Creating Social Value Blog / Social Innovation

Finding My Way In

By Angelica Vazquez ’19, Undergraduate Scholar at The Lewis Institute.

“Good Business Friday is tomorrow, you should come!” exclaimed my friend Monika who was working as an Undergraduate Scholar at The Lewis Institute.

“What is that?” I inquired. As I tried to stay involved on campus, I wondered how I hadn’t heard about this before.

Monika explained that Good Business Fridays are weekly programs meant to start conversations and unexpected partnerships that center around social innovation.

As soon as she mentioned social innovation, I thought that that didn’t align with my aspirations.

“I’m not looking to work for an NGO,” I replied.

Little did I know I’d soon be working at the social innovation hub at Babson College, The Lewis Institute, during the summer that would change the way I thought about business. I never thought economic and social impact could happen simultaneously, and that’s precisely why I had created these limitations for myself. Anything social impact related meant a nonprofit organization and, being at a business school, I wanted to have economic success in the long run. Being exposed to the idea of creating economic and social value simultaneously, not sequentially, had never occurred to me until I looked into the work of The Lewis Institute.

As soon as I started working here, I realized not only that social enterprises existed, but that I could take part in changing the world for the better. Although it may sound corny, my misguided preconceptions were continuously proven wrong as I encountered enterprise after enterprise that was making a profit while changing the world for the better.

Answering one of the most common questions at Babson, “What internship are you doing this summer?”, I found that many other students were similarly unaware of The Lewis Institute’s role at Babson. My mission at work this summer then became using my perspective and skills to enable students to find their pathway and purpose while making a social impact.

I began leveraging my web development and strategy skills to create a redesigned plan of The Lewis Institute’s website. My goal is to encourage students not only to reach out to The Lewis Institute, but also to visualize how they could be at the center of making an impact. It doesn’t take a serial entrepreneur, an NGO, or a large corporation to make an impact – it can simply be someone who is interested in combining their skills, network, and The Lewis Institute’s resources to make an impact in their community. Being exposed to social innovation has made me truly believe that it is my duty as a human to use what I know and what I love to do to make this world a better place. Even after August ends, I will carry on with my duty and use it to shape not only my future, but also the future of those who I expect to impact.