16 Jan 2018
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Celebrating the Impact of Nonprofits

Investing in education; stepping up for seniors; celebrating leadership in Lagos.
by Margie Kelley

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Photo courtesy of HBSASNE

Clubs News

Clubs News

The HBS Association of Southeastern New England (HBSASNE) recently held its first-ever reunion of the local nonprofit leaders it has sent to the Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management (SPNM) program at HBS.

Aimed at helping the SPNM participants develop a network of support for their organizations, the reunion at the Social Enterprise Greenhouse in Providence included a social hour and a panel featuring the club’s four 2017 SPNM graduates. David Beauchesne, from the Rhode Island Philharmonic; Tom Parrish, from the Trinity Repertory Theatre Company; Deborah Perry, from the YWCA of Rhode Island; and Karen Santilli, from Crossroads RI, shared their perspectives on the program and agreed it was “the most outstanding executive experience” of their careers.

According to HBSASNE board member Rob Panoff (MBA 1973), the club has made the SPNM scholarship program a primary focus of its fundraising activities because the program’s impact in the region is so far-reaching.

“Our members have been most motivated to give back to the community through SPNM,” says Panoff. “This is an old industrial region, from New Bedford and Fall River to Providence and New London. These places have struggled. We decided a long time ago as a club that the region required some community action.”

HBS clubs and associations worldwide are making the SPNM program a priority. In the last year alone, 23 clubs awarded $362,500 toward 58 SPNM scholarships, sending nonprofit leaders from all over the world to HBS.

In the last 16 years, HBSASNE has sent 33 local nonprofit leaders to the SPNM program, representing a wide range of social action, from addressing homelessness and improving community health systems to incubating social enterprise and growing arts programming.

To boost fundraising for the SPNM program, Panoff says the club has established the F. Steele III and Patricia H. Blackall Scholarship—named for the late F. Steele Blackall (MBA 1949), a club member who played a key role in establishing the SPNM program at HBS in 2002. The goal is to provide on-going support for two full scholarships annually. This year, the club sought and received support from HBS to help fund two of the four scholarships. “We usually send two, but they were all so good, we had to send four,” he says.

The reunion is part of what Panoff says will be a regular SPNM networking opportunity, similar to one established by the HBS Club of Michigan, which has sent four nonprofit leaders to SPNM every year since 2006. The Michigan club’s Not-for-Profit Leadership Collaborative meets five times a year to “continue the learning” and maximize impacts in the region.

NY Club’s Senior Program makes the connection

It’s been a little over five years since Len Polaner (MBA 1954) and a small committee of like-minded alumni in the HBS Club of New York launched the first Seniors Program, a series of social and educational activities geared for alumni over the age of 65.

To balance the club’s career skills and networking activities that often take place in the evenings, the Seniors Program engages older alumni through a series of daytime social, educational, and cultural events.

“We essentially made the club more senior-friendly,” says Polaner. “Our events take place during the day, between 10 a.m. and 2 or 3 p.m. and we try to mix a bit of business education with every activity.”

Past activities have included a private tour of the Federal Reserve Bank with a discussion with executives, a lunch and discussion at the New York Stock Exchange, attendance at dress-rehearsal performances of the Metropolitan Opera and the New York Philharmonic, and a tour and business talk at the Museum of Modern Art.

The group also runs a Brown Bag Lunch series, where alumni can get together socially while discussing a variety of topics of high interest.

Since the program’s launch in 2012, Polaner says, more than 400 alumni—including younger alumni—have participated in close to 80 events. Events often sell out, and he adds, “The program has been self-sustaining from the beginning.”

The success of the Senior Program has inspired the committee to launch localized programs to engage seniors who can’t or won’t go to Manhattan. A New Jersey group is underway, and, if all goes smoothly, Polaner says a Southern Connecticut program will be next.

For his part, Polaner is remaining involved but is stepping back from his leadership role now that the program is well established. “I will be 87 in the spring,” he says. “It’s time to let the younger people—in their 70s— take it and expand it.”

Even so, he remains a champion of the program and has started to mentor other clubs in launching similar programs, including the HBS Association of Boston.

Polaner says any clubs looking to better serve their senior members can reach out to him at lpolaner@mba1954.hbs.edu.

HBS Association of Nigeria celebrates outstanding leadership

Photo by La'Royal Studios

Simi Sanni Nwogugu (MBA 2004) was among three honorees at the HBS Association of Nigeria’s (HBSAN) Annual Black Tie Dinner and Leadership Awards ceremony, held at the Oriental Hotel in Lagos on December 9.

Nwogugu is the executive director of Junior Achievement Nigeria, a nonprofit economic education organization that prepares young people for a successful future. She brought JA to Nigeria in 1999, and the program has since reached close to 700,000 students across the country.

The HBSAN honored Nwogugu with the 2017 Leadership Award for Social Impact. The club also honored Obinna Ekezle, founder of Wakanow.com, Africa’s first online travel agent, for leadership in entrepreneurship and Nnamdi Okonkwo, CEO and managing director of Fidelity Bank Plc., for leadership in general management.

Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, governor of Kaduna state, Nigeria, presided over the annual event, which brought together more than 200 HBS alumni and friends to review the year and celebrate in a festive setting that included entertainment by comedian Basket Mouth and singer Kaline.

Alumni NVC underway: Where will it take you?

Photo by Russ Campbell

Fifteen HBS clubs and associations are gearing up for the 9th Annual Alumni New Venture Competition (aNVC). The application period is open until January 29, and these clubs will serve as hosts for the upcoming regional competitions, which will be held in February and March 2018.

You never know where the aNVC might take you. Julia Cheek (MBA 2011), winner of the 2016 NVC regional competition in Texas for her company, EverlyWell, went on to earn the $25,000 runner-up prize in the aNVC global competition. Recently, she pitched her business, which makes at-home lab testing kits on ABC's Shark Tank and sealed a deal for a $1M line of credit from investor Lori Greiner, in exchange for five percent equity in the company. The investment marks the largest deal Greiner has ever made on the show, and the largest valuation deal for a solo woman entrepreneur in the show’s history.

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Featured Alumni

Class of MBA 2011, Section B
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Class of MBA 1954, Section C
Class of MBA 2004, Section A
Class of MBA 1973, Section B
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