Employee Spotlight: Jonathan Harb

Jonathan Harb

Jonathan Harb, a manager at ScottMadden, joined the firm in 2014. With previous IT experience in the oil and gas industry, Jonathan works across both of ScottMadden’s practice areas—corporate & shared services and energy—and is a member of the supply chain and strategy & services communities of practice. He is the lead and founder of the &Cookies program, which offers employees a fun opportunity to gather and discuss professional development topics. These conversations are centered around TED Talks and are always paired with a sweet treat! Jonathan holds a B.S. in computer engineering and an M.B.A. from LSU.

Playing the Game

Born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Jonathan spent his childhood surrounded by family. His home was a melting pot of diverse cultures and flavors—from the Cajun spice of Baton Rouge, to the Middle Eastern traditions of his Lebanese and Palestinian parents, to an even broader array across his extended family. Holidays were boisterous occasions resembling international potlucks and featuring energetic board game competitions. Through these gatherings, Jonathan witnessed passionate, driven people, put family above all—an ideal that keeps his family well connected, even today—and developed his love for board games—a shared interest which unites his family on multiple occasions each year.

Despite his growing collection of board games, including personal favorite Terraforming Mars, Jonathan hopes to one day design and publish a board game of his own. His ideal game will require strategy and player interaction, while offering high variability. More challenging than one would expect, publishing a board game requires a well-developed network and an excellent idea. To broaden his reach, Jonathan attends conventions; and while the details remain top secret, he has several games under development.

Finding the Beat

While attending college at LSU, Jonathan auditioned for an improv competition with his cousin. Enveloped by the improv community, the two joined a troupe called The Family Dinner. Jonathan honed his skills through on-stage learning and judged his progress through the growing laughs of the audience. Following two years in the tech industry, Jonathan returned to his alma mater for an M.B.A. As Jonathan’s advancing career carried him to Washington D.C., he said goodbye to The Family Dinner and joined a new improv community. Jonathan found that improv, much like consulting, was a constant exercise in active listening and teamwork; and after nearly five years within oil and gas, he pivoted to Atlanta in search of a consulting position.

While Jonathan enjoyed the technical acumen and subject matter expertise required of his previous job, he sought an ever-changing, relationship-driven work environment, where he still could capitalize on his analytical abilities and energy knowledge. He connected with ScottMadden while attending The National Black M.B.A. conference and joined the firm shortly after. As Jonathan settled into Atlanta, he turned yet again to the local improv scene. With a love for musical games and rhyming, he created his own troupe, Hip-Hop Harold. The group combines a classic improv format (The Harold) with free-style rapping. Based on an opening suggestion from the audience, the troupe establishes a beat and explores the suggestion through three independent scenes. Anytime “kick it” is yelled, the group drops a beat and bursts into a rap. Jonathan and his Hip-Hop Harold counterparts have performed this high-energy act at many improv festivals and competitions, even winning a few victories along the way!

Changing Scenes

In April, Jonathan relocated to Louisville, Kentucky, in support of his fiancé’s new job with Maker’s Mark. He is taking full advantage of his extra time at home, brainstorming new board game ideas and reading epic fantasy and mystery novels. He and Rachel also enjoy the company of their two cats, Wonka and Moon. Post-quarantine, Jonathan is looking forward to exploring the Louisville food scene and leveraging Rachel’s bourbon knowledge. While adjusting to quarantine life in a new city can be challenging, Jonathan is more than equipped to improvise, and there’s no doubt he will be back on stage and hosting game nights again very soon!

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