Because you can do both.

My Dad is one of my heroes. Growing up I admired his ability to manage his own business, but I was always in awe when I saw him serve others, which he did every opportunity (and still does). His example impacted me greatly, and I have always been interested in business and the opportunity of serving others.

For the longest time I struggled as I debated on what career path I would take. I loved the principles of business management and knew that it would be a good and safe road, as well as an excellent way to provide for my future family. However, I also really wanted to do something more, something greater than just a business to earn money for my family, something that would have a significant impact on others. What’s troubling to me is that it seems as if the traditional paradigm is that these two pursuits are separate, that although they can be done by the same person at the same time, like my Dad, they are still two different pursuits. You can either make money to provide for your family, or you can do good and make a social impact, but not both, according to most of the world.

When I entered my sophomore year here at Brigham Young University, with this supposed dichotomy of interests in mind, I began hearing this phrase of “social innovation,” and I decided on a whim to attend an information session about the Students for Social Innovation internship on campus. As if the speaker knew the questions in my mind, I began hearing that this traditional paradigm was slowly dissolving, that a whole new wave of thought had emerged in the past decade or so. You CAN make an impact and be involved in business. In fact, you could even make a decent amount of money to support your family! Traditional philanthropy was starting to be supported by a new kind of innovation, an innovation that uses practical business techniques to create social impact across the world. Before the speaker even finished, I knew where I wanted to be and what career I wanted to pursue.

The reason why I am taking this class is because in the social innovation industry there are opportunities to pursue specific fields of interest, whether it be business, science, health, or engineering, to earn a living, and to most importantly make a sustainable social impact, all at the same time. I want to learn HOW to do that. In short, I am taking this because you can do both.