Business leaders break stereotypes, change world
Five panelists encourage young businesswomen to pursue social entrepreneurship
By Vicky ShiThe world can be hideous. Poverty, AIDS, genocide, hunger, dirty water, and unsanitaryliving conditions – these are some of the blemishes. The poorest 40 percent of the world’s population makes up 5 percent of global income, according to Globalissues.org. Today, the most prominent challenge is providing education and resources to enable change.The Philanthropic Business Panel at the eighth annual Harvard Undergraduate Women inBusiness Intercollegiate Convention encouraged business leaders to dispel negative stereotypesand change the world through social innovation.The five panelists come from various backgrounds, but they share one desire: to useentrepreneurial skills to make a difference.These leaders defy the perception of business owners as greedy and wealth-obsessed.They assert that integrating financial principles with philanthropic goals is possible. “At one point you can have it all: shared value, working for profit, and making a difference,” saidClotilde Dedecker, co-founder of Circle of Women Inc., which is a nonprofit that promoteswomen’s education in developing countries.Some panelists enact global change as a side job. AlthoughKelly Peeler is a full-time investment banker, she is also theexecutive director of Business Across Borders, a nonprofit thattargets high potential entrepreneurs to spur economic growth in the Middle East. One audiencemember challenged Peeler to explain how she reconciled the negative reputation of banking withher philanthropic pursuits. “Banks will only change if people are there to change them frominside,” Peeler said.
At one point youcan have it all.”-Clotilde Dedecker