October 16, 2019
Read time : 11 min

We have an exciting announcement for our growing alumni community. Up to Us will now offer free Harvard Business School online courses to Up to Us alumni who have a demonstrated commitment to build a more sustainable future across a variety of sectors. 

"We've seen so many incredibly talented students graduate from the program to go on to do amazing things in social impact. I think this course will help them think critically about their career paths and find something that's purposeful and impact driven. I like to think of it as a continuation of our efforts in building both their professional and leadership skills," - Hilary Allen, Up to Us spokesperson.

Beginning in February 2020, Up to Us alumni will enroll in the Sustainable Business Strategy Course given by Professor Rebecca Henderson. The course focuses on how businesses can thrive and grow while solving some of the world’s biggest challenges - and how each student can make a difference.

Let’s get to know our first ever cohort!  

Fiorella Riccobono

Fiorella Riccobono - Headshot HBS

Fiorella currently works at Deloitte. However, she has a long-standing commitment to Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship (SIE), having co-founded the social entrepreneurship organization at Florida State University. Here she helped build the capacity of a local fair trade coffee shop; facilitated cross-sector partnerships to address social/environmental problems; and provided leadership for initiatives promoting innovative approaches to education, environmental issues, civic engagement, youth leadership, community development, and fair trade. 

“I am currently working on a business model aimed at immigrant women in the workforce, and I hope this course helps me refine the idea,” - Fiorella Riccobono, Up to Us alumni

Joseph Paul Javier

Joseph Paul Javier - Headshot

Joseph is a Doctor of Pharmacy student at Wayne State University where he serves on the Board of Directors for Michigan's Council of Asian Pacific Americans. Joseph became interested in sustainability and business when he previous studied Integrated Marketing Communication. He hopes to leverage this knowledge together with his career in the Health Sciences field to advocate for better and more accessible health care for all Americans. 

“Aside from becoming a practicing clinician, the knowledge I will gain from the HBS course will aid my endeavors working in a not-for-profit and one day in an administrative position within a hospital or government agency,” - Joseph Paul Javier, Up to Us alumni

Dana Wilke

Dana Wilke - Headshot

Dana is an MBA candidate at Presidio Graduate School pursuing a degree in Sustainable Management. She grew up backpacking in the Sierras which inspired her from an early age to protect the earth. After spending a few years in energy and climate in the public and private sectors, she realized she could have the most impact leveraging business as a force for good. 

“As a purpose-driven professional, I plan to apply this course in my future role upon graduation from my MBA program. I want to easily be able to explain the business case for sustainability and bring systems thinking into all the work I do,” - Dana Wilke, Up to Us alumni

Matthew Griffin

Matthew Griffin - Headshot

Matthew is a recent graduate of Ohio State University. He currently works at the University as the Program Coordinator of Sustainability Education and Learning. Matthew became interested in sustainability and business as a student when he saw the power of business to drive the sustainability movement. 

“My current role allows me to connect students with sustainable businesses and teach students about how they can go on to have high impact careers. I will share what I learn in this course with the students whom I teach, giving them the most up to date sustainability knowledge,” - Matthew Griffin, Up to Us alumni

Wainright Acquoi

Wainright Acquoi - Headshot

Wainright is a social entrepreneur passionate about improving learning outcomes and bridging the gap between privilege and opportunities in his country, Liberia. After working in the non-profit and social enterprising sector in Liberia over the past four years, Wainright is launching a social enterprise, TRIBE, which seeks  to create the next generation of Liberian entrepreneurs and innovators. 

“I believe in order to create and sustain impact, a deeper knowledge in business strategy will be relevant. By completing this course and more, I will translate the knowledge and skills to my venture to further and strengthen its growth while facilitation a sustainable strategy that can balance revenue generation and impact,” - Wainright Acquoi, Up to Us Alumni

Bisi Oyelola

Bisi Oyelola - Headshot

Bisi Oyelola is a recent graduate of Temple University with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a minor in History. In school, she took part in a variety of social based organizations and leadership opportunities including traveling abroad to Ghana to study reproductive health rights, leading talks on social justice, and the Up to Us challenge. Bisi is currently serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA as the Community Citizenship and Outreach VISTA with the Office of Immigrant Affairs. She works to build and create sustainable systems to support immigrants in Philadelphia. 

“I aspire to use the skills learned in the Harvard Business School’s Online Sustainable Strategy course to influence my work as a VISTA and future career trajectory in sustainability, business, and law,” - Bisi Oyelola, Up to Us alumni

Hafez Karimi

Hafez Karimi - Headshot

Hafez is a speaker for Net Impact and Up to Us. Originally from Iran, Hafez’s mother won the visa lottery when he was ten years old and sold everything she had to bring him to America. He spent much of his childhood in shelters and low-income housing. Hafez studied economics at California State University, Fullerton. Here, he organized an internship program at three homeless shelters in Orange County and managed to get 100% of the residence jobs and housing within four months. As a result, his school received a $30,000 grant from Wells Fargo to address homelessness in Orange County. Hafez received a full-ride merit-based scholarship to the economics graduate program at the University. 

“I knew that with hard work and a solid education there is nothing standing in my way of being successful,” - Hafez Karimi, Up to Us alumni

Ishrat Aishee

Ishrat Aishee - Headshot

Ishrat Aishee is a senior at Barnard College, currently majoring in Economics with a focus on Political Economy and Anthropology. On campus, Ishrat leads a campaign about fiscal policy and developing informational programming about how students can learn more about American fiscal and monetary policy. She also works closely with a NYC based non-profit dedicated to supporting and providing resources for recent immigrant Bangladeshi women, and oversees programming for NY MSA Showdown, an intercollegiate competition for college students across NYC. 

“I am interested in working at the intersection of global finance and economic development upon graduation. Eventually, I hope to pursue a dual JD-MBA and integrate my interests in developing economies with global finance,” - Ishrat Aishee, Up to Us alumni

Mekdem Wright

Mekdem Wright - Headshot

Mekdem just graduated with an MBA and is currently working as an independent sustainability consultant. Next, he will be joining Anthesis, a sustainability consulting group, as a full-time sustainability consultant. 

“My career thus far has been very much sustainability focused, but from a wide range of industries and sectors. In this next phase of my career, I will be focusing on private sector sustainability work at an international scale. This course will be a great way to cap off my "MBA experience" with a more sustainability-focused course (and from a very prestigious school!” - Mekdem Wright, Up to Us alumni

Congratulations to our Up to Us alumni on this next exciting chapter in their impactful careers. These amazing individuals, and all of our Up to Us alumni, continue to make us believe in the power of the next generation!