As summer draws to a close, and fall begins, I wanted to share lessons learned from my over 30 interviews with Acumen portfolio and administration staff as well as chapter heads, investee CEOs, for-profit VCs in the U.S., nonprofits and designers.
Last time I blogged about our work in Knowledge Management, so I wanted to share the takeaways from my qualitative research on the Post-Investment Management side. Our goal was to determine 'How might we facilitate the exchange of best practices and solutions to common challenges among our CEO Network?'
My summer in D.C. has been enriching, eye-opening and engaging. I learned about investing in good health systems, feeding the right nutrients to infants and got a glimpse into the politicized world of health policy and health reforms globally.
I came to the GSB with the goal of arming myself with the tools and skills needed to make a substantial impact on the way businesses interact with the environment. Given the vast potential for making positive environmental change within the agriculture sector, along with my foodie nature, I decided to spend my summer at Driscoll Strawberry Associates (Driscoll's) in its sustainability group.
After my internship with Acumen Fund, I flew to Beijing for my second SMIF internship at Teach for China, a rapidly growing NGO inspired by the Teach for America model. I learned many valuable lessons there that will stay with me as I build a career for social impact, particularly lessons on replicating a successful model from one context to a very different one.
It was about mid-summer when I received an email from Sandra Frank, the CEO of Tomorrow's Child, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the lives of newborns through education. It was a few weeks after I had learned that Ben Gordon, founder of the foundation (Ben Gordon New Life Foundation) had welcomed his firstborn child into the world.
I was already keenly aware of the education challenges in Detroit. I was aware of the numerous programs that aimed to address it in unique ways; however, I was not aware of how my spirit would react to hearing about them in person.
In a lunchtime talk at the Stanford Graduate School of Business this year, Bill Drayton asserted that empathy is the single most important skill necessary for changing the world. “Those who don’t master applied empathy will be marginalized,” he said, calling for a “revolution” to ensure empathy skills are taught in early childhood alongside reading and math.
As mentioned in my first blog post, my expectations from my SMIF internship experience were to explore more about nonprofits in the U.S. and to enhance my expertise on financial modeling tools. I am fortunate to see that my internship experience at Urban Logic has given more than I expected.
This summer, I was honored to join an incredible community of professionals known as Education Pioneers. Education Pioneers was founded with the mission of recruiting, training, connecting and inspiring a new generation of leaders dedicated to transforming the U.S. education system so that all children have access to a quality education.
What does it mean to be a sustainable business?
It's a question that we come across more and more, both in the for-profit and not-for-profit worlds. At La Cocina, the food startup incubator where I just wrapped up my summer internship, this question is central to the measurement of the success of the incubation process there.