Some people just don’t fit the mold you’d cast them in. Adlai Wertman, professor and Founding Director of the Brittingham Social Enterprise Lab at the Marhsall School of Business at the University of Southern California is just such a person.
While a former investment banker becoming a business school professor is a well enough worn path, the shift from investment banking to a heartfelt passion for helping the homeless is startling.
Adlai is also the founder of Chrysalis, a nonprofit enterprise that provides employment to the homeless in Los Angeles and has helped over 1,000 clients and generated over $4.5 million in revenue.
Adlai explains his thinking, “It is unfair that historically business educations have been solely used for pursuing profit maximization. That same skill set and education must also be applied to solving the world’s biggest social challenges.”
Every year, Adlai gives his students a personal challenge, “With the world telling you that success is about making money, do you have the courage to define success for yourself?”
On Thursday, August 20, 2015 at 4:00 Eastern, Adlai will join me for a live discussion about his remarkable career switch and the social entrepreneurship program at USC. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.
More about the USC Marshall Brittingham Social Enterprise Lab:
The USC Marshall Brittingham Social Enterprise Lab (BSEL) focuses on educating and supporting USC students, faculty, staff, and community members on using business models to address global social, environmental and health challenges. . Through coursework, education, programs, events, and career development, we provide the tools to equip and inspire the next generation of enlightened business leaders and social entrepreneurs. The Lab recently introduced a one-year Masters of Science in Social Entrepreneurship – the first such degree offered by a business school in the United States.
Adlai Wertman is a professor of clinical entrepreneurship at the USC Marshall School of Business and holds a joint appointment at the Rossier School of Education. He is also the founding director of the Brittingham Social Enterprise Lab at Marshall —a center focused on educating and supporting USC students, faculty, staff, and community members on using business models to address global social, environmental and health challenges. Prior to joining the faculty at Marshall, Adlai spent seven years as president and CEO of Chrysalis — the only non-profit in Los Angeles devoted solely to helping homeless change their lives through employment. As part of its award-winning program, Chrysalis ran one of the larger social enterprises in the country — Chrysalis Enterprises — with annual revenues over $4.5 million and employing nearly 1,000 clients each year. Prior to Chrysalis, Adlai spent 18 years as an investment banker in New York and Los Angeles.
Adlai is an advisory board member of the Global Health Institute the Roberts Enterprise Development Fund (REDF), the Sydney Harmon Academy of Polymathic Studies, and a Trustee of the Jewish Community Foundation. He is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Religion and Civic Culture and the USC Center on Social Innovation. He has also served as a commissioner of the Los Angeles Fire and Police Pension Fund. Adlai is a frequent speaker on the issues of social entrepreneurship and social enterprise. Adlai was a senior fellow at the UCLA School of Public Affairs and a Wexner Heritage Fellow. Adlai earned his BA in Economics from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and his MBA in Finance, Public Policy Management and Strategic Planning from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Adlai is a member of the Social Venture Network.