Social Impact at Wharton Global Forum: 4 Takeaways

WSII’s Katherine Klein and Sandi M. Hunt at Wharton Global Forum.
WSII’s Katherine Klein and Sandi M. Hunt at Wharton Global Forum.

Visionaries, rainmakers, trend-spotters, influencers, inventors, disruptors, advisers—these are Wharton alumni.

Several members of the WSII team had the pleasure of attending the 52nd Wharton Global Forum in New York City, where we heard fascinating panels and networked with attendees. The common thread among these leaders in business, government, academia, and philanthropy? Investment in social impact.

Here are our biggest takeaways from the Wharton Global Forum:

Katherine Klein
Vice Dean, Wharton Social Impact Initiative
Edward H. Bowman Professor of Management

“I loved hearing leadership and strategy lessons from the Wharton alumni leading Warby Parker, Venmo, and Walmart e-Commerce U.S. But, as much as I enjoyed listening to the speakers at the Forum, I enjoyed my one-on-one conversations with alumni even more. Our alumni have a deep commitment to social impact and strong expertise that informs their work as entrepreneurs and impact investors. Want to know about the implications of blockchain for impact, or the benefits of sustainable investing, or the financial and social returns to investing in agriculture in West Africa? Talk to an alum. With the launch of the Wharton Alumni Social Impact Club – thank you, Dawn Hines, for leading the charge! – Wharton is creating a remarkable alumni network for impact.”

Sherryl Kuhlman
Managing Director, Wharton Social Impact Initiative

“What impressed me most was the breadth of the work our alumni are engaged in. University president Dr. Amy Gutmann opened by talking about the role that Penn and Wharton play in spearheading thought leadership behind inclusive economic growth, and our alums are leading the way in the technology, financial models, and social enterprises that will make this inclusive growth possible. As she described Penn’s campaign for ‘Advancing Knowledge for Good,’ I was reminded that we get to contribute to that mission every day at WSII.”

Nick Ashburn
Senior Director for Impact Investing, Wharton Social Impact Initiative

“It may have been a surprise to some in the audience to hear just how often social impact popped up throughout the Wharton Global Forum last week. From sessions on the future of philanthropy to impact investing, the evolving role of business in driving inclusive economic growth around the world was front and center. It was exciting to hear how Wharton professors and alumni are using their research skills and business education to spur innovation, build companies, and use big data analytics to drive larger social and environmental impact.”

Sandi M. Hunt
Senior Director, Wharton Social Impact Initiative

“Our live SiriusXM show from the Wharton Forum exemplified the range of impact in the careers of Wharton alumni. Regina Jaslow turned her passion for healthcare into a career when a part-time board position at The Floating Hospital paved the way to becoming CRO of Amplicare, a company innovating pharmacy effectiveness. Katlyn Grasso, CEO and Founder of GenHeration (a network helping young women and companies connect), launched her organization as a student when WSII gave her a $1,500 award. GenHeration now has over 75,000 members in its network. And Bryan Bloom, the CFO at ENODO, is helping companies and organizations understand the social risks to their business. This show once again demonstrated that there are many ways to use business skills to achieve social impact.”