New Institute for Business and Social Impact to Launch with Distinguished Alumni Panel

The Haas School will launch a new Institute for Business and Social Impact Wednesday, Nov. 6, with a panel discussion among five alumni who have built outstanding careers with significant social impact.

The event will run from noon until 2 p.m. in the Wells Fargo Room. Registration is required at

Professor and former Haas Dean Laura Tyson will lead the new institute, whose goal is to inspire and empower members of the Haas community to develop pioneering solutions for pressing social and environmental challenges.

"If there’s anyone who can lead the way in bridging business, government and the civic sector to find solutions to our society's toughest problems, it's Laura Tyson," says Dean Rich Lyons. "We are delighted that she will be taking the lead in bringing together several units to accomplish this audacious goal."

The Institute will encompass  four existing centers and programs of the Haas School: the Center for Nonprofit and Public Leadership; the Center for Responsible Business; the Graduate Program in Health Management, and the Global Social Venture Competition, which was founded by Berkeley MBA students and is hosted by the Haas School's Lester Center for Entrepreneurship. In addition, the institute plans to launch a new gender parity initiative and othe rprograms related to its mission.

"I am honored to serve as the director of this exciting new institute," says Tyson. "Its mission reflects the mission of the Haas School to train pathbending leaders who question the status quo and think beyond themselves to foster a prosperous, inclusive, and sustainable society."

The launch event for the institute will begin with remarks from Dean Rich Lyons and Tyson, followed by a panel discussion among five distinguished alumni:

Rob Kaplan, MBA 07, Director of Product Sustainability, Walmart. Last year, Kaplan led the implementation of Walmart’s ambitious goal to eliminate 20 million tons of embedded carbon emissions in consumer products sold through its stores. This year, Walmart gave him marching orders to improve the environmental sustainability of most consumable products outside of food and produce.

Jonathan Klein, MBA 08, founder, GO Public Schools in Oakland. A former teacher, Klein leads one of the most powerful advocacy groups in Oakland to push for more school funding, increased accountability, and greater community participation.

Jennifer Liebermann, MBA/MPH 01, founder and director, Kaiser Permanente’s Garfield Innovation Center. Liebermann leads Kaiser's effort to map out the future of health care delivery. Her Innovation Center, with 37,000 sq. ft., began by evaluating new medical technology but is now re-thinking health care delivery from the ground up.

Paul Rice, MBA 96, Founder and CEO, Fair Trade USA. Rice spent 11 years working to help impoverished farmers in Nicaragua. While earning his Berkeley MBA, he hammered out a plan to harness the market power of American consumers who valued products made by farmers and workers who were fairly paid. Today, Fair Trade USA certifies $1.5 billion a year in goods, from coffee and cocoa to flowers and clothing, and boosts incomes of people around the world.

Nicole Sanchez, MBA 12, Managing Partner, Kapor Center for Social Impact. By the time she arrived at Haas, Sanchez had already launched or expanded several national organizations to empower students in under-represented communities. At the Kapor Center in Oakland, she now develops strategies for using technology to expand opportunities for people in need.