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One month in, impact on society is already top-of-mind

Why it matters: Tomorrow’s leaders are already working with unwavering humanity. And they’ve already collaborated with Baltimore business owner J.J. Reidy (FTMBA ’15) to make a difference for hundreds of Baltimoreans.

A month into classes at Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, a few dozen full-time MBA students are already thinking about the potential they hold for social impact as leaders of tomorrow. You could say it’s thanks to inspiration from a Carey Business School alumnus and a Baltimore real estate developer who’s emphasizing community inclusion during Foundations Week. You’d be right. But some of these students were thinking in that direction long before they set foot in Baltimore.

J.J. Reidy (FT MBA ’15) is CEO at Urban Pastoral Collective in Baltimore. He formed his company eight years ago to transform urban spaces into vibrant and sustainable economic hubs.

“I think that right now we're in this era of business shifting and adapting to be more altruistic,” Reidy says. “I firmly believe that we have a responsibility to not only have a sustainable business model, but to impact your local community.”

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JHU Pres. Ron Daniels, far left, and Carey Business School Dean Alex Triantis, far right, with alumnus J.J. Reidy (FT MBA '15) after presenting his mayoral citation

Thibault Manekin’s family has been a real estate presence in Baltimore since shortly after World War II. At first, Manekin says, he didn’t want to be part of the real estate industry. The history of redlining, blockbusting, and other intentionally divisive and exclusionary housing practices turned him off completely. But then he co-founded Seawall Development Company on the premise that forgotten old buildings could renew and rejuvenate communities when those buildings were filled with people who wanted to help communities grow stronger.

Seawall developed the R House food hall in Remington, and two brands under Reidy’s Urban Pastoral Collective, Stem Farm + Kitchen and Molina Pizza, moved in.

Perfect for the purpose

The partnership looked perfect for an immersive experience that the directors of the Carey Business School Center for Innovative Leadership Chris Myers, PhD, and Mike Doyle, MEd, were looking for as part of new student orientation. The day-long session included a team challenge of preparing meals for neighbors in need. The challenge required students to communicate effectively, find innovative solutions, and show empathy and compassion for others in the Johns Hopkins and Baltimore communities.

“I firmly believe that we have a responsibility to not only have a sustainable business model, but to impact your local community.”

J.J. Reidy (FT MBA ’15), CEO, Urban Pastoral Collective

Shrey Kapoor, an MBA/MD student, says the day made him think about the purpose he wants to serve. He’s put in two years of medical school, and thought about the alignment between leadership, mission, and execution.

“The mission underlying everything they are doing is central to the concept of how we can do things for the community using what we’re privileged to have,” Kapoor says. “That’s always resonated with me. That’s why I want a career in medicine.”

Temirlan Dauletbayev said the day made him think of his professional experience in his home country of Kazakhstan at the National Bank. Among national turmoil, the bank developed programs to help hard-hit small and mid-sized businesses. Dauletbayev had that in mind during the small-group challenge of putting together the meals.

“The way I see it is, people bond better when they’re going through some kind of challenge or working together,” he says. “It allowed us to get to know each other much better while we were in action, contributing to the common good.”

Leading from the foundation

Chris Myers says Reidy and Manekin’s approach to leadership and social impact is part of what students learned during the day-long session and what they’ll learn in the program.

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“This event is giving students a chance to start flexing some of their leadership muscles, but also to understand the broader community,” Myers said during a break in the day’s activities. “Today's challenge is really about thinking about how they're going to start working together as an MBA cohort. We talked with the students today about the broader impact of their leadership development and asked them to consider that, yes, business school is about their personal growth and their professional skill building, but along the way, who is going to benefit from that growth? It's nice bringing people together into this community to think about one another and how their participation in the cohort will benefit the school, the university, and the community.”

Since Reidy has been focused for years on how business can serve community, Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott issued a citation in appreciation. Johns Hopkins University President Ron Daniels presented it to Reidy as the day wound down. Carey Business School Dean Alex Triantis joined Pres. Daniels, Chris Myers, Mike Doyle, and the students to reflect on the day, and what comes next.

For Kapoor, that’s earning his MBA while furthering his goal with his business, MedSetGo, which is predicated on home-based health care access and delivery. For Dauletbayev, it’s learning and developing the skills he can use to move from Kazakhstan’s National Bank to the United Nations or the World Bank. He wants to work helping developing countries emerge and strengthen financially and economically.

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