it felt like I was floating, this was my moment. But, like the final scene from the movie Carrie, my award was a joke. The coach handed me an egg timer, my award, person with the busiest schedule. The coaching staff thought it would be funny to talk about how busy I’d been, juggling horseback riding, summer math emersion program, and swim team.

I watched as my dad leaned over to my mom, I’m guessing he said he was going to bring the car around, because when I looked back, after fixating on a carpet speck to keep from crying, I saw my mom. She mouthed the words “it’s okay”. When the award banquet ended and we stood at the front entrance waiting for my dad, I burst into tears. I have very nurturing parents, but in that moment my mom turned and said, “stop! Now you dry your tears,” she said through my sniffles, “don’t let them see you cry.” “If you don’t like the way they made you feel tonight, you can fix it. You can work and train, and your father and I will support you, but remember this feeling…and don’t ever let anyone make you feel like this, you shut them up with your success.”

The next year, I came back a beast. I set standards, crushed and silenced crowds with my times. I traveled the country and Australia, leaving a trail of heartbreak behind me, and competing every year at the Junior Olympics. I broke records that existed long before I, or my family would have even been allowed to set foot on some of those pool decks. I took my mother’s words to heart; I decided that no one would ever out work me. If I had to lose it would be only if I had done everything I could and left it all in the pool.

That night twenty years ago has stuck with me. Whenever I’m faced with what feels like an improbable task, I look at it as an “egg timer moment.”

In 2006, I was defined by my athletic prowess for more than a decade of my life before heading to college. My identity came from what I did in the pool. However, while juggling a learning disability and a double major my first year of college, I realized I could either major in swimming or focus on school. I walked away from the sport that defined and molded my character. I had a panic attack as I cleaned out my locker. I had to relearn and meet the new “MacKenzie.”

I took my passion and focus to University of Miami TV station. I had been a dominating force in the water; I figured it was only logical that on UMTV, I would be the next Robin Roberts. My first segment was an in-depth piece on then injured Pittsburg Steelers’ Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, and the perils of concussive injuries. To say I was a hot mess is an understatement. At the end of the segment, as the cameraman counted down, I signed off, and the red light atop the camera when blank. I felt the same pitiful, judgmental gazes I’d felt sitting on the floor at Kenwood. I walked back to my dorm and threw myself across my bed, drained and marinating on what the producer said, “not everyone is cut out to be on-air, and you might just be one of those people. Maybe you’d be better on radio.” My egg timer moment returned.

I was relentless, I was ready to silence the snide remarks and questioning glances towards the girl in a “boys’ club.” I became a repository of sports trivia; I filmed myself constantly refining my on camera appearance, and practiced incessantly reading stories out loud to my roommate. Next semester I nailed the audition but was assigned commentary segments, round table discussions and sideline segments instead of anchoring. I did not let that deter me; I was determined to be the best-prepared member of the team. I eventually sat behind the anchor desk for not one, but two shows. I was nominated for three SunCoast Emmys, and won two. I even had the distinct honor of being elected, by the Executive Board of UMTV, to manage the station. As manager, I was tasked to create and oversee content for eight UMTV shows. Additionally, I worked on the renewal of the station’s contract with Comcast South Florida. The same boys that mocked me, worked for me.

As my 20th birthday approached, I wondered how I would even begin to top what I’d done at such a young age. I wrote out a list of everything I wanted to do in my 20s, my bucket list. First, was a full marathon, I hadn’t run more than a mile during swim dry land training. I systematically broke down the task, found a training plan, all the while handing my daily tasks, and 5 months later crossed the finish line at the Walt Disney World Marathon.

Over the years, growing up with a mother, who was a former runway model, pictures of her gracing Parisian and Italian runways surrounded me. Ever year, we watched Beauty Pageants and I dreamt of gracing a stage – but I could barely walk in heels!

So my second bucket list item, I wanted my Cinderella moment. I decided to compete for Miss USA. I had no experience and didn’t know how to get started. I didn’t grow up a painted baby competing in the Toddlers and Tiaras pageant system. My time outside of school was spent either in swim practice, or mucking stalls and washing horses. Growing up my classmates complained I reeked of either chorine, or hay and horse manure. I researched and developed a spreadsheet of all the elements it would take to have my Eliza Doolittle transformation. I convinced a world-renowned pageant coach, she coached seven girls to Miss Universe titles, to take me on. I trained, practiced, and pushed myself to give my best effort. In seven months I transformed, I’m proud to say that on my first try I won the Miss District of Columbia title and headed to Miss USA in Las Vegas. There are a wealth of skills I learned that translate to the world of business, poise, confidence, professionalism in all situations. I honed my oral presentation skills, thinking quick under pressure, and adapting to all sorts of social situations. I’m a statistical anomaly, because parents are more likely to have a son play in the Super Bowl, than they are to have a daughter compete in Miss USA.

My father, Ernest Green, was part of the landmark group The Little Rock Nine, the nine black students that integrated Little Rock Central High School in 1957. My father was the lone senior and thus became the first African American to graduate from a segregated high school. I grew up looking at countless magazine articles, newspaper clips, and presidential letters. I sat through his Congressional Gold Medal ceremony, statue unveiling, the issuance by the US Mint of a silver dollar and US Postal Service commemorative stamps, in honor of the Nine.

“To whom so ever much is given, much is required,” is a motto I’ve heard repeatedly. I’ve been given a lot, and I expect a lot from myself in return. I have grown up with a man who left an indelible mark on the world, and that’s what I want to do. I’ve been given an incredible legacy, and I want to use it to give be a history maker, a game changer, and inspire generations to dream bigger.

I have faith in myself, and my abilities to step out and into the role of my full potential, and to follow my dream. I am not afraid of the challenge that lies ahead, but excited by the opportunity to grow and learn in a new environment. If given the opportunity to do so, I will not disappoint those who take a chance on me. I am a fast learner, hard worker, dedicated, and a team player. It is ultimately about potential and the ability to lead, that I believe is one of my qualifications. Above all, I am honest, poised, confident and focused.

Why me? Because there is no one better.

Why now? Because there is no better time.

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New Domain, New Home, Same Glitter Bomb

1689326_1409058896011726_938528847_nMy dream for Miss USA to MBA is to see it evolve along with me. I’ve had a desire to move the blog over to WordPress for a while.

For those that are just discovering the blog let me introduce myself.  My name is MacKenzie Green. I’m a former Miss DC USA (2010) and currently a Columbia Business School student. This blog originally started as my Miss USA blog, took on tons of different incarnations, and finally settled on what it is now. This blog is every bit of me, style, beauty, lifestyle, business school tips, and random thoughts.

If you want to see any previous posts, go to this link to see the former home of Miss USA to MBA.

I look forward to this journey at our new home, and I hope you enjoy this crazy right right along with me.