Forging a Path in Social Enterprise

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What does a career in social enterprise look like? This question comes up a lot in the work I do with professionals interested in more meaningful careers. They’re interested in exploring which path to take to get into social enterprise. And so, if you’re one of these people, let me save you some time. There are no career paths in social enterprise.

For almost everyone in this space, their “career” amounts to a couple broad themes that they notice when they look back on their experiences and try to make sense of it all.

Take me for example. What I tell most people is that my entire career has been focused on helping people build careers in social enterprise. My first job out of college was at a University, supporting programs that helped students explore careers in social enterprise. Then I joined a startup that helped professionals all over the world build careers in social enterprise and turned that experience into my own firm doing the same thing.

But, what I leave out of that narrative is that I was a marketing major in school who, for a long time wanted to get into digital marketing. I also wanted to work in an emerging market like Kenya and almost moved there while working at the startup. But, opportunities came up. Life happened. And all the sudden, I’ve spent my entire career in career development.

There are a lot of reasons why career paths don’t exist in social enterprise. But, perhaps the biggest reason is that the space is evolving so quickly. Veterans of this space have often reinvented themselves more than once just to stay relevant. We are all forging our own paths in social enterprise. Understanding how to do this is a key to building a meaningful career in this space.