Net Impact 2013: Exploring Opportunities

Posted on Wed, November 20, 2013 by Carole Gaudet.

The Center for Business & Society provides support for students to attend the annual Net Impact Conference, held this year in San Jose, Califronia. Thomas Cook T'14 and Phyllis Vena T'15 report on their takeaways.

"I attended the Net Impact conference for two reasons:  to explore opportunities for volunteer work before starting my full-time job, and to gather information for the non-profit board on which I serve.
After receiving a full-time offer during my summer internship, I was given the option of starting in January.  As someone who came to Tuck from the consulting industry (and went right back in for the summer), this presents a great opportunity to explore the social impact sector for a few months.  At Net Impact, I met with organizations that offer short-term programs, such as the Kiva Fellows Program.

Additionally, I was hoping to learn more about innovative funding sources used by leading non-profits. Through the Revers Board Fellows program at Tuck, I serve on the board of Northern Stage, the leading professional theater company in Northern New England.  During the last session of the conference, I was able to present their funding challenges in a workshop format, and collaborate with other MBAs and professionals to brainstorm creative solutions.
From my perspective, the conference was a success, and it was inspiring to meet talented business professionals from around the world dedicated to making it a better place."

~Thomas Cook T'14

"Friday morning’s keynote was a panel consisting of the founder of Dress for Success (Nancy Lublin), the founder of The Spring (Brent Schulkin) and the president of Kiva (Premal Shah). Although all of them were interesting, I found Nancy Lublin really inspiring. She embraced her quirkiness, exuded confidence and brought fun to her work. She turned a $5,000 inheritance into Dress for Success when she was 23. Now she is the CEO and “Chief Old Person” at, an organization for social change that targets teens.

Overall it was an excellent conference for anyone that is interested in social impact. All of the major players attended in some form and there was a breadth of industries that were represented. Some of my classmates were interested in corporate social responsibility or in energy & clean tech, for instance, and there were plenty of panels in those areas as well as the fields I targeted. I came away from the conference with a handful of new contacts, many interesting organizations to explore further, and an inspired mindset."

~ Phyllis Vena T'15