September Reflections with Connor Jackson

Connor Jackson (M.Ed. Leadership & Organizational Performance ’23)

TFC Academics & Experiences Chair


This Fall at Vanderbilt, we’re harnessing the energy and enthusiasm that shapes campus this time of year to build momentum and set a foundation for everything that’s ahead. And enjoying the change of season and all that it brings, of course.

TFC programming in renovated Owen classrooms

So far, this foundation-setting has meant opening TFC doors, both literally and figuratively. As we embark on the 2022-23
academic year, we are excited to inaugurate the new TFC space – on Owen’s first floor next to the library – within the renovated and revamped Owen Graduate School of Management building. Though parts of construction remain in motion, we envision our new home as a place where TFC students and staff can gather and innovate, where conversations about what-ifs grow into inspired projects and life-long connections.

As for figurative door openings, TFC board members have been hard at work recruiting new TFC members and forming committees that will carry out our many events and programming throughout the year. We’re investing our time and energy to ensure that graduate students from across Vanderbilt’s many schools have opportunities to be exposed to social enterprise in a way that interests them. These conversations have been generative and a good reminder that among the graduate student body, there is an interest and appetite for to wield respective academic expertise in a way that sharpens the social impact sector and benefits the community – whether that be local, national, or global.

Connor presenting at the TFC Lunch & Learn: Intro to Social Enterprise

The Academics & Experiences committee hosted our first Lunch & Learn this past month, which provided an introduction to the Social Impact Continuum alongside examples of local social entrepreneurship for students new to campus or new to the TFC. With students from Owen, Peabody, the Law School, the Divinity School, and the School of Medicine in attendance, we had an engaging conversation about how different types of organizations can effect positive change. Ideally, this introduction into social impact can offer students inspiration as they develop and pursue their own ideas through the upcoming Hult Prize pitch competition, TFC immersions, and TFC-affiliated consulting projects.

To close out the month, the TFC will be joined by founder and CEO of ABLE, Barrett Ward. ABLE, based here in Nashville, is dedicated to providing fashion sustainably, caring for our planet and empowering women both locally and globally in the process. As one of the TFC’s social impact partners and a favorite local social enterprise to highlight, we’re thrilled to provide a space for students to meet and learn from Barrett.

Beyond curating student experiences in my role as Academics & Experiences Chair on the TFC Board, I’ve taken time to reflect and set myself a few goals for the year. As research (and personal experience) tell me that accountability is strongest when goals are shared, here they are:

  • Design and host events that bring people together and provide opportunity for meaningful connection and engagement
  • Build community and a culture of collective support and accountability within the A&E committee
  • Facilitate cross-committee pairings to foster community and connection across the various teams that make up the TFC
  • Establish the renovated space in Owen as an accessible and welcoming home to TFC-ers
  • Create platforms for learning through events and collation of off-line resources

Looking forward to the year to come.