Sam Bond ’03
Courtesy Lyft

Sam Bond ’03 was moving into his junior year dorm in Brown Hall when he heard the first radio reports of an attack on the World Trade Center and later the Pentagon.

“I was part of a two-car group that had gotten a storage unit together and we were on the road back from the storage unit that morning listening to the news reports,” he remembers. “Two of us parked and walked over to the other car and said, ‘Are you hearing this?’”

Bond’s father, four-term U.S. Sen. Kit Bond ’60, was not in the Pentagon that day, but many friends and acquaintances “weren’t so lucky.”

“Certainly it changed my perspective,” says the younger Bond, who had been contemplating a career in business.

Bond decided instead to join the Marine Corps. After graduation, he headed to Quantico, Va., to enter the United States Marine Corps Officer Candidates School. There, he learned first to lead an infantry unit (the Marines take seriously their motto of “every Marine a rifleman”), then to lead a ground intelligence unit.

Aside from the opportunity to serve his country, the opportunity to lead was one of the career path’s compelling draws — how many jobs immediately ask fresh college graduates to take charge of teams of up to 40 people? Bond was asked to do that in war-torn Fallujah, Iraq, where he synthesized whatever information could be gathered for senior commanders. In his second tour, Bond was asked to rebuild a 40-man scout sniper platoon that had dwindled to four.

The tours ultimately prepared Bond for the career in business he had once contemplated before the Sept. 11 attacks. As a consultant at Bain & Co., Bond was once again synthesizing the “muddy picture” for senior command. As director of supply chain strategy at Coca-Cola, he was followed the maxim popular among Marines that is often attributed to Gen. George S. Patton: “A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan executed next week.”

Today, as head of ride-sharing app Lyft’s Atlanta office, Bond is building and leading a team. “Sometimes it feels like the platoon command I had, which was my favorite command,” Bond says of his work building the Atlanta office from the ground up, starting in December 2015.

Lyft Atlanta’s ride volume tripled last year under Bond’s leadership, according to a Lyft spokeswoman. Bond says he and his new team in Atlanta believe in their mission of making better use of a historically underutilized asset — personal automobiles — and of improving transportation in fast-growing cities.

“Services like Lyft are really going to be a transformational force for better delivering affordable, reliable transportation on a daily basis,” says Bond.

Perhaps more importantly, Bond has leaned on his network of friends and fellow Princeton alumni to find more balance in his life.

“One of the pieces of advice that I thought was really impactful was that you often need to optimize around life, not necessarily around career,” says Bond, who is looking forward to bringing his wife, son, and daughter to Princeton Reunions next year.