Net Impact Leadership Development Opportunity with Funding

Sstudent leaders cam gain resume-building experiences, leadership skills, and access to Net Impact’s global network through a great Net Impact Central Program. Up to Us is a nonpartisan leadership program where you and your team can design activities to engage your peers on complex topics, including fiscal policy and the national debt. 

Participants receive $1,000 in funding to turn their ideas into action, leadership skills training, networking and internship opportunities, and access to national conferences (all-expenses-paid!). As a chapter leader, you have first access to this program. 

The Up to Us program runs from February 5th to April 12th and the time commitment is 2-4 hours/week. Space is limited to the first 65 campuses. Participants in this program have priority access to the following internship opportunities:

  • Reagan Foundation Leadership and the American Presidency Program Internship (5 openings – course credit and housing stipend in Washington, DC)
  • Net Impact Summer Internship (2 openings – paid and housing stipend in the San Francisco Bay area)

Apply here by January 22nd to participate. If you have any questions about Up to Us and internship opportunities, please reach out to my colleague Hillary Prince at

Several 2019 Summer Impact Internships Open

Impact students seeking summer internships with the Environmental Defense Fund or Civic Consulting Alliance should apply for the following internships by mid-January:

Graduate students seeking summer internships with the Environmental Defense Fund or Civic Consulting Alliance should apply for the following internships by mid-January:

William Brinkerhoff (MBA/MSIOE ’89 ) and Kathy Sample (MBA ’89)

Bill Brinkerhoff and Kathy Sample were students in the late 80’s at the Business School (its name before it became the Ross School of Business).  After marriage and traditional jobs on the east coast, they returned to Ann Arbor and pursued an impact career that suited their passion. In August, we heard from them about discovering their calling and leveraging their education at the B-School.

Was the path from Ross to Argus Farm Stop a logical one, or more circuitous?

When we graduated from the U-M Business School in 1989, we took more traditional corporate jobs on the east coast, with Kathy leading marketing teams at international firms and Bill working in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry. In 2001, we decided to transition our careers such that we could move back to Ann Arbor where we wanted to be closer to family and raise our 3 children. In 2013, we had another joint career decision point (Bill’s biotech company was sold) and searched for a way to prioritize local community impact and working together in a family business. We had always been interested in food, with family vacations featuring early morning trips to farmers markets and exploration of local food scenes. During our search for the next career chapter, we came upon a store in Wooster Ohio called Local Roots. It is an everyday farmers market and served as the basis for the Argus concept.

How have you leveraged your Ross experience/learning in your work?

Our MBA experience at Michigan has been fundamental to our work. Every day in a small business we need to use what we learned at Michigan – whether it is in marketing, accounting, organization behavior, strategy, communications, or other areas.  We took an entrepreneurial studies class from LaRue Hosmer that provided foundational thinking for starting a brand new type of store. The innovation at Argus is in the business model. We have changed the traditional paradigm for selling local food, and our small store has been putting back $1 million per year into the hands of local producers.


Why did you decide to make the switch from traditional careers to this kind of work?

We wanted to spend more time in our community and find a way to have local impact. We felt strongly that the current food systems were leading to bad outcomes – with the disappearance of local farms, and the over-industrialization of our food supply. We wanted to see if we could impact our community by convening farms and consumers in a new type of store setting.

You’ve both been active board members in regional nonprofits. How does that fit with your personal and organizational goals?

Involvement with nonprofits has provided opportunities to help advance community initiatives, and also allowed us to work closely with fantastic local leaders.  Nonprofits are a great way to try on some new skills as well – if by day you are a marketing professional, try volunteering on a finance committee, and vice versa. Our nonprofit experience gave us the background to form Argus, which is not a nonprofit but rather a mission-driven LLC called an L3C (low profit, limited liability company).

What do you think business schools can improve upon to better prepare students for careers with impact?

It is important to be aware of the many ways that social impact roles can be incorporated into careers. Some may decide to go all in and pursue careers in the nonprofit sector, and others may elect to be involved through volunteer or board roles. The business school provides great education about the importance of social impact and could also provide coaching about the best ways to incorporate this into career and life pathways.

Do you have any advice for students pursuing a viable career in the social sector? 

Career choices are made differently based on the stage of your career. There are often trade-offs between maximizing compensation, job enjoyment, career achievement, work/life balance and other factors.  It is important to think about these with a fresh perspective at each career juncture, as they change over time. We have benefited by always having a good mixture of professional focus, community focus and family focus. Earlier in our careers, the professional focus was very high, but there was still room for some community roles. In this latest career chapter with Argus, we have been able to focus on social impact as a primary goal.

There are a many articles about Argus online.  These three are especially good to show what we have been trying to achieve at Argus:

All Spotlight Stories:

Ross Accounting Outreach Program Seeks Coordinators

The Ross Accounting Outreach program helps students gain experience consulting with clients and solidify their accounting skills, as well as makes a greater impact on the community. This initiative was originally launched by the Detroit Neighborhood Entrepreneurs Project (DNEP) and the Business + Impact Initiative at Ross to help Detroit entrepreneurs with their accounting needs. This includes financial projections, and financial statements, amongst other accounting concepts. We are looking to recruit new, paid program coordinators to help manage and run this program next semester and through the summer. 

In addition to hourly pay, this position comes with many other benefits.
   – Learn how to manage and organize a team of other students
   – Work with various faculty members and stakeholders in the social impact space
   – Hone and practice accounting and financial analysis skills
   – Consult with real entrepreneurs tackling unique business challenges 
   – Make an impact in the community

Our ideal candidate:
   – Has a passion for helping others and entrepreneurship
   – Has high emotional intelligence and is able to explain concepts in a simple, easy to understand way
   – Is available every other Friday to meet with the entrepreneurs
   – Is willing to learn and bring innovative ideas to the table

Please fill out this interest form if you’d like to be considered for the position(s). If you have any questions, please reach out to

Chelsea Racelis, BBA/BA ’19 Making a Difference, On Campus and In the Future

Chelsea Racelis wants to have an impact on the world. And while her Michigan Ross education may help her do that, she’s already making an impact on the school while she’s here.

Growing up in Ann Arbor, Chelsea wasn’t sure she wanted to stay in town and go to college at the University of Michigan. But she came to realize that Michigan was the perfect place to combine her interest in international studies and human rights with a business education, all at a top-tier university.

“It ended up being kind of a no-brainer,” she says now. “Being able to do human rights and international studies along with business, and try to find a bridge between the two, has been something that Michigan allowed me to do. I don’t know if I would have been able to do that at another university. There are just so many opportunities at Michigan.”

Read the full post on the Michigan Ross Website

Michigan Business Challenge – Seigle Impact Track Round One Winners

Ann Arbor, December 3, 2018 – The Michigan Business Challenge (MBC), a campus-wide, multi-round business plan competition has announced the eight teams advancing in its Seigle Impact Track.

Ninety-five student teams submitted proposals for MBC, with 51 teams submitting for the Seigle Impact Track. After passing a qualifying round, teams advanced to Round One, which was held at the Ross School of Business on Friday, November 30, 2018. In the Seigle Impact Track, eight teams will now advance to Round Two, taking place on Friday, February 8, 2019. From there, four teams will advance to the Finals on Friday, March 15, 2018.

Eight impact teams will advance from Round One to Round Two:

  • BLIP – aiming to reduce the amount of time and effort women in rural Gujarat, India, spend to collect potable water, alleviating pain and reducing “time poverty.”
  • Dear Black Women – an affirmation movement and social network, online and offline, that grows the social capital of black women.
  • Dough – personalizing student loan management from matriculation through repayment to reduce debt burdens and default rates.
  • NeoHealth – a low-cost device that can be used to detect counterfeit antimalarials in developing countries.
  • Peerstachio – a peer-to-peer learning community platform that helps undergraduate college students improve their grades by connecting underclassmen with trusted upperclassmen.
  • Practical Prosthetics – providing affordable, accessible and functional 3D-printed prosthetics.
  • SubQ Assist – a task-shifting device to aid in the safe administration of subcutaneous contraceptive implants for people in rural areas.
  • ValCycle – an end-to-end reverse logistics platform that connects unused product to the people who need it most.

The eight teams feature students from Biology, Education Engineering, Computer Science, Information, LSA, and Michigan Ross. Additionally, 17 teams are advancing in the at-large competition, including Dough and SubQAssist.

The Michigan Business Challenge (MBC) is a campus-wide, multi-round business plan competition where student businesses have the opportunity to win cash prizes totaling over $100,000, gain feedback from leaders in the business community, and expand their business network. Ross’ Seigle Impact Track is sponsored by the Mark and Robin Seigle Entrepreneurial Innovation Fund and co-managed by Business+Impact at Michigan Ross, the Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise, and the Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies. This track awards a $26,000 prize pool to the most compelling business plans that deliver social or environmental impact, and the top social impact team can win $15,000 at the finals on March 15.

Read about all of the Round One winners ZLI’s post “2019 Michigan Business Challenge Teams Advancing to Round 2”

Students From Middle East, North Africa Join Forces with U-M Students to Solve World Challenges

This story originally appeared on the William Davidson Institute website. It is republished here with permission. View the original.

Before participating in the William Davidson Institute’s M²GATE Program, University of Michigan sophomore Jackie Spryshak, BBA ‘21, said she had never met anyone from Egypt.

Over eight weeks this summer, Spryshak worked with and got to know her teammates from Egypt as they collaborated on their winning social enterprise project as part of the M2GATE virtual exchange program.

This week, her Egyptian teammates will travel to Ann Arbor for a pitch competition Nov. 14 at the Ross School of Business where they will meet for the first time.

“I am so proud that our team worked so hard and I am thrilled to be able to meet these students in person,” she said. “I am in awe of the creativity and drive behind my teammates, and can’t wait to see them.”

Spryshak and her teammates from Egypt were among the more than 500 students who participated in the WDI-organized program MENA-Michigan Initiative for Global Action Through Entrepreneurship (M²GATE), which paired undergrads from five Michigan campuses with peers in Egypt, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia to find entrepreneurial solutions to social challenges in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

Working virtually, teams developed social entrepreneurship projects and accompanying pitches over an eight-week period with the help of instructors, mentors, and successful entrepreneurs from MENA and Michigan.

At the end of each of the three cohorts, the program hosted a virtual competition with judges naming winners based on  scalable solutions featuring science, technology, engineering, and math – or STEM-based – innovations. The winning team from each cohort will participate in the pitch competition at U-M.

At the November 14 event, each team will have about 5-7 minutes for their presentation before a panel of five judges that includes Ross School entrepreneurship professors and startup consultants. The event begins at 3 p.m. in the Ross School Colloquium on the sixth floor. It will be livestreamed; click here for details. Light refreshments will be served at the conclusion, around 4:30 p.m.


2018 Shared Prosperity Conference


Business+Impact at the Ross School of Business is proud to collaborate with the Aspen Institute Business & Society Program for a conference at the University of Michigan, Oct. 24-26, 2018, entitled, “Working Towards a Shared Prosperity: An Academic-Executive Dialogue.” With fewer opportunities for upward mobility and growing economic inequality, the American Dream is under threat. It is hard to imagine a return to the 1950s style social contract, but it is often overlooked that today’s firms – and their leaders – have choices.  

The purposes of the conference are to:

  • map the “choice points” available to firms—actions that are within business control—that contribute to broadly held prosperity.  What management practices positively effect employees—their development, well-being and productivity—and the labor market more broadly? What new business models do the same?
  • explore the incentives and constraints that are influencing business decisions about hiring, compensation, training, and job quality. What conversations are happening within firms—and in capital markets—around these issues? What are the narratives, assumptions and frameworks that result in less than desirable outcomes for low-wage workers? What conditions allow for “better” decisions?
  • examine recent and on-the-horizon changes in labor, capital and product markets, including the ascendance of AI. What are the effects of all these changes on economic inequality? Importantly, how do managerial choices feed back into these markets?
  • determine leverage points of change both in practice and academia to bring these “choice points” to light.  What would it take to establish new narratives and introduce new decision-making frameworks? What stakeholders need to be engaged?  What research needs to be highlighted and what questions need to be further investigated?

Watch Sessions & Speakers:


Program Line-up

Wednesday, October 26th

6:00 – 7:30 PM
Opening Cocktail Reception
Featuring The Secret Society of Twisted Storytellers


Thursday, October 25th

8:15 – 9:00 AM
Breakfast & Registration

9:00 – 9:45 AM
Welcome (Plenary)
Why are we examining managerial “choice points”? Does the issue of inequality all come down to profit and power? Or are there assumptions and frameworks that influence corporate decisions that have 2nd and 3rd order effects on the ladders of economic opportunity?
Gerald Davis, University of Michigan Ross School of Business
Scott DeRue, University of Michigan Ross School of Business
Judith Samuelson, Aspen Institute Business & Society Program

9:45 – 10:45 AM
Session 1—What is the Value of Work? (Plenary)
What are our aspirations for the “social contract” between employers, workers and society? How do firms, workers, and society at large view the obligations of employers? How do we recognize and highlight the inherent dignity in the concept of work, at all levels, and not just the professional or skilled class?
Elizabeth Anderson, University of Michigan
Laphonza Butler, SEIU Local 2015
Peter Cappelli, University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School
Scott Tong, Marketplace (Moderator)

10:45 – 11:15 AM

11:15 – 12:30 PM
Session 2—The COO’s Dilemma: Choice Points in Operational Design (Breakouts)
How do COOs make decisions about the ways firms operate and—and how do these influence the health of employees and society?

a) The Gig Economy and Precarious Work
We’ve seen a rise in temporary, contract and part-time workers. What are the effects of this “plug & play” employment model on inequality and long-term business results?
Lindsey Cameron, University of Michigan Ross School of Business
Steven Hatfield and Jeff Schwartz, Deloitte
Allison Pugh, University of Virginia
Maureen Conway, Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program (Moderator)

b) Who Gets the Job?
As industries and sectors grow, what kinds of hiring practices help or hurt economic inequality? How can talent pipelines be developed in a way that brings the opportunity for good jobs to those that are being marginalized?
Daisy Auger-Dominguez, (formerly) Viacom
Malaika Myers, Hyatt
Nicole Sherard-Freeman, Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation
Branden Snyder, GoodJobsNow
Dror Etzion, McGill University (Moderator)

c) Labor at the Base of the Pyramid
How do corporations create environments that promote quality employment at their supply and distribution partners?
Ach Adhvaryu, University of Michigan Ross School of Business
Sean Ansett, At Stake Advisors
Vik Khanna, University of Michigan Law School
Regina Abrami, University of Pennsylvania, The Wharton School (Moderator)

d) Whose Responsibility is it to Create a Skilled Workforce?
What roles have business, government and individual employees played in the past—and what does the future look like?
Teddy DeWitt, University of Michigan Ross School of Business
Chioke Mose-Telesford, City of Detroit Office of Workforce Development
Andrea Wood, Best Buy
Lavea Brachman, Ralph C. Wilson Foundation (Moderator)

12:30 – 1:45 PM
Lunch—Presentation of Accenture/Aspen Research
Eva Sage Gavin, Accenture
Nicholas Whittall, Accenture
Miguel Padro, Aspen Institute Business & Society Program (Moderator)

2:00 – 3:15 PM
Session 3—The CFO’s Dilemma: Capital vs. Labor—Changing Tides (Breakouts)
Rewarding capital has taken precedent over rewarding labor in recent years. What are the drivers in this change? What frameworks and perspectives allow CFOs to make decisions that build healthy, long-standing organizations?

a) Work, Wages and Inequality
Are pay rates truly set by the market? How might we think of wages like we do stock prices–a measurement of the future value of an employee? And how has the provision of benefits shifted over time—and how might it change in the future?
Sue Dynarski, University of Michigan Ford School of Public Policy
Kyle Handley, University of Michigan Ross School of Business
David Rolf, SEUI Seattle
Ida Rademacher, The Aspen Institute (Moderator)

b) Standing Up to Investor Pressure
What skills are needed by IR personnel and CFOs to make a case for a reinvestment of profits into human capital?
Adam Cobb, University of Texas
Martin Schmalz, University of Michigan Ross School of Business
Steve Sleigh, Sleigh Strategy LLC
Judith Samuelson, Aspen Institute Business & Society Program (Moderator)

c) Humans vs. Robots
How might the ascendancy of AI effect the balance between capital and labor? How are growth, efficiency and quality weighted when firms are making decisions about automation?
Adam Litwin, Cornell University Industrial and Labor Relations School
Kentaro Toyama, University of Michigan School of Information
Nicholas Whittall, Accenture


3:15 – 3:45 PM


3:45 – 4:45 PM
Session 4—Teaching Immersions (Workshops)
How are innovative faculty challenging the traditional business school view of employment and labor?
a) Economic Inequality and Social Mobility
b) Technological Change at Work
c) Human Capital Sustainability
d) MIT (tentative)

5:00 – 6:15
Session 5—What is the Value of Sharing Prosperity? (Plenary)

Watch the entire presentation here

To the degree that workers are currently viewed as costs to be managed, how do we change the narrative for boards, executives and especially shareholders? How do we utilize the desire for purpose-driven work to combat distrust in capitalism and corporations and tell a different story about how corporations create value for society?
Carl Camden, IPSE US-The Association of Independent Workers and former CEO, Kelly Services, interviewed by Rick Wartzman, Drucker Institute KH Moon Center for a Functioning Society
Joined by John Denniston, Shared X, Joel Rogers, University of Wisconsin Law School and Carmen Rojas, CEO, Workers Lab

6:15 – 7:00 PM

7:00 – 9:00 PM
Dinner and Presentation of Ideas Worth Teaching Awards


Friday, October 26th

8:15 – 9:00 AM

9:00 – 10:15 AM
Session 6—Envisioning the Future: Business as Creators (Plenary)
Watch the entire presentation here
Business is not an innocent bystander when it comes to forces such as technology and market shifts. Why then is the current narrative about how business can “cope” with the future of work instead of recognizing the deep influence business has in building that future? What could a more just version of work look like and how do we get there?
Jim Keane, CEO, Steelcase interviewed by Joe Nocera, Bloomberg
Joined by Maureen Conway, Aspen Institute; and Tom Kochan, MIT Sloan School of Management

10:30 – 11:45 AM
Session 7—The CEO’s Dilemma: Workers and the DNA of a Company (Breakouts)
The culture of a company often comes from the top and enforced by actions by the CEO. What strategies are organizations using to create a symbiotic relationship between employer and employee?

a. Re-designing the Employment Relationship
What makes for a good job—now and in the future? How are market conditions driving decisions about quality work? How do firms choose “good job strategies” and how are these executed—across organizations?
Talia Aharoni, Coller School of Management (Moderator)
Julie Gherki, WalMart
Arne Kalleberg, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Zeynep Ton, MIT Sloan School of Management

b. Reopening Lines of Communication: The Worker Voice
In business and business schools, how do we break the “management v. labor” binary?
Katie Corrigan, AFL-CIO
Debra Plousha Moore, Former Chief of Staff, Atrium Health
Patrick McHugh, George Washington University

c. Ownership: Alternative Structures that Change the Employer – Employee Dynamic
As fewer companies go public, and co-ops and other employee ownership programs are becoming more popular business models, what are the benefits and challenges to these new models and are they being addressed in business schools?
Joseph Blasi, Rutgers University
Kate Cooney, Yale School of Management (Moderator)
David Drews, former CFO for Project WorldWide
Marjorie Kelly, The Democracy Collaborative

d. The Rise of the Activist CEO
We’ve seen more and more business leaders speak out on political issues. What place does the business community have in advocating for policy changes that effect the market and in turn their employees?
David Bach, Yale School of Management
Gerald Davis, University of Michigan Ross School of Business (Moderator)
Rebecca Henderson, Harvard University
Zachary Savas, Cranbrook Partners

11:45 – 12:15 PM

12:15 – 1:15 PM
Session 8—Worker Voice in Business Schools (Workshops)
Issues in labor are rarely addressed inside the halls of the business school. Meanwhile, graduates will go on to start companies, manage teams, and lead organizations without understanding the effects of their decisions. How might we integrate new thinking into traditional management education?

1:15 – 2:15 PM
Lunch and Closing





Conference sponsors:



See a complete gallery of photos from the event