Around the world, technological solutions are going beyond swiping and "liking" to address real social and environmental issues. Jobs in the tech industry are becoming increasingly popular for individuals looking to have a career with purpose. We know you care about the impact tech space so we have designed multiple options for you to discover the booming tech industry and explore career paths to enter the field at the 2017 Net Impact Conference.
Conference registration prices will rise on October 17 at 12:00pm PST! Register today to save money and jump start your impact career in tech.
We have dozens of speakers across a variety of tech industries who will give you insight into their fields, offer career advice, and answer any questions you may have. On the mainstage, we have a keynote speaker who is a driven, successful, and most importantly impactful tech entrepreneur, Kathryn Finney.
Kathryn Finney is the founder and Managing Director of digitalundivided, a social enterprise helping Black and Latina women own their work using innovation and technology as a tool. She is a White House Champion of Change, a past member of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NACIE) and a General Partner at Harriet Fund, the first impact venture fund for high-potential Black and Latina women-led startups.
You will also hear from rising stars in the field of tech, such as the Toyota Next Generation Mobility Challenge winner, Wenxin “Sally” Xia. The Toyota Next Generation Mobility Challenge was a competition organized by Net Impact with Toyota and the Toyota Mobility Foundation to inspire millennials to develop solutions for mobility needs in local communities and around the world. Sally was a member of the winning team from Georgia Tech. Their solution is an app-based, para-transit taxi service that gives people who use wheelchairs a safe, affordable, and flexible way to get around. Para Pickup would supplement current public para-transit services, which are dependable, but are often inflexible and slower.
Our full NI17 program is filled with opportunities to network with leading professionals in the field of tech and gain the skills and experiences to become one yourself. One highlight is our Boot Camp: From Design Thinking to Design Doing where you will join Pact's Head of Innovation and Design for an immersive, introductory look at human-centered design and learn what is means to design with empathy.
In the workshop, Leveraging Technology as a Force for Good leaders on the forefront of new technology will share what they are working on and predict where the field is going. You can step outside of the conference center in our ad-on excursion, Tech for Good Accelerated where you will explore Atlanta’s center for tech and innovation.
At NI17, Doug Moore, Director, Technology for Human Support Group for Toyota Motor North America, will speak about the company’s work to enrich lives and society by advancing mobility for all. One example is its Human Support Robot (HSR), which helps people with limited mobility, such as people in wheelchairs, complete everyday tasks. Toyota will hold demonstrations of the HSR onsite during the scheduled coffee breaks. Watch the robot in action:
This featured post in written by Audrey Ball, the former president of the Washington University in St. Louis Net Impact Chapter and current Continuous Improvement Coordinator for Monsanto. Here she describes her path to landing a career with impact. Hear more about the sustainability initiatives Monsanto is pursuing at the 2017 Net Impact Conference, taking place October 26-28 in Atlanta, GA.
Monsanto certainly knows the importance of engaging with consumers and how that relates to building accurate consumer knowledge and protecting a brand. Today engagement with stakeholders along the entire value chain matters. Companies are accountable for not just delivering profit to its shareholders but for delivering solutions to issues that shape the modern world. For Monsanto, sustainability has long been at the heart of business. But today it joins companies in more clearly defining and communicating its purpose, and with innovation, leadership, and collaboration, business is finding solutions.
I discovered Monsanto’s mission while on my own journey to find purpose in my career. During college, I served as chapter president of Net Impact and began searching the business world for solutions to global problems, such as climate change and social inequality. Of all the industries that add to our human footprint, I decided to take a closer look at agriculture.
Monsanto had been a long-time sponsor of Net Impact, yet I only understood their commitment to sustainability after organizing a tour of their technology headquarters with my NI chapter. Agriculture and related land use change produce 24% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, but could farming also be a part of the solution?
I quickly learned the answer was “yes.” Advanced breeding and biotechnology allow us to produce significantly more crops on less land with less water, and not only that, alternative farming techniques present huge potential for carbon mitigation. Simple solutions including nutrient management, cover crops, and reduced tillage can reduce cropland emissions by 1/3 to ½ of emission levels. Agribusinesses are engaging with farmer customers as more than just salespeople; today we advise growers on practices to ensure sustainable land use and optimize resources from smallholder farms in India to large-scale soy operations in Illinois. Purpose is about extending priorities beyond the bottom line. It means meeting the needs of more stakeholders and bettering life for future generations.
The key to driving purpose in a company is making it a business imperative. In 2015 Monsanto announced its commitment to achieving carbon neutrality in operations by 2021. Communicating an ambitious target to shareholders and stakeholders holds companies accountable and can also set the tone for an entire industry. In 2015, Monsanto became founding co-chair of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development Climate Smart Agriculture initiative, a public-private, multi-industry initiative with three goals: 1) to sustainably enable 50% more food; 2) adapt and build resilience to climate change; and 3) decrease food-related emissions by 30% and eliminate land use change emissions. Together with 20 other member companies and multilateral organizations such as the UN and World Bank, Monsanto is using the power of partnership coupled with leadership and innovation to drive its purpose deeper into the business and influence the landscape of agriculture.
By defining my own purpose, I was able to find a company whose purpose aligned with and inspired my own, and I joined the mission. Purpose today is as critical for businesses as it is for individuals. Organizations like Net Impact drive business to achieve more for the world. Start with your own mission, and let your passion fuel the purpose of a company you align with. Each impact career is a stepping stone on the path to purpose for business.
Campbell Soup Company is a leader in corporate responsibility. Learn more from their Senior Manager, Corporate Social Responsibility, Megan Maltenfort below and engage directly with her at the 2017 Net Impact Conference, October 26-28 in Atlanta, GA.
Whether you’re working at a company just starting this journey or one that already identifies as purpose driven, these recommendations will hold true. They guided me for over 5 years in building a global sustainability program at VWR and allowed me to hit the ground running in my new role with Campbell Soup Company who has been a recognized sustainability leader for nearly a decade.
1.Get Your Leaders to Listen
Easy to say but hard to do! The easiest way to get your leaders to listen is to tie it all back to the customer. Leadership wants to meet customer demands, and if customers care about sustainability, then you will begin to see your leaders care about it too. Once your leadership understands the value of sustainability practices, they will begin to incorporate this thinking more in their day-to-day. If you’re looking for more formal techniques to embed accountability, think about building sustainability into your corporate agenda/strategy; expanding your incentive plan to include sustainability goals and reporting sustainability progress to the board.
2.Help employees feel accountable
Guilt is not the answer when trying to change mentality and behavior. You will be more effective if you educate and engage. Your colleagues want to feel good about the company they work for and what they do every day. It’s your job to educate them on why this all matters and how they can help, and then provide opportunities to get engaged. And not just for Earth Day- all year long. This will help elevate transactional behaviors to true collaboration with impact. We know you’re passionate about sustainability, now use that passion to spread awareness and watch your culture shift.
3.Be politely annoying
It’s okay, you can give yourself permission to be politely annoying. You need to get stuff done, and in a large organization, you will find that getting stuff done takes a long time. Sustainability may be your priority, but that’s likely not the case for many others in your organization, so you must keep (politely) pushing to get your ideas approved and implemented. If you’re having trouble getting a colleague to support you, try scheduling a phone call or in-person meeting. Making these more personal connections goes a long way in building allies within the organization.
4.Partner with everyone
As a CSR professional, you will work with more people within your organization than most. You likely don’t have a big team (or any team at all), so you must build your own internal team of supporters. In my first two months with Campbell, I needed to complete our annual Corporate Responsibility Report, DJSI and CDP, and the only way to do this was to quickly find partners throughout the company who had the information I needed, and then politely annoy them for it! You’ll need partners in communications, finance, operations, human resources, supply chain, etc.- basically building a web around your organization where sustainability practices can stick. These partners will help champion these practices throughout the organization. By becoming an extension of different teams, you also use your sustainability knowledge to add value to their work, proving that sustainability has a place in the corporate conscience.
5.Give the credit away
You don’t need it. Remember, you’re trying to mold the conscience of a company! You will only succeed if you allow others to gain recognition for sustainability efforts, rather than take the credit yourself. The more that others feel like they “own it,” the more embedded sustainability will become. The end goal is to have every employee consider themselves a sustainability champion.
Hear more from Megan Maltenfort at the 2017 Net Impact Conference where she will be speaking on the panel, Finding Purpose within Corporate Impact. Learn more about how Campbell Soup Company is driving corporate impact from the Vice President, Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability, Dave Stangis during the panel, How to Create Purpose-Driven Brands.
Recently Net Impact collaborated with Interface, Inc., the leader in design and environmentally responsible modular carpeting, to conduct an independent Climate Take Back Survey – we asked over 400 climate experts and over 300 young business leaders questions to get their take on the relationship between business and the climate.
What we learned correlates remarkably with the data of other experts like Paul Hawken (Project Drawdown) & Al Gore (An Inconvenient Truth) – both groups overwhelmingly affirmed that they believe humans can create a stable climate, with the majority of the experts avowing that we have everything we need to get the job done. And most of the young leaders expressed confidence stemming from an unshakable belief in humanity. Both Net Impact and Interface believe that it is possible to reverse global warming and this survey confirmed the optimistic belief that we can create a climate fit for life.
“Because the technologies that dramatically reduce carbon are tipping into becoming cheaper than conventional solutions.”
“The limits of human endeavor are defined only by the limits of our imagination.”
“Collectively, we already know the right mix of policies, technologies, business practices and life style choices to make it right.”
“Impossible is not an alternative for the planet and its species!”
However, an overwhelming majority of emerging leaders (95%) stated that business leaders are not doing enough to reverse climate change. The most prevalent response by far: we need to raise the ambition levels within companies, and respond to climate change by driving organizations to become agents of change.
American climate experts and young leaders have the moral courage to stand with the global community in taking back the climate, and will use community activities and business to do it. Net Impact and Interface are engaging these concerned citizens in projects such as Climate Drawdown – a Challenge where students and young professionals can compete through fun, creative events while educating their peers about climate change and solutions. Project Drawdown has identified the 100 most substantive solutions to reverse global warming - ranging from clean energy to educating girls in lower-income countries to land use practices that pull carbon out of the air. These measures promise cascading benefits to human health, security, prosperity, and well-being - giving us every reason to see this planetary crisis as an opportunity to create a just and livable world.
The data are in – people are ready for fundamental change in public response to climate change; business and entrepreneurs will not wait for a nod from the government to move forward on climate initiatives and comply with The Paris Agreement. Over 90% of the respondents surveyed believe, while acknowledging that it will be difficult, they can take back their climate and make climate fit for life. We are ready to go beyond mitigating the harm, and start creating a livable, sustainable climate.
Interface has developed a Climate Take Back report which you can download here or review the Net Impact infographic for a snapshot of what young, emerging business leaders are saying.
Take action on climate change! Implement solutions locally and imagine new businesses and products to bring solutions to scale in Net Impact's Project Drawdown Program.
3M is working to improve lives through purpose-driven business; learn more, get inspired, and make connections at their panel and Expo booth at the 2017 Net Impact Conference, October 26-28 in Atlanta, GA.
Imagine a world where every life is improved—where natural resources are reliably available, people have access to education and opportunity, and communities are safe, healthy, connected and thriving.
For some people, achieving this world may present insurmountable problems that leave them shaking their heads. But for others, these are challenges waiting to be tackled – they know that with creativity, collaboration and a shared sense of purpose, no problem is unsolvable.
This kind of solutions-based mindset has given rise to countless 3M products and practices. Like a household sponge made from 100 percent plant-based fibers, including agave fibers that otherwise would have been discarded as waste in the tequila-making process. To roofing granules that reflect the sunlight and heat other shingles absorb, reducing the urban heat island effect and lowering energy consumption. Or an under-sink water system, capable of 99.3 percent lead reduction in water; a compelling potential solution for the clean water crisis in Flint, Michigan, such that the 3M team behind the system fast tracked the product launch and partnered with local agencies and non-profits to donate systems to residents in Flint.
We can’t get enough of innovative ideas. So we provide opportunities to do purposeful work because doing so not only contributes to a better world, it is just good business. We encourage 3Mers to dedicate 15% time for personal ideas in pursuit of innovation. We support volunteerism and investments in our communities. And this year, we’re thrilled to have the opportunity at the 2017 Net Impact Conference to share our new skills-based community engagement program that empowers 3Mers to do what they do best – make an impact.
What is a skills-based community engagement program all about?
Through our global program, 3M Impact, employees travel to an under-served community around the world and partner with a local non-governmental organization (NGO) to address a challenge related to Sustainability. No matter the location, whatever the challenge, the 3Mers who participate will share their expertise to help make a difference.
What can we say? We’re proud of our people and can’t wait to share them with the world.
It’s about making things happen – on purpose
It’s undeniable. Powerful things happen when people work together to achieve a shared purpose. At 3M, we are 90,000 employees connected by a single ambition: improving every life.
That’s our purpose, and we’d love to hear yours. Stop by our expo booth to explore your purpose and share ideas for #improvinglives.
And if you’re interested in creating a skills-based pro-bono program to make an impact, check out our panel on Friday, October 27 at 10:50AM.
This year the 2017 Net Impact Conference will be take place October 26-28 in Atlanta, GA. For NI17 we’re creating an experience unlike any conference you’ve been to before. We’ll help you map out your Path to Purpose to turn your passion into a purposeful career by gaining tangible skills and actionable insights.
We want to support you on your path to Atlanta, here are 8 options for you to fund your way to NI17!
In today’s world, how you do a job is just as important as what you do. This is especially true for those in positions of influence within the sustainability impact sector. Herding cats through a complex change process while maintaining the bottom line? You’re going to need super-human levels of focus, calm and empathy.
Our ability to align our intellectual intelligence with our emotional intelligence defines our effectiveness as leaders. Businesses are waking up to this, and mindfulness is now taking center stage on the professional development agenda. Just ask Google, whose Jolly Good Fellow (aka Head of Mindfulness) has a job description that includes KPIs such as “enlighten minds, open hearts and create world peace,” which could be why its ‘Search Inside Yourself’ program is now publicly available to “bring the benefits of mindfulness-based emotional intelligence to your workplace or community.” General Mills, Target and Aetna are also hopping on the mindfulness train and setting up internal programs to engage employees. Proving the point is a recent study from the Institute for Employment Studies and Cranfield University’s School of Management, which found that mindfulness can be used to drive change in organizations. (They summed up their recommendations in this handy infographic).
Given that the science is so clear on the beneficial impacts of practicing mindfulness, it’s easy to see why major corporations are charging down this route. After all, who doesn’t want to cultivate awareness, humanity and perspective in the workplace and encourage a low-stress, high-satisfaction collaborative team?
Mental Fitness Training
There are lots of ways of describing mindfulness, but we like Shakya Kumara’s definition best: “It’s a form of Mental Fitness Training,” he says. “We know that we need a certain level of physical fitness in order to maintain our physical health and well-being. In the same way, we need a certain level of mental fitness, in order to maintain our mental health and well-being.”
Andy Hix of Zen at Work offers another helpful description: “It’s the opposite of swearing at your computer whilst trying to do ten things at the same time! I think two of the biggest challenges in the modern workplace are stress and distraction,” he adds. “Mindfulness is the perfect antidote to that because it’s a method of training your mind to be calmer and more focused. This means you feel better and get more done.”
Practicing mindfulness involves paying attention to our experience in a particular way. Bill George, a senior fellow at Harvard Business School writing for HuffPost, recalls an interaction with the Dalai Lama: “A few years ago when I asked [him] how we can develop a new generation of compassionate, mindful leaders, he replied simply, ‘Develop a daily habit of introspection’.” According to George, this daily habit can manifest as meditation, prayer, journaling, or, simply, jogging alone.
Essentially, these kinds of mindfulness practices train us to be fully present, help us reduce stress by letting go of anxious or negative thoughts while boosting creativity, decision making, focus, memory and other subtle skills that make a big difference at work. According to an article in the Harvard Business Review, mindfulness improves effectiveness by directing focus to the most pertinent task at hand and supports informed decision-making by helping leaders take the time to consider all of their options.
Make mindfulness happen
As Google and other progressive organizations know, mindfulness is a skill you can teach in the workplace. In order to become one of Google’s certified Search Inside Yourself trainers, I have to show 1,000 hours of meditation practice (that’s 4,000 meditations of 15 minutes each) plus attend a 5-day silent retreat. They are promoting the sustainability mantra “walk the talk.” Having practiced meditation and mindfulness myself for a number of years, these techniques are something I use to help clients tap into their own emotional intelligence. I have seen transformation in clients being able to build resilient teams that the drive innovation and deliver the impact our sector seeks, as well as reflect on how their own behavior connects with their personal goals and ambitions.
But if your organization isn’t offering Continuing Professional Development on meditation, don’t let that stop you making the first move yourself (London-based readers should check out this calendar for events in their area). As Shakya reminds me, mindfulness has helped the leaders he has worked with regain the ability to enjoy what they do after particularly stressful periods at work, and has supported others to cultivate a seemingly effortless management style of appreciation, empowerment and confidence. That sounds like a career goal worth training for.
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.
As an emerging sustainability leader you need to practice mindfulness.
Stephen Blackburn is a summer intern with The Kresge Foundation’s Social Investments, Finance, and Investment teams and a rising sophomore at the University of Chicago. Read on to learn about his experience with Impact Investing this summer and how it has impacted him personally.
When I started my internship this summer at The Kresge Foundation, a private philanthropy in metro Detroit that seeks to expand opportunities for people with low-incomes in America’s cities, I came with a mix of feelings that ranged from nervousness about the position to cynicism about the actual impact that the philanthropic sector can have on the world. The former would be expected of anyone starting an internship at a place like Kresge, but the latter had not always been the case for me. In fact, it was just recently that my outlook on the world had become more pessimistic. I was dealing with the loss of a close friend from college, and that coupled with some things happening at home and the inundation of negative news from around the world left me thinking that certain problems are just impossible to solve, and that it might be better to just throw in the towel.
That all changed when I got to Kresge.
You see, there is a certain nobility that comes with impact investing. Of course, in these transactions, you want to employ strategies that yield a financial return, if at all possible. But the noble side of the work is the reason I wanted to spend my summer in this field. I got this internship through a program at the University of Chicago called the John W. Rogers Jr. Internship Program in Finance. Formerly called the Ariel Investments Internship Program, it was generously started by John W. Rogers in order to increase access to jobs in finance for underrepresented students. The program provides industry training, skill building, and site visits to some of the top financial firms in the Chicago area.
In my internship, I am rotating among three teams at the foundation: Social Investments (SI), Finance, and Investments. I spent my first three weeks with the Social Investments team, and this was my intro to the impact investing field. During this part of my internship, I was able to attend the CDFA Federal Urban Finance Forum and the Mission Investors Exchange Institute, both of which gave me real experience in networking and hearing from two important players in the impact investing field. It was enlightening to discover how institutions at these conferences are thinking about solving the problems that most affect their communities by deploying capital in strategic ways.
I also had the chance to work on several projects during my time with SI, such as reporting on the impact of the foundation’s investments, researching measures in the surety bond market to help higher risk businesses, and performing financial and trend analysis on a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and a Development Finance Agency (DFA). I’ve also had the chance to work with some of the most knowledgeable people in the field, including Kimberlee Cornett, Kim Dempsey, Aaron Seybert, and Joe Evans. These people are absolutely amazing and work relentlessly to ensure that the impact investments Kresge is making are strategic in removing barriers that prevent communities from accessing resources in a way that aligns with the foundation’s programmatic mission.
I have learned so much this summer in such a short time that it amazes me to think about where I was before I started. I think my time at Kresge has renewed my belief in the potential to promote human progress in the United States and in the world. My outlook on the future has improved as well knowing that by 2020, approximately 1 trillion dollars in capital is expected to be committed to impact investing. And it is not just the ideal of impact investing that makes me hopeful, because that alone is insufficient. What makes me hopeful is that I am seeing in real time families being able to buy homes, entrepreneurs being able to move their ideas forward, and cities being reenergized and rebuilt due to the work of impact investing.
Net Impact is a grantee of The Kresge Foundation and is working on content and resources to help prepare young people for careers in impact investing. For more information on Impact Investing see our Impact Investing Portal.
Whether you are passionate about protecting the environment, reversing climate change, reimaging food systems, investing for impact, fighting for equity and social justice - or anything in between - the 2017 Net Impact Conference is for you!
Our specially crafted program is designed to take your passions and turn them into a tangible career. You can discover jobs in corporate responsibility, explore the details of nonprofit work, or gain new insights into starting your own social enterprise. Through panels, workshops, and networking opportunities you will also build connections with impact leaders who can offer support and guidance as you continue on your career path.
Some of these impact leaders include Abe Taleb, CEO of ReWork, Rohit Malhotra, Founder and Executive Director for the Center for Civic Innovation, and Jessica Fleuti, Curator, Skoll Convenings for the Skoll Foundation. For those interested in food systems, hear from Dave Stangis, the Vice President for Public Affairs and Corporate Responsibility at Campbell Soup Company. Are you looking for a career in impact investing? Then connect with NI17 speaker Rehana Nathoo, the Vice President of Social Innovation and Impact Investing for the Case Foundation. Perhaps you are passionate about fighting for equity and social justice? A workshop with Racy Conversations founder Karen Fleshman could be the event for you.
Each day of our event will equip you with the tangible skills to land your dream job with purpose. We will have recruiters on site or you can take your portfolio of new experiences and connections with you as you pursue future career opportunities.
Register for the 2017 Net Impact Conference to accelerate your impact career while staying on top of the latest trends in social and environmental change and having fun with your passionate and engaged peers in vibrant Atlanta. While we continue to work hard to refine the details, we hope you enjoyed this snapshot of what you can expect from our incredible conference program this year.
Here’s everything you can expect from the 2017 Net Impact Conference.
Derreck Kayongo brings life to the word tenacity. Kayongo will be a keynote speaker at the 2017 Net Impact Conference where he will inspire attendees with his Path to Purpose.
From Unthinkable Hardship to Incredible Impact
Kayongo was born in Kampala, Uganda just before General Idi Amin Dada, now one of history’s most notorious dictators, seized power in a military coup. As violence spread through the country and civil war erupted, Kayongo and his family became refugees in Kenya. He later immigrated to America to attend university. Throughout his successful career as an entrepreneur and human rights innovator, Kayongo has become a renowned expert in environmental sustainability and global health. Since 1994, he has served in leadership roles at some of the world’s most respected NGOs.
In 2009, Kayongo and his wife began laying the foundations for the Global Soap Project with veteran hospitality executive, Vicki Gordon. He recalled his time visiting refugee camps—where lack of basic hygiene left families vulnerable to disease. Kayongo came up with the idea to recycle discarded and partially-used soap from hotels and strategically distribute the bars to those lacking access to it around the world. The Global Soap Project has since partnered with many other leading global health organizations. It creates immediate positive health impact and supports local economies.
Today, Kayongo is the CEO of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta, Georgia. The Center allows visitors to explore the fundamental rights of all human beings and leave empowered to join the conversation in their own communities. In 2011, he was named a 2011 CNN Hero, and in 2016 the Georgia State Senate passed a resolution recognizing Kayongo’s incredible journey from refugee to CEO.
Kayongo has made a meaningful difference in the human rights and sustainability movements. Register today to hear Kayongo’s keynote speech and to reserve your spot on the National Center for Civil and Human Rights excursion at the 2017 Net Impact Conference.