Last May, we learned that a group of deep supporters of our school had donated over $200,000 to distribute as grants for efforts aimed at keeping our Defining Leadership Principles (DLPs) strong. All Berkeley Haas students, faculty, and staff were eligible to submit proposals. The Berkeley Haas Culture Champions –  a group of staff and faculty, self-named Culture Champions – administers the fund.  

We are so excited to provide an update today and share highlights about the winners.

We received 29 proposals and we were able to fund six. Awardees were informed on October 1 (so we are not spilling any beans!). Although most of the proposals were strong and included elements consistent with our DLPs, we selected proposals that most closely match the fund’s mission of strengthening our culture. The submissions that received funding show potential for creating significant long-term impact of expanding awareness of and enhancing commitment to the DLPs in our school’s learning, experiences, and practices. Big thanks to the Berkeley Haas Culture Champions for their continued support.

Here are the winning proposals:

Berkeley Haas Culture Initiative

This proposal was submitted by Professors Jennifer Chatman and Sameer Srivastava and staff member Megan Gorges, Professor Chatman’s Lab Manager. In January 2020, the Berkeley Haas Culture Initiative, which was co-founded by Professors Jennifer Chatman and Sameer Srivastava, will hold its second annual Berkeley Haas Culture Conference. The inaugural conference in January 2019 brought together 58 industry leaders from 12 companies and 52 academic thought leaders representing multiple disciplinary perspectives, and fostered a productive exchange of ideas on organizational culture between the worlds of industry practice and academic research. The conference welcomes leaders from both for- and non-profit companies. Funding will enable the Culture Initiative to invite two additional non-profit leaders to attend the 2020 conference. This will result in two key benefits: improving the richness of discussion by including a more diverse mix of attendees and perspectives, and enabling more non-profit organizations to benefit from valuable information and connections acquired through the conference. As part of awarding the funds, the Berkeley Haas Culture Champions also asked Jenny and Sameer to bring back one to two ideas garnered at the conference that they think we should implement at Berkeley Haas.

This is Berkeley Haas

Submitted by Omri Even-Tov, Berkeley Haas assistant professor. The This is Berkeley Haas initiative was created in partnership with several Haas MBA alumni eager to serve the UC Berkeley community and homeless populations in the Bay Area. The mission is to bring together Berkeley Haas alumni, current students, and faculty that share similar professional interests and are passionate about making a difference. The initiative partners with the East Oakland Burrito Roll project which is part of a national movement to provide a healthy meal to improve the lives of people living in hunger or with housing insecurity. The goal of each burrito event is to provide the housing-insecure population with over 600 vegan burritos (including 300 to UC Berkeley students through the food pantry), raise $500 per event to cover the cost of ingredients and supplies, and provide a meaningful opportunity for Haas alum, students and faculty who have similar work interests to connect and live the Haas Defining Leadership Principles (DLP’s). Funding will allow the initiative to hold many more This is Berkeley Haas events and increase their outreach. As part of awarding the funds, the Berkeley Haas Culture Champions also asked that Omri ensure that the community partners are aware of the Berkeley Haas Defining Leadership Principles. As a result, Omri shared culture cards and discussed our culture at the November 9th burrito event, which was the first event that used some of the culture fund’s money. A select group of students, alumni, faculty and staff prepared over 800 meals, including dog food and water, as well as over 200 hygiene kits that included toothpaste and toothbrush, feminine hygiene products, toilet paper, baby wipes, and more.

Diversifying Case Studies to Advance our Defining Leadership Principles

Submitted by The Haas Center for Equity, Gender & Leadership (EGAL) via Jennifer Wells, Program Director. EGAL is dedicated to educating equity fluent leaders to ignite and accelerate change. As part of the mission, EGAL will develop a compendium of case studies with diverse protagonists, and case studies that build “equity fluency” by focusing on DEI-related issues and opportunities. Funding will be used to design the case compendium to then publish on the EGAL website, raise awareness of the compendium to Haas faculty through a catered information session at Haas, and raise awareness of the compendium to faculty outside of Haas through a webinar and distribution plan to business schools. As part of awarding the funds, the Berkeley Haas Culture Champions also asked EGAL to include information/ ideas on how to integrate the Berkeley Haas Defining Leadership Principles into the case discussion in addition to the diverse protagonists.

Haas Changemakers

Submitted by Alex Budak, Executive Director for Berkeley Haas Global Access Program (BH GAP) and professional faculty member. As part of UGBA 196-5, Becoming a Changemaker, Alex helps students develop a “Changemaker Mindset”, which is fully connected to the DLPs and the culture of Haas. The class includes an introduction to the DLPs by working through the case written by Jenny Chatman and Rich Lyons, and features a guest lecture by Rich Lyons to help bring the case to life. Each of the next four weeks focuses on a single DLP and teaches the key Changemaker mindset traits associated with each. As the class finishes, students are tasked with creating a “changemaker project”. Students work in teams to conceptualize, ideate and ultimately launch a “minimum viable project”, and how they plan to continue with their concepts after the course ends. Students last year remarked how much they enjoyed the project and used DLPs to explain why. They “question the status quo” by launching something new and important to the world; and they practice “beyond yourself” by creating a project aimed specifically at serving others. Funding will enable students to launch their minimum viable product, then using the rest of the grant to help three winning teams continue work on their changemaker project after the course concludes. As part of awarding the funds, the Berkeley Haas Culture Champions also asked that the funds to projects tied as directly as possible to increasing awareness of, and strengthening commitment to the Berkeley Haas Defining Leadership Principles.

Culture Celebration Series- Haas Undergraduate Cohort Program

Submitted by Stephanie Yeo, BS ’20, Vice President of Cohort Affairs for the Haas Business School Association. Funding will enable The Haas Undergraduate Cohort Program to plan larger-scaled events over two years, which would be more attractive to the student body as well as inclusive for our socioeconomically-disadvantaged students on campus. This year, the cohort plans to put on a cultural celebration series. The series would bring the Haas community together to celebrate major holidays that are prominent in other cultures such as Eid, Diwali, Lunar New Year, Mardi Gras, Holi, and Cinco de Mayo. The series hopes to bridge understandings through celebration, and to demonstrate that cultural differences are not only welcomed, but encouraged in the business world. As part of awarding the funds, The Berkeley Haas Culture Champions also asked Stephanie to tie the programming as directly as possible to increasing awareness of, and strengthening commitment to the Berkeley Haas Defining Leadership Principles.

OneHaas Podcast Team

Submitted by OneHaas Podcast Team: Max Rausch, MBA ’22,  Raymond Guan, MBA ’22, Sean Li, MBA ’20, Berkeley Haas Evening and Weekend MBA students. When Sean entered the EWMBA program, he was surprised to find that Haas did not have a student run podcast. From his research, Sean knew that other top business schools had launched student podcasts to help showcase and promote the stories and experiences and he quickly identified the opportunity to do the same in Berkeley- with a special Haas spin on it. Li launched the OneHaas podcast in 2018 with the goal of promoting more interprogram connectivity between the full-time, evening and weekend, and executive branches of the Haas family. Each episode features a current student providing insight on their background, their journey to Haas, and/or their future aspirations. Great care is taken to ensure the episodes reflect the diverse Haas community and balance diversity of gender, race, international backgrounds, and career paths.

In its first year, OneHaas has released 25 interviews and organically reached 5,000+ downloads in 50+ countries. Funding will enable the release of episodes more frequently, increase the editing quality and invest in content marketing to expand the reach of the show and- by extension- Haas values. The Berkeley Haas Culture Champions also asked the team to tie the programming as directly as possible to increasing awareness of, and strengthening commitment to, the DLPs (e.g. 4 series each focused on one of the DLPs).

We are thrilled to have the opportunity to fund these proposals and each one was delighted and supportive of the additional requests from the Berkeley Haas Culture Champions. The Berkeley Haas Culture Champions plan to do a call for proposals annually, as long as funds are available.  For questions or more information, please contact culture@haas.berkeley.edu.

Congratulations to all!

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