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Business of Changing the World (Spring 2013 Hotelie)

Articles about the School of Hotel Administration

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37 of changing the world When you think of entrepreneurs, who comes to mind? Do you think of Ray Kroc, Conrad Hilton, Steve Jobs, or any of the other larger-than-life personalities who have built iconic brands and created whole industries? If you do, you're not wrong, of course, but entrepreneurialism does not have to lead to empire-building, large or small. "Another aspect, which people almost never think about, is social entrepreneurship—ventures that serve a greater good in addition to making money," said SHA senior lecturer Neil Tarallo, who is academic director of the school's Leland C. and Mary M. Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship. "Our students are very focused on social entrepreneurship," Tarallo said. "Even if their interest is in new venture creation or corporate entrepreneurship, they think about the role that community will play in their organizations." Entrepreneurialism is not about starting companies, Tarallo points out. "It's about understanding the opportunity and how to monetize that opportunity. I tell my students to think about their social entrepreneurship ventures not just in terms of cash but in terms of how many lives they touch along the way, how many people they help. That's the true measure of a social entrepreneurship venture. Entrepreneurship is the most powerful force on this planet today. It can change countries. It can change people's lives." By Sandi Mulconry Bill Clinton congratulates Karim Abouelnaga '13 for his efforts to reform education In the following pages, we profile six SHA alumni and one student, just graduated, who count among the many, many Hotelies who have taken that message to heart. What do these seven have in common? They're unwilling to accept the status quo. Several adopted sustainability early, before it became a buzzword. Two were inspired by their grandfathers. Others were inspired by their mothers or fathers. Family is important. So, too, is vacation (haven't we always known that?). One found inspiration on a trip to Cambodia, another on a beach on St. Martin. They're not afraid to be somewhat audacious in service to their mission. They have pasted pink mustaches on cars, filled a hotel lobby with shredded newspapers, run triathlons to raise funds, and talked trash to hotel managers. They have lofty dreams, many of which are quickly becoming reality. One set out to create a new mode of transportation. One is working to transform both the waste industry and the organics industry. One wants to craft legislation that will help disadvantaged children succeed in the classroom. One wants to create economic opportunity in Cambodia. And, not surprisingly, nearly every venture was shaped by an entrepreneur's Cornell experience. If we had the room, we could probably tell you a hundred more stories like these.

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