GWU honors grad’s social responsibility

Amir Abdallah, who is working on his global MBA, joins other George Washington University Business School students, faculty and alumni at a fundraising event at the House of Sweden on K Street NW. (Evy Mages/For Capital Business)

At a recent fundraiser for campus charities, graduate students at the George Washington University School of Business honored a local alumnus who they say has successfully incorporated social responsibility into his business.

Nearly 240 students, alumni and businesspeople attended the music-filled night at the House of Sweden, an event that also showcased the talent of business school students — and an administrator. Doug Guthrie, dean of GWU’s business school, wowed the crowd when he played “Proud Mary” and “Don’t Stop Believing” on his guitar.

Organizers say the event came at a time when business students are thinking more about corporate ethics and social responsibility in light of the lingering impact of the 2008 financial crisis, which has spawned the recent Occupy movement.

“It’s a ... new thing for the school, but a reflection of the student body,” said Katherine Oglietti, co-chairwoman of the second annual Business Gives Back event and an MBA student. “More students are including a component of wanting to do something that makes the world a better place.”

That’s a sentiment Dan Simons, principal at hospitality consulting firm Vucurevich Simons Advisory Group, said he supports.

Syed Adeel, Founding Farmers founder Dan Simons and Karen Bulthuis. (Evy Mages/For Capital Business)

Simons, a 1992 graduate of the business school, took home the event’s first distinguished alumnus award for his efforts promoting energy efficiency and organic farming.

He exhorted students to view their MBA degrees as a way to make a difference in the world and not merely to make a profit.

“There’s more value in an MBA degree if what it translates to is the power, authority and credibility to do the things that matter,” Simons said.

VSAG, the managing company of the Farmers Restaurant Group, provides scholarships, supports employee volunteerism and sustainability research. It recently established a partnership with the university to build a honeybee farm on the school’s rooftop to research the restaurant’s honey production.

Simons said VSAG sets aside $10,000 each year to distribute to local schools and community needs.

“For us, profit is not the primary driver,” Simons said. “It’s about sleeping well at night and being a role model.”

The event’s sponsors included KPMG, PricewaterhouseCooppers, RBC Wealth Management, Washington Gas and Deloitte.

Guests vote for their favorite campus charity. (Evy Mages/For Capital Business)

The Business Gives Back event raised $5,000 for charity last year. This year’s charities include The George Washington Financial Literacy Program, which teaches financial skills to D.C. public high school students; The Jena Ashley Smiles 929 Foundation, created in memory of a business school student’s deceased wife; and Music for Matt, created in memory of a business school student’s friend who died while serving in a Peace Corps assignment in Mali.

Organizers will continue to collect funds until the end of the week.

Vanessa Small covers philanthropy and nonprofits for Capital Business. She also spotlights newly appointed executives in the New at the Top column, which chronicles their journeys to the top. Small was raised in Orange County, Ca. and graduated from Howard University.



Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read Business



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.