Members from across campuses in the Net Impact community met to explore the wonderment and knowledge inside the Carnegie Science Center. The 21+ Night was the stage for a meeting of minds, and some fun, as members of Duquesne, Chatham, and Carnegie Mellon Net Impact chapters came together to network. The night included exciting conversations, interesting exhibits, and enjoyable times in the interactive kid’s area. It was a great evening of meeting new people who had the same drive and motivation to make the change that they want to see in the world.
Despite the snow covered morning, over 500 attendees joined together at the David L. Lawrence Convention center to learn and share ideas surrounding sustainable innovations at Sustainable Pittsburgh’s Sustainability EXPOsed. Duquesne University and the MBA Sustainability program served as a platinum sponsor for the event, which allowed our cohort to present posters featuring research throughout breaks in the day. Poster topics ranged from utilizing gamification principles for engagement to transforming waste into profit.
The agenda included TED-talk style presentations followed by break out salon conversations that allowed for intimate discussions with presenters. The presenters included local innovators John Buckley, managing director of Corporate Social Responsibility at BNY Mellon; Candi Castleberry-Singleton, chief inclusion and diversity officer at UPMC; and Donald Carter, director of the Remaking Cityies Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. Other presenters traveled from around the country including Projjal Dutta, director of sustainability initiatives at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority New York; and Jerry Tinianow, chief sustainability officer at the Officer of the Mayer Michael B. Hancock City and County of Denver. Various other organizations were represented as exhibitors, and we were able to network with them throughout the day.
Paul Hawken closed out the day as our keynote speaker. He is an environmentalist, entrepreneur, journalist and author. He has played a significant role in changing the relationship between business and the environment through leadership as sustainability thought leader. One classmate, Nick, reflected that Hawken’s “optimism is refreshing and enlightening. He reframes pertinent issues in a way that encourages his audience to embrace the challenges they face presently and in the future”.
I hate to admit that often, as students, we are so caught up in our classes and education that we forget about the world outside the walls of Duquesne. Sustainability EXPOsed allowed us to see the professionals in the region that are interred in the same problems and innovative sustainable solutions that we focus on in the classroom. Personally, I left feeling energized after meeting so many professionals that are passionate about the same topics that I value.
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!
Recently, the local alumni and our cohort had a networking event at the Red Ring campus restaurant. While our program has alumni across the world, we still have a lot of local alumni, which became evident to me after seeing the turnout at the event. This networking opportunity allowed us to take a glimpse into our future – and it is bright.
Personally, I was able to talk with Maureen Coyle, operations director at Venture Outdoors. While at Duquesne Maureen was also the graduate assistant that created the blog, Facebook, and Twitter for our program. I enjoyed being able to pick the brain of the person whose footsteps I am following.
My classmate Dave spoke with two other graduates, Erin Clymer and Dana McTighe. Erin works in talent development at PNC, and hired Dana as a project manager upon graduation. For Dave, this story reinforced the value of networking with program alumni.
Another classmate Blair connected with Ashley Jones, organizational efficiency specialist at NORESCO. Ashley and Blair connected on their passion for the Net Impact organization. Ashley started the Pittsburgh Net Impact chapter, and Blair is the current president of Duquesne’s Net Impact Chapter. Do I foresee another networking event between Net Impact chapters?
In attendance, there were also alumni from Fisher Scientific, FedEx, BNY Mellon, and other Pittsburgh-based businesses. It is motivating to see the impact that our alumni are having in a variety of professions. To get to our own bright future, each of us has a lot of challenging, but exciting work over the next year