This post was written by Alejandra Rossi, a second-year Duke MBA student, CASE Fellow and a member of the Fuqua chapter of the Net Impact Club. This year’s Sustainable Business and Social Impact (SBSI) conference focused on how business can tackle global challenges by exploring innovative models and collaborative partnerships that are already working to solve these challenges and discussing how these solutions can be scaled across industries and geographies.
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Jean Case is a movement builder. And she closed the SBSI 2017 Conference teaching exactly how to do that: inspiring, educating and activating.
The whole day at the SBSI conference had been already truly inspiring but Jean managed to take it to a new level. Over the course of the day we learned how to act – and react – to the different global challenges. She managed to go one step beyond, inspiring the audience with her visionary passion to change the rules of the game in several sectors and her ability to open the doors for those who come after her.
Building the Impact Investing Movement
The Case Foundation has been doing impact investing even before the practice had a formal name. They have stepped up to build the sector and help this new movement develop. Always trying to contribute to the field, they are now working on a data visualization tool that would make the impact investing data available to the public, hoping to bring more transparency to the sector.
This tool will help both funders and entrepreneurs. On one side, demystifying the lack of opportunities that can bring both financial and social returns. The world is full of them. And on the other side, offering social entrepreneurs easier search tools to find the right kind of investments for their venture at the right time in their scaling journey. Put simply, the Case Foundation is not only pioneering the field with their own investment but also planting the seeds for a more open social impact market.
Building an Inclusive Entrepreneurship Movement
Jean Case and her foundation are also trying to bring more diversity into the American entrepreneurial world. Mostly dominated by white males, entrepreneurship still does not reflect the current demographics of the country. The Case Foundation team is working to make sure this intentionally changes. Their actions range from highlighting diverse entrepreneurs in the media to the Rise of the Rest bus tour showcasing the forgotten towns outside of the big entrepreneurial hubs. The opportunity is there. The passion is present in the most remote corners. It is just a matter of wanting inclusion. Jean’s dream of democratizing the American Dream does not seem far when you look at the steps she has taken so far.
Opening Eyes to New Movements
What fascinated me the most was not the impressive track record of game changing initiatives. What truly amazed me about Jean Case was her openness to read what is going on in the world. There is no way to tackle global challenges successfully without paying attention to what is happening around us, opening spaces for people to listen and be heard. The study on Millennials engagement is helping understand how this new generation engages in activism. And not only to the Case Foundation but to anyone who wants to read this research project. As the future movement-builders, understanding what motivates the group is helping shine light on the future of social impact changes.
What better way to end an inspiring day than by getting ready to create, include and understand the world around us in our crusade? Inspired and more educated, the 2017 SBSI attendees are now ready for action.
About Alejandra Rossi:
I am a proud Uruguayan who has come to business school to learn how to generate a bigger impact in the world. In my home country, I have focused my 7+ year career in generating social impact through economic empowerment, entrepreneurship and education.
I am the happiest person in the world at Fuqua. I have been able to pursue my passion for social entrepreneurship co-leading the group of CASE Fellows, being a cabinet member of the Net Impact Club and taking on projects that had led me to Kenya, India, California and the reality of refugees in the Triangle. I have also engaged extensively in leadership development initiatives, such as COLE Leadership Fellows and student-run programs like LEADS and LCE.
I see Durham as home now, where I can actively engage with an integrative community that works towards the development of all of its members.