The Center for Responsible Business is proud to introduce Natalie Valentin as our 2021-2023 Fellow. The inception of the CRB Fellowship in 2011 is a symbol of our commitment to advancing graduates who will redefine conventional business practices and strive for impressive social impact. Natalie’s dynamic education and professional experience present her as a changemaker and an embodiment of Haas’ Defining Leadership Principles.  

Meet Natalie

“I have spent my career working at mission-driven startups. Most recently, I built and led the partnership implementation team at Guild Education, an EdTech unicorn and certified B Corp. Prior to Guild, I was an account manager and founding member of the partnerships team at Sparkfund, an energy efficiency FinTech startup. As an undergraduate at Middlebury College, I studied Environmental Studies and Political Science.

Sustainability and equity have always been my north stars, and I have explored both from many different angles, from conservation in the Rocky Mountains to youth empowerment in Chile. I am particularly interested in food and agriculture because of their potential to combat climate change, protect biodiversity, and promote health equity. Sharing food with others is how I show love, and I’m endlessly inspired by the power of food to connect people.

Put simply, I chose Berkeley Haas because of purpose and people. I decided to pursue my MBA in order to unite my passions for food, sustainability, and entrepreneurship, and Haas is a leader in all three. Throughout the MBA application process, I was blown away by the generosity and intentionality of Haas students and alumni. I was also drawn to Haas’ Defining Leadership Principles, and its emphasis on experiential learning, community, and a student-led culture. When I saw the application question “What makes you feel most alive?” I knew that Haas would be the right intellectual environment for me.

We need creative, scalable solutions from every industry in order to combat the climate crisis. As a CRB Fellow, I hope to help my classmates explore the myriad ways in which they can integrate sustainability into their business careers. Whether my classmates have a background in social and environmental impact, or are dipping their toes in for the first time, I want to be a liaison between them and the CRB’s many resources. I am also excited to support the CRB’s speaker series, conferences, and case studies to highlight the innovative businesses and founders who are at the forefront of stakeholder capitalism. I believe that the CRB Fellowship will empower me become a bold, strategic, and empathetic leader.

The immensity of issues like COVID, systemic racism, and climate change are overwhelming. As I start my MBA journey, I keep returning to the words of Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Dr. Katharine K. Wilkinson in the preface of their anthology of climate essays, All We Can Save. “Without knowing the outcome, we have to try anyway; without a single guarantee, we must show up…We must summon truth, courage, and solutions. This trifecta can move us forward, through the aching uncertainty.” I can’t think of a better community than Haas to help me seek truth, find courage, and pursue ambitious solutions to today’s greatest challenges.”

About the Fellowship

The CRB Fellowship is one of the ways the Center encourages the development of business leaders who will redefine business for a sustainable future and address the great challenges of our time. Started in 2011, the CRB Fellows are part of a growing network of graduates leading the movement to integrate sustainability into their work and the practices of the firms that employ them. The CRB Fellowship is graciously funded by retired Goldman Sachs Partner and CRB Senior Advisory Board Member Scott Pinkus. Upon earning the fellowship, this thought-leader serves as a liaison between the Center for Responsible Business and the Haas student body and receives automatic placement on the CRB Student Advisory Board to help calibrate and accelerate the agenda for the CRB. Additional benefits include close access and mentorship from our Senior Advisory Board, CRB Staff and Faculty, and donor Scott Pinkus.

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