Annie Lambla had some valuable experience of social enterprise and business innovation. But it was the UBC MBA program that gave her the skills to apply it on a global level.
Annie moved to Vancouver from Chicago where she managed an independent grocery store and worked for a not-for-profit bicycle shop that doubled up as a youth mentorship program. She also started a social enterprise called the Yogurt Pedaler, a bicycle-powered yogurt cart designed to inspire connections between local farms and their neighbours, while teaching the magic of yogurt-making along the way.
“All of the things I had done were very small projects and I wanted to increase the impact that I was having,” says Annie. “It was awesome work but I was asking myself why it couldn’t be bigger, why I couldn’t make a greater contribution. The UBC MBA program gave me the perspective and taught me the skills that are applicable on a much larger scale.”
Commitment to sustainability
Annie says one of the main reasons she chose to come to Vancouver was the d. studio, an initiative of Sauder professor Moura Quayle that integrates creative design processes into business theory.
“It’s all about creativity and innovation in everything that you do and I think that is really important in the world of business,” Annie adds. “I chose Sauder because the school has a great international reputation, a strong commitment to sustainability and also because it’s in Vancouver and I wanted to live near the mountains.”
Among her many activities during the MBA program, Annie worked with the Vancity Community Foundation on a project with the British Columbia Association of Farmers’ Markets. The three-month internship was partly funded by Sauder’s ISIS Research Centre, which uses business tools to advance social innovation and sustainability in the community.
But her enthusiasm for ethical entrepreneurship didn’t end there. As president of the UBC chapter of Net Impact, Annie organized the 10th Annual UBC Net Impact Conference & Sustainability Expo, a one-day event in downtown Vancouver emphasizing pragmatic, solution-based approaches to sustainable business. Net Impact is a global community of more than 30,000 people committed to demonstrating that it is possible to look after the bottom line but also take care of people and the planet, too.
The language of business
“I want to get people thinking about the whole world and their place within it, not just about their own career aspirations,” says Annie. “The network that I have developed at Sauder is full of intelligent, passionate people who are going to do great things. As for me I’ve learned to speak the language of business since coming here and that was one of my original goals.”
Asked what her plan for the future is, Annie says that she wants to save the world. Although she laughs when she says it, it’s clear she is not joking! Judging by her efforts so far during her time at Sauder you wouldn’t be wise to bet against her.
Find out how Annie's internship at the Vancity Community Foundation helped farmers' markets to measure their community impact.