Stephanie Hagen is a candidate in Weatherhead's MBA program.
It’s hard to believe there are now less than 100 days left until graduation! (Not that anyone is keeping track, but the Cleveland Marathon’s website has a convenient countdown.) As a full-time MBA student, it can be easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of classes, homework, and applying for jobs (or, for those more fortunate among us, working at said jobs) and forget to appreciate our time at Weatherhead.
One of the highlights from my MBA experience has been the opportunity to work at the Fowler Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit. The Fowler Center is based on the idea that by creating value for society and the environment, businesses can create even more value for customers and shareholders—“doing good” can (and should) be part of a company’s core mission, not just an afterthought.
This is such a refreshing idea. When I was first applying to business schools, I had just left Washington, DC, and my prior dreams of changing the world through public service. A part of me wondered if I was selling out, giving up any ambition of making a positive impact on a larger scale.
However, as I started to explore Weatherhead and the Fowler Center, I realized that business could also be a powerful force for good in the world.
As a Fowler Family Fellow, I’ve had the opportunity to work part-time with the Fowler Center. In helping with research and event planning for various projects, I’ve come to appreciate even more the importance of business in shaping the future. Here are two examples:
AIM2Flourish: AIM2Flourish is a global initiative that highlights businesses around the world that AIM2Flourish.com. This is a pretty cool experience! Last year, I interviewed the owner of Storehouse Tea, a local organic tea company that focuses on hiring refugees. Not only is the company fully committed to social and environmental responsibility, but it also offers amazing loose-leaf teas.
Other Cleveland-based companies highlighted range from BrownFlynn, a sustainability consulting firm, and EPOCH Pi, an investment firm focused on conscious capitalism, to Sherwin Williams, which recently introduced an antibacterial paint, and Great Lakes Brewing Company, a craft beer company focused on the triple bottom line of people, planet, and profit. Right now, the Fowler Center is working on the logistics for the 2018 Flourish Prizes and a local Cleveland celebration in the spring…stay tuned!
Fourth Global Forum: Every three years, the Fowler Center brings together executives, entrepreneurs, and change agents to explore how flourishing enterprise can improve performance. The most recent Global Forum happened last summer, from June 14 to June 16 at the Tinkham Veale University Center. The other Fellows and I helped with the behind-the-scenes logistics to make sure the event ran smoothly and got to listen in on the keynote presentations. One of the coolest parts involved bringing Flourish Prize winners from around the world—including students, professors, and business leaders—to Cleveland to participate. It was amazing to see how individuals from completely different industries, backgrounds, and countries shared a dedication to business as a force for good.
The Fowler Center was key to my decision to come to Weatherhead, and it has continued to shape my perspective on the role of business in society. I’m excited to look for ways to put these ideas into practice as I start my post-MBA career!