As I approach the 20th anniversary celebration of receiving my MBA from the Wharton School, I reflect back on my business school experience as a time that I made critical connections and relationships, and none more important for me than Net Impact (formerly known as Students for Responsible Business). I majored in finance and policy looking to combine those skills to make an impact and difference in underserved communities. Through Net Impact, I learned about OFN and the CDFI industry, interned at OFN between my first and second year of school, and have worked the last 19 years at OFN.
Net Impact is now a community of 100,000 students and professional leaders committed to making a difference through their careers. Over the years, OFN’s relationship to Net Impact has expanded. From 2008 to 2015 OFN’s president and CEO Mark Pinsky served on the Net Impact Board. Additionally, OFN has expressed our commitment to the organization by sponsoring the Net Impact Conference, and sending a cohort of OFN’s emerging leaders to attend the conference for the past several years.
If you haven’t already tapped into your local Net Impact chapter, the Net Impact Conference is a great chance to connect with students that are interested in having an impact in their work, and to educate them about the industry. The conference also provides an opportunity to meet professionals at corporations that are tackling many of the same challenges as CDFIs which could provide funding and partnership opportunities. In fact, one of Mark’s contacts through Net Impact led us to the groundbreaking Create Jobs for USA initiative that OFN started with Starbucks.
This year, OFN is once again sponsoring the 2016 Net Impact Conference, taking place in Philadelphia November 3-5. OFN is also hosting a booth at the Net Impact Expo on November 4, and we invite other CDFIs to join us in a “CDFI corner” of the Expo. The Expo draws 2,500 student and young professionals to learn about career opportunities that tackle social and community challenges. Opportunities for CDFIs range from exhibiting at the Expo ($500 discounted rate for CDFIs) to participating in the Expo and Conference to sponsoring the event. To learn more visit Net Impact's website, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.