With its new CEO Rachael Jarosh now a year into the job, Springfield-based student development nonprofit is working to better measure its impact and tighten its mission.
Filling in for Jarosh, who had a scheduling conflict in New York, Enactus Chief Financial Officer Christine Rader spoke this morning for Springfield Business Journal’s 12 People live interview series on changes taking place at the organization following the retirement last year of Alvin Rohrs, its 34-year CEO.
First up is creating a formula to measure student development impact. Enactus teams with more than 70,000 students at 1,700 higher education campuses in 36 countries. Students form business teams that often come up with ideas to affect social change, and the teams challenge each other in national and international competitions.
“We work with college and university students around the globe, and so it’s been very hard for us to measure impact of our student development,” Rader said. “What we’ve really fallen back on is measuring impact of our projects — the impact that happens on communities, on lives — because that’s much easier to manage. At the end of the day, we’re a student development organization, and we really need to be able to measure the impact of our students and that development piece.
“That’s what we’re working on now, is trying to clearly articulate and measure what that impact is on the development of our students that’s uniquely Enactus.”
Rader referenced a study performed by Enactus officials in Canada that found participating students outperform others who aren’t part of the organization.
Enactus now is seeking to formalize that structure to show how its students perform at school and in the workforce. Jarosh, who works out of Minneapolis for the Springfield-based nonprofit, today is meeting with one of Enactus’ 550 corporate partners, KPMG, on the effort.
“KPMG is partnering with us to help us measure that impact on our students,” Rader said, pointing to other corporate partners, including Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Ford Motor Co. and Unilever, that provide some $15 million a year to fund the nonprofit’s efforts.
Enactus also hired Boston Consulting Group to work on the initiative.
On top of those efforts, Enactus is seeking to better communicate with its global community by adding mission and vision statements to its belief system.
Specifically, the organization emphasizes the tagline “a head for business, a heart for the world,” and the notion that businesses can be a force for good.
“We attract companies that are like-minded,” Rader said.
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