“It’s been good for me to explain and 'sell' my interests in social enterprise to colleagues who mostly have for-profit backgrounds and career aspirations. ”
What’s the one thing you’re most excited about learning at HBS?
I’m really experiencing the strength of the HBS network. In college, I wrote a business plan for a healthy school lunch program and have been interested in food access issues for a long time. Through the Social Enterprise Club, I found out about a nonprofit grocery store concept I’m now involved with. It’s called Daily Table and it was founded by Doug Rauch, the ex-president of Trader Joe’s. He noticed that the average grocery store throws away tons of food every day. Doug’s interested in taking the surplus and turning it into prepared foods at accessible price points. With a consulting firm that is supporting the launch of the new store, I’m helping work out the supplier model: which partners should we prioritize and how do we get their food to the stores.
How do your HBS ambitions fit into the big picture of the world beyond?
Long-term, I want be in a leadership role in a mission-driven company expanding services to those who are underserved. I came to HBS to explore careers in food, health care and sustainability. While I’m focusing primarily on food, I’ve been able to gain a broader understanding of career paths in all three spaces. Here, I’m able to learn leadership skills in a hands-on way. It’s been good for me to explain and “sell” my interests in social enterprise to colleagues who mostly have for-profit backgrounds and career aspirations. As the service representative for my section, for example, I helped raise $24,000 for Habitat for Humanity in the Philippines, $4,000 more than our goal. More important to me is that we sold almost 90 tickets to our charity auction, which means we were able to get broad participation and buy-in – by getting tickets, people said this issue was important.
How are you pushing yourself?
For me, Finance is not a subject I feel comfortable with. [Laughs]. You know, you have a lot of freedom to decide how much effort to apply to a subject. I decided to make the effort: I’m working with a second year who is tutoring me on FIN 2s, and I’ve joined a small study group because it’s important to me to master the material.
What might people find surprising about you?
I lived on a farm after college. In context, because of how much I talk about agriculture and food, maybe that’s not so surprising. But instead of doing farm work, I was assigned to the kitchen to do a lot of janitorial work. I washed a lot of dishes and chopped a lot of tomatoes. And I discovered that I was a really bad squeegee-er!