Tuesday, April 28, 2015

[361] ‘Social entrepreneur’ visits MTSU March 23 as part of Nonprofit & Social Innovation Week

New York author, businesswoman Miki Agrawal to share message of finding career calling

MURFREESBORO — Social entrepreneur and author Miki Agrawal will visit MTSU Monday (March 23) to encourage students and the campus community to do cool (stuff) and create their best lives by starting their own businesses.

Named by Forbes magazine as one of 2013’s “Top 20 Millennials on a Mission,” Agrawal will speak from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Monday in the Student Union Ballroom. The event is free and open to the public. For parking, a printable campus map can be found at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParking14-15.

Agrawal’s appearance is part of the second annual MTSU Nonprofit & Social Innovation Week. Last year’s inaugural event featured a one-day summit that drew a cross-disciplinary mix of almost 140 student participants, said Leigh Anne Clark, associate professor of management in the Jennings A. Jones College of Business.

This year’s week of events concludes Friday, March 27, with a half-day student summit featuring guest presenters and a volunteer/internship fair, with both events held at the James Union Building.

“We realized that a lot of students were interested in doing something with purpose in their careers, and this was throughout the colleges at the university,” Clark said of the genesis of the event. “So we wanted to do an event with all students … and provide them with skills, tools and networking opportunities to help them get into the careers they wanted to get into or help them create their own opportunities.”

A New York City native, Agrawal is author of the book “Do Cool Sh*t,” which shares insights from her journey of leaving a traditional job that she hated to founding the popular farm-to-table pizza restaurant, WILD (formerly known as SLICE), in New York as well as co-founding female garment company THINX while also continuing to branch into other socially conscious business efforts that spoke to her personal passions and purpose. The book features a foreword by Tony Hsieh, the founder of online retailer Zappos.

Clark said Agrawal’s book, which at one point hit No. 1 on Amazon’s bestseller list, “had a lot of practical business knowledge, written in a way that we thought would appeal to college students,” so bringing her in as a speaker made sense. As a Millennial herself, Agrawal relates to a younger generation of students who “want flexibility, and what they do spend their time working on, they want it to matter,” Clark added.

In a guest column for the website Inc.com, Agrawal explains how to find your passion and turn it into a career: “So how did I go from being a miserable 100-hour-per-week investment banker who was overworked and unfulfilled to a happy social entrepreneur and author? I asked myself two questions: What am I really good at? What can I be passionate about for a really long time?” …

“Once you can answer this, you should be willing to fight through the crazy ups and downs and the years (yes, years) of potential struggle in business and life. Because you'll be waking up with a sense of purpose daily. When you find that sense of purpose, the pain of the process all becomes worthwhile.”

In addition to Agrawal’s visit, the week’s events include a Wednesday, March 25, event where students can volunteer with the CEO Club assisting Greenhouse Ministries.

The week concludes Friday, March 27, with the MTSU Nonprofit & Social Innovation Student Summit from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the James Union Building.

Guest speakers will conduct sessions on: funding; social innovation; career-focused volunteering; passion to purpose; beyond ordinary marketing; cool people care; and new nonprofits.

As part of Friday’s activities, a Nonprofit Volunteer/Internship Fair will be held from noon to 1:15 p.m. in the Tennessee Room of the James Union Building.

The sessions are free and open to students, and while registration isn’t required, students are encouraged to register at http://MTSUStudentSummit.eventzilla.net so that organizers have an idea of how many students plan to attend.

The week of events is being hosted by the Departments of Management and Marketing and Business Communication and Entrepreneurship in the Jones College of Business and the Department of Communication Studies and Organizational Communication in the College of Liberal Arts.

Agrawal’s visit is made possible with support from MTSU’s Distinguished Lecture Funds, Jones College of Business, College of Liberal Arts and the Jennings and Rebecca Jones Foundation.

For more information about the lineup of events, contact Dr. Leigh Anne Clark at la.clark@mtsu.edu.

For more information about Agrawal, visit www.mikiagrawal.com.

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