It is rare that one can attend a conference that not only helps you network, but is educational and entertaining. That was the case for the Net Impact Conference last week in San Jose, CA. I had been targeting that conference long before I began classes at Smith. I knew I wanted to cultivate a career centered on the values of sustainability, positive social impact and climate issues that Net Impact espouses and the conference was a great way to get involved.
The conference began on Thursday, the 24th with a series of workshops designed to help people develop networking skills, learn how to develop an impact career and other topics. Friday and Saturday both followed a schedule that began with a keynote speaker (or speakers) each morning followed by talks and panels every two hours until the evening. The great part was that each two-hour session provided attendees with well over ten different options for talks to listen to. These topics ranged from finance, to food sustainability, energy issues, personal development, business trends – it was difficult to not have to choose between two or three topics that interested you.
Friday also included a career fair. While it was not nearly as large as what many experienced at the Black MBA Conference, it did provide the benefit of small lines, companies entirely focused on social value creation and even large companies such as Sprint or Best Buy promoting their green brand and jobs related to it. I spent a lot of time at the career fair learning about the various companies and hearing about the impact they are having.
The highlight of the entire conference for me was the keynote talk we heard on Saturday morning. In front of well over 1000 people, a moderator led a discussion that featured Michael Brune, the Executive Director of the Sierra Club and Ken Cohen, the Vice President of Public & Government Affairs at Exxon Mobil Corporation. I don’t know how Net Impact convinced two people with such polar opposite views to talk in front of us; it was genuinely uncomfortable, entertaining and educational. From the outset, I was happy to hear the Exxon VP say that his company does believe that climate change is real. However, as soon as the Sierra Club director said that he felt the only thing he and Ken Cohen could agree on was the fact that they were both happy to be there, I knew it would be tense. Their terse discussion ranged from topics such as fracking, political donations and subsidies with the Sierra Club director on the offensive the entire time. By the end, it was clear that Ken Cohen was happy to be done and that Michael Brune still had punches to throw while the rest of us were left with mouths agape.
I am very happy that I was able to attend the Net Impact Conference. It was refreshing to be around so many people with similar passions while also being able to learn how I can advance my career in this growing field. Next year the conference will be in Minneapolis and I highly recommend it to everyone.
– Dan McCarron, 1st year board member
Seth Goldman, the CEO of Honest Tea, recently came to the Smith School of Business to relate to students some of the wisdom he’s gained over the years while building his organic, health minded company from the ground up. Seth, and his Honest Tea co-founder Barry Nalebuff, have just recently published their first book on what it is to be a socially responsible entrepreneur. The book is titled “Mission in a Bottle – The Honest Guide to Doing Business Differently – and Succeeding.” The book is written in the style of a graphic novel, which makes it very easy to approach and enjoyable to read.
During Seth’s presentation to University of Maryland students and faculty, it became abundantly clear that Honest Tea has had a huge amount of success – a great sign for those of us hoping that more of the world’s businesses focus on their social impact. Every entrepreneurial story is different, but each one is inspiring in its gritty details. Too often we hear such stories ending up badly for the original founders and their ideas, which is why it was so inspiring to hear Seth Goldman speak. Every entrepreneur wants what Seth Goldman has: a business they are passionate about with an impactful purpose that goes “big,” but on their own terms.
In case you were not aware, Seth’s Maryland-based company was recently acquired by the Coca-Cola Company. You might be tempted to drop your head in shame and mourn the loss of such a local gem like Honest Tea to the clutches of the global corporate world, but luckily Honest Tea’s founders were in a unique position when Coca-Cola came knocking. Since Honest Tea’s inception in 1997, Goldman and Nalebuff have managed to keep ownership control of the company and make sure that their purpose driven enterprise stayed true along the way. So when it came time to discuss taking the next step and scaling up the business, Honest Tea was able to utilize its unique product and social purpose to attract the investment of a global beverage company. Now Honest Tea, still true to its original purpose, is 40% owned by Coca-Cola and, as a result, is able to leverage Coca-Cola’s distribution and manufacturing power to its own advantage.
If you are not familiar with Honest Tea, here’s a brief rundown. Seth along with Barry Nalebuff, who was once Seth’s business school professor at Yale, started the company after noticing a pretty drastic product opening in the beverage market. At the time there were plenty of carbonated, overly sugary drinks available for purchase but nothing “normal,” and good for you. As Seth put it during his presentation to University of Maryland students and faculty, “I wanted something to drink that was similar to what I would make myself at home. I certainly never put four or five tablespoons of sugar in my tea when I make it at home.”
At Seth’s talk he described what it was like in the early days of the company, brewing tea at home to carry in thermoses to the local Whole Foods and drum up interest in the product. When he got his first order for 15,000 bottles but didn’t yet have any production facilities the company kicked into high gear and started producing… at Seth’s home with a somewhat make-shift bulk tea brewing device. To get his product out into the world, he had to interact with beverage distributors. He described interesting encounters with various distribution groups around the country, some of them involving more curse words than a scene from the Southpark movie. However, since then Seth has taken trips to organic tea farms all over the world to source the fair trade tea leaves that Honest Tea uses in its products. Not to mention, he also has a real office now and state of the art production facilities.
The evolution of a company is an intimate thing, and it was definitely something that Seth communicated in his retelling of how the company has grown. Honest Tea now employs 127 people in Maryland and since the acquisition by Coca-Cola it can now be found in 70,000 outlets (up from 15,000 prior) across the country. Honest Tea’s gross sales also hit a pretty nice high at $71 million in 2010. So then what did I take away from Seth’s visit? An entrepreneur should believe in what his company is doing because it is what drives him to make the business succeed and payoff. It’s certainly nice to see that the trend in the business world today, and in the consumer world for that matter, is moving in the direction of supporting sustainable and socially conscious businesses. For those entrepreneurial minded folks out there who care about their impact and want to make it big, definitely check out the book.
– Gwen Gurley, 1st year Board Member
P.S. Here’s a video that was played during Seth’s talk. For a small company, advertising is incredibly important but difficult to achieve with restricted cash. See how Honest Tea approached this dilemma for a fresh take on “socially responsible business practices.”
Hello and welcome to Smith! Whether this is your first year or your second, we hope you are as excited as we are to get the ball rolling on social and environmental responsibility resources and activities this year.
We wanted to get you started off on the right foot with resources that we have found useful.
-Center for Social Value Creation (CSVC): Located on the 2nd floor of Van Munching Hall, CSVC hosts a number of workshops and speakers. Be on the lookout for opportunities to consult with non-profits and social enterprises. The Center runs a 6-credit Social Value experiential learning course as well as non-credit non-profit consulting.
-Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER): Interested in international business opportunities? CIBER offers international consulting experiential learning opportunities in partnership with other MBA programs across the US.
Idealist.org: Once upon a time, Idealist was the king of nonprofit job and internship postings. Well, they’re still pretty much the king of the do-gooder job hunt. Their career resources page is full of lists of organizations, non-profit hiring tips, and more – like a goody bag for the unemployed.
Peace and Collaborative Development Network: Is an international development platform that also posts jobs and various “how-tos” for getting your job and internship hunt on. Hint, you
Society for International Development: The Society for International Development is hosting a career fair on October 2nd from 12 pm – 7 pm at George Washington University in DC.
Know of some resources we haven’t included? Please share what you know with us so we can help our fellow Terps find their way.
Hi first years and welcome to Smith!
As you know, MBAA Club tabling will take place this week and you will be able to learn more about and start getting involved with the student clubs and associations of your preference.
We are the Smith Chapter of Net Impact (https://netimpact.org/), a global organization that seeks to promote business practices that drive social and environmental change. We are MBA students with interests in fields like sustainability, impact investment, clean energy, CSR, finance & development, microfinance, and many other areas in which sound business practices and positive social impact intersect. The following are some of the events we will be hosting this year:
October 1st – Cases and Beer
October 21st – Conference Prep Lunch
October 24th – October 26th – Net Impact Career Conference (San Jose, CA)
November 19th – Net Impact + Supply Chain Club Greenstorming
TBD – Measuring Social Impact in Impact Investing
TBD – Career Building with More than Money Careers
If you are interested in joining Net Impact at Smith, please stop by MBAA Club tabling on Tuesday to sign up! Your $10 Registration Fee will provide extra money for the activities we will carry out next year, all of which aim to enhance Smith’s presence in the sustainability field. Being a member of Net Impact will allow you to be involved in many ways with one of the most organized clubs at school and with one of the most recognized and fastest-growing world-wide professional organizations.
We must also point out that, for those interested in leadership positions at Smith’s Net Impact Chapter (i.e., forming part of the First-year Board), membership will be an application requirement.
All members of our Board (Amanda Mendoza, Mattie Ressler, Tom Jepsen, Blake Carlton and Luis Espinosa) will be happy to chat with you and tell you more about the things we do here at Smith.
We look forward to seeing you on Monday!
P.S.- The first 30 MBAs to sign up for Net Impact will get this useful Smith-Snack-Bag. Great for bringing sandwiches and/or snacks to school!
Hello Net Impact-ers! With Term A quickly approaching, we thought we would catch you up on what we have been up to since May. Your Net Impact Board has been near and far from Brazil to India, DC to Boston and enjoying every minute of it. We have also all been interning locally and abroad incorporating impact and social value into our summer internships.
Blake Carlton, President
Blake is working as a Summer Associate for Agora Partnerships, a social enterprise accelerator with offices in Washington, DC and Nicaragua. Blake is involved in many aspects of Agora’s business ranging from business development and expansion to marketing best practices. Blake performs research on marketing, website overhaul and brand management in order to help guide the re-launches of the organization’s brand and website. He has also been tasked with putting together an overarching marketing tool kit and guide for Agora to use both during and beyond his summer endeavors. Half of Blake’s summer will be spent in Nicaragua, compiling stories of the many entrepreneurs Agora’s accelerator program has helped. The stories will be used as content on the improved website.
Tom Jepsen, Executive VP
Tom has been interning as a Supply Chain Analyst for Foodem.com, a Baltimore-based startup that created the first ever electronic marketplace for the $650 billion U.S. food wholesale market. His job covers a variety of functions, including business development, software quality assurance, marketing, and even managing his own intern! While getting the business off the ground and running is the primary concern right now, mid- and long-term we aim to greatly increase the capability of restaurants to find local farmers and specialty manufacturers that can meet their needs and provide better and/or cheaper alternatives to traditional food distributors. In summary, Foodem aims to completely disrupt the status quo of this industry, provide price transparency where it never existed before, and upend the supply chain by empowering businesses to choose local, sustainable options.
Mattie Ressler, VP of External Relations
Mattie is interning on campus this summer as a Graduate Research Associate with the Center for Public Policy and Private Enterprise (CPPPE) at Maryland’s School of Public Policy. CPPPE performs research on federal acquisitions and the role of incentives in government contracting. Currently, Mattie is researching best practices in e-procurement within government and commercial sectors. Her research is designed to help inform a technology roadmap for the General Services Administration.
Luis F. Espinosa, VP of Finance
Financial Infrastructure comprises all the information, technologies, rules and standards that enable financial intermediation. Better financial infrastructure enables more efficient intermediation, which in turn allows more people to gain access to credit, insurance and other financial products at competitive terms. Credit reporting systems are a vital part of a country’s financial infrastructure since they provide lenders with valuable information for risk evaluation, thus contributing to the overall efficiency of the financial system.
Luis is working as a Credit Reporting Analyst at The World Bank’s Division of Financial Infrastructure, which seeks to promote and disseminate the policy and research debate on topics related to the development of financial infrastructure in emerging countries. He is involved designing and conducting a global survey that will provide the information required for evaluating credit reporting systems around the world and formulating recommendations on the implementation of the General Principles on Credit Reporting published by The World Bank in 2011. Luis is also working on a study on credit reporting oversight, as well as on the organization of two international conferences on topics related to financial infrastructure that will take place this year.
Amanda chose to become an Education Pioneers Summer Fellow because she believes we need to approach education reform with more innovation and collaboration which includes dialogue between entrepreneurs, policy makers, business leaders, school leaders, and non-profits. She is passionately driven to leverage the resources of both the public and private sectors in order to provide all students with the educational resources and opportunities they need to be college and career ready.
Through Education Pioneers Amanda was placed at Achieve, a Washington, D.C. based nonprofit dedicated to working with states to advance the college-and-career readiness agenda by improving the rigor and clarity of standard-setting and testing. As a member of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career (PARCC) team, she assesses risk and is creating an action plan for each state in the consortium that was awarded a Race to the Top assessment competition grant as they prepare to administer their assessment for the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in the 2014-2015 school year. She is also contributing to the stand-up of PARCC Nonprofit from vendor selection to procurements, which will manage the growing needs of PARCC moving forward.
Introducing your new 2013 – 2014 Net Impact Board! We have been busy working to plan a host of exciting events for the coming school year and can’t wait to be back on campus in less than a month!
After studying Journalism at New York University followed by a 3-year stint working for online souvenir shop NYCwebStore.com, Blake’s passion for helping others and his interest in Brazilian culture led him to pursue a volunteer opportunities in Palmeiras, Brazil with the Environmental Group of Palmeiras (GAP). The two-month project turned into a three-year stint abroad, during which time Blake continued to promote GAP’s causes, write grant proposals for their social and cultural projects and acted as a project coordinator and photography teacher for the organization. Returning to the US, Blake chose to pursue an MBA/MPP Dual Degree at UMD so as to attain the necessary skills to better assist GAP. After his first year of studies, Blake interned with Agora Partnerships which accelerates entrepreneurs around the globe. Blake hopes that his experience at UMD and with Agora will provide him the skills necessary to help GAP and many other small nonprofits and start-ups to function more efficiently, thereby helping to improve the lives of the highest number of people possible.
Tom Jepsen, Executive Vice President
Tom came to Smith with six years professional experience in the b2b software for the capital markets and commercial real estate industries. His focus is on sustainable management, social enterprise and management consulting. Tom received a BA in Economics and International Affairs from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Outside of academics, he plays intramural soccer and flag football for Smith and spends his limited free time traveling the world with his wife.
Luis is a second year MBA student focusing in finance and entrepreneurship, with special emphasis in impact investment. With six years experience as an international corporate lawyer, he has participated in numerous cross-border M&A transactions and corporate finance operations which included socially relevant endeavors, such as the IFC’s financing of the construction of a renewable energy plant in a rural region of Peru, or the implementation of the Brazilian Development Bank’s export-import program in Peru. Luis has also advised social value creating start-up companies like MiDoctorcito, a small health provider that recently received funding from U.S. angel investors and is now expanding its operations to eleven facilities located in poor sections of the city of Lima, Peru. He is currently working as a Credit Reporting Analyst at The World Bank. Luis enjoys music, sports and the outdoors.
Mattie is pursuing dual Master’s degrees in Business Administration and Public Policy, focusing on Strategy and Entrepreneurship and on International Security and Economic Policy. Mattie is interested in the use of digital strategy for human rights promotion and humanitarian relief in civil conflict and disaster situations. Mattie has worked with domestic and international non-profit organizations to assess and report on disaster relief programs in Haiti, Turkey, Mali, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and the Philippines. Mattie earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the School of International Service at American University, graduating cum laude in 2008. At American University, she conducted research on peace and security issues relating to the reintegration of ex-combatants and state security forces in South Africa, Sierra Leone, Angola, and Colombia.
Amanda Mendoza, Vice President of Marketing
Amanda is a dual degree, MBA/MPP candidate focusing on venture philanthropy, human capital, and education reform. In addition, she is also a Student Affairs Resident Fellow for the Department of Fraternity and Sorority Life. In this live-in position she advises both the men of Alpha Sigma Phi and the National Panhellenic Council organizations. Before coming to Smith she worked for over three years as a Legislative Aide for Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD). Her portfolio included a wide range of issues including education, environment, animal welfare, labor, federal employees, and agriculture policy. While on the Hill she further developed her passion for education as a lunchtime reading mentor with Everybody Wins! DC at Brent Elementary School. Amanda graduated from Stanford University in 2008 with a B.A. in International Relations where she was an active member of Chi Omega Fraternity, the director of Alliance Streetdance, and lead the “Call to Serve” Initiative at the Haas Center for Public Service.
Smith Visionary Leadership Lab – Noblis
December 14, 2012
8:30 am – 2:00 pm
Number of students: 6
Net Impact and OCS are happy to announce an exclusive opportunity to meet Executives from Noblis (http://www.noblis.org/Pages/
The Visionary Leadership Lab visit to Noblis will include:
Amr ElSawy – CEO
Mark Simione – Senior VP & CFO
Sherry Rhodes – Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer
Each student will rotate through shadowing several executives and also meet with someone from an industry-area in which they are interested.
**This is a great opportunity for anyone interested in leadership development, strategy, federal consulting, and mission-driven organizations.
Consistently ranked by Fortune Magazine as one of the top 100 Best Companies to Work For, Noblis is a nonprofit science, technology and strategy organization that helps clients solve complex systems, process and infrastructure problems in ways that benefit the public. Noblis is renowned for its work with numerous government agencies, as well as private and nonprofit clients. We bring the best of scientific thought and engineering know-how to find solutions that are practical, efficient and effective. You will find Noblis at work in many fields, including national and homeland security; transportation; healthcare; criminal justice; energy and the environment; oceans, atmosphere and space; and public safety.
Submit your resume and 500 word Statement of Interest on HireSmith by Monday, December 3rd. Six students will be chosen to participate in the program. We will determine the executive you shadow to match your interest so please be specific with your interest in the statement. Keep in mind that these statements will be shared with the leadership of Noblis. Any questions, please email Luke Lindberg (firstname.lastname@example.org
Sharpen your “case” skills with Net Impact and the Supply Chain and Operations Club at our annual Greenstorming event!
Supply Chain professionals from Deloitte and the Maryland Department of Transportation will be on hand to help with this interactive event that brings MBA and MS Supply Chain students together solve a case that features the challenges facing today’s supply chain leaders.
Case-Based: Each team will work independently before the session on the case and will have an additional 45 minutes during the session to prepare their case using only flip chart paper. The goal of Greenstorming is to expose a select group of students to issues of sustainability in supply chain, the case method of learning in a group setting, and professionals working in this area. Teams will be assigned and the case will be provided this Thursday.
Do not miss this opportunity! Only the first 25 to register can attend this event but registration will close Wednesday, November 28th. So hurry up and RSVP here:
When: Monday, December 3rd at 5:30 – 7:30 PM
Where: VMH 1212
Dress Code: Business Casual
If you have any questions please send an email to: