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U-M Ross Business + Impact
U-M Ross Business + Impact
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Workshops and Events

Social Innovation Series

Social Innovation Series

Business+Impact hosts and sponsors innovative workshops and events at the Ross School of Business. Top impact leaders, scholars, and students work to advance innovative practical solutions to society’s toughest social challenges. Below are examples of these events and activities.

Summit on Workforce Valuation and Performance

The May 20-21, 2024 “Summit on Workforce Valuation and Performance: Understanding the Coming Workforce Transition” was sponsored by Business+Impact, Just Capital, and the Ford Foundation, and featured 36 speakers on a variety of topics. The event focused on rapid techological shifts, including artificial intelligence; climate risks in the global workforce; the gig economy; and workforce data, among other topics.

See photos

Panel on Innovations in Nonprofit Fundraising

March 6, 2024 – As nonprofit organizations grow, it is easy for board members to become increasingly disconnected from the latest innovations in fundraising. How are boards rethinking fundraising with an eye for equity and inclusion? Board Fellowship students, staff and the general public attended this interactive panel discussion with local nonprofit leaders. 

See photos

ESG Workshop Series

Students attended two workshops, on Jan 16 & 19, 2024. The “ESG Data Workshop for Erb Undergraduate Fellows” and the “Net Impact Symposium: ESG Data Mini-Workshop” covered what  ESG is, how to get and use ESG data, and why this seemingly niche investment strategy has grown so political.

Impact Career Symposium

Hosted by Net Impact @ Ross and in partnership with Business Leaders for Diverse Abilities (BLDA)Human Capital Club (HCC), and Business+Impact, this January 2024 event featured a networking dinner, coffee chats, mock interviews, interactive skill-building workshops, and speakers from companies such as General Motors, Meta, JP Morgan, Camber Collective, Opportunity International, and a talk by Karen Johns (CEO of Net Impact).

Ross Impact Gala

December 4, 2023

Community Case CompetitionNet Impact @ Ross, and the Detroit Initiative at Ross celebrated the conclusion of Fall Impact Cases and generated community with one another at an Impact Gala on Mon, Dec. 4 at the University of Michigan Museum of Art. This event was co-sponsored and photographed by Business+Impact.

See the photos here

Detroit Month of Design

September 14, 2023

Our +Impact Studio hosted a workshop and expo on the subject of “Creating Equitable Enteprises in Detroit.” Led by Cat Johnson and Jerry Davis, the event began with a hands-on design exercise for researching customer needs, defining opportunities, brainstorming solutions, prototyping a business model, and testing its feasibility. Then expert overviews of new business opportunities in Detroit were provided, followed by resource fair to help with the startup process.

Summit on Workforce Valuation & Performance

May 11-12, 2023

In May 2023, Business+Impact, in tandem with the Ford Foundation, Schroders Wealth Management and American Century Investments, convened a group of over 70 people from around the globe to discuss government-mandated rules and company-created ideas for addressing the challenges facing the workforce in 2023. This event consisted of talks, activities, and workshops aimed to make progress toward getting more useful and transparent data about how companies manage and support their people.

Conference on Sustainable Food Procurement

April 10-11, 2023

Business+Impact co-sponsored this conference, which featured keynote speakers Dr. Sapna E. Thottathil, MSc and Dave Newport of AASHE. The conference included several panels covering topics such as the role of civil society, institution and provider perspectives, and making an institution’s food procurement program more sustainable.

Ross Climate Action Week

March 27 – April 4, 2023

B+I co-sponsored Ross Climate Week, sessions to learn, ideate, and connect with the Ross community on how business can be a force for good in mitigating and adapting to Climate Change. There were 200+ attendees throughout the week with 40+ people at each event, and the week received the Ross MBA Council Club Award for Best Educational Event.

Equity-Centered Prototyping Workshops

Nov. 29 and Sept. 29, 2022

In sessions run by Keesa V Johnson (MDes), students learned how to use prototyping as a tool to generate ideas, validate concepts or explore technologies using Food Futuring to cultivate imagination. They came to see that in our complex world there is a need to develop and test ideas without causing harm to others, by using an equity lens.

Ensuring That Postsecondary Credentials Pay Off For Low-Income Students

Nov. 18, 2022

Business+Impact co-sponsored an event with Poverty Solutions, featuring Norma Rey-Alicea,  Executive Director and co-founder of NextGen Talent (NGT). Norma has dedicated her career to the development of new educational models and career advancement solutions to close the opportunity gap for low-income students of all backgrounds, with a focus on Latinx, Black, Native American, and immigrant students. She has an MPP from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government as well as a BA in Government from Harvard University.

Gerry Anderson: Making Positive Change Within Unsustainable Industries

Oct. 26, 2022

In collaboration with Ross’ Net Impact Undergrad, we hosted Gerry Anderson, former Chairman and CEO of DTE Energy, for a dialogue about jumping into the fray of unsustainable industries to make positive change. Gerry’s speech inspired business students to leverage their passion for environmentalism to solve real problems, and aimed to show students how to face complex, global issues head on. Facilitating change is not easy, but as Gerry explained, it is necessary for business leaders to take initiative in the climate movement to strive for a better future.

UMS/Ross Design Jam

Oct. 16, 2022

What do a world-famous jazz musician and a design jam have in common?  When it comes to +Impact Studio techniques, far more than you might imagine! During the middle of the day, the University Musical Society and the Ross School of Business +Impact Studio invited Wynton Marsalis to join a design jam on innovative uses of new tools and design methods to generate new formats and equitable access to the arts. The event was planned to coincide with a weeklong UMS residency with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, and was sponsored by the William Davidson Foundation Director Discretionary Philanthropic Fund of the United Jewish Foundation.

See an interactive website based on this event!

ESG Reporters' Bootcamp 2022

May 5, 12, 19, 2022

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.

Book Chat: Andy Hoffman - Management As A Calling

May 11, 2022

Business+Impact held a book chat between author Andy Hoffman and Michigan Ross Business+Impact Faculty Director Jerry Davis, where Andy discussed 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. His newest book, “Management As a Calling,” recognizes that business leadership have tremendous power to influence our society, how it operates, whether it is fair, and the extent to which it impacts the environment. The book challenges future leaders to work in service to society.

Watch this event on Youtube

Book Chat: Jerry Davis - Taming Corporate Power In The 21st Century

April 22, 2022

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.

Watch this event on Youtube

Book Chat: Afua Bruce - The Tech That Comes Next

March 30, 2022

In this March 30, 2022 book chat between author Afua Bruce (Ross MBA ’11) and Michigan Ross Business+Impact Faculty Director Jerry Davis, she shares her vision of a more equitable and just world along with practical steps to creating it, appropriately leveraging technology along the way. This event was co-sponsored by Net Impact @ Ross (grad) and Michigan Ross Tech & Innovation Alumni Association.

Watch this event on Youtube

Board Fellows Forum: Stronger Together - How Nonprofits Can Collaborate

February 18, 2022

Each year, the Board Fellowship Program at B+I hosts a public forum in the form of a panel discussion with representatives from local nonprofit organizations. In 2022, the theme of the forum was “Stronger Together: How Nonprofits Can Collaborate.” We believe that collaboration between nonprofits will only become more instrumental in combating injustices across America. The panel discussion featured four local nonprofit experts: Kyla Carlsen, Co.act Detroit; Kelly Maxwell, DDNRC; Courtney Smith, Detroit Phoenix Center; and Kevin Thompson, Good Inc.

Watch this event on Youtube

Board Fellows Forum: How Nonprofits Are Pivoting During A Pandemic

February 23, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has created new realities and challenges while deepening and exposing existing inequities. Within the nonprofit sector these impacts have been felt widely and profoundly. The following panelists participated in the discussion:

Pam Smith, President & CEO of the United Way of Washtenaw County
Darryl L. Johnson, Executive Director of Mentor2Youth
Tim Carter, Board Member for Ten Thousand Villages of Huron Valley

Watch the event on Youtube

Social Sector Tools – Futurist Thinking For Uncertain Times

February 19, 2021

In this episode of Social Impact Design for Business, Jeffrey Sanchez-Burks of Michigan Ross’ +Impact Studio interviews Jenn Holk, Strategy Manager at the Monitor Institute at Deloitte and Apoorva Kanneganti (MBA ’19), Senior Consultant at Deloitte Consulting.–both working with social impact-focused organizations. In order to help social sector leaders confront the COVID-19 challenge, the Monitor Institute by Deloitte developed a report with tools for planning in these uncertain times.

Thought Leader And Changemaker LaTosha Brown

February 1, 2021

Business+Impact was a co-sponsor with U-M Multi-Ethnic Student Affairs (MESA)‘s Black History Month opening keynote event featuring LaTosha Brown. She shared thoughts on the future of democracy, voting, and social movements, and she discussed how storytelling and strategic messaging can build political power.  Ms. Brown is an award-winning thought leader, social strategist, philanthropic consultant, jazz singer, and catalyst for change. As co-founder of the Black Voters Matter Fund, Ms. Brown is dedicated to increasing the political power of Black people.

Watch the webinar here