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Generosity Honors Leaders in Social Change
"It is important to not only recognize and encourage our students in pursuing their interests to serve the public good, but also to provide the resources to make it possible for them to do so. The need now is greater than ever."
—Arjay Miller, GSB Dean Emeritus
Two members of the MBA Class of 2013 were recently honored for their dedication to caring for the world's poor. Nena Sanderson, MBA '13, and Cammie Lee, '07, MA '07, MBA '13, are the first recipients of the Frances and Arjay Miller Fellowship in Social Innovation, and each will receive financial support to pursue careers in social change.
The award is made possible by a gift from Dean Emeritus Arjay Miller and his late wife, Frances, and is intended to ease the potential financial hardship for those working to build a more just, sustainable, and prosperous world. The fellowship will be awarded to one or two certificate holders of the Public Management and Social Innovation program each year.
During his tenure as dean from 1969 to 1979, Miller advocated for businesses to address global concerns and societal problems. The Public Management Program he established has been emulated by other business schools throughout the world.
A strong focus of initiatives and curriculum at the Graduate School of Business continues to be a commitment to preparing leaders for many areas of social responsibility and innovation. Miller's gift also broadly supports priorities within the program.
"It is important to not only recognize and encourage our students in pursuing their interests to serve the public good, but also to provide the resources to make it possible for them to do so. The need now is greater than ever," says Miller.
For Sanderson, career inspiration struck while living in rural Rwanda, where she stayed with a family who had no clean water for cooking and inadequate electricity to support their garment-making business. Yet she knew of three global companies that were providing clean water, electricity, and other basic services to impoverished regions—and making a profit. She wondered why these companies were not helping those in need in Rwanda.
Her research showed that few social enterprises were going into countries like Rwanda—places where citizens were living on less than $4 a day—because they did not have established tools to make their business model viable. As a Miller Fellow, she intends to devote her career to developing a business model replicator that can help enterprises be successful in these regions, despite cultural and geographical challenges.
Already, Sanderson is helping one successful social enterprise, Living Goods, to build a replication practice that will help others copy their model.
"I am deeply passionate about taking care of the world's poor, and I will spend my life's work in international development," she says. "The award is a beautiful demonstration of the GSB's commitment to social change, and it will make a huge difference to future change leaders and the lives they will impact."
Lee is working to improve access to vital health and nutrition commodities in developing countries. As a market dynamics program officer for Results for Development Institute (R4D), a Washington, DC–based firm that partners with prominent social organizations such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Lee is pursuing issues related to global education, global health, governance, and market dynamics.
Analyzing the costs and benefits of an HIV vaccine in Africa and preventing malaria across eight countries are just two examples of the problems that Lee and R4D are trying to alleviate through better management.
"This award is an amazing way to end my GSB experience, which has opened my mind, challenged preconceived judgments, and helped refine my passion for social innovation," says Lee.
In addition to the two Frances and Arjay Miller Fellows, other Class of 2013 graduates in both the MBA and MSx (Masters of Science in Management for Experienced Leaders) programs were honored as Miller Social Change Leaders for their contributions to the GSB social innovation community.
They are Katrina Benjamin, '09, MBA '13; Jonathan Chang, MSx '13; Erica Estrada-Liou, '05, MS '05, MBA '13; Vivek Garg, MSx '13; Nikki Jourdain-Earl, MBA '13; Stephen Lee, MS '07, PhD '11, MBA '13; Evan LeFlore, MBA '13; Matt Schiller, MBA '13, MS '14; Karl Skare, MSX '13, MS '14; and Ryan Takasugi, MA/MBA '13.