"Anyone who thinks that they are too small to make a difference has never tried to fall asleep with a mosquito in the room." Gary Hirshberg, CE-Yo of Stonyfield Farm shared this Gandhi quote with the attendees of the 18th Annual Net Impact conference in Ann Arbor this weekend. It perfectly captures my sentiments when the Kelley Net Impact Graduate chapter was recognized as the chapter with the highest increase in conference attendance nationally! In addition, The undergraduate IU chapter was also recognized as a runner up for the undergraduate chapter of the year. Despite smaller in size when compared to other MBA chapters, the efforts, passion and commitment of the Kelley Net Impact members have certainly shown great results!
The conference consisted of over 350 speakers, several keynote sessions, multiple tracks and a career expo. I was personally impressed to see the diversity of firms in attendance including BCG, Microsoft, Walmart and Teach For America; these distinct organizations were all recruiting to attract socially aware and focused business leaders. The conference was not only inspiring but also empowering and I walked away with some incredible contacts whom I hope will become mentors in the future. Net Impact and its mission has transitioned from questioning whether businesses should care to how to enable businesses to care about social causes. Similarly, growing from an idea that attracted a few students, it has grown to be a powerful movement that attracted 2500 students and professionals to the conference. Rather than something on the fringe, corporate social responsibility is now a mainstream concern. The conference provided me with several opportunities to meet fellow Net Impacters, practitioners, recruiters, new hires and CEOs! I was blown away by this amazing network of passionate individuals all working to create a better sustainable world.
It was an amazing experience and I look forward to the next conference, October 28-29, 2011 in Portland, Oregon. Thanks to all the Kelley Net Impacters who attended and made the 2010 conference such a success!
Guest blog entry by Neha Kale, 2011 Kelley MBA Candidate, President MBA Net Impact Chapter