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My Farber Summer Mantra – Andrea Acedo Trueba, UC Berkeley Haas School of Business

“Am I gonna do this or not? Because I have all the tools to do it.”

This quote is from Anthony “AP” Armour, Executive Director of Neighborhood Industries and REDF Accelerator Alum. He says he thought about this at the beginning of his journey as a social entrepreneur. This quote stuck with me when we met him (you meet a lot of cool people as a Farber Fellow!) and I repeated this as a “mantra” this summer and keep doing it now with new projects.

Andrea and fellow Farber Sam Buck exploring the Haas campus.

I came to business school because my dream is to be a social entrepreneur and I wanted to get the right tools and experience to complement my management consulting background. REDF was the perfect internship for me: I got to work with an employment social enterprise, while leveraging REDF’s extensive experience and ongoing support (and network, and amazing Farber cohort!).

I worked virtually with Central City Concern (CCC) in Portland, Oregon. CCC is a large nonprofit with three social enterprises: a coffee business, a staffing business, and a street cleaning business. My project was creating a staffing “business in a box.” This means packaging the staffing business model so another organization can license it and create a similar business (by packaging I mean documenting processes, gathering all necessary documents, enlisting all startup requirements, and creating a financial model). I also defined REDF/CCC’s replication strategy – who to license this business to, how to position it, and how the collaboration with REDF/CCC would work.

This project exceeded all my expectations. At first I thought the scope would be a challenge, but I was in a flow state all summer. I would lose track of time and come up with ideas for my project even during hikes or when I was not working. I looked forward to my checkpoints with my supervisors and enjoyed every interview I conducted. I got to meet multiple social entrepreneurs (even people that I had listened to in podcasts!), important nonprofit leaders, and government innovators working in employment issues.

If the project is successful, it could create 800+ new jobs for people with barriers to work in the next 3-5 years. This brings a huge smile to my face. I’ve seen firsthand how these programs work through meeting people who have overcome homelessness and other difficult situations, and I’m really blessed that I got to play my part in creating more programs like CCC’s.

This summer I got a taste of what it’s like to work in social impact full time. An impact-first environment where everyone is extremely smart and deeply intrinsically motivated. Paradigm-shifting programs that open doors for people who may otherwise not have access to employment. Disruptive innovation creating opportunity where there was none before. And a kind leadership style that I hadn’t quite experienced before.

Like AP, I think about my career ahead: am I gonna work in social impact? I have all the tools to do it (a big thank you to BCG, REDF, and Haas for equipping me with priceless tools to prepare for this journey)! This summer was a constant reminder of what truly drives me, and I can’t wait to put all these tools towards a social goal.

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