Victoria Chames_1's blog

Thoughts and Advice from Net Impact Conference Exhibitors, Kiva

Kiva is the international nonprofit that connects online lenders to entrepreneurs. Through Kiva, anyone can help a borrower start or grow a business, go to school, access clean energy, and more.  To date, more than 1 billion dollars worth of loans have been funded through the organization. 

We are so excited that Kiva will once again join us at the 2017 Net Impact Conference taking place in Atlanta October 26-28! They will be exhibiting and recruiting onsite at the NI17 Expo, Friday October 27. We interviewed Net Impact's 2012 Conference Logistics Intern and current Manager of Kiva's Fellow and Intern Programs, Emily Mertens, on the organization's past Expo experiences, what they are most excited for from the NI17 Expo, and advice for attendees looking for careers with purpose. 

Please describe your experience at the 2016 Net Impact Conference Expo.

I loved the 2016 Net Impact Conference Expo! The energy of the attendees is infectious. Everyone was so smart, ambitious and committed to making a difference. I left feeling like I had met some incredibly qualified candidates for Kiva’s fellowship and internship programs, but also reinvigorated about Kiva’s mission and my work with volunteers. 

Why did you decide to exhibit again this year?

We can’t get enough of Net Impact! It is one of the only conferences my team goes to each year because it attracts the type of candidates we are looking for - passionate, eager to learn and committed to Kiva and social impact. 

What are you most looking forward to from the 2017 Net Impact Conference Expo?

I’m excited that my team will be meeting the attendees and seeing familiar faces. Attendees are always impressive and it’s fun to think about possibly working with someone you meet at the expo. Every year I’ve been to the expo, I run into former interns and fellows. It’s a great way to catch up offline. We will also be actively recruiting for the 21st class of Kiva Interns and the 34th class of Kiva Fellows while at the conference. It’s always nice when you can point perspective candidates to open positions.

What advice do you have for 2017 Net Impact Conference Expo attendees who are looking for careers with purpose?

Talk to as many people as you can! One of the best parts of the entire Net Impact Conference is that everyone is starting from a place of making impact, so you can take conversations much deeper than you can in other environments. Networking is fun at Net Impact because it doesn’t feel like networking- it feels like in depth conversations about topics you care about with people who are experts. Don’t treat every interaction as a pathway to a job or internship, treat is as a way to learn and discuss what is on the cutting edge of impact today. You’ll build more valuable contacts if you focus on learning. 

It's not too late to register for the 2017 Net Impact Conference to attend the NI17 Expo, network with Kiva , and ultimately fast track your path to impact. 

You Grow, Girl!: Carrie Vollmer-Sanders

This featured post was first published on General Mills as a part of their You Grow, Girl! series highlighting female farmers around the globe. The series aims to amplify the voice of female farmers who play vital roles in helping farms thrive. These amazing women nurture their families and fields. Hear more about the sustainability initiatives General Mills is pursuing at the 2017 Net Impact Conference, taking place October 26-28 in Atlanta, GA. 

“I don’t do that.” That was my answer to someone asking if I planted corn or soybeans.

My parents, husband Ryan and I have very specific jobs on our farm, and I don’t drive the tractor.

I don’t plant. I just don’t do that. My dad and husband plant our 1,000 acres of corn, soybeans and wheat.

Sure I know how to drive a tractor. Growing up we baled plenty of hay and wheat and even hauled hogs around with a 1950s Farmall H. I drove that small, red tractor all the time. It had no electronics, no cab and was worth about $10,000.

Carrie Vollmer-Sanders, as a high school junior, teaching someone to drive a tractor at a Future Farmers of America event during Edon Days, in Edon, Ohio.

Like most family businesses, everyone pitches in to make it work.

April, May and June are corn and soybean planting seasons for us in Ohio and Indiana, three of the busiest months of the year. Each spring presents new opportunities and challenges and this spring was no exception.

My dad got sick this May and was in the hospital and was unable to drive the tractor. We were a man down and while we received many offers from friends and neighbors to come help us plant, we knew all of the other farmers were in the same position: it was go time for them too.

Go time is when the days are so busy you forget you haven’t eaten lunch.

You begin before the sun pokes up and when the sun goes down, you just turn the lights on. Go time is not a time to complain: You deal with breakdowns, constantly changing weather forecasts, and determining what fields to plant next because the soil conditions are better. We check the weather app so often you’d think it was the latest YouTube video.

Go time means all hands-on deck, except this year, we were down two very important hands.

Ryan asked me if I would plant soybeans and without thinking, I said, “Yes.”

Once the fields were dry enough to begin seeding, it set in that I really was going to plant. My tractor would be our new, big 8335R John Deere, a $200,000 tractor full of electronics, monitors, sensors and alarms, and each trip down the field it plants 48 rows of soybeans, 40 feet wide!

I had ridden back and forth in the field many times with Ryan, but we caught up on the day, we talked about how dry the next field was and we ate dinner. I certainly never paid attention to what lever or button did what, and although I have reviewed countless field maps, I have never been the one creating them.

In a few hours, my “I don’t do that” answer was about to change.

Carrie and her family. Husband Ryan, sons Isaac and Ethan, and parents Kay and Kenny, standing in front of the new John Deere, just two weeks before she used it to plant her first field of soybeans.

As I drove to the Walz farm, a farm dating back to the early 1900s that my family bought 40 years ago, the 3-mile drive seemed longer than usual, maybe because I took longer breaths than normal, or because I told myself many times, “I’ve got this.”

By the time I arrived at the field, I was ready to go. I also remembered that our boys practice their spelling words on the windows of the tractor cab with Ryan. I could use that whiteboard marker to write down the steps if it got too complicated.

Back-up plan in place, check.

Just days after my 37th birthday, I planted my first field of soybeans. I was nervous the first few rounds Ryan left me by myself, and driving 4-miles per hour felt like driving 60. Thankfully the new tractor has auto steer, so my rows were straight when I clicked the right button.

I had a few skips where I forgot to put the planter down in time and a few overlaps where I planted over the end rows, but I survived, the tractor didn’t break and the planter worked well.

I’m so proud of that 120-acre field. I hope God and Mother Nature water it well, and give it lots of sunshine to help those little seeds grow into beautiful, productive soybeans.

Now I can say, “Yeah, I do that!”

Carrie Vollmer-Sanders is a sixth-generation farmer in Angola, Indiana. She farms with her parents, husband and two sons. She also co-owns Grains and Greens Inc. Carrie also is the North America Region Nutrient Strategy Manager for The Nature Conservancy.

Kevin Cleary – A CEO, Athlete, and Impact Leader

Chief Executive Officer of Clif Bar & Company, Kevin Cleary, will be a keynote speaker at the 2017 Net Impact Conference in Atlanta, GA, October 26-28. Cleary is passionate about running the company in service of its 5 Aspirations – sustaining business, brands, people, community and planet – and pursues purpose in his daily work and life. 

Living Life to its Fullest - at Work and Beyond

Kevin Cleary was named the CEO of Clif Bar & Company in 2013, after joining as Executive President of Sales in 2004. During his time at Clif Bar he has increased use of organic and sustainable ingredients, grown the product portfolio and launched the company’s first owned and operated sustainable bakery. 

Cleary strives to find purpose not only in his work, but in daily life as well. As a father to three young boys, Cleary wants to set an example that personal values and goals do not need to be sacrificed for the sake of the 9 to 5. He leads a team of more than 1,100 at Clif Bar with a focus on work life integration and shared purpose.  Around the office, he is known for his great sense of humor, honesty and directness, and makes a point of getting to know each employee well – even leading a weekly company ride for avid cyclists. 

Outside of his work, Cleary is a competitive athlete has even competed on NBC’s American Ninja Warrior. He is a three-time IRONMAN finisher and has completed six marathons. When he isn’t running or cycling, Cleary can be found coaching his sons’ little league teams.

Prior to his work at Clif Bar, Cleary was the Senior Vice President of Marketing at R.R. Donnelley, where he oversaw the company’s sales, marketing, business development and operations. He also served in a variety of sales and marketing roles at Quaker Oats. 

Cleary was born in San Francisco and is an alumni of the University of California, Berkeley. He earned his master’s degree in business administration from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Business.

Kevin Cleary has turned his lifestyle and values into a hugely successful and impactful career as the CEO of Clif Bar & Company. At the 2017 Net Impact Conference, we will be focusing on turning your aspirations into a lifetime of loving what you do and having impact while you do it.

Connect with Kevin Cleary on Twitter: @KevinClearyCEO.

Kevin Cleary is the CEO of Clif Bar & Company and a keynote speaker at the 2017 Net Impact Conference.
Kevin Cleary is the CEO of Clif Bar & Company and a keynote speaker at the 2017 Net Impact Conference.

Are you Passionate about Protecting the Climate?

The Net Impact team is gearing up for Atlanta for the 2017 Net Impact Conference (NI17)! We’re excited for an impactful few days - mingling with inspiring individuals and developing skills to accelerate your impact careers. We have many great programs and for all of those who are particularly interested in the climate, we have an amazing lineup of sessions and speakers. Here is a sample of what you have to look forward to:

Keynote Speaker Paul Hawken

Paul Hawken is the Executive Director at Project Drawdown. He has dedicated his life to changing the relationship between business and environment. A leader in the environmental movement, he has helped design corporate reforms to include ecological practices. In addition to the work he does at Project Drawdown he is the author of Drawndown - The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming, a New York Times bestseller, and a consultant on economic development, industrial ecology and environmental policy. You will not want to miss his keynote session Friday afternoon at 1PM.

Pioneering Climate Change Solutions 

In this featured panel ou will plunge into climate change solutions, hearing from leaders who are at the forefront of tackling this pressing issue within their organizations. Learn how leaders from different sectors are using a broad range of approaches and pioneering climate change solutions.

Better than Fast: System Approaches to Ethical Fashions

It is possible to look great and feel good about the clothes you wear. In this session experts will focus on what ethical fashion is and how to achieve it. Hear from leaders tackling this challenge and discover how a sustainable focus is shifting the industry. 

Navigating the Clean Energy Transition 

Join us in a journey of transition, where we will discuss our current dependency on Fossil Fuels and the bridges being built to facilitate our energy transition. Listen to energy expert views on navigating the clean energy transition and the energy choices that fit into a broader climate action plan. 

From Vine to Glass: Sustainability in the Wine Industry 

End you NI17 experience with a splash at this interactive session where you will have the unique opportunity to help define the future of Kendall-Jackson. Learn about Kendall-Jackson’s challenges and progress of embedding sustainability into their company culture and how they are leading positive change in the wine industry. This session will develop recommendations for Kendall-Jackson’s Open Challenge - which could result in an internship at the winery during the summer of 2018. 

Other programs to check out

If you’re looking for an opportunities to network outside of the convention center, sign-up for an off site tour or excursion. Additionally if you’re a foodie, check out the food track sessions being held at the Conference to learn how the food industry links to climate change as well as other societal issues.

You can find all the information about the different tracks and session on our NI17 program page. Only one week until the kickoff of NI17 - are you ready Atlanta?

Enhance your Career at the 2017 Net Impact Conference

Net Impact is your resource to explore impact careers to find the path that is right for you, but we don’t stop there. We know that any job can be impactful and NI17 will support you in finding your career with purpose - whether that be with a nonprofit, corporation, social enterprise, or incorporating impact into your current job title. 

If you are looking for a purposeful career, whether you are a student, a professional transitional careers, or are looking for ways to bring purpose into your day job, the 2017 Net Impact Conference (NI17) is the place to be, here’s why:

As a current or future impact job seeker

If you are currently in the job market, you can’t miss the NI17 Expo. The Expo is a gathering of leaders from international corporations, social enterprises, and nonprofits. Network with professionals, showcase your skills, and learn the progress these organizations are making, all to help you design your own impact career path. We will even have recruiters on-site.

We have numerous mentoring opportunities including small group mentoring and one-on-one career coaching. You can also join Vice President for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Sustainability and Campbell's Soup Company, Dave Stangis for a special session titled Beers & Careers. These exclusive opportunities will give you direct contact with an impact business leader to design your career track. 

Many of these special career resources and tools require reservations and have a limited number of seats so register for the Conference and reserve your spot today.

We also have programming for impact job seekers, such as this bootcamp:

Job Search Boot Camp: Advancing Your Impact Career

In this interactive boot camp, you will do a deep dive into what it takes to find and land your impact dream job. Career experts will help participants understand the broad range of purpose-driven career paths highlighting key skills and providing concrete tips for building a network, creating a strong resume, and leveraging social media for your career. 

As a professional

If you already have a job, there are ways to incorporate impact into your career. 

Don't Leave Your Values at the Door: Bringing Purpose to Work

This panel will pull together individuals who have committed their careers to purpose across different sectors and industries. They will share how they got there, and you will leave inspired to bring purpose into your day-to-day work, no matter which path you take.

We will also have professionals-only opportunities including a Professionals Corner, exclusive workshops and boot camps, and a reception at the Georgia Aquairum. 

Enhance your impact career by registering for the 2017 Net Impact Conference today - hurry prices increase on October 18!

Future Proof for 2020: Do You Have the Top 5 Sustainability Skills to Survive?

Shannon Houde from Walk of Life Consulting is a world-renowned impact, sustainability, and CSR career coach.  We have an exclusive opportunity for 2017 Net Impact Conference attendees to redeem a heavily discounted online course from Walk of Life Consulting to help you navigate through the key stages of a successful career change and empower you to have the confidence to stand out from the competition. Register for the 2017 Net Impact Conference to take advantage of this offer. 

Last year, the World Economic Forum produced a report on the ‘Future of Jobs’, in which they outlined the 10 skills we’ll all be needing by 2020. I was revisiting this report recently for an executive coaching project I’m working on, and got to thinking about what their projections mean for the sustainability jobs market. How can sustainability professionals be 2020-ready? How can organizations future-proof their hiring strategies? 

It’s clear that the trends the report identifies are being felt already: cloud computing, mobile internet and big data are changing the way we do our jobs. By 2020, it predicts that the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ will be here, with robotics, artificial intelligence and automation making some roles obsolete. Admin, manufacturing and construction jobs will sink, while business, financial operations and management will rise. And the work itself will change as geopolitics, consumer ethics, climate change and access to scarce natural resources become increasingly material to corporate strategies.  

These technological and socio-economic contexts present significant staffing challenges for CEOs. As Susan Winterberg at BSR says, “business leaders … must tackle how to take advantage of the productivity and innovation opportunities presented by automation technologies while also ensuring a smooth workforce transition.” The successful jobseekers of the future will be the ones who anticipate these trends, and the successful businesses of the future will be the ones that are hiring and upskilling in line with them. 

In such a dynamic business environment, it goes without saying that the sustainability sector will have to adapt and evolve in tandem. Those of us working in the field need to prepare now to ensure our careers are 2020-ready, and boards and HR teams need to get their house in order to guarantee their edge in the fight for talent. Here are five of the most important skills for future that we all need to take note of now, with a sustainability lens:

Complex problem solving 

This is probably the most important skill to have on your CV by 2020. Designing solutions to meet complex challenges will be the Number 1 activity of the future sustainability professional, even more so than it is now. Problems will occur across multiple business-critical areas, sometimes out of nowhere, and companies will need people who are ready, willing and able to respond effectively. Start thinking about how you can hone your problem solving abilities in your current position and look for ways to evidence them on your CV for your next role.   Best not to call it “problem solving” on your CV as that is vague.  But show the reader with an accomplishment statement of what you did and how.

Critical thinking (and innovation)

This connects to problem solving above, but it’s distinct, in that it describes the ability to ask the right questions from a variety of different perspectives and to really interrogate the options. It also implies a solid understanding of the business landscape, as well as the trends in technology, science and socio-economics.  Bringing that macro-level view down to the micro-level of decision-making and picking apart the assumptions and biases will add serious value to your offer as a sustainability professional. Again prove this to the reader in a solid accomplishment statement or two that shows how you have challenged the status quo and can think with an innovation lens on. 

Creativity (and adaptability) 

This is something no machine can do. Creativity is crucial in telling and selling sustainability stories, both internally and externally, which you need to do if you want to inspire people and have them follow on the journey. The best sustainability professionals take a creative approach to their work and understand its role in translating complex messages for diverse audiences (I talk about sustainability communications in greater depth in this post). But there’s more to it than simply storytelling. It’s about the way you respond to change too, how adaptable you are, as Alex Grey at WEF points out: “With the avalanche of new products, new technologies and new ways of working, workers are going to have to become more creative in order to benefit from these changes.” 

Negotiation (and influencing) 

This one isn’t new, but it is more crucial than ever. How do you expect to broker change if you can’t negotiate effectively? Being able to strike difficult compromises with internal and external stakeholders requires a robust rationale and a titanium-strong evidence base, as well as influence. Some people are born with an innate ability to negotiate, and lucky them! For the rest of us, it’s something we learn in the heat of the fire. If you are yet to develop this side of your professional practice then look out for a senior mentor who you can shadow at meetings. Great negotiation skills can really set you apart in the jobs market, so commit to enhancing yours. 

Emotional intelligence 

Emotional intelligence, or EQ, has been on the radar of the corporate talent agenda for many years since 1995 when Daniel Goleman wrote a book by the same.  Just look at all the mindfulness courses and CPD modules that major companies like Google are offering their employees (I wrote a post on this recently). They understand the importance of being able to keep your ego in check and empathize with other people, especially when things are fraught and solutions seem hard to find. EQ is also connected to the ability to coordinate with others and manage teams of people, which are crucial skills when moving towards a common goal. Evidencing these more subtle qualities on a CV can be tricky, so look for tangible proof points to highlight in your personal achievement statements. 

If you’d like some bespoke help getting your CV 2020-ready, check out my website I also work with organizations to future-proof their HR strategies and upskill teams – find my executive coaching services here

This article was originally appeared on Triple Pundit.

Shannon Houde is an ICF certified executive and career coach who founded, Walk of Life Consulting, the first international professional development advisory business focused solely on the social impact, environmental and sustainable business fields.

Tips for Building an Effective Resume

It’s no surprise that a resume is an essential document in your job search. In many instances, your resume is the first and possibly your only opportunity to make an impression, so make it count! Build a resume that not only grabs the recruiter's attention, but showcases you as a potential future employee. Below are a few tips to help you do just that:

Use a resume template

Your education, extracurriculars, experiences, achievements, and skill are all essential for your resume. That’s a lot of information, which all should fit on approximately one page. I can already see the frustration building as you try to squeeze every award you’ve earned since preschool on that one page – we’ll talk about this later.  Don’t fret as there are many amazing resources with premade resume templates available. Resume templates are preformatted with fonts, the correct margins and sections, allowing you to focus on what’s important; the content and showcasing your capabilities.

Tailor your resume to the job posting

You might be wondering if this is actually necessary, but trust me, it’s maybe the most important element to building an effective resume. A recruiter on average will scan a resume in 25 seconds. Recruiters and computers scan your resume for keywords and phrases that fit with the job description. So really read through the description, highlight commonly used phrases and keywords, and embed them back into your own resume.

Relevant and Essential Information 

I told you we would discuss that award you earned in preschool for sharing your toys. The recruiter needs to assess your capabilities as a potential employee, so the experiences and skills on your resume should display your abilities to complete the job you’re applying for. I suggest creating a “master document” with all your work experiences, achievements, skills, etc. Treat them like building blocks – making it easier to insert and swap relevant sections to tailor your resume.  

Make your information tangible

Don’t just copy and paste the descriptions of your prior experiences, explain what you did and how. Discuss the problems you solved and the solutions you created. If possible add quantifiable accomplishments. By quantifying your achievements, the recruiter will see a more comprehensive picture of you as a potential employee.

Final Touches

Always make sure your contact information is correct and up to date. Additionally, add any relevant social media pages or publications. Professional references are a great asset. Lastly always have a trusted individual review your resume. Resumes are full of details – it’s easy to make minor mistakes and it never hurts to have another pair of eyes double check what you’ve written.

Resumes are a tricky business, but it is extremely important to build a resume that effectively communicates your potential as a future employee. Hopefully these few tips will help your resume make an impact and convince the recruiter that they need to meet you. 

P.S. Share your resume with leading nonprofits, social enterprises, and impact companies. Once you have registered for the 2017 Net Impact Conference and used these tips to spruce up your resume, you can submit it to our NI17 Resume Book. The deadline to submit your resume is October 13 and once we have all the resumes collected we will share the Resume Book with our 80+ Conference exhibitors. There will be job recruiters on site!


4 Insights from Design Leaders at NI16

If you could ask top impact design innovators anything, what would it be? 

An eager room full of students and young professionals got just that opportunity at the 2016 Net Impact Conference during a panel on Designing Products for Extreme Affordability in International Contexts. Led by Iana Aranda, Director at Engineering for Change, the conversation featured honest reflections from Owen Sanderson, Business Designer at, a design consultancy; Kofi Taha, Associate Director of the MIT IDIN Program, an academic R&D accelerator; and Connie Lewin, Director of Strategy at Sustainable Health Enterprises, an NGO specializing in product design. They discussed how they are all tackling designing for cultural relevance, last-mile, affordability, and quality to serve customers with the greatest need. Here, we share some key takeaways.

Take context into account

“Design around existing behaviors,” advised Sanderson. In one project is designing around an existing payment platform that many Kenyans were already using. Similarly, they also crafted a farmer chatbot project around Facebook Messenger, because “no one wants to download a new app.”

SHE learned that context can influence design as well. In Rwanda, there is a forthcoming ban on plastic bags as part of a 2020 vision to become a middle class economy and manage the environmental impacts of a consumer economy. SHE manufactures pads made of banana fibers through a patented mechanical process that makes the fibers work and stay consistent. However, to appeal to consumer desires, they feature splashy plastic packaging. SHE is thinking about how to balance these two forces with the upcoming new law.

“Look at analogous organizations,” Sanderson also shared. In their farmer-focused project, is building a wall of analogous examples of social capital and referrals (including AirBnB) and examples of artificial intelligence giving advice for the chatbot feature. Taha added that “what you need to do is think about the privilege you’ve had in seeing another way of working.” He noted that in creating the Apple store Genius Bar, designers studied hotel concierges.

All agreed that human centered design was an important tool in product design.

Get creative with funding

Designers are not immune to the need to create a sustainable business model for a solution to have ongoing impact. The panel discussed the importance of remembering to keep product quality as your most important focus, since the goal is typically to use a design to improve someone’s life rather than create large profit margins. Creative strategies are often needed. Sanderson suggested, “you can use payment plans, like a portion of each harvest so [the product] is still expensive and high quality, but isn’t expensive up front.” Taha explained how selling to high-income buyers in other geographies can be helpful to fund extreme affordability: “Sometimes design for extreme affordability means designing a venture that’s going to exist somewhere else.”

Some ideas should die

The panel acknowledged that not all impact design hits the mark, and humbly acknowledged times their own design process had meandered through solutions that didn’t quite solve – making again their point about the importance of keeping people and problem at the center of one’s work. One example they good-humoredly mentioned was Play Pump, which took the idea of harnessing the energy of a mary-go-round to pump water, the American idea of recess creating a win-win when by adding advertisements to the tank. With a great story and a nice idea, Play Pump received $15 million in funding. “Can anyone say child labor?” said Taha. “Also, who does most of the pumping? Women. And there were safety issues with concrete.”

Another cautionary tale was the Pee Poop Bag. It’s headline was that 2 million people just got a toilet, but it was still simply using the bathroom in a bag. Socket Ball also came up in discussion, a soccer ball that harnessed the kinetic energy of play for device charging. The issue was that the battered balls broke down quickly, unbeknownst to the well-meaning designers. When a journalist investigated and exposed this issue, the organization pivoted into empowering people about design and engineering through education – an example that Taha brought up as a successful pivot and one that learned from new research. So how does one avoid such pitfalls? Ask yourself, Taha recommends, “is this just a cool thing, ask if it is functional. You need that strong connection with people telling you this is what we want.”

Stay humble

The panel had a lot to say about the pathway to practice. “About 70% of people in this room are women, and I want to acknowledge that many of the people leading this work and going out and building things are women,” Taha noted. Co-designing in an authentic way is key. Sanderson described how is working with local group Asili on one of their projects in the DRC.

He also stressed the importance of ethics. “IDEO has a little book of ethics. Read it. Know yourself, know how you’re going to co-design.” Taha echoed Sanderson’s recommendation. “What you need to do is think about the privilege you’ve had in seeing another way of working. Then you have to ask, do I want to bring it to my new work as an expert of a facilitator. When you see yourself as a solution creator, then you see yourself responsible and that’s real development. There’s a real danger in the work you want to do. Looking at the base of the pyramid can just be a thing to exploit or you can shape this as a human experience where you’re learning, the people are learning from us, and we’re doing it with respect and humility so we’re shaping a process where we’re learning and growing as well. You can have these tools, but how you use them and how you operate matters too. Embrace the internal work as well.”

Iana added one last tip: “Humility is incredibly fundamental. I often hear my community saying ‘we’re going to teach them…’ and I’m like, no, you have to understand these people have been through extreme poverty and they know a lot you don’t know. Check yourself.”

Thank you to our incredible panelists for their honest and thoughtful discussion. 

Hear from leading designers and technologists at the 2017 Net Impact Conference in Atlanta, October 26-28.’s Owen Sanderson discusses a rechargeable solar lantern (held on far right) with attendees, as part of a physical product gallery during a 15 minute case study – including water filters, solar lamps, adjustable spectacles, and clean stoves.’s Owen Sanderson discusses a rechargeable solar lantern (held on far right) with attendees, as part of a physical product gallery during a 15 minute case study – including water filters, solar lamps, adjustable spectacles, and clean stoves.

5 Tips to Get a Job in Tech

Are you looking to enter the tech industry? If you feel like you're lacking experience and feeling lost, fret not! Here are five tips to get a job in tech:

1. Start building your skill set

Technology companies have an increasing need for multi-disciplined employees. Whether you are interested in pursuing a technical or non-technical role, take some time to learn about and understand the general responsibilities of all the different roles in a tech team. Learn about the basics of product management, sales, marketing, communicating with users and clients, UI/UX design, research, and testing. Keep up to date with latest trends and be knowledgeable about major companies and products. Having the knowledge and general understanding of other disciplines is a great asset for any team.

2. Participate in hackathons and projects

Find local or virtual hackathons and pick up side projects whenever you can. Hackathons are unique experiences where you are presented with a challenge, form a team, and build a solution collaboratively. See our blog on AngelHack, the world’s largest and most diverse global hacker community, helping to drive open innovation of tech products, platforms, and brands.

These events are great ways to meet influential techpreneurs, investors, and like-minded people. Be ready to speak about these projects and how you executed them. 

3. Always be pitching

Build an online portfolio and make sure you have a public persona on the web. Update your Linkedin, AngelList, Github, Behance, Medium, and Twitter accounts and make sure the way you brand yourself is consistent across all platforms. Highlight any work you have done and make sure you connect with your friends and colleagues.

4. Network offline and online

Find local tech events in your neighborhood through sites like Meetup, Facebook Events, Groups, and Eventbrite. Challenge yourself to attend at least one event a week and make it a goal to start up a conversation with at least a few attendees at each event. Always follow up with your new connections after the event. 

Reach out to interesting people you come across on Linkedin, Twitter, and email. Sign up for online webinars hosted by tech companies. Make an effort to continue to build on these relationships.

5. Attend the 2017 Net Impact Conference

Kickstart your career in tech at the 2017 Net Impact Conference. Here is some of what you can expect:

Keynote: Kathryn Finney

Learn from White House Champion of Change and award-winning founder and Managing Director of digitalundivided, a social enterprise helping Black and Latina women own their work using innovation and technology as a tool. 

Panel: Founders Who Paved Their Own Way

Entrepreneurs and the mission-driven companies they create are changing the world. But charting your own path is not easy. Come hear what it really takes to build a social venture and maybe even be inspired to start your own.

Boot Camp: From Design Thinking to Design Doing 

Human-Centered design is a methodology to build intuitive and empathetic products. It provides deep value by checking expert assumptions, encouraging rapid iteration, and testing prototypes. In this 3-hour boot camp, participants have the opportunity to engage in experiential learning, understanding what it means to design with empathy for base of pyramid end-users in challenging environments. 

Register for the 2017 Net Impact Conference to build new skills, network with emerging leaders in tech, and spruce up your resume. With the right connections, skills, and determination, your career in tech could be just around the corner. 

How can businesses address food security and sustainability in our communities?

This fall, Net Impact has partnered with The Soulfull Project, a mission-driven subsidiary of the Campbell Soup Company, to talk about food security, the role of businesses in tackling local community issues, and the nuts and bolts of starting a social enterprise within a large corporation. 

The project, titled the Soulfull Speaker Series, was launched to make high-quality, nutritious food more accessible and increase community engagement. For every serving of The Soulfull Project’s hot cereal purchased, a serving of their multi-Grain cereal is donated to a food bank in that region. This makes it easy for everyone to have a positive impact on the lives of their neighbors. 

If you’re curious about sustainable agriculture, supply chains, food waste, and urban farming, the 2017 Net Impact Conference is the place to be. From workshops and panels to speakers and excursions, we’re ready to tackle food security and sustainability!

Here’s some of what you can expect:

Themed Panels

  • Chart your own path. Entrepreneurs and the mission-driven companies they create are changing the world. Whether building the next clothing brand or scaling a food company, mission-driven entrepreneurs are getting noticed by consumers, investors, and other companies. Come hear what it really takes to build a social venture and maybe even be inspired to start your own with Seth Goldman, Megan Shea, and Jennifer Walske at the Startups & Tech Panel on Friday, October 27th.
  • Experience live discussions on our most pressing food issues and innovative approaches to solve them. Here’s one of our upcoming panels, Sustainable Agriculture for the 21st Century. Hear from leaders at the forefront of the discussion on the need to provide for the growing global population despite shrinking natural resources. They will share where we stand today, and what to expect in the future. What is working in agriculture today, and what needs to change and evolve to keep up with demand while protecting the Earth's resources.

Interactive Workshops

  • Gain skills and connections through our workshops that are themed around food. Check out this workshop, A Systems Approach to Building Food Systems for the Future. In this interactive workshop, you will get to test your assumptions about our food systems. Engage directly with farmers, engineers, and scientists who are grappling with big questions about sustainability and immerse yourself in their day to day.

Urban Farming Excursions

  • Embark on a tour at a local urban farm and learn about interrelated aspects of natural farming, Transforming Communities through Urban Farming Food. At Atlanta's urban farm, Truly Living Well, you'll learn how urban agriculture can reduce food insecurity, as well as build healthy communities and economies. You'll see fruits and vegetables in different stages of growth and maybe even get some dirt under your fingernails!

Register for the 2017 Net Impact Conference to join the conversation on how businesses are addressing food security and sustainability in our communities and what more can be done.