Written by Emma Desilva.

Lila Adler is a former pole vaulter on the track and field team and a senior in Haas. She has not only been my roommate since freshman year, but a constant source of inspiration and sunshine in my life and I truly admire her ability to take every situation and make it a positive one. Lila recently interned with the advertising firm, Cramer-Krasselt, in her hometown of Chicago over the summer and now has her sights set on starting her own business. 

Why did you want to be a part of Haas?

When I first got to Cal, I was dead set on being a Nutritional Science major and then attending Med School. Once I took MCB C61, Brain, Mind, and Behavior, I realized I didn’t like the science world as much as I thought. Then I got to thinking, I really like marketing, talking to people, and learning how to sell things and all these things aligned with business. I then intended to double major in CogSci and graduate in five years, but a series of really unfortunate injuries led me to   medically retire on the team, so I then decided to forgo double majoring and apply for Haas. Within my essays for the application, a lot of what I talked about was how I wanted to do something centered around women in business. I’ve always considered myself a feminist and I think there is a huge underrepresentation of females in business. I come from a family of business people, yet all of those people are men, so I wanted to make a change there. 

What are you passionate about and why?

My competitive spirit from being a student athlete made me want to go into something riskier once I got into Haas, which led me to an interest in entrepreneurship. Last summer, you and I chose this study abroad program in Portugal, through the Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship, where I fell in love with the idea of bringing ideas to life and creating some good from that. 

I decided to take UGBA 195, Entrepreneurship, with Professor Kurt Beyer, and I absolutely fell in love with the class. I learned the concept of what an idea is and how you get to that idea by looking at trends and what our world will look like in 20 years. Then you look at bringing this into reality through discovering what kind of team you want to bring together, diving into the finances and accounting, and my favorite part, the advertising and marketing of the product. 

What is your 2020 vision?

My 2020 vision when I was an incoming freshman was to compete in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo as a pole vaulter for the United States. Now that I am unable to compete anymore, I don’t look at my injuries as bad things, I look at them instead as blessings in disguise. Now I get to really take action on the interests I have, especially being at Berkeley Haas where there are so many resources available and it’s a really inviting environment. But my current 2020 vision, now that I’m not going to the Olympics, will be to launch my own product, oatmeal, yogurt, and smoothie toppings, and for it to be on the shelves by the end of 2020. I know it’s kind of ambitious, but I think with enough grit, hard work, and focus, we could really make it happen. 

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