Grace Wright, Instructor
As a child, Grace Wright was awarded a “Use Your Life Award” for her work to provide opportunities to those in need and to help people whose voices had been muted. Since then, Wright has been involved with numerous organizations like Free the Children and Whole Planet Foundation.
Based upon her interests, her entrepreneurial spirit, and her passion to impact the planet, Colorado State University’s Global Social and Sustainable Enterprise (GSSE) MBA seemed a perfect fit for Wright to continue with her goals and to learn about practical realities of entrepreneurship and management.
After graduating from the GSSE MBA program in 2013, Wright and two of her classmates founded a nonprofit called Ascent, which provides low-cost iron pill packets to pregnant women to help reduce maternal deaths from iron deficiency. This effort could increase the medication’s consumption by 80 percent and address pitfalls of current products on the market.
More than three years later, she is teaching Social and Sustainable Venturing and Introduction to Entrepreneurship as an instructor in the Department of Management, as well as mentoring students in the GSSE program from which she graduated. “We have an incredible faculty network that helps students grow into global change makers.” She believes the business school has the tools to look at strategy, scale, and financial sustainability and bring all this knowledge into the realm of social change.
Graduating students leaving the University are more socially conscious and increasing numbers of them want to make an impact on the world and while also making a profit. Many don’t know where to find these opportunities though. Wright comments, “When I see my students come out of the program with a strong business idea, or they are working as agents of change in their industry and using their skills to impact the world, that makes me proud.” She encourages her students to use their talents to make a difference and she has been pleased to observe her students finding ways to do so.
Yolanda Sarason, Associate Professor
Within the Department of Management, Associate Professor Yolanda Sarason teaches Entrepreneurship and Strategic Management. She has always been drawn to these studies and has experience working for various startup ventures. Sarason recognizes the growing focus of companies being social and sustainable.
Because her colleagues have also shown an interest in this topic, she has chosen to focus her research on socially sustainable ventures such as Odwalla and Ben and Jerry’s. She is currently working on research and teaching cases that focus on companies with a social mission.
Recently, Sarason returned from a Fulbright in Vietnam for the 2015-2016 academic year. The University has a joint program with Foreign Trade University, the top university in Hanoi. Various CSU faculty have traveled there to teach and Sarason jumped at the opportunity to teach a four-week intensive entrepreneurship course.
During her time in Vietnam, she recognized there were different ways of viewing social ventures – the European-Vietnamese way and the American way. In Vietnam, the culture focuses on collective good and the social aspects are inherent in the foundation of the company. In the United States however, businesses are created and then implement the “do good” mindset to accommodate government rules and regulations.
No stranger to teaching globally, Sarason once taught in South America in Quito, Ecuador for an MBA program. Since then, she has been hooked on teaching in different countries and delving into the different mindsets of various cultures.
Since returning to CSU, Sarason has an even more impassioned global mindset. She has adapted her teaching focus to broadening the perspectives of students. She finds teaching at Colorado State refreshing since “we are uniquely positioned here in Fort Collins by being competent in sustainability.” In Vietnam and various developing countries, it is difficult to earn a profit so the focus is more on economic development rather than on sustainability, due to the lack of resources.
At CSU, faculty are continually trying to broaden the students’ perspectives to ensure they enter the business environment as culturally competent individuals and more capable to impact the world.