CMC Students Address Global Microcredit Summit Thanks to KLI Support
By Zach Ingrasci ’12 and Chris Temple ’12
With the support of the KLI, we organized and led a delegation of 95 students to attend the 2011 Global Microcredit Summit held in Valladolid, Spain last November. The summit is the world’s largest microfinance gathering of more than 2,000 practitioners, academics, and donors – an event that occurs only once every five years.
Our last 4 years at CMC have prepared us to take advantage of this leadership opportunity. In an effort to engage in social entrepreneurship on campus, we have founded our own international microfinance organization, hosted a microfinance class on the 5-Cs for 60 students, and produced a full-length documentary about our experience living and researching grassroots poverty alleviation strategies.
Through our student microfinance organization, MFI Connect, we arranged a formal partnership with the Microcredit Summit to tailor the conference experience to student needs and interests. MFI Connect has now grown to be the largest student microfinance organization in the world, with 1,700 students from 175 universities and over 65 countries. Among the organized events were networking lunches and private sessions with esteemed industry leaders such as Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus and Queen Sophia of Spain.
The trip was an incredible opportunity for us to learn and grow as both team directors and public speakers. Beyond managing a team of 5 employees and organizing 95 student delegates, we were invited to hold a workshop and speak about our experiences as student leaders in microfinance. Titled, “MFI Connect: Harnessing Student Potential in Microfinance”, the session provided us with an opportunity to give a 1-hour presentation in front of many of the movers and shakers in the microfinance industry.
As seniors at CMC engulfed in thought over our career paths, the takeaways from this experience were timely and impactful. The invaluable knowledge we attained through speaker sessions and private meetings has instilled in us a belief that in our careers we can “do well by doing good” and that it is possible to blend money and compassion. Microfinance is a proven example of this. Our experiences at the summit have given us the inspiration to identify a person’s need, the tools to design a strategy to meet that need, and lastly the confidence to implement that strategy. KLI has continually helped us hone our leadership skills through their Social Entrepreneurship conference and support of past endeavors.
CMC students are smart, driven and practical leaders. That is why alumni succeed everyday in overcoming challenges in their workplace. What greater challenge and greater opportunity is there than to lay the framework for how to successfully run a double-bottom line organization; one that excels as a business while strategically improving the world around us step by step.