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MBAs for the Power of Good: The Net Impact Conference

By Lauren Anderson '15  |  october, 2013, Issue 2
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Hiral Arges and Lauren Anderson meet with keynote speaker Mike Ray at the conference. (Photo courtesy of Ruben Kogel of Photobooth)


On Oct. 11 more than 100 Booth students gathered to hear about how they can make a social impact at the Net Impact Conference. The conference addressed many areas - impact investing, big data, environment and sustainability, healthcare, arts and culture, education and corporate social responsibility. The keynote (see related article) addressed social impact in supply chain and strategy roles, and the rest of the day was filled with fascinating panels like sustainability with Whole Foods and McDonalds. Looking at the numbers, the education panel had the most attendees, followed by impact investing.

Laura Burgos '14 and Angela Samper '14 were the conference co-chairs and pleasantly surprised at the interest in impact investing. "It's a burgeoning topic here at Booth," Burgos said.

Attendees came away not only with inspiration, but also with a better idea of where they could find a cross between positive impact and their traditional functional role. What struck attendees was the variety of functions social impact is involved in. For example:

- Chief Investment Officer, Beyond Capital Fund

- Manager, Impact Measurement and Data Storytelling, Groupon

- Director of Sustainable Supply Chain, McDonald's

- VP of Marketing, Public Affairs and Membership, Art Institute of Chicago

- Director, Strategic Initiatives and National Partnerships, Thirty Million Words (at University of Chicago)

- Manager of Environmental Affairs, Hyatt

- Education and Development Lead, Whole Foods Market

- Chief Strategy Officer, Cook County Health and Hospital System

- Commissioner and CIO, Chicago Department of Innovation and Technology (DoIT)

"I'm surprised at how honest panelists were about sensitive issues like tracking sustainability all the way to the source of raw materials or dealing with consumer protests," says Joanna Wang '15.

Co-chairs Burgos and Samper were excited about not only how interested students were in topics, but how interested speakers were in the fact that Booth was having such a conference.

"This was not just for Boothies, but also for those who are in the industry - for them to see what's happening at Booth," Burgos stated. They also found it encouraging that the Harris School and Social Services School were interest in the conference and would like to see more discourse across schools through Booth. When co-chairs were asked what they did to celebrate the fruits of their labor, they responded in a possibly typical Booth fashion, "we went to class."

Last Updated 10/20/13
Last Updated 10/20/13