By Rachel Severin
Feb 13, 2013
Natasha Luppov (B.A. with Honors, U-M, 2008), former Captain of the Michigan Varsity Cross Country team, has plenty of experience thinking strategically. Natasha currently manages Commercial Operations strategy for Levi Strauss & Company in San Francisco, guiding decisions to drive profitable growth. “I’ve been fortunate for the opportunity to work in strategy for a variety of inspiring companies,” says Natasha. She began her career as a Business Analyst with McKinsey, working with Fortune 100 clients, as well as the Department of Education, on issues ranging from growth and innovation strategies to operational excellence. Despite an enriching two years with McKinsey, Natasha moved on to work in strategy for Nike. “Essentially, this was my dream job after competing for the Varsity Cross Country & Track teams in Nike products during my four years at Michigan,” says Natasha. “The Nike experience was nothing short of amazing, complete with the opportunity to lead a variety of strategic initiatives including work for the London Olympics, the Global Running business, and Nike’s new NFL partnership.” It was a difficult decision to leave Nike, but Natasha followed a life-long desire to live in San Francisco, and is delighted to be a member of the Levi’s team.
Natasha credits the LSA Honors Program with providing a collaborative environment where she could challenge her own beliefs. “The LSA Honors experience created an instant small-knit community at Michigan, fostered by inspiring and supportive professors, and a diverse group of talented students. I still remember how humbling it was every single day to be surrounded by classmates who were so smart and accomplished,” recalls Natasha. Her most memorable experience of that community was her 18-month thesis journey with a cohort of ten fellow Honors students. Her thesis is entitled, “An Investigation into Supreme Court Behavior Evidenced by Dissents from and Concurrences with the Denial of Certiorari.” Natasha adds, smiling, “I’ve long forgotten any stress and fondly remember the supportive and fun times with my cohort and faculty advisors, Mika LaVaque-Monty & Mary Gallagher, as well as my non-faculty advisor, Mark Kneisel of the Washtenaw County District Attorney's office.”
At the University of Michigan, Natasha pursued a range of interests, with a double major in Political Science & Russian Language and Literature, and a minor in Art History. In addition to being Captain and 4-year letter winner on the Cross Country and Track & Field teams, Natasha served as the NCAA student representative for the Student-Athlete Advisory Council, an editor for the Michigan Journal of Political Science (recognized by UNESCO as one of fifty top political science journals worldwide). Natasha was appointed Associate Chief Justice for the Central Student Judiciary – University of Michigan’s highest student court, adjudicating all manner of disputes that arise among members of the approximately 1,000 recognized student groups.
Natasha’s natural tendency toward curiosity and her love for learning continue to drive her professionally and personally. She constantly looks for opportunities where she is challenged and stretched beyond her comfort zone. In five years, Natasha hopes to be running her own business. “I’m constantly flirting with the idea of pursuing my entrepreneurial goals,” she adds. A lover of travel, she hopes to continue exploring different cultures and surroundings (up next: Brazil!). Still an avid competitive runner, Natasha’s current training goal is to qualify for the 2016 Marathon Olympic Trials.
A proud Wolverine and Ann Arbor native, Natasha encourages Honors students to explore the world beyond the classroom during their time at Michigan. “Ann Arbor is an incredible city that offers so many different opportunities, and ones that you’ll remember forever. Attend world-renowned concerts at Hill Auditorium, cheer on the countless number of nationally-ranked athletic teams, visit the many inspiring museums, go for a run in the Arboretum, you can never eat too many sandwiches at Zingerman’s, and don’t forget to frequent The Brown Jug!” Natasha’s indomitable enthusiasm and constant striving for improvement make her a positive force wherever she goes. The LSA Honors community looks forward to watching as Natasha Luppov continues to blaze her own trail.