Mario Avila, Director of the Turner Family Center for Social Ventures at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, who highlights the interdisciplinary, student-led organization committed to developing socially and environmentally conscious leaders and doers. During the interview, Avila discusses how they prepare students to drive systemic, impactful change through market-driven forces and enterprise, and provide resources and opportunities to leverage and combine the individual strengths of Vanderbilt University graduate students, faculty, and business partners. He also shares some of the pivots with COVID-19 and ways to get involved.
Mario – Entrepreneur and Owen 2012 Graduate, from Chicago originally, stayed in Nashville after school to launch company and returned to Vanderbilt after to launch the on Turner Family Center for Social Ventures (TFC). Focus on equity and access, through financial services and social enterprise and nonprofit board leadership
- Key points on Turner Family Center for Social Ventures at Vanderbilt University:
– Student-led, Center was developed by and run by Vanderbilt graduate students
– Interdisciplinary – housed at Owen Graduate School of Management, Vanderbilt’s Business School, and created for students from ALL programs including Public Health, Medicine, Education Policy, Economic Development
- Mission is to develop students as leaders and “doers” of social impact through:
– Focus on how business can drive social change
– Programming that is experiential & academic – students are doing and leading
– Example: Our Owen Board Fellows program places first year MBA students on local Nashville nonprofit boards for one year to learn from and contribute to their mission and undertake a strategic project along with organization’s leadership
- Big questions we ask of students, nonprofits, and businesses:
– What keeps you up at night? Both from an organizational perspective (what problems can our students help you solve) and from a personal perspective about the passions you have and problems they are determined to solve
– We work with students to understand unique business models that combine earned revenue and social impact, and we pair students to consult with and occasionally even start ventures that are leveraging business to achieve impact.
- Join us! We’d welcome partnership opportunities – partners include client’s organizations who can work with a student consulting team, guest speakers, placements for student fellowships – and join us for the TFC Social Ventures Summit in January 2021.