News at Smith

Innovation Fridays: The 5th Annual Social Enterprise Symposium: “Here and Now”

Feb 19, 2013
Entrepreneurial Spirit


Welcome to Innovation Fridays

The 5th Annual Social Enterprise Symposium: “Here and Now” 
Friday, March 1, 2013, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Stamp Student Union, University of Maryland

Center for Social Value CreationThe 5th annual Social Enterprise Symposium, created and hosted by the Center for Social Value Creation at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, will take place March 1, 2013, at the Stamp Student Union.

Unlike any other event on the campus, the Symposium explores the role of business in creating economic prosperity and lasting social and environmental change. From sustainability to social entrepreneurship, the Social Enterprise Symposium helps connect students with thoughts leaders who are using the tools of business to change the world.

The Symposium features two keynotes (Director of Environmental Stewardship for CLIF Bar, Elysa Hammond, and President and CEO of the Calvert Foundation, Lisa Hall), a series of breakout sessions and workshops, the 3rd Annual No Limits Social Impact Pitch Competition, and an evening networking reception.

This year’s theme – “Here and now” – is a call to action in becoming more informed, motivated and active participants in this crazy thing we call life. With today’s complex challenges, we don’t have the luxury of sitting and waiting for solutions. Problem solving begins with each of us, whether as individuals or organizations, and it must begin now.

Symposium Spotlights

Austin Lee, Do-Gooder

Austin LeeAustin Lee, a junior at the Smith School, has always wanted to “do good” with his career. Already president of the Net Impact Undergraduate Chapter at Smith and an active member of Terp Changemakers, Lee always thought he was destined for the nonprofit sector. But through his work with Net Impact and the Center for Social Value Creation (CSVC), he’s been exposed to other business models and career opportunities that create social value.

“I think that business is a great common ground for other disciplines. Business is what connects the globalized world and if you understand this connection it gives you a great foundation to attack social issues or causes. It’s also really exciting to understand how business is changing the world and what social innovation truly is.”

Lee is also helping to shape the Social Enterprise Symposium. Stretching his networking skills and finessing his business and social innovation skills, he’s organizing his own session for the Symposium: “Social Value as a Driver of Corporate Strategy.” The session will explore why profit-centered companies are increasingly embedding social value in strategy and daily operations and hopes to answer the question: Can corporate social impact be truly profitable, or is it the next passing trend?

Lee’s all-star list of panel members includes:

  • Kathy Brown, Senior Vice President Public Policy Dev. and Corporate Responsibility, Verizon
  • Dave Stangis, Vice President - Public Affairs and Corporate Responsibility, Campbell Soup
  • Louise Muth, Global Communications Coach
  • Shawn Basak, Senior Engagement Manager, Mission Measurement

Emmy Lang-Kennedy, Cross-sector Connector

Emmy Lang-KennedyIn 2006 Emmy Lang-Kennedy found herself working as a small business consultant with the Peace Corps in Senegal. Over the two years she would spend in the town of Kaffrine, she worked with young women to expand and grow their juice and jelly business. While there, she keenly observed the impact of businesses on the entire community, from farmers growing experimental trees to a shop owner providing personal microfinance loans. Lang-Kennedy resolved to better understand the complexities of the business-community relationship through an MBA.

In her initial consideration of six different east coast universities, Lang-Kennedy sought out schools that demonstrated a specific focus on social impact through business. “I wanted to be at a place that understood my ‘non-traditional’ MBA path, that seems to be becoming more traditional each year, and where I could gain a great foundation in business with exposure to broad business application in public, private and nonprofit sectors.”

For her, that place was the Smith School. Drawn in by CSVC and the Net Impact chapter, Lang-Kennedy decided to attend the Social Enterprise Symposium as an accepted student who still had to commit to a university. It was there that she was blown away by how well CSVC “walked the walk.”

“They are involved, not just in creating amazing events, but they support faculty research and the integration of social impact cases and discussion into the curriculum, creating practical experiences that show students how they can apply their skills to create change.”

Two years later, she’s a graduate assistant with CSVC who is working diligently on outreach for the Social Enterprise Symposium, as well as leading a lunchtime session at the event.

“The Symposium is a must-attend for students at Smith and UMD. The caliber of speakers with great insight on leading thinking in their field and career advice along with the hands-on workshops really offer something for everyone.”

And her time at Smith has put her exactly where she wants to be in her career post-MBA. Lang-Kennedy has accepted an offer from Deloitte Consulting to work with Federal clients. This, she says, will allow her to better work across sectors and be the connector that she sees as essential to social and global change.

Debby Spear, Believer

Debby SpearA real estate appraiser who had long considered finding something more fulfilling, Debby Spear was never able to articulate what was missing from her life and her career. That is, until March 1, 2012.

Encouraged by her daughter, a devoted vegan and undergraduate environmental science major at the University of Maryland, Spear decided to devote a day of her life to better understanding the many conduits through which one can become a social changemaker. Putting skepticism aside, she registered for the 2012 Social Enterprise Symposium. It turned out to be a pivotal experience for her.

“It really was the best day. When it was over, I was so disappointed that it had already ended. I immediately began looking for more ways to partner with the Center for Social Value Creation.”

Spear found the most personal value in the “More than Money Career Workshop.” She realized that she had long been unhappy in her job as a real estate appraiser, and wanted work that connected her with people and a better corporate culture. So she polished her networking skills and landed at Payroll Network, a company committed to corporate values of integrity and the value they place in human capital.

And while working through her fulfilling new position, she’s finding time to nurture her passion for the Symposium through bringing awareness of the event and its message to other professionals. “Reaching out to professionals for the Symposium got me back into the business world. Little by little, I started bringing up the Symposium, and people would react much more positively than when I’d talk about my then-job. My enthusiasm is infectious.”

Now, Spear is a believer. She believes that with a good corporate conscience, lives can change and global good can be done. She believes that relationships are the key to change and finding one’s place in the world. And she believes that the Social Enterprise Symposium at the Robert H. Smith School of Business was the key to this understanding, and her new direction in life.

For more information and to register for the 5th Annual Social Enterprise Symposium, visit

About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business 

The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and part-time MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, specialty masters, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.