Global leaders start at home: Day in Durham 2012

This post was written in September 2012 by second year student, Mark Hiew. Mark and fellow second year, Dawn Arthur, were the leads for the 9th annual Day in Durham, an annual event that introduces incoming Fuqua students to the social entrepreneurship community in Durham and how they can contribute during their time at Duke.

“Global leaders start at home.”

That was the line emblazoned across the ‘Durham orange’ shirts of the over 150 participants at the 9th annual Day in Durham, a marquee event that connects first year Fuquans to the Durham community’s thriving social and environmental impact industries. For those new to the event, Day in Durham helps students wrestle with and refine their understanding of ‘consequential leadership’ in three ways:

  1. Showing that consequential leaders desire and work to have a meaningful impact, both in their local communities as well as more broadly;
  2. Helping first year students to develop a deep understanding of their local community; and
  3. Supporting students’ drive towards informed and impactful action.

Kevin Trapani – founder of the Redwoods Group, an innovative local social enterprise that leverages insurance services to protect youth – spoke to the group and powerfully charged them to “Do important work; do it well; and bring it to scale.”

Kevin spoke passionately about the need for MBA students to gain ‘MMC’ degrees – Masters in Moral Courage. As business scandals and student cheating continues to make news headlines, his message felt as timely as ever.

Following the keynote, I chaired the “Social Impact Through Business” lunch discussion.

“How many of you came to Fuqua in large part because of its leadership in the social impact space?” I asked.

Over half of the room raised their hands. Awesome! And these weren’t just your stereotypical ‘crunchy granola’ returned-Peace Corps volunteers or non-profiteers, but also consultants and bankers. Through conversation, I learned that general interest in social and environmental impact appears to be growing year-on-year within our school. I think this speaks to a broader generational mindset shift amongst ‘Millennials’, who seek to both ‘do good and do well.’

Students got the chance to see this in action when we arrived at TROSA, an innovative work-live program that supports recovering substance abusers. Kevin Macdonald, its dynamic CEO, enthralled our group with his story of transitioning from being a store-robbing drug addict to a business and community leader. After touring the facilities and meeting some of the residents, the group was treated to a panel featuring Rachel Weeks, founder of Schoolhouse; Matt Kopac, a sustainability officer at Burt’s Bees; and, Stephanie Nieman, who manages B Lab‘s exiting GIIRS initiative. Moderated by Maria Ruatto, a Fuqua ’12 graduate, the panel delved deep into the challenges and major issues faced in working for businesses that balance the ‘triple bottom line’ metrics of financial, social and environmental impact.

Following our panel, we returned to Fuqua for some delicious Locopops, while students shared their experiences from various panels. I enjoyed hearing students on the health care panel’s rave response to CAARE, a new venue for us this year, as well as the continued strong performance of the economic development, sustainability and education panels. (read more about the Health excursion here)

Thanks to all our volunteers, sponsors and panelists, who help make this day great…and get ready for an even better Day in Durham next year, our 10th anniversary!

View the keynote address by Kevin Trapani here: