Net Impact And *NOT* Knockin’ Tom’s

Tom’s – it’s the quintessential example of a brand at intersection of doing business and doing ‘good’.  And while I’m not knocking a company that brings shoes to children in need (that wouldn’t win any popularity votes), I believe a deeper dive is needed. There’s a vast range of how business and ‘good’ overlap – from innovative tech start-ups developing clean fuel sources from algae (I wish I was that smart), to organizations like the Acumen Fund backing global enterprises tackling wicked problems like affordable healthcare for the poor. I’ll admit, I have spent crazy hours (you know the proverbial internet black hole where one page leads to the next and the next, and well, the next?) researching these very companies, with tingles creeping down my spine, feeling deeply inspired by big, bold thinkers.

Enter Net Impact. To quote the organization itself, “Net Impact is a leading nonprofit that empowers a new generation to use their careers to drive transformational change in the workplace and the world.” At the start of my grad school journey, I decided to pursue an MBA specifically because I think business will be the engine of this transformational change. And, it was in fact through Net Impact’s Business as Unusual graduate school guide that I found a place – Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business – I felt could support my new professional game plan to be part of a movement to use business for the better.

Now, as the elected VP of Communications for the SFU Net Impact (Segal) Chapter, our stellar club leadership team and I have lofty goals.  We aim to provide unique educational forums, key networking opportunities with top industry executives and volunteer opportunities within our local community– all from the lens of positive social impact and sustainability. Our hope is to leave a legacy on which future MBAs can build.

In the grander scheme, our thought is… we can sit back, wonder what can be done for problems like social inequity and climate change, and fear for our future. Or, we can take small steps to do something about it, each in our own way. It’s heavy, I know, but I want to do something about it. WHAT ABOUT YOU?

Author: Katherine Lewis, 2014 MBA Candidate