Change That’s Powered by Diversity
How a partnership between Net Impact and Symantec is creating a more inclusive network.
Diversity and inclusion are essential to creating a truly sustainable future. That's why Net Impact partnered with Symantec Corporation on an important project this year to increase the diversity of our network and bring new opportunities to students in Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and women's colleges.
Symantec Corporation’s dedication to embedding diversity and inclusion into its business practices made them the perfect partner for this initiative -- according to Symantec, attracting, retaining, and fully engaging diverse talent leads to enhanced innovation and creativity.
At Net Impact, we recognized that in our 320-plus chapter network, we didn’t have enough representation from HBCUs and women’s colleges, and wanted to understand more about impact career opportunities at these institutions. Symantec Corporation’s partnership and generous support allowed us to diversify our network, conduct outreach to engage a variety of students, and bring a group of students to the Net Impact conference in 2013. We directly impacted underrepresented students by giving them opportunities to lead positive change on their campuses through skill-building programs, connect with a community of like-minded peers committed to making a social and environmental impact, and engage through meaningful events, activities, and networking opportunities with Symantec employees.
During the 2013-2014 academic year, we launched five new Net Impact chapters at HBCUs and women’s colleges, providing a platform for the students to create events and dialogue in an entrepreneurial fashion around issues that they are passionate about. The chapters that launched this year held a wide range of activities that focused on different aspects of sustainability and social impact.
We asked the students who led those chapters this year to reflect on their experiences and what being a part of Net Impact means to them. Here’s what they had to say:
Connecting people to something bigger
Rico Banks (second from the left)
Seth ‘Rico’ Banks is the chapter leader for the Morehouse undergraduate chapter, and when asked about his greatest moment this year, he said that the “best moment would be solidifying a connection with Net Impact [through becoming an official campus club affiliated with an international organization] – knowing that we had someone supporting us behind the scenes. Nothing has ever been done like this at an HBCU campus, which was very exciting.”
The Net Impact chapter at Morehouse has a strong, three-person leadership team and a faculty advisor, and they held multiple service field trips in the community around the Atlanta University Center. Rico also said, “I know that a lot of people are dependent on me without even knowing it. Being a minority…this is something that’s going to impact us and the world. People want to be connected to something bigger. I feel like it’s been my job to reveal my passion to other students and help them connect with the concepts.” Rico is really looking forward to next year and wants to bring a sustainable business expo to the Morehouse campus to help students broaden their career paths.
Finding a path to be on-stage
Delma Hernandez (far right)
At Mills College, the undergraduate Net Impact chapter is thriving with a leadership team of three students and a dedicated faculty advisor who is invested in their success. When asked about her greatest moment this year, Delma Hernandez, the Mills College chapter leader, told us, “I noticed that there weren’t many Latinas speaking at the conference … as Latinas, we need to be up there. As a woman and as a Latina, I know I need to be up there. Net Impact is showing me the path to reach that stage. Our chapter is making a larger impact by modeling strong, smart, collaborative female leadership.”
Delma and her team used social media and in-person events to engage their classmates and peers in dialogue around social justice and the importance of awareness of social issues during this past academic year.
Using social media for change
Laura Chandler (left) and Carla DaSilva (right)
The Net Impact undergraduate chapter at Simmons College has a strong leadership team of four students. Carla DaSilva (Simmons chapter leader) and Laura Chandler (Simmons chapter vice president) organized a Career Impact Event showcasing women in the CSR community. Carla told us, “The greatest triumph for our chapter, after becoming a recognized organization, was the Career Impact Event. We invited four Simmons alumni, all working within the local Boston nonprofit community, to share their experiences and advice for students on how they too could create a positive impact through their careers.”
The Simmons chapter is excited to continue its momentum in fall 2014, and Carla tells us, “We also intend to utilize social media in order to expand our chapter’s brand further and make it well-known throughout the Simmons undergraduate community.”
Net Impact and Symantec Corporation couldn’t be more proud of the students that launched Net Impact chapters this year! We’re continuing to work with several other HBCU and women’s college campuses to launch chapters in the 2014-2015 academic year, and we look forward to a continued partnership to enable a diverse new generation to use their careers to drive transformational change in the workplace and the world.
Want to get more involved with Net Impact? Find a chapter near you.