Net Impact Conference 2017-Atlanta

Atlanta, it was real.

From October 25-29, Mike Strong, Damla Ozyoruk, Erina Shirai, Keeghan Sinanan and faculty advisor Kim Bates represented the TRSM chapter at the 2017 Net Impact Path to Purpose conference in the Georgia capital.

Chapters from all six continents descended on the ATL for three days of keynote speakers, workshops and tours geared to give us the tools and the motivation to call others to action for sustainable-driven purpose.

Here were the TRSM team’s highlights:

  • Derreck Kayongo’s speech: We had the privilege of hearing from a former Ugandan refugee who fled to Kenya to escape Idi Amin’s military coup. He founded Global Soaps, an organization that repurposes discarded hotel soaps and distributes them to populations in need. One of the best soundbites from his inspiring tale: ‘This is what a refugee looks like when you give him rights’. He never stopped moving, even when he stopped running.
  • Cliff Bar’s 5 pillars: CEO Gary Erickson makes sure that his company is focused on sustaining their business, brand, people, community and planet. It was refreshing to see a familiar brand refuse to rest on their laurels and reveal their strategy for constant sustainable impact.
  • Connecting with Schulich and Rotman: It wasn’t lost on any of the three Toronto Net Impact chapters that it took us all flying halfway across the continent to finally meet. And a weekend full of memories lit a fire under all of us to collaborate on some intriguing ideas in the upcoming year.
  • Atlanta Civil Rights Museum: It was hard to pick a standout exhibit from the museum’s incredible and refreshingly contemporary homage to both the Unites States civil rights movement and the broader worldwide human rights journey. We were all floored by the sit-in immersion station though. We were made to strap on a pair of noise-cancelling headphones, shut our eyes and lay our hands on a table. What followed next was a harrowing minute of barking dogs and aggressive racist threats through our headphones, with vibrations in our seats to match. We were given a small taste of what blacks experienced during the restaurant sit-ins to protest segregation in the 1960’s. An unforgettable sensory experience.

Atlanta is a special place. A Southern heartland with a teeming diverse undercurrent .There’s no better example of this than their addictive Southern fusion cuisine (Deep fried soft shell crab in a pineapple with Thai peanut sauce?!?? Shrimp and grits shots?!????).

The TRSM team left Atlanta with a stash of fond memories. It was truly a magic city.