Value of community rings true for MBA student


By Lisa Bailey, Axiom News

Published 2.8.13

Collaborating and leveraging strengths to help foster change is a tool that second-year MBA student Sarah Cabell is picking up on at Presidio Graduate School.

“Part of what’s so amazing about Presidio is that people care so much about how to make a positive impact in the world,” she says. “And what we’ve all realized is the importance of working together to make a positive impact, and so it’s an incredibly collaborative and supportive environment and I think it’s really taught me the value of community.”

Cabell says Presidio reinforces “over and over how much more we can achieve by working together.”

Relationships are fostered from that perspective, Cabell says, with a concentrated effort to understand one another’s motivations and strengths and how they can complement one another in their work.

“It’s about listening to what each person’s trying to achieve and keeping an eye out for opportunities that come up and helping to connect each other to our extended opportunities and networks.”

From these efforts, Cabell says some people are starting businesses together, or finding opportunities for employment, or participating in projects of interest.

“Then there are the friendships that come out of it,” says Cabell, who envisions this community of engagement perpetuating action.

“Hopefully, in the long run, there’s a ripple effect of positive motivation and energy. People are energized by each other's efforts and the more we’re energized, the more we see opportunities to make a positive impact and the more we’ll go out there and do something.”

For her part, Cabell pays close attention to the goals of those around her and connects them with opportunities aligned with those goals, or makes introductions so people gain the knowledge they need to succeed.

She also tries to expand others’ knowledge by sharing perspectives of her own experience with social equity, food and sustainability. As co-chair of the Presidio Sustainable Food Club — one of many bringing students together to delve deeper into their shared passions and professional interests —Cabell can discuss her past work with the USDA Food and Nutrition Service, National Wildlife Foundation, and organic and biodynamic food markets. The club also creates networking and information-sharing opportunities by hosting such events as farm visits and workshops, which supports Cabell’s interest in helping to develop local, sustainable food systems that are also affordable and accessible.

Presidio also contributes to community-building through its many formal and informal partnerships with outside organizations that are working towards similar goals or sustainability in various areas. Every student, for instance, has a membership to The HUB, which is a co-working space in downtown San Francisco that targets social entrepreneurs, freelancers and other independent professionals who want their work to have a positive impact.

Cabell says many members of the Presidio community are achieving great things so staying connected means staying educated and aware of the possibilities.

“It’s just a great social community and we have a lot of fun together. But also, the field of sustainability is constantly changing and the students in the school are always on the cutting edge, and so it’s just a great way to stay informed and stay involved.”

Lisa Bailey, Axiom News

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