The Forbes Fund and Duquesne University are located in Pittsburgh; however, it took a cross-country trip to make the connection.
The Forbes Fund, a supporting organization of the Pittsburgh Foundation, focuses on strengthening the management and policy-making capacity of the nonprofit sector. I came across the Forbes Fund on the Net Impact site before the conference, and we had the opportunity to get to know President Kate Dewey and Director of Innovation Garrett Cooper in San Jose. Kate and Garrett share the Net Impact common vision of impacting society through business practices. They are optimistic about what our generation will accomplish.
This encounter reminded me how valuable networks can be – including student, alumni and professional organizations. Our Net Impact chapter is excited about creating a productive new partnership. Kate and Garret will be joining us and leading an idea café at Net Impact meeting next semester!
Before Duquesne: Pete attended Ohio University where he majored in philosophy and political science. Pete’s most recent position was as an oceans system analyst at the Descartes Systems Group.
Why Duquesne: “The Duquesne MBA program offers a unique opportunity to explore a discipline increasingly sought out by employers, but the real draw for me were the consulting projects. The resumes of graduates don’t just look good, they’re substantive as well.”
Beyond Duquesne: Currently, Pete’s future plans are up in the air, but he would love an opportunity to apply sustainability concepts at a small or mid-size software company.
You have probably heard of NikeFuel and FitBit, the gamification devices that promote healthy living. Have you considered using gamification to promote sustainable behavior?
At the Net Impact conference, I attended a presentation by Ashok Kamal, co-founder and CEO of Bennu, a leader in green social media marketing. He talked about applications that work with cars like the Ford Fusion and Nissan Leaf to understand a car’s impact on the world. Other examples of gamification are hosted on intranets to help the company engage employees in sustainable choices.
Kamal thinks that sustainability should be encouraged through “fortune, fun and fame, not blame and shame.” This quote spoke to me, because I see call for regulations as blame and shame.
To learn more about Bennu, visit this website: http://www.bennuworld.com
Last week, two students and sustainability fellows, Jana DiSanti and Matt Lepri, attended Sustainable Pittsburgh’s Green Workplace Challenge’s (GWC) workshop titled “First Quarter Celebration, Engaging Employees – It’s Not Scary.” The event was hosted at the courthouse and highlighted the GWC’s leaders through an official unveiling of leader board updates.
Matt’s major takeaway was insight for engaging stakeholders as he moves forward with his fellowship duties based on what he heard during a presentation by Zach Ambrose, the sustainability specialist for Allegheny County. “Zach used an innovative social-media software tool to involve over 6,000 employees across 200 departments in collaborative sustainability efforts,” Matt reported.
Jana is coordinating a sustainability project for freshman in Duquesne’s signature “Gateway to Business” course. “It was really enlightening having the opportunity to learn how diverse organizations of different scales are striving to use sustainability to serve their businesses’ specific needs,” Jana reflected. “In our MBA Sustainability courses, the case studies presented are often outstanding instances of clear success in leveraging sustainability, which are certainly very educational in their own way. However, I believe that there is at least as much to learn from observing organizations whose sustainability programs are not yet fully mature, as it gives us a chance to hear about the challenges, struggles, and failures, which must precede the later triumphs. As Duquesne embarks on its first competitive season in the GWC, we will definitely want to keep taking advantage of collaborative forums like this one”.
Matt and Jana are just two of many students in our cohort doing, creating, and learning from invaluable experiences that fellowships offer our students. Throughout the year, we will highlight more events and reflections from fellows.
Before Duquesne: Blair is originally from Warren, Pennsylvania; however, she spent the last 7 years in Denali National Park, AK. Blair served as the youth programs director at the Denali Education Center, a non-profit organization in Denali National Park. Blair is now on the board of directors, and explains that their mission is to foster an appreciation for Denali through informative and inspiring programs. Blair moved to Pittsburgh for this program, and worked as the outdoor adventure specialist at Shady Side Academy over the summer. Blair completed her undergraduate degree at Allegheny College, majoring in environmental science.
Why Duquesne: I was actively seeking an MBA program with a sustainability focus and liked Duquesne’s program because of the opportunities to work with local businesses, the global study trips, and the cohort model.
Beyond Duquesne: Upon completion of the program, Blair will most likely be seeking positions with foundations or other not-for-profits in the Pittsburgh area. She’s most interested in program management and grant administration, but she’s sure she will have a growing list of interests as the program continues.
Before Duquesne: Dave joins our cohort from Germantown, MD. Dave completed his undergraduate degree at Duquesne University majoring in psychology and philosophy. After receiving his undergraduate degree he worked as a mental health counselor for Mercy Behavioral Health. After one year, he decided to make a career shift. Dave began working as an eligibility screener for three years for NCO Financial at UPMC Shadyside Hospital.
Why Duquesne: “The concentration on sustainability, the fact that it’s a one year program and the overall focus on ethics.”
Beyond Duquesne: Currently, Dave’s interests lie in business ethics, supply chain and organizational behavior. His goal is to pursue a career in one of the fields after completion of this program.
2013-2014 Net Impact Leadership Team
Throughout my life, I have wanted to be in a high impact role where I could have a positive effect on individuals or society as a whole. Last weekend, I had the opportunity to attend the Net Impact conference in Silicon Valley. Net Impact is an organization focused on creating positive social and environmental change in the workplace and the world. This organization’s mission parallels my personal vision, and I am very thankful that our MBA program sent our Net Impact Chapter officers to this inspiring conference.
At the conference, over 3,000 students and professionals came together with a shared vision to act as change agents through business. Conference speakers were volunteers from prominent organizations, including: Starbucks, Sprint, SAP, AT&T, Johnson & Johnson, Timberland, TOMS, Nestle, Walt Disney, Best Buy, Target, etc. I found myself among companies that shared the values that I hold dear to my heart.
The conference affirmed that, through business, I will be able to impact society – whether through sustainable supply chain solutions, corporate citizenship initiatives, social entrepreneurship or as the corporate “intraprenuer” who promotes culture change. Regardless of career path, I plan to be a change agent just like the other attendees. It was exciting to find that I am not alone.