year before starting her MBA studies, she had attended a California
conference featuring guest speaker and Nobel Prize winner
Mohammad Yunus, founder of microfinance pioneer Grameen Bank,
one of the organizations extending small loans to impoverished
entrepreneurs with the goal of enabling these people to become
self sufficient. Chan also learned more about the work of
another nonprofit microlender — Unitus.
partners with microfinance banks around the globe, helping
them to develop their management teams, connect with larger
financial institutions and infuse their systems with the capital
that lets them help more of those in need.
immediately, the Kellogg School alum says she was hooked on
the idea of microfinance, an arena where her business school
skills could fuel her desire to help the less fortunate.
offered to complete a pro bono consulting project for Unitus,
eventually assembling a team of eight Kellogg students for
the effort. The team compared the banks that Unitus had helped
to those it had not in order to answer a critical question:
"Does the nonprofit make a difference?" Their finding: Unitus
partners grew nearly four times as fast as the average microfinance
what really sold me," Chan remembers. "I wanted to join this
the first recipient of the Kellogg School's Beacon
Capital Partners Fellowship, which partially funds a one-year
appointment to a nonprofit organization, that's exactly what
Chan did following graduation. At her new job, she focused
her efforts on the goal of making the poor more productive.
of the small banks that serve the impoverished in developing
countries cap out at about 2,000 poor borrowers, she notes.
"That's very inefficient, if you think about it," Chan says.
"There's so much more potential, but they usually can't reach
that next stage of growth."
a recent move to Lynchburg, Va., to join her husband, Greg
Jimmerson, a college track coach, Chan has consulted for Unitus.
Her latest project is to investigate industries "adjacent"
to microfinance, such as healthcare, housing, education and
technology, and discover how to deliver these products and
services to the poor.
an example, she cites the human resources practices of established
organizations, which often play a role in the poor'sunderemployment.
While recruiting efforts can focus on cities, in many countries
— India, for example — the poor live disproportionately
in rural areas, and so they can miss out on job opportunities.
her efforts have benefited greatly from the strong strategic
background she developed as a Kellogg student. "There were very few required courses
I needed to take," says Chan, who entered the one-year MBA
program with a robust background in business. "The rest of
my program I could personally design, which allowed me to
focus on the strategy end of things."
not at work for Unitus, Chan teaches business classes through
Liberty University and uses her skills to help other nonprofit
organizations, most notably one called Advancing Native Missions,
which works in 182 countries.
with her husband, Chan also helps administer the Altitude
Project, a running camp that helps elite athletes excel in
competitive running and Christian living. More than 100 runners
have come through the camp already, including one who has
qualified for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
may be busy, but a tireless sense of purpose seems to infuse
all Chan does. "I've always felt a strong calling to leave
a legacy," she says.