Being social is cool. More and more young talents are interested in social start ups and companies appreciate more and more candidates with a social track record. Robin Mount, director of Harvard’s Office of Career Services, is more interested in encouraging students to get involved in social activities, becoming a “social entrepreneur”: “They are poised to combine fresh ways of approaching a problem, including using digital and technological communications, to move social issues forward. They build networks and can marshal resources in a global way.”
Social entrepreneurship and the nonprofit sector are more and more attractive
With regard to the refugee crisis, Europeans are very aware of the importance of new solutions for the social sector. Student Jessica Tang, Educator and activist, felt pressure to become a consultant, doctor, or lawyer—“but that is just not where my interests lie,” she says. Turned on instead by racism, inequality, and education, she focused on sociology and was one of a handful of students to complete the still-offered Undergraduate Teacher Education Program.
Becoming a Social Entrepreneur
“I wanted to work in creating education and social policy but I felt I needed experience in the field first,” she says. For eight years, she has found her passion through the profession and currently teaches social studies to Boston’s sixth graders. An award-winning teacher, Tang is also an elected member of the Boston Teachers Union executive board (then 29, she was the youngest member to be elected in a long time) and has influential roles with other organizations, including the governor’s Teacher Advisory Committee. As a union leader, Tang spearheaded the creation of the union’s first Community Advisory Board, “where we meet with parents, students, and community members and organizations to work together on public education issues in Boston,” she says.
Parents often prefer “serious studies”
The biggest obstacle for Tang in choosing her career wasn’t lower pay but “getting my parents on board,” Tang reports. “They said, ‘We didn’t send you to Harvard to become a public-school teacher.’” They have since come to respect and support her decision. “A lot of people go to Harvard to go into investment banking and jobs that give you extrinsic rewards. That’s just not me,” Tang says. “My definition of success is more about the intrinsic rewards: knowing that the work you do is not as much about you as it is about making your community better. And it’s about justice. If you have privilege and power and skills and opportunities to improve the lives of others, it’s the right thing to do.” Caring more about the social implications and the bettering of society is what makes Tang a “social entrepreneur.”
10 Socially Minded Companies
- ConocoPhillips – finding oil and natural gas sources while improving quality of life and producing economic benefits.
- Greenpeace – raising environmental issues around the world to bring awareness and develop solutions to global issues, such as global warming and climate change.
- World Wildlife Fund – protecting the environment and all living things to create harmony between humans and the world.
- CARE International – fighting global poverty by sending out care packages to those in need, especially in 3rd world countries.
- Oxfam – working to eliminate social injustice and poverty through providing care and aid to communities in Europe and around the world.
- Médecins Sans Frontieres – delivering emergency aid to those affected by armed conflict around the world, and to provide healthcare during epidemics and disasters to those who need it.
- Danish Refugee Council – helping first-hand during humanitarian crises to aid refugees and provide long-term solutions to the situations of individuals, while also attempting to solve the crisis itself.
- Women for Women International – dedicated to supporting the advancement of women financially, educationally and socially, especially those affected by poverty and war.
- International Alert – preventing and ending violence and conflict around Europe and in countries around the globe to produce better social environments for all people.
- Service Civil International – promoting volunteering and projects to create a culture of peace, awareness of social environment and cooperation amongst each other.