University of Southern California

New Net Impact President Aims to Expand Influence
Organization Focuses on the Connections Between Business and Social Change
May 4, 2011 • by News at Marshall

Even though Nicholas Hasara MBA '12 was interested in environmental issues, he had not heard about Net Impact before coming to Marshall last fall. But it did not take long for Hasara, a former LED-certified structural engineer, to become involved in the graduate chapter of the international nonprofit, which is dedicated to inspiring, educating and equipping individuals to use the power of business to create a more socially and environmentally sustainable world.

Hasara helped organize the Marshall chapter's first Net Impact Night last fall, which brought together representatives from 20 companies and 130 students to network and learn from industry professionals. Hasara, recently elected president of the chapter, organized the event with Genevieve Gonzalez-Turner MBA'12, who now serves on the 2011-12 Net Impact board as vice president of internal affairs.

"We had companies like Nike and Disney and Mattel and we also had some niche companies there, from solar panel manufacturing to nonprofit consulting to a wide range of social impact areas," said Hasara. The evening, which will be an annual event, is an example of the more career-oriented focus the Marshall Net Impact chapter has taken in the years since being founded in 2005-06.

"Early on it was more educational-focused. There's still an educational component to the club, but a lot of our events now are geared toward helping students pursue jobs in the areas of sustainability and social entrepreneurship," said Hasara. Adlai Wertman, professor of clinical management and organization and founding director of the Society and Business Lab at Marshall who serves as an informal advisor to the group, concurs.

"They've gotten a lot more organized along lines of where people might want to have careers and they've become a fantastic career resource for students to network with each other and to meet people in the industry," said Wertman. "But this is not just a career club. It also has people who want to learn more about the field and learn more about how business can engage in social change. To be aware of issues regarding sustainability and corporate social responsibility would be important for anybody entering the business world these days. It's just a change in the way business is being done and every business is thinking about it."

As president, Hasara wants to create an event-planning database and sustainability committee to work with administrators to further Net Impact goals. He would also like to increase collaboration with non-chapter members, whether that be with Marshall alumni, students at other like-minded graduate programs or nearby Net Impact chapters, including the graduate chapter at UCLA, to expand their reach and increase networking opportunities. Securing company sponsorships and more funding for chapter events, case competitions and for members to attend Net Impact and other related conferences are also on the 28-year-old's to-do list.

"It's going to be an exciting year. We have a fantastic board," says Hasara. "We came in together and we're all passionate about these type of issues and I'm confident that together we'll do some good things."

Other new Net Impact board members include: Asa Firestone MBA '12, co-vice president of sustainability
; Justin Bieber MBA '12, co-vice president of sustainability; Ashkun Zaker MBA '12, co-vice president of social enterprise; Tracy Dennis MBA '12, co-vice president of social enterprise;
 Irene Nguyen, a graduate student at the USC School of Policy, Planning and Development, vice president of corporate social responsibility;
 Kevin Futch MBA '12, vice president of external relations; and Rebecca Jones MBA '12, vice president of external communications.

About the USC Marshall School of Business
Consistently ranked among the nation's premier schools, USC Marshall is internationally recognized for its emphasis on entrepreneurship and innovation, social responsibility and path-breaking research. Located in the heart of Los Angeles, one of the world's leading business centers and the U.S. gateway to the Pacific Rim, Marshall offers its 5,700-plus undergraduate and graduate students a unique world view and impressive global experiential opportunities. With an alumni community spanning 123 countries, USC Marshall students join a worldwide community of thought leaders who are redefining the way business works.