A Thank You Note to the Center for Responsible Business
As part of the Center for Responsible Business’ 10th anniversary, we are running a series of posts from alumni, students and faculty. Libby Reder, MBA ’06, Business Leader, Corporate Reputation, Visa Inc., expresses her thanks to CRB. Please join us at our 10th Anniversary Celebration March 20th 6-8 PM (register HERE).
I came to Haas from Capitol Hill, where I had seen that when the private sector, public sector and nonprofit sector come together and find common ground, they can create real progress (doubters, this was multiple presidents and several congresses ago – please read on). I chose business school because I was interested in helping companies collaborate with nonprofits and governments to create value for the bottom line and for society at the same time.
While at Haas, the CRB was the center of my elective curriculum and career exploration.
The faculty always brought real-world experience into the classroom. Through carefully selected business cases and coaching on client projects, they encouraged applied learning of all kinds and pushed us to learn directly from practitioners as much as possible. I’ll never forget the day that Kellie McElhaney handed back an assignment in which we had been asked to review a company’s CSR report.
At the top of my paper, which was about Starbucks, she had written the name and email of a contact there, taken from her own virtual rolodex. Looking around, she had done the same thing on every paper, and basically threatened us with a failing grade if we didn’t send the paper off for review. If the complete Haas MBA experience gave me the skills to transition from the public to the private sector successfully, the CRB taught me the skills I needed to differentiate myself and pursue CSR jobs with confidence.
Since graduating from Haas, I have spent time at eBay, helping to set up the Global Citizenship group and founding the eBay Green Team, and at Visa, leading CSR employee engagement and more recently, managing the company’s global corporate reputation platform, Currency of Progress. As a Haas alum, the CRB has helped me stay on top of developments in the fields of CSR and sustainability.
But, most importantly, the CRB has kept me connected with Haas students. I’ve appreciated the CRB’s invitations to come back to Haas to speak with students because their energy, thoughtfulness, and optimism is contagious (and fortunately not in the infectious-disease sense of the word). I’ve also been grateful to student teams from both the undergraduate and MBA “Strategic CSR and Projects” courses that have contributed to our work at eBay and Visa.
From its perch in the Berkeley hills, the CRB has a great view of the discipline across sectors and industries. I’m excited about the direction of the CRB and look forward to remaining an active alum for the next ten years and beyond.