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If there’s one lesson to be gleaned from these career stories, it’s that opportunity can pop up anytime, anywhere. You just need to be ready. So how do you get ready? These folks all took different approaches and paths – and ended up doing good work in a world that desperately needs it. Check out their stories; you might just learn a thing or two and get inspired along the way.

If there’s one lesson to be gleaned from our members' stories, it’s that opportunity can pop up anytime, anywhere. You just need to be ready. So how do you get ready? These folks all took different approaches and paths – and ended up doing good work in a world that desperately needs it. Check out the stories below; you might just learn a thing or two and get inspired along the way.

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A Business Development Manager Finds Her Missing Piece in Nonprofits

A Business Development Manager Finds Her Missing Piece in Nonprofits

Sahaar Rezaie | Associate Director of Corporate Engagement, Year Up

Sahaar Rezaie graduated from college with a clear goal in mind: land a job that could pay the impending rent. She grabbed the first account management offer that came through, and quickly moved on and up, sharpening her business development skills marketing and advertising over the years. Then the economy tanked and a successful career came to a jarring standstill – like so many, she was laid off...

Putting Political Strategy Skills to Work in Retail Sustainability

Putting Political Strategy Skills to Work in Retail Sustainability

Rob Kaplan | Senior Manager of Sustainability, Walmart

Political strategy. Wine and spirits. Big-box stores. These are not the most obvious stops on a career path that winds its way through the issues of corporate responsibility. Yet Rob Kaplan’s path has traversed this territory and more. As a senior manager of sustainability at Walmart, Rob works on reducing the company’s supply chain-related carbon emissions. So what does it take to end up in a dedicated sustainability role at one of the world’s most influential multinational retailers? The route isn’t as straight and narrow as you might think…

Finding Her Place In Education, Nonprofits, and the Writing Life

Finding Her Place In Education, Nonprofits, and the Writing Life

Allison Jones | Editor, Idealist.org

Allison Jones always wanted to work in education – and for most of her younger years, that meant teaching. So, like many aspiring and idealistic teachers, Allison applied to Teach for America during her senior year in college. But after making it through the first round of interviews, she made a startling discovery: “I realized I just wasn’t ready to be a teacher,” she recalls. “I was too apprehensive. I was too unsettled by it...”

Sourcing a New Career Path in Sustainable Supply Chains

Sourcing a New Career Path in Sustainable Supply Chains

Simon Perry | Global Sustainable Palm Oil Sourcing Manager, Johnson & Johnson

Simon Perry knew he was making a big investment of time and money when he enrolled in his MBA program. He was looking to change both industries and functional areas in his next career move, so he began his job search almost as soon as he started his program. But it wasn’t as easy to break from his past as he’d thought it would be...

Putting 'Human' Back in Human Resources

Putting 'Human' Back in Human Resources

Susan Camberis | HR Director, Baxter Healthcare Corporation

Susan Camberis has dedicated her twenty-year career to Human Resources. She entered the space at the suggestion of a professor, who thought an internship in HR might be a good fit for her interests. A psychology major, the field has indeed given her the opportunity to apply her understanding of people to the business world...

Using a Democratic Approach to Fund Social Enterprises

Using a Democratic Approach to Fund Social Enterprises

Ross Baird | Executive Director, Village Capital

Ross Baird’s mission is to democratize entrepreneurship. His organization, Village Capital, brings together social entrepreneurs for education and rigorous peer-to-peer development of their business ideas. And when it’s time to introduce these enterprises to the investment community, it’s the entrepreneurs themselves who decide which businesses make the cut. His model’s been gaining traction, winning his team The NextBillion Case Study Competition and feature coverage in major newspapers...

A Winding Path to Nonprofit Consulting

A Winding Path to Nonprofit Consulting

Soumya Korde | Consultant, The Bridgespan Group

When Soumya Korde thinks back to the roots of her interest in the social sector, she recalls the trips she took with her parents from the U.S. to their home country of India. The poverty she saw there was a far cry from her middle class experience. Facing two different worlds, she couldn’t help wondering, "what if...?" What if her parents had not been able to get a good education, settle in another part of the world, and become such accomplished professionals? What would her childhood have been like then?

For Social Entrepreneur, There's No Sugarcoating the Need for Hard Skills

For Social Entrepreneur, There's No Sugarcoating the Need for Hard Skills

Sarah Endline | CEO & Founder, sweetriot

Anyone who meets Sarah, the fun-loving founder of the chocolate company sweetriot, will see they’ve got a real live wire on their hands. A creative businesswoman with a passion to bring a social mission to the world of chocolate, Sarah founded sweetriot in 2005. Since that time, she’s managed to get her Fair Trade products into 1,700 stores and garner coverage in the New York Times and on The Today Show. Yet what’s notable about Sarah isn’t just her entrepreneurial mindset, it’s that before founding her company, she gained her experience working within established organizations....

From Classroom to Kitchen: Revolutionizing the School Lunch

From Classroom to Kitchen: Revolutionizing the School Lunch

Kirsten Tobey | Co-Founder & Chief Innovation Officer, Revolution Foods

Kirsten Tobey took her background in experiential education to an unexpected place: business school. She entered with a notion to change how kids eat, and came out on the other side with a business partner and a full-blown social venture that feeds kids healthy meals in schools across the country....

Switching Gears After Decades in Financial Lending

Switching Gears After Decades in Financial Lending

Donna Callejon | Chief Business Officer, GlobalGiving

Donna Callejon is a self-described iconoclast who spent fifteen years honing her business and marketing skills at national mortgage lender Fannie Mae. And if iconoclasm sounds like an unusual quality for an executive at such an established organization, that’s okay. Donna delights in defying expectations. So when she eventually took the plunge into the world of small nonprofits, no one who knows her was surprised at her willingness to try something completely different – and be so successful at it...

An Unexpected Path from Financial Investing to CSR

An Unexpected Path from Financial Investing to CSR

Steve Brunn | Senior Group Manager for Responsible Sourcing, Target

Steve makes his professional home at Target, where he leads leading the company's Responsible Sourcing team. He stepped into this role after helping to shape marketing strategy for the company’s entry into Canada. The transition represents the culmination of a series of experiments and readjustment – all of which have steered him to a place that Steve only had an inkling of back in college...

Create Your Own Career Path: From PR to Philanthropic Leadership

Create Your Own Career Path: From PR to Philanthropic Leadership

Judy Belk | Senior Vice President, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors

Judy Belk has guts. How else to explain her move from government work to public relations to one of the nation’s largest philanthropic advising firms? A 30-year career that’s spanned virtually every sector takes chutzpah, no doubt. For the last eleven years, she’s helped build Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors' reach and reputation as Senior Vice President...

The Path to Social Entrepreneurship: Hard Work and Honest Tea

The Path to Social Entrepreneurship: Hard Work and Honest Tea

Seth Goldman | President & Tea-EO, Honest Tea

Seth presides over one of the greenest (and most successful) beverage companies in the world, Honest Tea. The Huffington Post recently ranked his company as one of the leading “Eight Revolutionary Socially Responsible Companies.” The funny thing is that Seth began his career as a nonprofit activist, never envisioning that he would run a major for-profit consumer products company – green or otherwise...

 No Time for Resting on His Laurels, There's Corporate Change to Be Made

No Time for Resting on His Laurels, There's Corporate Change to Be Made

Kwasi Mitchell | Senior Manager, Deloitte Consulting LLP

Something pivotal happened to Kwasi Mitchell as he was about to complete his PhD in chemistry. His advisor pulled him aside and prophesied that Kwasi would not work in a lab for very long. “Why?” Kwasi asked. “Because people like talking to you,” responded his advisor, “and scientists that people like talking to don’t stay in the lab.” It was just a brief exchange, but it changed the course of Kwasi’s career...

Making Philanthropic Conservation a Numbers Game

Making Philanthropic Conservation a Numbers Game

Dan Winterson | Program Director, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

How does a guy go from corporate business analyst to philanthropic program director fighting for environmental conservation in about a decade’s time? Well, it wasn’t a straight line for Dan Winterson. Dan believes deeply that environmental conservation is one of the most critical issues of our time – and that it stands to become increasingly more so. But he was a numbers guy at heart...

Corporate Experience Doesn't Go to Waste for Social Entrepreneur

Corporate Experience Doesn't Go to Waste for Social Entrepreneur

Parag Gupta | Founder, Waste Ventures

Parag wanted to work in service from the get-go. Such efforts virtually consumed his time at the University of Chicago, where he worked on state issues with Senator Dick Durbin, city issues with Mayor Daley, neighborhood issues with local aldermen, and served as student body president. Somewhere in the middle of all that work, he found time to teach in rural Jamaica – and get to class once in a while, too...

From Wall Street Analyst to Main Street Community Banker

From Wall Street Analyst to Main Street Community Banker

Haydeé Moreno | Micro Branch Director, Center for Community Self Help

Haydeé Moreno was a hard-charging financial analyst who walked away from a lucrative Wall Street career to embrace community finance. Now she runs the Micro Branch, an innovative credit union for underserved communities. If you spoke to her ten years ago, she would have had no idea this is what she’d be doing today. Truth is, she expected to be sitting in a swanky corner office at Goldman Sachs...

Delivering Scalable Sustainability at the USPS

Delivering Scalable Sustainability at the USPS

Andrew Essreg | Sustainability Integration Specialist, U.S. Postal Service

Personal experience is often where a passion for sustainability takes root. This was certainly true for Andrew, whose early fascination with the outdoors pushed him to study environmental affairs and public policy in college. Because his undergrad coursework included both policy and science, he was able to kick off his sustainability career as an energy consultant designing nuts-and-bolts energy management programs and environmental strategies for a variety of private sector clients...

Teaching the Teacher About Social Innovation

Teaching the Teacher About Social Innovation

Lindsay Stradley | Co-founder and CMO, Sanergy

Lindsay has traveled many roads on the way to the social enterprise destination she’s arrived at with Sanergy in Nairobi, Kenya. While she now spends her days helping turn waste into electricity, she got her start as a student activist at Yale...

Building a Consensus for Change: One Man's Path to Corporate Responsibility

Building a Consensus for Change: One Man's Path to Corporate Responsibility

Marcus Chung | Vice President, Global CSR & Sustainability, Fleishman-Hillard

If you ask Marcus where his focus on CSR work came from, he’ll tell you that it wasn’t a fully conscious decision. He simply didn’t want to show up to work as one person and then go home to be a different person with his family and friends. In other words, he instinctively wanted his values and his employer’s to align...

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Corporate Careers That Make a Difference
Corporate Careers That Make a Difference Corporate Careers That Make a Difference

Corporate Careers That Make a Difference is an indispensable guide to pursuing and building a career in CSR and sustainability.…