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Published by: Vicky Shi on Apr 24, 2013
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12/26/2014

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SEO: UMD Smith School’s Melissa Carrier creates social change
Ever since she was young, Melissa Carrier wanted to make a difference in the world.From corporate work to social change, her career path developed parallel to the growing field of social entrepreneurship, which culminated in her founding the university’s Center for SocialValue Creation at the Robert H. Smith School of Business.
UMD Smith School faculty uses business for social change
 Melissa Carrier of the Center for Social Value Creation uses her profession to change the world 
By Vicky ShiMelissa Carrier stands at the front of the classroom, capturing the attention of her 23-student class as she dynamically discusses successful social entrepreneur.To her students, Carrier is the professor of their Social Innovation Fellows class.However, her life experience extends far beyond her social innovationknowledge. Most importantly, Carrier is a social entrepreneur.Melissa Carrier always had an interest in social change, but asa young adult, she never thought she could combine her career withsocial impact. With an engineering degree from Ohio State Universityand a MBA from Wharton, Carrier’s career path started in “corporateAmerica” and suddenly switched into academia, where Carrier createdand developed projects that encourage students to use business principles to tackle global issues.(more)
 
Melissa Carrier learned howto leverage her career tomake a social impact.Photo by Vicky Shi
 
Vicky Shi, “Melissa Carrier,” Pg. 2
Planting seeds of social responsibility
Carrier grew up in a family of six as the oldest of four children. Carrier’s parents instilledstrong Catholicism in their children, which she says heavily influenced her early interest in socialvalue. “I was told to take the skills you were given and give back.” Carrier said. “That’s justwhat you do.”Moreover, Carrier’s father served in the military. “When you move every three years, youlearn to be highly adaptable to new situations,” Carrier said. “I think that’s telling because it hasa lot to do with my personality.”Throughout high school Carrier used free time to volunteer within the community. As anengineering student at Ohio State University, Carrier launched the Society of Women Engineers,which matched underprivileged sixth grade students with undergraduate student tutors.At the time, Carrier thought helping the world only happened outside of a professionalcareer. “You have your job, you have your friends and family and then you have your volunteer time,” she said. “And that was the way we did things 20 years ago.”
The path from volunteerism to entrepreneurship
After graduating, Carrier dove into where she felt happiest: information technology jobswhere she coached, consulted, and supported.After completing her MBA at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania,Carrier wanted to work to make a difference within a major organization. She began to mergeher passion for social change with her profession.(more)
 
Vicky Shi, “Melissa Carrier,” Pg. 3
Carrier worked at AT&T’s business strategy group where she had the opportunity tocollaborate with an entrepreneurial vice president. Carrier’s supervisor assigned her to an AT&TFoundation project, where she had to find a way to link a community cause to their services.As she tirelessly worked on the project for months, Carrier realized that AT&T had a poorly researched foundation. Although they made billions of dollars in revenue, only $20million went to the foundation. “Something in my gut didn’t feel right,” Carrier said.She eventually left the business strategy team to do corporatedevelopment with the company’s venture funds. She called it a“wonderful experience,” but after she moved to Maryland and gave birthto her son, she wanted a local job. “At some point your personal lifeweaves back in, and you have to set priorities,” Carrier said.
A turning point: from corporations to academia
Carrier knew she was ready to close the corporate chapter of her life. “At the end of theday, what was I really doing to make an impact?” Carrier said. “It was part of the epiphany of  being a mom. You see this young child, and you think, I can do better by this little guy.”She accepted a job from the university to run venture programs that fund student businesses and local entrepreneurs. After four months, she realized that her students wanted to push beyond entrepreneurship and make the world a better place.With this realization came an opportunity for Carrier. “It brought all of my experiencesfrom prior jobs, my interest in building organizations and consulting and my personal valuesystems, and I thought, we might actually have a platform here,” Carrier said.(more)
“At the end of theday, what was I really doing tomake an impact?”
-Melissa Carrier 

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