The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

A Lively Conversation with Endgame CEO Nate Fick ’99

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Nate Fick, CEO of the computer software security firm, Endgame, operating partner of Bessemer Venture Partners, a Dartmouth ’99, and a member of the Dartmouth Board of Trustees.

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During the event, students heard Mr. Fick’s advice on leadership and navigating a successful career.

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The Rockefeller Center hosted a conversation with Nate Fick, the CEO of top computer software security firm, Endgame, operating partner of Bessemer Venture Partners, a Dartmouth ’99, and a member of the Dartmouth Board of Trustees. While at Dartmouth, Mr. Fick majored in Classics. He then went on to join the U.S. Marines, where he rose to become a member of the elite Marine Corps Force Reconnaissance team. After earning an MPA and MBA at the Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Business School, Mr. Fick was tapped by Michele Flournoy to run the Center for a New American Security before joining Endgame.

During the event, students heard Mr. Fick’s advice on leadership and navigating a successful career. He shared his key takeaways from the three main phases of his career: the military world, the non-profit world, and the for-profit or corporate world.

As for his time as a Marine Corps officer, Mr. Fick described his tenure with a simple axiom: officers eat last. He learned to lead by example and to never expect from his men something he would not demand of himself. In the non-profit sector, Mr. Fick ran a think-tank on a limited budget. Keeping the team fully motivated required a mission-driven approach. As the CEO of Endgame, on the other hand, with financial incentives at his disposal, Mr. Fick learned to deploy them where necessary.

The event concluded with an interactive case-study on leadership from Mr. Fick’s time in Iraq as a Marine. Students in attendance were asked to make a choice—continue with a time-sensitive mission or break to help a severely injured young girl encountered on the way—and to then explain their thought process.

The room was near evenly-divided. Some argued for pursuit of the mission at all costs, while others were more empathetic to the young girl’s suffering. At the end of the case, Mr. Fick revealed that he made the decision to stop, but only for one hour, and help the girl as much as possible before continuing on. Because of this decision, the mission went uncompleted by Mr. Fick and his team, but the girl was helped immensely.

Taylor Mauney, a Dartmouth ’20 and member of the Marine Corps himself, stressed the following takeaway: “The important thing is to make a decision and to not succumb to the consequences of indecisiveness,” a lesson applicable not just in the military, but also to the civilian workplace.

Submitted by Lexi Curnin '19.

 

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