By Nathaniel Luce
Article by Elayne Crain
Whatever the organization or role, there are innovative (and practical) steps you can take to better the world, according to the many change-makers who convened at Vanderbilt during the Turner Family Center for Social Venture’s second annual Social Venture Summit.
The free event ran from March 31-April 1 at the Wond’ry, a new cross-disciplinary creative space at Vanderbilt University. The Summit featured impactful speeches, panels and discussions, and a full roster of inspirational global entrepreneurs and business leaders, as well as a wide variety of Vanderbilt students representing nearly every school on campus, including all eight Graduate Schools.
Specific themes that emerged from this year’s event included impact investing, social enterprise, innovation, corporate social responsibility, talent retention and community development.
Pam Dorr, who recently served as Executive Director of HERO — a group dedicated to ending rural poverty in the Alabama Black Belt, provided the Keynote Address. Leaders from consultancies like Geneva Global and Enso.co, local impact-driven businesses Fashionable and Salemtown Boards, and corporations like Bridgestone shared perspectives and insights from their careers.
“Opportunities for continued partnership have already been discussed,” says Abigale Jasinsky, MPP ’17 and TFC Programming Board member, “and we are excited to see how we can leverage our existing programming, such as our Project Pyramid and consulting courses, to further the work of some of the amazing organizations represented at The Summit.”
Turning attention to both local and global innovation in the social space, the TFC partnered with Launch Tennessee to hosted a Pitch competition through the University Venture Challenge, where students developed high-level strategies to alleviate poverty in Appalachia.
“I thought the Summit showcased the power of business solutions to create positive environmental and social impact,” says Paul Finelli, MBA ’17 and TFC Programming Board Member. “Whether our graduates are moving onto a small non-profit or a large corporation, there are so many opportunities to use our positions to drive change.”
More information on this year’s summit can be found on the TFC’s website.
The Turner Family Center for Social Venture is an interdisciplinary, student-led organization committed to alleviating poverty through market-driven forces and enterprise, located in the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University. Learn more about the Turner Center at turnerfamilycenter.com.
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