ESG Reporters’ Bootcamp 2022

ESG Reporters' Bootcamp 2022:

Covering the Truth about Ethical Investing and ESG

Around the globe, the demand for ethical investing is exploding amid shareholder concerns about climate change, social justice, and corporate responsibility.

In 2021, more than $649 billion poured into funds focused on environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) issues, a set of standards used by socially conscious investors to screen investments. In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, corporations are pulling out of Russia or suspending their operations. As ESG-labeled funds take in billions, what do journalists need to know to report the truth about them?

In May 2022, the Ross School of Business and the Knight-Wallace Fellowships for Journalists at the University of Michigan presented three engaging and interactive sessions for journalists on understanding and evaluating industry claims around ESG. We heard from newsmakers, corporate leaders, and Michigan faculty experts on how to look beyond the corporate gloss, dig into data, and bring transparency to this complex and often politicized topic. 

Whether you’re a reporter covering business, climate, social justice, or general news, these sessions were designed to help you understand the most current issues driving the business and investing world. 

Click on the tabs below to see videos on each subject of the ESG acronym:

2022 Impact Internships Reach Across the USA

Dimitri Giraldo with internship funder Jason Gordon.

This year, Business+Impact’s Summer Fund is financially supporting the summer impact internships of 29 University of Michigan students, and overall we are supporting 57 U-M students in several types of summer experiences.

Each summer, Business+Impact awards competitive grants for summer internships to MBAs and BBAs in the Ross School of Business as well as MPP students in the Ford School of Public Policy.  MBA funding comes from the Give-A-Day Fund, a student-led MBA pay-it-forward fund, and from General Motors. Additionally, the Gordon Impact Entrepreneurship Fund provides support for BBA or MBA student internships with ventures or funders seeking to create societal impact. 

Finally, Business+Impact and Zell Lurie are supporting MBAs taking part in Open Road at Ross, funded by the Ford Motor Company.  This year teams are back on the road, covering the nation in solid MBA consulting! 

The Summer Fund

The Summer Fund is funded in part through the Give-A-Day Fund (for MBAs), Business+Impact (for BBAs) and the Ford School of Public Policy (for MPPs).

BBAs:

Sehrish Hussain, Studio Gallery, D.C., Washington D.C.

Faith Richardson, Backpac, San Francisco CA

Ponette Rubio, Lirico, Ann Arbor

Tanmay Arora, Global CO2 Initiatives, Ann Arbor MI

Soumya Tejam, University Impact, Provo UT

MBAs:

Summer Abiad, Purposeful Growth Institute, Remote

Jillian Brown, Do Good Foods, Princeton NJ

Alexis Kenworthy, Pacific Community Ventures, Oakland CA

Emily Griffith, The Encore Musical Theatre Company, Dexter MI

Linnet Leon, The Nature Conservancy, Washington D.C.

Patrick Burden, IDEO.org, NYC

Kathryn Mioduszewski, Embolden Athletics, Ann Arbor MI

Jason Hefter, Launch Factory, San Diego, CA

Aiko Ueda, Global CO2 Initiatives, Ann Arbor MI

MPPs:

Ariella Stafanson, ACLU of Northern California – Racial and Economic Justice Unit, San Francisco CA

Trevor Orginski, Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, Labor, Bureau of East Asia and Pacific Affairs, Washington D.C.

Alhan Fakhr, mHUB, Chicago IL

Marco Ramirez, National Academy of Social Insurance – 2022 Congressman Pete Stark Health Policy Internship, Washington D.C.

Ariel Freed, Center for Integrity in Forensic Science, Madison WI

Laura Meyer, United Way of Southeastern Michigan, Detroit MI

Ellie Jorling, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Lansing MI

Stephen Culbertson, City of Detroit, Detroit MI

Patricia Fisher, TABLE, Oxford UK

Daniel Hayes, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, Washington D.C.

Luiza Macedo, The Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institute, Washington D.C.

Gordon Impact Entrepreneurship Interns

The newly established Gordon Impact Entrepreneurship Fund provides support for BBA or MBA student internships with ventures or funders seeking to create societal impact. 

Gretchen Ascher (BBA),Coastal Enterprises, Inc., Brunswick ME

Jillian Brown (MBA/MS – Erb), Do Good Foods, Princeton, NJ.

Nathan Lohrmann (MBA), Impact Venture Capital @ The Unreasonable Group, Boulder CO

Elijah Forrester (MBA), Africa Innovation Hub, Ann Arbor MI

+Impact Studio for Local Business

The +Impact Studio for Local Business internship continues to be robust in its third year. Student funding has been made possible by Ross’ Business+Impact and Applebaum Family Philanthropy, the School of Information, the Stamps School of Art & Design, and Ripple. Several community partners in Detroit, especially from TechTown, will be on hand throughout the summer to help orient students to Detroit’s entrepreneurial landscape, to refer business clients, and to serve as a sounding board and resource connector for students. 

Brandon Matja, BBA

Faiqa Alam, BBA

Nova Wyrobek, BBA

Grace Aretakis, BBA

Allison Wei, BBA

Open Road at Ross

Due to loosening of restrictions from the recent pandemic, we are making up for the lost years by launching our largest contingent of Open-Roaders ever! Driving from state to state, meeting socially- and environmentally-driven entrepreneurs, Ross MBAs spend one week on-site in each location, working closely with the entrepreneur, to provide a solution or recommendation to a business problem they are facing. At the end of each week, students pack up the car and hit the road again to meet with the next entrepreneur! Business+Impact and Zell Lurie Institute are proud to partners on this program, funded by Ford Motor Company.

Team Hidden JEMMS (MBA2s):

Jaume Boneta Seco, MBA

Eric Hopfenbeck, MBA

Mallory Leibowitz, MBA

Megha Savla, MBA

Team Community Collective (MBA2s):

Amanda Hsieh, MBA

Marissa Cooper, MBA

Kat Nguyen, MBA

Hemangani Pande, MBA

Real Execs of Ross (MBA2s):

Patrice Drummond, MBA

Shayon Donaldson, MBA

Whitney Pollard, MBA

SEEL the Deal (MBA1s):

Eden Berdugo, MBA

Linnet Leon, MBA

Esther Chen, MBA

Sai Madhavi Antharam, MBA

Geek Squad (MBA1s):

Joss Woodhead, MBA

Summer Abiad, MBA

Messeret Kebede, MBA

Chisom Uche, MBA

Eats Meets West (MBA1s):

Ashley Tran, MBA

Patrick Nguyen Burden, MBA

Sam Teng, MBA

Gic-Owens Fiestan, MBA

Working with Inspiring Business Owners in Detroit through DNEP +Impact Studio for Local Business

By Grace Aretakis (BBA ’24)

As the daughter of a female business owner, and the granddaughter of a first generation immigrant who came to Detroit to start his own enterprise, small businesses have been a central part of my family and life thus far. Through the Detroit Neighborhood Entrepreneurs Project +Impact Studio for Local Business internship, I have the privilege of working closely with driven entrepreneurs who are paving the way for  success for both their families and communities. 

My name is Grace Aretakis and I am a sophomore undergraduate student, studying Business Administration at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business. After a little over a week in my internship, I find myself immersed in an environment that has allowed me to grow, explore my curiosities, and learn from the remarkable small business owners we have the honor of working with.  

Our first meeting with the initial set of clients set the tone for this internship. Our first two clients are two women who have centered their entrepreneurial visions around their dedication to the Detroit community. Not only are these business owners impressive for their entrepreneurial ambition, but also for their selflessness. They value the growth of their businesses for the growth it will foster in their community. What struck me from this meeting was how intertwined the goals of these businesses are with the needs of the community. When we went to visit the site of one of these businesses, I noticed that each interaction Felicia had with her customers was fueled by generosity and love. I am especially enthused to learn this summer by observing the passion and care these business owners have for the people they serve. 

Felicia Maxwell, Owner of Fit 4 Life in Detroit, led the Open Road team in a workout during our time with her.

In my short time so far, I have also learned how many roles the title of “business owner” truly encompasses. These women do not just hold the title of founder of their business, but accountant, marketer, maintenance, tech support, researcher, employee, employer, and the list goes on. Not only do they hold these many titles relating to their business, they also hold the responsibilities of mother/father, mentor, teacher, provider, and the list goes on. Understanding the many pressures and responsibilities these entrepreneurs face made me recognize what a responsibility and privilege we as students have in this internship. We have the opportunity to use the resources and training provided by DNEP +ISLB to take ownership of one of these titles to take this weight off of the owner. If we can take over “accountant” or “marketer”, and implement a solution that will free this burden, we can enable further success and growth for these business owners.

Felicia Maxwell passes a plate with ease as she directs our workout at Fit 4 Life in Detroit.

As we are introduced to new projects in the upcoming weeks, I look forward to soaking in the many additional lessons I will learn from the owners we work with, the challenges we tackle, and the talented student interns around me. This opportunity has allowed me to assess where I can grow as a business student and a member of a team. In such a short time, I already see myself becoming a more effective communicator and team member. By the end of this program, I look forward to seeing growth in myself along with the growth that we stimulate in the business we work with. Thank you to all who have made this rewarding opportunity possible. I cannot wait to see the impact we make during these upcoming weeks.

PODCAST: Labor – Effects of Remote Work and Monopsony

In this episode of Social Impact Design for Business, Jerry Davis of Michigan Ross’ +Impact Studio interviews Jagadeesh Sivadasan, Professor of Business Economics at Michigan Ross. Mr Sivadasan shares insights into changes labor markets where remote work and monopsony are radically changing the landscape. As remote work opens up, competition for jobs can increase in certain industries.

 

Board Fellows Partner Organization Info Sessions

Tues, May 17 @ Noon
Dearborn Room
UM Detroit Center

Thurs, May 19 @ Noon
Blau Hall, B1570
Ross School of Business

Are you a nonprofit organization in Southeast Michigan that is curious about the Board Fellowship program? Graduate student Fellows serve as non-voting board members during the academic year and complete a strategic project that can provide valuable capacity in areas such as strategic plan implementation, sustainability strategies, business plans, and dashboards. These sessions provide an overview for prospective organizations interested in participating during the 2022-23 academic year, and feature insights from nonprofit leaders currently participating.

Using our rigorous matchmaking and vetting process, students with the unique skills to work on your organization’s pressing issues will be assigned to your board as non-voting members. You will benefit from their expertise in project management, marketing, business systems, policy analysis, strategic planning, and more.

Applications from nonprofit organizations will be accepted from now through
Sun, June 26:

RSVP for EITHER SESSION

Jerry Davis: Taming Corporate Power in the 21st Century

Business+Impact held a book chat between author Jerry Davis and Michigan Ross/SEAS professor Andy Hoffman on Jerry’s examination of corporate power in the 21st century, and how to tame it. His newest book “Taming Corporate Power in the 21st Century” is focused on the new sources of corporate power in an economy built on information technologies, how fundamental categories like industry, nationality, and employment are being undermined, why the new anti-monopoly movement does not go far enough, and what comes next. You can buy the book on Amazon.

April 2022 Newsletter

Jerry Davis and Andy Hoffman in front of the corporate background.

Social Impact Book Chats Coming up

Jerry Davis: “Taming Corporate Power in the 21st Century”
Thurs, Apr. 21 @ 5 – 6 pm ET
Virtual Event


Andrew Hoffman: “Management as Calling”
Wed, May 11 @ 5:30 – 6:30 ET
Virtual Event


Join us for two great book chats about social impact books, written by Ross faculty, which came out in 2022.

In the first book chat, “Taming Corporate Power in the 21st Century” author Jerry Davis and Michigan Ross/SEAS professor Andy Hoffman examine corporate power in the 21st century, and how to eliminate outdated thinking and tame the modern corporation.

In the second book chat, “Management as Calling” author Andy Hoffman discusses with Michigan Ross Business+Impact Faculty Director Jerry Davis his challenge for future business leaders to think differently about their career, its purpose, and its value as a calling or vocation, one that is in service to society.


Ross female grad student in from the the National Forest Foundation, with backpack.

Student Loan Repayment Program for Full-Time MBA Alums in Social Impact Careers

Through the Impact Advantage Program, alumni of the Michigan Ross Full-Time MBA Program (2021 grads and after) who pursue a career in the public or nonprofit sectors can apply for student loan repayment assistance. For those graduates accepted into the program, Impact Advantage will cover a portion of their Ross-related loan obligations — $7,500 per year for five years — while they are employed full-time at a social impact organization.

Applications for this program will be accepted in October, 2022, but all of you upcoming graduates should save the date!

More info


Four Ross students gathered around Impact Studio table with Moses Lee and a rep from the Applebaum Family Phlanthropy.

+Impact Studio News!

We’re excited to share that Plucky Comics, a venture in the +Impact Studio Founder’s Program, is having a launch party on 4/20 to celebrate the release of their first print comic. Plucky Comics is a series of comics that highlight and celebrate the lives of Black queer historical figures. You can read more about their work, buy merch, and pre-order the comic!

You can learn about another studio team, Dualete, and their work with UM hockey goalie Erik Portillo, in this Buffalo News article.

We have welcomed visitors this month in the +Impact Studio, including Dr. Marcus Harris from UM-Dearborn, Lecturer of Strategy and Entrepreneurship, who brought a class of students to the +Impact Studio for a design thinking workshop with Haley Phillips and Loren Townes Jr. And on Fri, Mar. 25th, Julia Belznak, the new Director of Applebaum Fellows and Community Development for Applebaum Family Philanthropy visited with Applebaum Fellows and Founders at their regular co-working session.

The +Impact Studio Podcast just dropped a new episode,”Capital: New Ways to Finance Your Business,” which features interview of Ross Professor Andrew Wu by +Impact Studio Faculty Director Jerry Davis on the subject of radical changes in capital funding models, where apps are entering the field and nearly cutting out banks entirely

As we reach the end of the academic year, our +Impact Studio class held a Demo Day (see photos) this week, and our Applebaum Fellows held a party and awards event last week (see photos).

And finally, the Detroit Neighborhood Entrepreneurs Project (DNEP) +Impact Studio for Local Business is getting ready to kick off their summer programming for undergrads with local Detroit businesses. The program runs May 4-June 24.

Ross Event Highlights:

Ross: Dean’s Open House
Fri, Apr. 29 @ 12:30-2 pm
Davidson Winter Garden

Photo of the main traffic circle in MCity, a driving course.

Alumni: MCity Tour
Tues, May 3 @ 5-6:30 pm
MCity

SPOTLIGHT

Whitney Martin (MBA ’16)Photo of Whitney Martin (MBA 2016).


Whitney Martin is Vice President of Sales and Service Delivery at Accion Opportunity Fund, a San Jose nonprofit that leads the nation in providing small businesses — especially those run by entrepreneurs of color, immigrants, and women—with access to capital, networks, and coaching. Ms. Martin was very involved in the social impact scene at Michigan Ross while she was a student.  She was president of the Center for Social Impact’s Advisory Board,  VP for the Women in Leadership Conference, part of Ross Net Impact, Detroit Revitalization and Business Initiative (Detroit R&B) and the Emerging Markets Club, and took part our Nonprofit Board Fellows program.

READ MORE

Black woman explaining something to Black man in group setting.

Board Fellows Partner Organization Info Sessions

Tues, May 17 @ Noon
Dearborn Room
UM Detroit Center


Thurs, May 19 @ Noon
Blau Hall Corner Commons
Ross School of Business

Are you a nonprofit organization in Southeast Michigan that is curious about the Board Fellowship program? Graduate student Fellows serve as non-voting board members during the academic year and complete a strategic project that can provide valuable capacity in areas such as strategic plan implementation, sustainability strategies, business plans, and dashboards. These sessions provide an overview for prospective organizations interested in participating during the 2022-23 academic year, and feature insights from nonprofit leaders currently participating.

RSVP for Either Session


Top view of six diverse people whose shadows are creating a ranking chart.

Ross DEI Research Awards

Mon, Apr. 25 @ 3-4 pm
Robertson Auditorium
Ross School of Business

B+I is a proud sponsor of these awards, first instituted in 2021, which celebrate and honor research related to diversity, equity and inclusion conducted at the Ross School of Business, at every stage of the academic journey. Also established in 2021, the annual J. Frank Yates Diversity and Inclusion Teaching Excellence Award, honors a member of our teaching faculty who demonstrates a commitment to diversity and inclusion and makes a significant positive impact on the learning and personal growth of our students.

Each award winner, in addition to being recognized for their contributions to diversity, equity and inclusion, will present a short TEDx-style lightning talk.  

REGISTER HERE


Man and two women from diverse backgrounds hanging out of an SUV in front of a colorful background.

Ross Open Road Hits the Road Again!

The Open Road at Ross program is back on the road, and there are six teams of MBAs taking part in the road trip experience this year. Open Road is an action-based social entrepreneurship program taking place in May, where students drive from state to state meeting socially- and environmentally-driven entrepreneurs. Students spend one week on-site in each location, working closely with the entrepreneur, to provide a solution or recommendation to a business problem they are facing. Open Road @ Ross is a student club powered by Ford and co-sponsored by Business+Impact and the Zell Lurie Institute.  

Check our Summer newsletter for more information on the teams and their journeys!

Picture of Ross Impact Gateway website

A Searchable Platform for All Things Impact at Ross and Across Campus

The Business+Impact Gateway provides you with a single location for all things impact. Here you’ll find all of the activities, people and key partners working to use their learning to make a real impact in the world. 

IMPACT GATEWAY

At the University:

 

CENTER FOR SOCIALLY ENGAGED DESIGN

Be a Graduate Facilitator This Fall

Apply by
Sunday April 24

The Center for Socially Engaged Design (C-SED) is seeking candidates to join their team of graduate facilitators in September. They are seeking master’s and doctoral students to facilitate and manage engagement with faculty and student teams utilizing C-SED resources. Facilitators will gain knowledge in socially engaged design practice, experience in conducting workshops, planning and implementing educational experiences, and developing customized design content.

More Info


GINSBERG CENTER

Storytelling for Social Change

Apply for Summer now

Storytelling for Social Change (SFSC) aka “Story Camp”, a pilot program from the Ginsberg Center. You can learn more about this summer opportunity, available to both graduate and undergraduate students, and how to participate below. To sign up to participate please fill out the form here. If you have questions, please email ginsberg.match@umich.edu.


More Info


GINSBERG CENTER

Learning in Community Workshop

Leaning in Community logo in front of a dark blue background.

Thurs Apr. 28 @ 3-4:30 pm ET
Virtual Event

The Ginsberg Center offers multiple workshops to support students and staff who are working with communities through courses, student organizations or independently. Learning in Community (LinC) is an educational workshop and training series focused on supporting those interested in community engagement, social justice, democratic engagement, advocacy, activism and philanthropy. This April’s session is on “Entering, Engaging, and Exiting Communities.”

More Info


OFFICE OF DIVERSITY, EQUITY & INCLUSION

Moving Forward Together

Diverse group of students sitting on the grass on campus with the logo "Moving Forward"Thurs, May 12 @ 11:30 am – 1 pm ET
Virtual Event

Following five years of our DEI strategic planning efforts, it is important to hear insights from faculty to understand what worked well, what are opportunities for improvement and how we can innovate for the future? Join Vice Provost for Equity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer, Robert Sellers to discuss and share ideas for the transition to DEI 2.0, leadership transitions and the university’s ongoing commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

More Info


SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH

Women’s Lives, Women’s Health Across the Lifespan

Photo of various ages and races of women facing the camera, wearing pastel colors.Thurs, May 12 @ 1:30 – 4:30 pm ET
M1020 SPH II and online in Zoom

In-person and virtual attendance options available for the 2022 MaryFran Sowers Memorial Symposium, featuring the career of Siobán D. Harlow, PhD (Professor Emerita of Epidemiology, Global Public Health, and Obstetrics & Gynecology). Keynote address, “Women’s Lives, Women’s Health Across the Lifespan”, will be presented by Nancy Fugate Woods, PhD, RN, FAAN (Professor Emerita, Univ. of Washington School of Nursing; Co-Director, de Tornyay Center for Healthy Aging.) Following the keynote, short presentations will follow from Drs. Kristin Dunkle, Michael Elliott, and Alexis Reeves. 

Learn more


POVERTY SOLUTIONS

Poverty Solutions Speaker Series

Logo of multicolored blocks and the name "Real World Perspectives on Poverty SolutionsComing this Fall
Register Now

Real World Perspectives on Poverty Solutions introduces key issues regarding the causes and consequences of poverty through a lecture series featuring experts in policy and practice from across the nations, with the goal of building a community of learners to engage in these issues together.  It is listed as a one credit class, and is open to all students.  Sessions will take place on Fridays at Noon at the School of Social Work this Fall.

Register Now


In the Impact Community:

Public Allies

Logo of a hand and the phrase "Public Allies Metro Detroit: Everyone Leads"Apply Now

Public Allies Metro Detroit is a program of the U of M-Dearborn, and a proud member of the AmeriCorps national service network. The program is made possible through funding of the Corporation for National and the Community Service and Michigan Community Service Commission. Apply now for fall opportunities.

Application info


 

A Career of Impact: Investing in Yourself and Your Community

Intersecting blue circles and the words "Net Impact"Wed, Apr. 27 @ 1 pm ET
Virtual Event

This in-depth, multi-workshop event explores how you can create positive social impacts and support regeneration through your career, your investments, and the ways in which you network and build connections with others.  Gain a better understanding of the social impact career landscape, trends, and predictions for emerging career fields. Learn about the ways in which your banking, investment, and other financial decisions can promote positive impacts for your community and the planet. 

Register Here


Climate Breakthrough Project

Large group of various people raising hands.Apply by
Sat, Apr. 30

The CBP is looking for highly motivated, innovative, strategic, and tenacious individuals or teams (small teams, two to four people) with a record of success.Awardees must be breakthrough thinkers who can envision and implement solutions with global impact and push beyond what others consider possible. While candidates may not know the exact strategy they will pursue with their award, the expectation is that they will have at least a few potential ideas ready to explore.

Apply now


D Prize

Picture of dandelion with spores blowing and the words "D-Prize: Distribution Equals Development"Early Submission Date:
Sun, May 15 @ Midnight PT

The world has already invented ways to end poverty, yet the best interventions are not being distributed at mass-scale. Can you design a business or NGO that addresses subjects from education to health access? If selected, you’ll be awarded up to $20,000 to launch a pilot in any region where extreme poverty exists.

Info and Application


Climate Leadership Conference

Cartoon of water earth and sky with the words "Climate Leadership Conference"May 24-26
Washington DC

The annual Climate Leadership Conference is North America’s premier event dedicated to addressing the climate crisis through policy, innovation, and business solutions. Hosted by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) and The Climate Registry, the conference brings together forward-thinking leaders from business, government, academia, and the non-profit community to explore energy and climate solutions and opportunities, and to showcase climate leadership.

Info and Registration


Social Enterprise Alliance Summit 2022 Call for Speakers

Green-blue background with the words "Summit of Summits: Business as Unusual"Apply to Speak Now!

The Summit is Social Enterprise Alliance’s flagship conference. The 2022 Summit is September 7th – 9th and will be hosted primarily online. Summit sessions will revolve around Human Wellness, Advocacy and Policy, Access to Markets, and Innovative & Adaptive Practices

Info and Application




Some images in this newsletter are Pre-COVID.

Whitney Martin

Whitney Martin standing with a microphone at Ross.
Whitney presenting in the 2015 Social Impact Challenge.

Whitney Martin (MBA ’16) is Vice President of Sales and Service Delivery at Accion Opportunity Fund, a nonprofit that leads the nation in providing small businesses — especially those run by entrepreneurs of color, immigrants, and women—with access to capital, networks, and coaching. Ms. Martin was very involved in the social impact scene at Michigan Ross while she was a student.  She was president of the Center for Social Impact’s Advisory Board,  VP for the Women in Leadership Conference, part of Ross Net Impact, Detroit Revitalization and Business Initiative (Detroit R&B) and the Emerging Markets Club, and took part our Nonprofit Board Fellows program.

 

For our readers, can you describe what you’re doing with Accion Opportunity Network?

At Accion Opportunity Fund, I lead the end-to-end customer experience for our small business borrowers. I focus on the loan application process and improving access to affordable capital for women and minority small businesses owners. 

What are the challenges you have seen that are unique for entrepreneurs during the Covid-19 pandemic?

The most challenging aspect of accessing capital during the pandemic has been navigating the government-run programs and opportunities. There have been grant programs, but those ended up more like the lottery, with many more applicants than grants. The Paycheck Protection Program was an amazing opportunity for small businesses, but the paperwork and application were quite challenging and took significant time to process. Now there are subsidized loan programs like the Southern Opportunity and Resilience (SOAR) Fund and California Rebuilding Fund, but small business owners are not necessarily aware of these options.

How have you leveraged your Ross MBA  and Nonprofit Board Fellows experience as a Sales and Service Director at Accion?

Ross provided me with the toolkit I needed to rise as a leader within Accion Opportunity Fund with a good understanding of the role and importance of each department. Our focus on positive organizations has changed how I lead and what I advocate for. Both MAP and the Nonprofit Board Fellows program helped me see how nonprofits function and the unique challenge of balancing the needs of customers, employees, and donors at once. 

Seven women and one man of various ethnicities at lunch table, smiling
Whitney with Michigan Ross students from MAP this year.

What role has Ross played in your current role?

It has been so fun to work with Michigan Ross MAP teams on our customer experience last year and this year. Big thanks to Chase, Connie, J’Taime, Kyra, Maura, and Vivian for paving the way during a pandemic for future MAP teams. Then to this year’s team (Aanchal, Abby, Becky, Emily, Jenn, and Nick) for building on their great work! 

Although DC has a smaller Ross network, it is close-knit and the U-M network is massive. Some of my closest friends are those I know from Ross and I have gotten to know many Ross alumni through admissions and social events in DC. As I’ve made job transitions, they have supported and guided me even through the pandemic.

How important are your current people networks in your work-life balance? Is there any part of your education that has surprised you by taking center stage in your work?

After graduating and before starting at BCG I did an internship with Women For Women International and Technoserve. For Technoserve, my team did an analysis of the cashew industry in Mozambique. I called on three professors from Ross to advise me on culture change, strategy, and public/private strategy. Every single professor that I contacted responded and helped me think through the issues. Every single time I have looked for support from a student, alumnus, or faculty member, they’ve been there. It’s the Michigan Difference. 

Do you have any advice for current students aiming to make a career in the social sector?

Use the alumni network to learn more about organizations of interest and make connections that can open doors for you there. We will benefit from your energy and talent – looking forward to seeing you thrive wherever you land.

Sabres prospect Erik Portillo built a business while leading Michigan to Frozen Four

Back in Sweden preparing for the pressure-packed job of playing goalie for the top team in college hockey, Erik Portillo was at the beach with family one day last summer when he received an email that drew his attention away from the spectacular seascape.

A fellow student at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business contacted Portillo with interest in starting an online platform that provides an avenue for student-athletes to profit from their name, image and likeness.

The collaboration between Portillo and three Michigan students – Ronit Tiwary, Edward Huang and Cindy Gu – led to their creation of Dualete, where youth athletes can register for one-on-one video sessions in which college athletes detail how they excel in a specific sport. Topics of discussion can include mental training, breathing exercises, diet, college recruiting and even sleep.

Read the full Buffalo News article