Aaron Firestone

Aaron Firestone

By posted in on July 4, 2013 at 1:06pm

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What were you doing before Benetech that led you here?

I came to Benetech after getting an MBA from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley. Prior to graduate school, I worked with several nonprofits and based on that experience decided I wanted to hone the skills that would allow me to have higher impact in the social sector. Berkeley-Haas is one of the leading centers for the study and practice of entrepreneurship and I focused primarily on classes in social enterprise, sustainable business and other social sector-related topics. I was drawn to Benetech because of its unique position at the intersection of the nonprofit and the tech sectors, and was also intrigued by its business model that combines social mission with a pragmatic business approach. Here was a social enterprise that successfully adopted what business can do well – operate efficiently, think strategically, be customer-focused and drive impact – with what tech startups can do well – innovate, scale, make things affordable and democratize entire sectors. I joined Benetech’s Business Development team and began working primarily on Global Literacy new project business plans and fundraising projects, but gradually expanded my focus to include Benetech-wide institutional fundraising, business strategy, new project plans and strategic partnerships. I’m happy to say that I’ve been able to take an active role in supporting strong organizational growth and witness our Business Development team turn into a successful shop!

What is the best part about your job at Benetech?

Benetech is an exciting place: we’re at the cutting edge of entrepreneurship in the social sector and I’m grateful to be working with top-caliber people passionate about our mission, smart, interesting and friendly. Everybody here is approachable and truly interested in engaging the social problems we aim to alleviate. The nature of my work means that I get to interact closely with all Benetech’s teams and programs, which I enjoy a great deal – it’s the best way to know the entire organization inside out. I love immersing myself in organization strategy issues and find the overlap between what we aim to do to benefit our stakeholders and what investors seek to fund.

Thinking about Benetech’s future, what are you most excited about?

I’m excited to see Benetech undergoing significant growth, which will allow us to expand into new areas and increase our social impact. The tech landscape is changing dramatically and rapidly, so there are truly unforeseen social benefits we can advance – as well as new challenges Benetech will be involved in figuring out. But, whatever the future holds, I’m excited to know we’ll be leading the charge into finding new ways to apply technology to make a positive difference in the lives of millions of people.

– View Aaron’s LinkedIn Profile