In this special blog series, we are interviewing our Net Impact Chapter of the Year winners to learn more about their chapters, plans for next year, and advice to others looking to make an impact.
After an impressive year of passion, growth, and impact, UCLA Anderson has won our 2017 Net Impact Chapter of the Year Award in the Graduate Category. Hear from Katie Donovan, the Co-President at UCLA Anderson Net Impact on how her Chapter continues to support Anderson students to be effective change agents on campus and in their communities.
What accomplishments are you most proud of during your Chapter’s past year?
The past year was full of amazing accomplishments for UCLA Anderson’s Net Impact Chapter. I’m very proud that our club organized 50+ events across the year, including programs that we co-hosted with other clubs on campus including: investment finance, management consulting, entrepreneurship, design, marketing, energy management, retail, and real estate. These collaborations helped us attract new members and increase student engagement with our programs. Our largest annual event – Impact Week – was our most successful to-date, and the events that took place across the week attracted over 700 participants. I’m also proud of Net Impact leaders who collaborated with students from Anderson’s Investment Finance Association and Entrepreneurs Association to launch an impact investing fund that will seed impact investing activities on campus moving forward.
Why did you first decide to join your Net Impact Chapter?
I knew I would join Net Impact on my very first day of school. Prior to Anderson, I worked in education as a middle school teacher and development director for an education nonprofit. I observed that the private sector is uniquely positioned to accelerate positive impact for society and the planet, and I came to UCLA Anderson to pursue opportunities in purpose-driven business as the next step in my career. Joining Net Impact was a no-brainer for me and has given me access to an incredible community of friends and mentors who are passionate about making a difference through their work.
How would you describe your Net Impact Chapter to someone who has never heard of Net Impact?
When I talk with folks who are unfamiliar with Net Impact or our chapter at UCLA Anderson, I start by sharing that our mission is to inspire and empower Anderson students to become purpose-oriented leaders on campus and beyond. I also share that Net Impact is a global network with chapters across top MBA programs and provides students with access to a strong network, educational programming, and opportunities to leverage their business toolkit to drive positive social change as they pursue careers across all industries and sectors.
How does your Chapter plan to make an impact on campus and/or in your community this year?
Our programs this year are focused on the following: (1) Partnering with external organizations and clubs on campus to enhance programming; (2) Increasing member engagement; and, (3) Building on the success of our chapter’s annual Impact Week. We are already off to a great start. One of the new external partnerships we’re excited to launch is a program with Kiva that will engage Net Impact members to help crowdvet potential investment opportunities in social enterprises around the world. Additionally, we have seen increased student participation in our Net Impact Consulting Challenge (NICC) – our club’s annual case competition – which grew by 20% year over year. We’re excited to build on this momentum throughout the year!
What advice would you give to someone who knows they want to make an impact, but is not sure where to start?
Reflect on your strengths and start small. What skills or expertise make you unique, and how can you leverage these assets to make a difference for an issue or organization that you care about? Each person has special strengths and points of view, so being aware of what you bring to the table is a great place to start. Find a person or organization that is working on an issue you care about, and reach out to them to start a conversation. Let them know why you’re interested in the issue they’re connected to, what skills/experience you offer, and how much time you can dedicate. Chances are they will have an idea for how you can get involved and start making a positive impact.