Change-makers gather at Net Impact conference

To say I was inspired by those around me at the Net Impact Conference would be an understatement. Graduate and undergraduate students from around the globe gathered to learn, network, and arm themselves with tools to strengthen and grow their Net Impact chapters.

“We should be inspired by people…who show that human beings can be kind, brave, generous, beautiful, strong- even in the most difficult circumstances.”

The Career Expo buzzed as students and employers met to discuss careers focused on impact work and companies who invested capital and energy into making an impact within their firms and their communities.

The Co-Founder of #BlackLivesMatter illustrated how the challenges we face cannot be solved alone. We need to engage one another. Senior leadership from major corporations like Toyota, Walmart, and Campbell’s explained their 10-year plans on a variety of challenges and then discussed how those goals would affect our world. To hear from the change-makers themselves is powerful enough to send chills down your spine.

etsy-quotesHowever, my most poignant realization at the conference came when I realized who surrounded me in the audience. In particular, those sitting within my row. Of course everyone at the Net Impact Conference had the passion, energy, and ability to make communities stronger and the world a better place. But some of the biggest heroes in my life are the ones that I see on the frontlines every day, working to continue shaping the Olin Business School, the Washington University community, and the city of St. Louis.

As I listened to some of the keynote speakers deliver their messages, I can assure you there is no denying they have a gift for communication. But I see that same gift in my fellow classmates who joined me for the Net Impact Conference. It was an honor to attend the NI Conference on behalf of Olin and WashU; but it was even more of an honor to sit with my fellow classmates, who I know are the change-makers in the ‘now’; not the “change-makers of tomorrow”—a moniker often given to millennials.

I submit that my classmates are making this community and world a better place. Maybe they do not have the megaphone to bring to light what they are doing. Or maybe they do not have the traction or manpower necessary to create a revolution. But I know they will prove me right as they continue on their missions.

Heather Reinhardt, MBA’17, is a former Walmart intern who introduced CEO Doug McMillon prior to his remarks at the 2016 Net Impact Conference in Philadelphia. At the event, McMillon outlined a series of commitments that will benefit customers and communities – learn more about his speech here.

About Net Impact:

Net Impact is a global community of students and professionals who aspire to be effective drivers of social and environmental change. Visit www.netimpact.org.

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