Loyola University Chicago

Quinlan School of Business

Baumhart Center expands to global leadership in social impact

Baumhart Center expands to global leadership in social impact

The annual Good Business Breakfast is one way the Baumhart Center brings together business leaders to discuss social responsibility. Pictured from left: Pallavi Varma from Accenture, Seth Green from the Baumhart Center, and Sean Garrett from United Way of Metro Chicago.

The Baumhart Center is ready for the global stage. It has already developed a strong reputation for social impact education and events over the past three years under the leadership of its director, Seth Green.

“We are setting out to become a global leader for social impact and leading from the standpoint of social purpose,” says Green. “2019 was a year of building momentum for the global conversation.”

The center, housed in the Loyola Business Leadership Hub in the Quinlan School of Business, explores how to pursue profit and purpose to create both better businesses and a better world.

Global recognition

Adding momentum to the center’s efforts was a Financial Times recognition of the Quinlan School of Business as a world leader for social purpose,

“It was very exciting to see our extraordinary faculty and students at Quinlan being recognized externally. The Financial Times recognition adds fuel from the outside to the validation we were already feeling from the inside,” says Green.

Nordquist adds, “Social responsibility is in the DNA of Loyola. From Quinlan to the Institute for Environmental Sustainability and the Center for Urban Research and Learning, the University is focused on positive social impact.”

A year of impact

Buoyed by this outside recognition and internal excitement, the Baumhart Center charted an ambitious 2018-19 academic year. Here are just some of its impacts:

  • More than 3,500 leaders and students participated in the center’s learning gatherings and presentations
  • More than 15 nonprofits and social enterprises received support through student-led consulting projects
  • And the center connected students to world-class gatherings at Yale, Georgetown, and beyond, helping our students to grow as leaders and change makers

Green cites the community that has formed around the center, such as its Leadership Council, for its success.

“They’ve embraced our network’s offerings, but also given us new ideas for ways we can show up and add real value,” he says. “There has been a world of support for us in Chicago and beyond, and we’re energized by our stakeholders and their excitement.”

The end goal of all this activity is to influence how businesses operate.

“Business has to be a part of the solution,” says Green. “We want to encourage business leaders to do more than just think about their social purpose. We want them to take action.”

For more on the center’s accomplishments and activities, download the 2019 Baumhart Center annual report.

Social justice through education

Perhaps the most notable effort of the Baumhart Center in 2019 was the launch of the Baumhart Scholars MBA program, the first MBA at a world-class U.S. business class exclusively tailored to working professionals seeking to marry profit and purpose.

 “This follows the Jesuit tradition of always being on the frontier of change,” says Green. “We wanted to be pioneers now, making a statement about what business education should be. We have the opportunity to be on the frontier for justice.”

The program is an indicator of changing times in the business community.

“It’s a great sign of what’s happening in the world, that there would be an entire MBA program focused on marrying profit and purpose,” says Green.

Emily Nordquist, senior program manager for the Baumhart Center, oversees the Baumhart Scholars MBA program and the center’s work to develop the leaders of the future.

“We see the center as a disruptor in business education. We aren’t offering a traditional business education,” says Nordquist. “We focus on the social impacts of business on communities and engage in broader conversations from diverse perspectives.”

A courageous vision for the future

The Baumhart Center is now looking ambitiously into the future: it seeks to lead the global conversation on social purpose.

“We knew that what we were offering here was worthy of the global conversation around social responsibility and is capable of making a global impact,” says Green.

Business needs leaders who are willing to work toward socially responsible business at the intersection of economic development, sustainability, and education opportunities.

“The center wants to be a part of not just having the conversation and creating the drive for change, but actually affecting behavior,” says Green. “Many businesses have a sincere interest in focusing on social impact, but don’t have the tools or strategy to act. The Baumhart Center looks to empower leaders to make actionable change by providing solutions.”

At the outset of the Baumhart Center, courage was chosen as one of its main values.

“This gives the center a driving force to take risks and be bold in their pursuit of impact,” says Green. “It also means a willingness to have sincere, hard conversations about what needs to change.”

For example, Nordquist is focusing more on diversity, equity, and inclusion.

“If we want to accelerate social impact, we need to create inclusive spaces and bring in diverse talent. There’s no way to have a socially responsible business that doesn’t consider how diversity, equity, and inclusion tie into everything,” she says.

“Business can be a tool for good if we reframe it and create leaders to tackle complex issues in unique ways.”

Learn more