Net Impact Conference 2009

December 6, 2009

Net Impact is one of the most popular clubs at SOM and the SOM chapter is one of the largest chapters in the country. It's not necessarily surprising as I've found that many of my classmates are naturally disposed to wanting to add more to the world than simply increasing a bottom line.

Net Impact's annual two-day conference this year was hosted by Cornell's Johnson School in Ithaca, NY. Yale sent an unprecedented 101 students to the event (out of a total student body of just over 400) to hear an opening keynote by GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt; a closing keynote panel of Honest Tea's TeaEO Seth Goldman, Vermont Bread former CEO Lisa Lorimer, and Ben & Jerry's Board Member Jeff Furman; and a host of panels, networking events, and social events packed in between. The 101 students were far and away the largest contingent from any academic or professional club and we were all thrilled to see Seth Goldman (SOM '95) accept the 2009 Net Impact Member Achievement award for embodying the values and aspirations of Net Impact. Overall, I found the conference engaging on a number of levels. I went, primarily, to learn and the conference did not disappoint. From the first panel on energy storage to the last on moving towards a smart grid in the US, I was captivated by the number of professionals presenting at the conference whose experience and opinions provided valuable lessons. Between panels, there were a number of companies and organizations exhibiting for students to learn, network, and possibly find their next job. And finally, there were the organized (and impromptu) social events where, as one Johnson School professor put it, "Ithaca nightlife is not an oxymoron." It was a great couple of days and I will certainly be attending again next year.

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Jason Kearns