Alumni / March 7, 2022

Changing Lives, Through Social Entrepreneurship

L. Audrey Awasom ’18

L. Audrey Awasom

L. Audrey Awasom, ’18, is leading an uprising. Her goal? To see a society where every woman has access to good healthcare, affordable housing and sustainable employment.

As founder and CEO of Noble Uprising, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that serves, educates and empowers impoverished women through socially responsible programs and business partnerships, the Montgomery County, Md.-native is laying the foundation within her community to help make her goal a reality.

“I have a philosophy that we’re dealt different cards in life, and it’s up to those who are provided with a royal flush to give back to others who don’t have the same luxuries. We live in one of the wealthiest counties in the U.S., but you still see a large wealth disparity,” says Awasom. “I’ve seen some of my closest friends experience homelessness and the fact that they experienced such traumatic situations made me want to do something about it.”

Awasom says her inspiration to become a social entrepreneur stems from her parents. They taught her from a young age about generosity and the importance of being ambitious while caring for the community.

She decided at a young age to take a more active role in her community by participating in various volunteering opportunities. These experiences eventually led to her creating the One Heart Project, which partnered with the Montgomery Avenue Women’s Center and served as the pilot program for Noble Uprising.

Any endeavor starts with a simple question – “What can I do to help?”

“To start, my team and I conducted research on the specific needs of homeless shelters,” says Awasom. “We called roughly 100 shelters, doing what I later learned in school was customer discovery, to identify problems facing women in homeless shelters and understand what we could do to address them.”

As she continued her work with Noble Uprising, Awasom says she leveraged her learning and resources at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business to better understand how she could build out the organization.

Having transferred to Maryland Smith in 2016, she says taking part in the Southern Management Leadership Program – then named the Hillman Entrepreneurs Program – interacting with the Do Good Institute, and serving on the Dean’s Student Advisory Council was pivotal to her future success.

“My time at Maryland was vital in building my business. Just through course curriculum and assignments, I was learning to create business plans, craft marketing strategies and improve so many aspects of my business,” says Awasom. “I was intentional about utilizing my time and making the most of my experience.”

Now, Awasom is focused on broadening the scope of Noble Uprising’s services and impact, including establishing initiatives like the Noble Pantries Program which is a network of food pantries that provide essential items to individuals that need it.

Her desire is to grow Noble Uprising to be a one-stop-shop for women experiencing poverty. She has instituted the organization's 10-year growth plan which is a 3-pronged approach to provide clients with fundamental items, adult literacy training programs and technical skills training.

“Serving others is the best feeling in the world,” she says. Whether it’s a book club for kids or creating something for single mothers, there’s always an opportunity to make a positive impact in someone’s life.

“It is important to solve problems and create things that benefit or bring value to the lives of others,” says Awasom. “Realize that any small action can make a huge difference in your community.”

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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 flex MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, business master’s, 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.

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