Perspectives: Why HBS SEI?
Government Innovation, Bloomberg Philanthropies
I first learned about social enterprise when I was working as a strategy consultant at Monitor Group, focusing on the Social Capitalist Awards, which was a project to analyze the top performing non-profits in the U.S. When I came to HBS, I already had a strong passion for social enterprise, and I knew I wanted to get involved in the community here. I took on a leadership role in the student-run Social Enterprise Club. I'm proud to say that along with my two co-presidents, we helped grow the club to over 400 members.
Why SEI @ HBS?
Within HBS, I think social enterprise means using the lens of business and management on complex social problems, to apply the skills and knowledge we have to help organizations scale, help them run more efficiently, help practices be more entrepreneurial.
I think there are many opportunities for students to get engaged in social enterprise. Many start their own social enterprises or work within new fledgling organizations. Others like myself join larger organizations that need to be changed from within, to become more innovative and entrepreneurial, and to create processes whereby innovation and new ideas can grow.
After two years as a senior advisor to Mayor Thomas M. Menino (the first through an amazing experience as an HBS Leadership Fellow), I went to work with the Government Innovation team at Bloomberg Philanthropies, the charitable foundation of Michael R. Bloomberg (MBA 1996). I lead initiatives to promote public sector innovation and spread proven and promising ideas among cities. I co-led our inaugural Mayors Challenge, a competition to inspire American cities to generate innovative ideas that solve major challenges and improve city life. I also oversee projects on cross-sector collaboration, evidence-based government, and innovation teams in governments around the world.
My interests in general management and social enterprise led directly to my work with mayors. Just like corporate CEOs, they are called upon to make their organizations more effective, efficient and accountable. But, like social entrepreneurs, their success hinges on creating change that is visible, measurable and meaningful to citizens. I've learned a ton from seeing their pragmatic and principled leadership up close and it's been a privilege to work with two of the greats.