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Change lives. Change organizations. Change the world.

Center for
Social Innovation

Center for Social Innovation

Katherine Boas

An interview with Katherine Boas

Published: May 20, 2009

Donor, GSB Alum, Stanford Social Innovation Review Reader
What are your causes?

Microlending is in vogue these days, and though financial capital seems abundant, intellectual capital doesn’t flow as freely. Teaching the world’s poorest entrepreneurs the basic business skills they need to make better decisions with their loans makes us all better.

I’m also interested in access to education and information closer to home.

How do you contribute?

With the GSB’s support, a classmate and I created a tool, the Barefoot MBA, to give the world’s smallest business owners knowledge and concepts to empower them to make better business decisions and provide better lives for themselves, their families, and their communities. The lessons are taught through storytelling and don’t rely on reading or props, so they can be easily understood by anyone, anywhere--from adult literacy classes in the city next door to rural community centers in the developing world. It is a free, open-source tool, supported by us, available to all at

What are important lessons you learned?

Education means more than classrooms and textbooks, which are taken for granted in our lives but can be barriers to learning in others’. What makes someone want to learn is showing how what’s being taught will be immediately relevant to improving whatever that person values. Figuring out those values takes work, but hearing thanks and requests for more is the greatest appreciation I’ve ever received.