Investing in Our Future

Ramping Up

Alumnus increases giving as part of the Haas Foundation for Excellence campaign

Angelos Kottas, MBA 08

Angelos Kottas, MBA 08

Several years after earning a bachelor’s degree in computer science and working in venture capital with startups, Angelos Kottas, MBA 08, was ready for a career change. He wanted to stay in tech but move to a product role in a large company that allowed him to manage people.

So he entered the Evening & Weekend Berkeley MBA Program.

“Haas got me through a career transition,” says Kottas, “Before Haas, I was always an individual contributor. After Haas, I began to nurture talent, work with mentors, and manage people. The concepts I learned weren’t abstract— I could see them impact my career.”

Kottas began with product marketing and product management roles at Symantec and VMware and now works as senior director of product marketing at cloud-computing and CRM company Salesforce.

In appreciation of his career-changing experience at Haas, Kottas has consistently given back to the school every year since he graduated and, most recently, committed to donate $15,000 over three years to Haas’ new Foundation for Excellence (FFE) campaign, which seeks to boost leadership-level unrestricted giving to the Haas Fund. But that’s only part of the reason for Kottas’ philanthropy.

“As I’ve succeeded in my own life, I’ve been able to ramp up my support,” says Kottas. “I give back because Haas has played such an important role in my own career and personal life, but also, as state and federal funds for education become scarcer, it becomes more important to support institutions like Haas.”

At a breakfast with Dean Rich Lyons this spring, Kottas was even more inspired to donate as he learned about new initiatives at Haas: the Management, Entrepreneurship, & Technology Program, a collaboration with the College of Engineering that will allow top undergrads to graduate with degrees in both business and engineering, and the enrollment expansion planned once the new North Academic Building opens in the spring.

Kottas’ desire to go beyond himself and give back to Haas aligns with Salesforce’s philosophy that the business of business is to make the world better, making it easier for him to grow his philanthropy.

Salesforce commits 1 percent of the company’s technology, people, and resources to improve communities around the world and encourages employees to also adopt the same model for their own charitable works. To this end, Salesforce offers seven days of annual paid time off for employees to take on volunteer work.

To encourage employee giving, Salesforce, which normally matches employee donations up to $2,500 in a year, will instead match donations up to $5,000 if the employee also fulfills seven days of volunteer service (1 percent of their time). To get the full match for Haas, Kottas plans to fulfill his seven-day service commitment by volunteering at the school.

“Salesforce really is supportive of volunteer activity,” says Kottas. “It’s an enormous gift to be able to give 56 hours of volunteer time every year.” —Mike Rosen

[Back to top]