Net Impact Conference Perspective: Graduate Student Mackenzie Pedersen

By: Izzy White - Net Impact Fellow | August 16, 2018

With the 2018 Net Impact Conference just two months away, find out why graduate student Mackenzie Pedersen is returning to the conference for her second year.

The 2018 Net Impact Conference will take place in Phoenix, Arizona on October 25-27 and is set to bring together a large and diverse group of attendees for a weekend of inspiring programs and extensive networking opportunities. 

For graduate students, the conference program is the ultimate way to enhance their higher education experience by hearing from the top leaders in the fields of social and environmental issues and by cultivating ties with other highly motivated students and professionals. One of the conference’s featured networking events is its networking salons, which allow attendees the ability to personally meet and mingle with the long list of exciting conference speakers.

Mackenzie Pedersen is a second-year student pursuing a Master’s in Global Affairs and Management at the Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University who is looking forward to returning to the 2018 Net Impact Conference (NI18) this year. She attended for the first time last fall in Atlanta, Georgia, and enjoyed her time there so much that she is coming back again this year. Net Impact caught up with Mackenzie to reflect on her thoughts on the 2017 conference and discuss her expectations and anticipations for 2018.

Mackenzie (front row, third from right) pictured at the 2017 Net Impact Conference in Atlanta, Georgia with the cohort of students she attended with. 

Q: What are you most looking forward to at this year’s Net Impact Conference?

A: I am most looking forward to the opportunity to connect with people in the social impact space that I want to be a part of post-graduation. I want to get a sense of who is there and who all the players are, and I am excited to learn about the things currently going on.

Q: Which topics are you specifically looking forward to learning more about?

A: I am really interested in climate change and what different organizations are doing regarding climate change and how they are integrating that into their businesses. I also want to learn about how energy is changing these days.

Q: Who are you most looking forward to seeing speak?

A: As far as the keynote speakers are concerned, there are two people I am looking forward to most: Gina McCarthy with C-Change and Musimbi Kanyoro, who is the CEO of the Global Fund for Women. With the general #MeToo movement and women being recognized for the amazing work that they are doing, I am looking forward to learning what these incredibly strong women are doing as leaders in the social impact space, as well as what their jobs entail and what their organizations are doing to create world change.

Q: What made you want to attend the conference for a second year in a row?

A: Last year, I was initially looking at conferences that were being sponsored by my school’s career management center and the Net Impact conference stood out to me most because it was based on social impact and blending the nonprofit and for-profit sectors to create impact in the world for social good. I had such an incredible experience last year--I learned so much and met so many amazing individuals. I know this year is going to bring a whole new round of inspiring people who are doing amazing things in the world. I know I will have the opportunity to network with them, put faces to names and hopefully be able to see them as colleagues one day.

Q: Why do you think the conference is a beneficial opportunity for graduate students?

A: For graduate students specifically, conferences allow you to learn about the different opportunities in the spaces that you want to be a part of. If you want to be a part of the energy sector, going to a conference like this will keep you informed of the different trends that are happening in that sector as well as introduce you to people who are representing those trends and those companies that you might want to work for one day.

Q: Do you have any advice for a first-time conference attendee?

A: Bring a notepad. Last year I filled out probably 10 pages of notes from keynote speakers, session speakers, and networking events. Whenever I got to meet somebody, I was able to write down their name and organization so even if we were not able to build into a great lengthy conversation right then and there, I was able to look up their organization later as well as potentially get their email address and be able connect with them later on.

Join Mackenzie and thousands of other students and professionals for an unforgettable weekend in Phoenix. Register today for the 2018 Net Impact Conference with the Early Bird special discount before prices go up on September 16!

Learn more here about the 2018 Net Impact Conference and direct any questions to



Izzy White - Net Impact Fellow

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