04 Feb 2022

2021 RISE Fellow: Siham Adous (MBA 2022)


by Shona Simkin

This fall, as part of the Harvard Business School (HBS) Action Plan for Advancing Racial Equity, 20 MBA students were selected as the inaugural recipients of the Recognizing Individuals Seeking Equity (RISE) Fellowship. The fellows were chosen for their demonstrated commitment to serving Black/African American, Hispanic/Latinx, and other marginalized communities of color within the US prior to enrolling at HBS.

The 2021 RISE fellows are MBA Class of 2023’s Adan Acevedo, Jerome Fulton Jr, Amari Griffin, Tarebi John, Zoe Matthew, Alejandro Molina, Ted Obi, Chidalu Onyenso, Lanita Patton, Nashae Roundtree, David Velasquez, Mireille Verdonk; and MBA Class of 2022’s Siham Adous, Aaron Hancock, Brian Hollins, Diego Salas, Devon Sandford, Lucas Santos, Xonana Scrubb, and Tracey Thompson.

Siham Adous (MBA 2022)

Siham Adous (MBA 2022), sees her education and career paths as being inextricably linked to social impact.

As a first generation American and daughter of Ethiopian immigrants, Adous arrived at college in Atlanta and was struck by how little her undergraduate campus reflected the diversity of its city. After learning about the inequities in the US education system that largely drove that representation gap, she took a consulting job with Boston Consulting Group’s education team to explore and help develop solutions for those challenges. As part of their social impact committee, she led a strategy hackathon with local nonprofit leaders to ideate ways to expand effective STEM programming for Atlanta K-12 students.

In her next role, she helped direct strategy for a company that provided longitudinal and holistic interventions to close the racial wealth gap for students in disenfranchised Chicago neighborhoods. This experience, says Adous, is where she saw the potential for entrepreneurship to both generate wealth for founders of diverse backgrounds and make lasting impact in the communities served.

Since being at HBS, she has worked at Harlem Capital, a venture fund focused on investing in women and minority-owned businesses, and at Emerson Collective’s early-stage venture team, supporting investments into impact-focused startups. She is currently working with Praxis Labs, an early-stage startup utilizing immersive learning to create more equitable workplaces.

“How can we both equitably allocate capital and scale innovative business models to address disparities in the wealth and well-being of marginalized communities? That was my ethos coming into business school,” said Adous. “It’s not just about impact, it’s also smart business: Investing in and uplifting marginalized communities has proven to drive more innovation, better businesses, and higher returns. I am excited to see this turning point in the private sector where we're acknowledging much more that impact and profit could and should be intertwined.”

Now, Adous is focusing on career opportunities in technology and startups that are helping address disparities in racial equity.

“From a professional lens, I’m excited about the number of ways technology is helping to create and scale solutions that address inequity across so many industries, spanning everything from education, healthcare, financial services, sustainability, and more. I also love working in mission-driven organizations,” said Adous. “From a personal lens, I recognize the privileges I have being from a family that arrived in the US after the civil rights era and now being a student at HBS. I feel a responsibility to pay it forward for those who paved the way for me to even be here and plan to continue crafting a career path that allows me to do so.”

Read the profiles of all eight RISE fellows.

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