by Emily Turner
Many of you are just days from graduation in what could be the most terrifying and exciting week of your life. I remember it well, just over four years ago now, feeling like I was on the edge of possibility. The news relayed messages of how little hope I had in the job market. Friends were moving home while continuing to search. Like many of you, I had no idea what I was going to do. I applied to well over a hundred odd jobs, but truly wanted to contribute to the idea that business could do some good in the world. I was a student of Professor Dennis Shaughnessy and even travelled to the Dominican Republic on the first Field Study program.
It was through the Social Enterprise Institute I learned about Root Capital, a nonprofit social investment fund that provides loans and financial training to small and growing businesses across Latin America and Africa. What began as an internship after graduating, Root Capital became my full-time work. For the next four years, I gained an immense amount of skills and built lasting relationships with incredibly passionate people. Looking back, it involved a lot of good timing and luck. But it is always the things you work the hardest and smartest at that become your greatest successes.
In January, my own path brought me back to Northeastern. It was with great enthusiasm that I returned to the Social Enterprise Institute as the new Associate Director of Programs. From my first few months in the new position, it has become increasingly clear how SEI grows students into passionate professionals. Many of us have been impacted by SEI in some way, including myself and even my predecessor and dear friend, Esther Chou who went on to Global Citizen Year, an organization that provides a bridge year abroad for students after high school.
At this point, thousands have shared experiences through SEI both in the classroom and out in the field, creating a global community of individuals taking action for a better world. It is my hope to the graduating class of 2014 that you stay passionate about the thing you choose to reach for next. That is how you will achieve the greatest impact. And know that you are part of a vast network of graduates, who left a class inspired by our faculty, who studied what you did, who traversed the same roads to bateyes across the Dominican Republic and consulted the same micro-businesses across Cape Town. We are with you.