Katherine Lopez

Social Enterprise Greenhouse was fortunate to haveKatherine Lopez of Brown University as an intern. Katherine interned withEmily Mooney, our Metrics and Development Manager, to help manage the many events Social Enterprise Greenhouse hosts.

Katherine Lopez is an intern with the Social Enterprise Greenhouse specializing in events and event planning. She works under Emily Mooney, our Metrics and Development Manager. At the time of her internship, Katherine was a Brown University student studying Public Health. Originally from the Bronx, she grew up in New York City, where she was ceaselessly exploring. Katherine serves as the program coordinator for the Learning Exchange, a program based out of Brown that teaches computer science and engineering to students in Rhode Island middles schools. Her interest in social enterprises arose in her search for a bridge between public health and economics. She hopes to one day develop a social enterprise of her own, particularly one that helps people mitigate health risks.

Here is what she had to say about her internship experience:

Q: How has your perspective on social enterprise changed as a result of your internship?

I am now a great enthusiast of social enterprises. In an ideal world, all businesses would be social enterprises in some way. I have always know that businesses can indirectly help society by growing the economy but to see business that can do that but also improve society more directly has been revolutionary for me. This idea that tie your interest in profit with your interest in philanthropy and sustainability were concepts I had not fully accepted until I had the opportunity to be an intern for SEG.

Q: What did you accomplish during your internship?

I was able to learn a tremendous amount about social enterprises and SEG in general. Sitting in on workshops, I overheard many obstacles start-up social enterprises faced and I witnessed entrepreneurs tackle their problems and overcome individual challenges. I also met founder of social enterprises who were very successful and I was able to listen to their stories of their struggle and how they finally achieved success. What I found the most valuable, was the incredible amount of support I received from the staff when I would discuss my own interests and aspirations with them. You will not get skeptical looks but, resources and contacts who can help you accomplish the things you set out to achieve. I found that the SEG hub is an incredibly supportive environment. Even though my internship is ending, I feel like I am not yet finished accomplishing all of the goals this internship has helped me develop.

Q: What did you learn during your internship?

Throughout this internship I learned about different types of businesses and social enterprises. I learned about the different niches many companies have filled and I listened to the stories of many who were able to become successful.
I also learned about event planning and successfully promoting opportunities. I was able to get a glimpse of how to professionally and efficiently run an organization as multi-faceted as SEG.

Q: Why was the work you provided important to Social Enterprise Greenhouse?

My goal to learn more about marketing and promoting social enterprises, and I feel I have made many strides on that front. I have been directly involved with the staff who are responsible for promotion of opportunities. I have been involved with outreach and promotion of events various times during my internship. Another goal of mine was to find social enterprises and individuals within the Social Enterprise Greenhouse who work in health related businesses. I was able to see many examples of the intersectionality between business and public health, particularly those who seek to mitigate health risk or improve health outcomes in some way. I have met various social entrepreneurs working in this area and they have inspired me in many ways and I plan to continue to work in this sector in the future.

Q: How has your perspective on Social Enterprise Greenhouse changed as a result of your internship?

I was unsure of what role SEG played in growing social enterprises but now I understand that they help provide expert knowledge, business models, loans, and opportunities that are often tailored to particular social enterprise businesses. It is also helpful to see all the different staff pursuing their interests along with growing social enterprises, some people care about sustainable food or women’s rights and they are able to work in this field through their role at SEG.

Q: What have you changed your mind about since working in this internship?

I have not necessarily changed my mind about anything, but I have grown to believe that businesses and creating better, more efficient and equitable societies are more closely linked than I had ever previously imagined.

Email Katherine directly if you want to learn more about her experience and what’s next for her atkatherine_lopez@brown.edu.