Social Enterprise 2007 Summer Internship Experiences

Name: Chris Ashley

Organization: The Wilderness Society
I spent my summer as a Hewlett Environmental Fellow at The Wilderness Society. The Wilderness Society is a national conservation organization focused on the protection of public lands. I worked with the organization’s General Counsel who is leading up their Climate Change Task Force, an initiative focused on understanding the link between TWS’ mission and climate change issues and impacts. My job centered on carbon emission reductions and the carbon offset market. Part of my summer was spent calculating TWS’ own carbon footprint and developing strategies for emission reductions over the coming years. Part of my summer was spent educating the organization about carbon offsets, authoring an overview report on the nuts and bolts of the market in terms of issues, players, etc. and making recommendations on which offsets to purchase. Finally, I worked with the Climate Change Task Force to develop a strategy for TWS involvement in the market for bio-sequestration offsets (aka planting trees / protecting forests) and how those offset projects relate to the TWS mission of promoting healthy ecosystems. 

I had amazing access to senior management including regular meetings with and access to the President and Executive Vice President of the organization. Furthermore, I was able to attend several hearings on Capitol Hill related to climate change to better understand possible legislation on the issue. My summer culminated with an invitation to present my work to TWS’ Governing Council at the organization’s annual meeting in the North Cascades outside Seattle. 

Name: Rocelle Bade

Organization: The Broad Center
This summer, I worked as a Summer Associate Consultant for The Broad Center, a non-profit organization in Los Angeles committed to raising student achievement by recruiting, training and supporting executive leadership talent from across America to become the next generation of urban school district leaders. I worked specifically with its Broad Superintendents Academy (“TBA”, a ten-month executive management program to train working CEOs and other top executives from business, non-profit, military, government and education backgrounds to lead urban public school systems) on several projects. My primary project entailed performing an unprecedented comparative analysis on the demographics of TBA Fellows as well as executives and superintendents currently working in public school districts.  Additionally, I completed an extensive deep-dive analysis on Fellows’ placement trends (e.g., how long it took them to get placed, where they were placed) within the education system based on various factors including, race, gender, and prior work experience. These results were used to gain insight on the type of individuals TBA has attracted as well as to further develop TBA’s recruiting strategy going forward.

As a Fellow for Education Pioneers, I obtained invaluable training and education on the key challenges that exist today in urban education school systems, and more importantly, the various levers that are being used to address these issues. I was fortunate to hear from a variety of speakers who serve as change agents in the education field to better understand the current state of education. Additionally, I interacted with a cohort of 15 talented individuals from law, public policy, education, and business backgrounds from whom I was able to learn and develop a much more diverse and well-rounded perspective.

Name: Carolyn Carpenter

Organization: Education Pioneers
This summer I worked for Downtown College Prep (DCP), a charter high school in San Jose, CA that prepares underachieving student (having under a 2.0 in junior high) and will be the first generation of their family to attend college to thrive in a four year college. DCP currently has a single school and is looking to open 3 additional schools in the next five years. My project was to write the business plan for this growth and gain stakeholder buy-in throughout the organization. To this end, I conducted several meetings facilitating 30 key stakeholders through brainstorming and prioritization exercises to determine actionable five year goals. Additionally, I created a market analysis tool to assist DCP in assessing where they should open new schools and determined the organizational structure for both the home office and school sites to support this growth. During my project I had regular interaction with the Executive Director as well as the Board of Directors.

I was matched with DCP through Education Pioneers, which selects top graduate students in business, education, law, and policy to work on challenging projects with high levels of impact at progressive educational organizations throughout the country. Bi-weekly training sessions throughout the summer exposed me to important issues across education and to the innovative leaders who are working to address those issues. The fellows cohort was a key part of my experience, their knowledge and insights influenced my thoughts during the entire project.

Name: Jennifer Field

Organization: Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP)
Over the summer I was the John C. Whitehead MBA Intern at the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP) in New York City. CECP is a 501(c)(3) membership organization of business CEOs and Chairpersons that are leading the business community in raising the level and quality of corporate philanthropy.  

I learned of the Whitehead MBA Internship through Kellogg’s affiliation with the Net Impact community. Part of my time was spent initiating an in-depth strategic review of CECP as the first phase in building a new organizational vision and five-year plan.  I worked both internally and with external consultants. The remainder of my time was spent researching and evaluating approximately 75 organizations in the philanthropic field. Not only did this research serve as the foundation of a CECP partnership study, but also I consolidated the information to create a Corporate Philanthropy Resource Guide for CECP members and the general public.

As the only intern in a small organization, I was involved in all aspects of CECP’s operations. I was able to experience the challenges and rewards of working in a nonprofit, to explore the role of corporate philanthropy in society, and to foster a relationship with Secretary Whitehead.

Name: David Holman

Organization: The Chicago Community Trust
I was fortunate this past summer to work as an intern for The Chicago Community Trust, one of Chicago’s oldest and largest philanthropic organizations. The Trust provides grants to area organizations and causes with focuses as diverse as arts, education, and scientific research. I was given complete autonomy to both determine the viability of entering a new area of philanthropic giving, and, as the project progressed, map out the strategic underpinnings of how this expansion could be carried out.

This was a new program for the Trust, and I was given wide latitude in developing the project, while at the same time was able to draw on the deep and wide ranging experience of the Trust’s professional staff. In the end, I came away satisfied that I had made a clear and identifiable difference at the organization, and was a valuable experience.

Name: Jeremy Hunnewell

Organization: New Schools for New Orleans
I worked for New Schools for New Orleans (NSNO), which is a new non-profit focused on education reform in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The silver lining of the storm that left the city devastated is that we can now rebuild the education system for the ground up. NSNO is a big part of that, focusing on charter schools, incubating new schools and school leaders, dispensing advice and advocating for change in the city and the state.

My primary project over the summer was developing NSNO’s emergency plan, which detailed the steps the organization and people should take in the event of an emergency (such as a hurricane). However, given that NSNO is very small, I was able to be exposed to a number of projects throughout the summer, including a forensic audit of a failing school, helping to create the marketing plan for the organization, and taking part in designing the mission statement and operating plan for NSNO. The summer provided a great learning experience in exposing me to the inner workings of a non-profit organization while allowing me to develop my skills in the niche realm of emergency management, an area I am passionate about.

Name: Priscilla Krone

Organization: National Alliance for Public Charter Schools
I spent last summer at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools assessing the leadership requirements of the charter movement in terms of volume and skills. I developed a report on the various potential strategies that the Alliance and other affiliated organizations might pursue to increase the number of high-quality charter school founders and principals.

I was placed at The Alliance through Education Pioneers, a human capital organization connecting graduate students in business, education, law, and public policy programs with opportunities in public education reform.

Education Pioneers provided me with an in-depth view of the public education landscape and exposed me to diverse perspectives on education reform. The fellows experience afforded me the opportunity to explore various reform levers and determine which areas may be the best fit for my interests and abilities going forward.

Name: Cat Ng

Organization: The Broad Foundation
Over the summer, I worked for The Broad Foundation in Los Angeles. As a major funder of K-12 public education, TBF touches every aspect of the sector – including district reforms, teacher recruitment, technological improvements, etc. The work is at the forefront of education reform and was fascinating to learn about. I split my time between two projects. One was to evaluate proposals for principal training programs around the country. The other was a strategy project to look at market potential for innovative teacher contracts. Specifically, I analyzed how receptive various school districts around the country would be to a teacher contract focused on student achievement. I worked on a team of seven from three very different organizations and had a lot of flexibility with structuring my work. It was a great experience and the people at TBF were very open to talking with me about their work in education reform. 

This internship was part of the Education Pioneers program. Education Pioneers selects top graduate students in business, education, law, policy and other disciplines to work on challenging business, policy, or legal projects by partnering with education organizations, school districts, and schools. The training sessions we had over the summer taught me about the various ways I can participate in the education industry. It also introduced me to amazing leaders who are working to change the sector. It was also great to meet a number of other interns who were passionate and interested in creating change in public education. 

Name: Tal Sharon-Huber

Organization: Civic Consulting Alliance
I interned with Civic Consulting Alliance (CCA), a not-for-profit consulting firm working to improve government in the City of Chicago.CCA provides general management consulting services (strategic planning, operational improvements, and organizational design) using a combination of CCA staff consultants, client employees, and consultants “on loan” from Chicago’s top private sector corporations and consulting firms.I worked on a business development project for Chicago’s Navy Pier. A team from CCA worked together with consultants from a top business consulting firm to explore options for Navy Pier.I worked closely with the team and the client, analyzed data and developed recommendations. The project had various work streams – marketing, finance, strategy and business development. CCA is a small firm – only eight consultants, which means that I got a lot of responsibility and worked in a fun, family atmosphere. CCA has various projects and they tried to staff me on a project that matched my interests. Other projects that went on during the summer included environmental issues, education, public housing and more. I got a real consulting experience (minus the out of town travel and bad hours) in a friendly, supportive environment.

Name: Paul Shaw

Organization: Securities and Exchange Commission
This summer I worked at the Securities and Exchange Commission headquarters in Washington DC. I worked for the Office of Human Resources’ Strategic Management Officer. I worked on internal projects aimed at 1.) transforming the Office of Human Resources from more transaction-based work to becoming a strategic business partner for the SEC, 2.) becoming more customer-focused and 3.) achieving operational excellence by moving from a reactive approach to a more proactive one. I developed and managed the OHR’s Balanced Scorecard Initiative portal which was used to monitor the individual process improvements. I also assisted in creating the strategy that the SEC plan to execute for its agency-wide revised performance management plan.

It was a great experience because as the only MBA intern I was allowed a high-level of responsibility and exposure to several sr. level executives. It was an invaluable opportunity to gain insight into the nuances of the federal government. It also provided me the ability to participate first-hand in the agency’s application of standard business best-practices in its efforts to remain one of the premier agencies of the federal government.

Name: Makiko Yamashita

Organization: One Acre Fund Kenya
As a summer intern at One Acre Fund, a start-up social enterprise founded by Kellogg alumni in 2006, I managed and improved the organization’s current focal project, a passion fruit program. One Acre Fund takes a market approach aimed at eliminating hunger permanently.One Acre Fund provides comprehensive packages to poor subsistence farmers including high quality farm input, training and mentoring, and access to market working with local staff. My role was to identify and solve problems experienced in the field and overhaul the existing farming methods and procedures to ultimately improve the quality and quantity of harvest. I worked closely with local staff and partners such as horticulture specialists and agronomists on a variety of farming experiments designed to improve upon the effective use of resources. Additionally I provided tools to create and implement improved procedures for farmers. By the end of the summer, the program increased harvest capacity by three times while simultaneously improving quality. Newly planted passion fruit trees are growing well promising to bring sustainable income to farmers.

My summer experience gave me a fascinating opportunity to gain insights into the contributions that I can make using my passion and skills for sustainable economic development. It also taught me about working in an entrepreneurial environment, and how to take responsibility for an entire project. My biggest takeaway from this summer is the power of “hope.” Toward the end of my term, a farmer came up to me during a routine field visit and said “You are a tough woman but I learned something from you that I will never forget.” Empowering the poor rather than giving them ready-made solutions can bring pain at the onset. When they start to have hope for success, this hope becomes a strong driving force, pushing them to work toward lifting themselves out of poverty. The farmer’s words motivate me to pursue what I believe and work with those who are underprivileged but strive and hope to change their lives.