Last weekend, Liz Maw stood facing around 2,700 impact-driven professionals at the 2012 Net Impact Conference and issued a challenge: “Do you have the courage to lead us – rapidly – into a new world of responsible and sustainable solutions?”
I was thrilled that Liz issued this challenge, because courage stems from a structured road map one can follow. This is what we do: We provide emerging leaders with the structured process and resources they need to get hired for jobs that maximize impact and income. We do so by making university staff and faculty as effective with impact-driven students as they are with traditional students.
Over the past 10 years, many universities have created new courses or adapted their curriculum to integrate more best practices around social and environmental value creation. Many universities have also expanded their experiential learning offerings, including sending students on trips to work with social enterprises around the world, or offering project-based consulting services to local or global nonprofits.
However, most universities remain woefully ineffective when it comes to helping students get hired for jobs that maximize impact and income. Most university staff and faculty are at a loss on how to wrap their mind around the chaotic landscape of social and environmental change jobs. Is social intrapreneurship the only route to a CSR job in a big company? What are my students’ options in getting hired by a social enterprise rather than launching one? What is a Benefit Corporation? What job opportunities exist in impact investing? These are frequent questions university staff and faculty try to address with their students. Our mission is to help university staff and faculty effectively address these questions so that their graduates can “lead us – rapidly – into a new world of responsible and sustainable solutions.”
To do so, Mark and I led two sessions during the Net Impact Conference. One was designed to help over 180 chapter leaders increase their coaching effectiveness with students looking for impact-driven jobs. Our second session, in collaboration with Tracy Triggs-Matthews, Assistant Director of the UNC Kenan-Flagler Center for Sustainable Enterprise (CSE), focused on how our staff training and career modules have transformed how UNC Kenan-Flagler staff coaches students interested in impact-driven jobs.
Our collaboration with UNC Kenan-Flagler started over a year ago, with Katrin Baker from their Career Management Center (CMC) and Tracy Triggs-Matthews participating in our online staff training. This guaranteed that students would receive consistent strategic advice and resources whether they asked their career questions to CMC or CSE staff. Seeing the value of our process and resources, UNC Kenan-Flagler invited us to lead an in-person staff training to further expand the effectiveness for all CMC and CSE staff working with impact-driven students. Finally, UNC Kenan-Flagler students gained access to our career modules in August 2012.
|Tracy reported that our partnership led to the following results:
Many programs and professional associations initiatives focus on providing resources and training to students. We are different. We leverage the fact that the university staff members and faculty we work with remain at their university on average longer than students. As a result, our university partners benefit from a lasting change when it comes to maximizing career coaching effectiveness with impact-driven and traditional students and alumni.
During our session with Tracy and our session with chapter leaders, we were honored to receive overwhelmingly positive feedback about our Career Opportunities Map. Students, working professionals, and university staff found how we organize mission-driven jobs by skill sets or function (as rows of our map), and sectors (as columns of our map) transformational in terms of putting order in the chaos of social and environmental change jobs (download our map with examples of Net Impact community members for each cell). As a recovering cognitive neuroscientist, I couldn’t be happier about this feedback, because, to quote Oliver Wendell Homes, ‘a mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions’.
That our Career Opportunities Map offers an upgraded and structured framework is key. But that’s not enough. But most important is one’s ability to decide which 1-2 cells of the map is a better fit for one’s unique career goals and life priorities. From our interactions during and beyond the Net Impact Conference, we are thrilled to hear that our career modules and staff training are having their intended impact. They offer 24/7 access to a structured process and career assessments that empowers students and working professionals to (1) decide which cells of the Map is a better fit for one’s next career move, (2) find their tribe of like-minded professionals and organizations, and (3) identify and compete for jobs that best fit them.
We know our modules are working based on feedback from our users. We started thinking that our modules would be most useful to graduate students:
|“More Than Money Careers (MTMC) helped me develop a strategy on how to turn my passion for doing well by doing good into a job. MTMC’s modules showed me how to narrow my focus to my main sector of interest while also broadening my strategies for obtaining my desired job. Getting a job is no easy task, but MTMC provides specific strategies and suggestions on the best way to go about your search. Unlike typical career advice companies that just say do this or that, MTMC showed me examples from leaders in the field and provided lists of companies in every sector. After just an hour of watching modules, I had updated my twitter profile to better reflect the interests and skills I want my followers to remember, I had chosen my sector of interest from an easy to understand landscape map, and I had found three for-profit social enterprise specific job boards from among the more than 20 live links to jobs boards within the module. I now feel empowered with the tools and strategies to not only understand the career landscape for those who want to earn more than money but to strategically position myself within it to obtain the job of my dreams.”
- JD/MBA Student
We found out that they are also highly effective with undergraduate students:
|“Through hands-on modules and relatable examples, the More than Money Careers workshop substantially increased my understanding of today’s sustainable business opportunities and how to practically pursue them. I was inspired by learning about successful businesses that are passionate about social impact, and I left empowered to further social impact through my own career.
Since the workshop, I’ve been using LinkedIn and Twitter more effectively and plan on using these tools to get more involved in my community (pro-bono consulting, etc). I wish every student could attend the More than Money Careers workshop.”
- Undergraduate Senior
Liz’s challenge is clear and might seem quite risky to many. But we look forward to lowering that perceived risk by providing university staff and faculty with the process and resources their students need to lead us into a new world of responsible and sustainable solutions.