RacialEquity@Haas: Alankrita Dayal’s Racial Equity Journey and Invitation to Engage with the Authors

Guest Post Written by Alankrita Dayal

Alankrita Dayal is pursuing a double major in Computer Science and Business Administration, minors in Public Policy and South Asian Studies, and a certificate in Entrepreneurship and Technology at the University of California-Berkeley. She is a Fellow for Net Impact as well as College of Engineering’s Fung Fellowship for Technology and Wellness Innovations. Alankrita is extremely passionate towards finding data-driven solutions to better the lives of everyone in her community, and from an early age, she has been actively developing projects that allow her to utilize her technical talent, diversity, and strategic thinking in best doing so; she has been nationally recognized on multiple platforms for her extensive technical and leadership work. She also serves as the Board Director for the 96-unit Berkeley Student Cooperative and newly-elect President of Rochdale Village, working hard to voice policies and programs to benefit the diverse student body.

Racial Equity Journey

Issues of race, class, and culture often hinder the learning process, even in progressive learning environments, when left unattended by community leaders and members. It has truly been the most reflective journey, working on this blog series and opening up racial equity conversations. Through the Racial Equity@Haas blog series, I have been fortunate enough to form a palpable community discussion about the racial atmosphere in Berkeley, specifically within the Haas School of Business.

For as long as I can remember, I have advocated for equity in all dimensions of life. In hopes to catalyze critical thinking, self-inquiry, transformative learning, healing, and change when it comes to racial equity, I have actively designed projects that bring together a diverse range of populations in order to best tap into the deep human connection that we all share. I strongly believe in leveraging the power of dialogue to educate minds and open hearts.

Since the beginning of 2017, I have worked diligently alongside with my co-authors, Charlie James and Naayl Kazmi, to maximize our impact on racial equity in Haas and the wider community! Week after week, by presenting the diverse range of voices among the students, faculty, and administrators of the School, our Racial Equity@Haas blog series has been effectively serving as a means of publicly addressing barriers that have made this topic one that is too often overlooked and misunderstood. As a Net Impact Fellow since Fall 2016, I have had the splendid opportunity to participate in multiple such projects. More specifically, earlier this semester, I organized a Diversity in Academia Panel to initiate discussions regarding the importance of diversity and the need to raise awareness and take action regarding student equity concerns within the College of Engineering. I leveraged partnerships with multiple clubs and engineering professors to form a deep and personal equity-focused discussion. As Executive Director for Program yoUr Future (PUF) and Vice President for Robotics@Berkeley, I have focused my energy over the last 6+ months towards mentoring our undergrad/grad developers in creating educational technology to empower minority students underrepresented in the tech fields. In addition, my passion has fueled my contributions within the Racial Equity@Haas project to best provide a platform for racial equity learning and open dialogue. Through work in such projects, I have aimed to amplify the creativity that already exists within the Berkeley community in order to build stronger community networks, solve racial equity problems, and enhance the sense of comfort and acceptance in places that individuals live, study, work, and grow.

I am extremely excited to provide our community and student leaders with the language, frames, and tools necessary in creating inclusive environments as well as having constructive and productive conversations. In the City of Berkeley and the greater Bay Area, the Racial Equity@Haas project has widely enabled both young people and educators to take part in conversations and actions around how we can better empower students and staff from racially underrepresented backgrounds and create inclusive learning environments.

Invitation to Engage with the Authors

My co-authors and I would like to cordially invite the Berkeley community and the greater Bay Area to come have a discussion with us this Thursday, May 4th. We will be having a drop-in event from 1:30 to 3:00 PM at the Rochdale Village common room. The common room can be tricky to find, so I have attached a screenshot of a google map of Rochdale Village that has the pin on the common room:

RE@H Open Hours

We are very eager to have you with us this Thursday, and thank you for being a part of this journey!

How to Change the World: Final Musings of a Haas Senior

 

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There were a few options I had for my last topic here on the Haas blog. I could’ve written about friendships; creating memories; how college was the best four years of my life. Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot I have to say about those things. But those rosy and optimistic topics would be dissonant with what has become truly important to me as a senior about to face the real world.

Every day over the last semester, I’ve woken up and thought about how to change the world.

In part, I have Haas to thank for this overconfident audacity. Haas has opened doors for me that I never thought were possible. The peers and professors that I’ve been fortunate enough to meet at Haas have opened my eyes to the range of things that are achievable.

But part of my fascination about changing the world also rests on the fact that as I get older and learn more, the striking quantity and magnitude of the world’s problems become increasingly manifest to me.

Take environmental issues, for example: in today’s world, the EPA itself has removed data about climate change from its website, and is on the verge of being drastically de-funded. Heat waves are sweeping across the world, literally killing thousands of people, and the Arctic ocean is soon to be devoid of ice. Half a million people die in India per year from bronchitis, lung cancer, and other diseases linked to the toxic air. Meanwhile, people in China, including my baby cousin, sometimes cannot be outdoors without a mask. In fact, when she visited me a few years ago, she was amazed to see blue skies in San Francisco.

Or disease: I have friends and family who have been afflicted by cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s, among many other illnesses. If this could happen to someone living in America, how bad can it get in some places around the world, where access to clean water and fresh food is a luxury, and health care is non-existent or absurdly expensive?

How about national security? Terrorism? Increasing income inequality? People dying from a lack of basic health care? Increased nuclear proliferation? Racism, prejudice and division?

I don’t mean to cast a dismal perspective on the future, but these things scare me. I am terrified by the overwhelming proportions of the things wrong with this world. But – I am also an anomaly, because as young people, we don’t have to worry about these problems yet.

…We didn’t have to worry about these problems.

As soon as we step out of the halls of this university, these problems will become increasingly ours, year by year, until finally we will someday be in a position to impact them. And for some of us, not just impact – change.

Do not be daunted by this truth. As young people, we have something that older generations might not: that overconfident audacity to wake up and say “I want to change the world”. The arrogance that our bosses will hate, because we speak up too much and “don’t understand how the real world works”. The big “millennial problem” of being way too idealistic and out of touch with reality.

I don’t think this is a problem. I think it is exactly what Haas meant to instill in us – that as individuals we have influence. That as businessmen and women we can exact change. That the only way things can change is if we have the courage to try.

I ask you to consider this: why did you enroll in Haas and choose to study business? Did you want to make money? Did you do it for the “prestige”? Or did come here because you wanted to someday be a leader? I assure you money and prestige exist everywhere and in all fields. Leadership is something much more valuable and rare.

The state of American leadership today might be described by some as “sad!”, or “horrible!”, or even perhaps, “a disaster, a complete disaster!”, but I beg to differ. Walking through the halls of Haas Business School every day and witnessing the tremendous boldness and talent intermingling on this campus has convinced me that this class has the potential to solve our problems, as long as we continue to dream and strive collectively. You are all the future leaders of the world, and I look forward to someday reading about your successes and thinking back to a distant and wary time when we still were uncertain about whether climate change would make our planet uninhabitable, or fearful that our family members might have to suffer through cancer or diabetes.

Class of 2017, I don’t yet know how to change the world, but in true Berkeley fashion, I’ll race you there.

Fellow Haasholes: Congratulations on your imminent graduation. Go out there and do your thing.

A Side Project Turned Brick-and-Mortar

Being a woman entrepreneur is tough. Being a minority woman from a foreign country and establishing a business here is even harder. But that is Funn, the owner of Secret Scoop (Thai Gelato), the gelato shop that offers, sticky rice thai gelato, Thai iced tea, and Thai iced coffee, which you may have seen on your social media channels. If you’re curious about how the store came about, or how to make artisan gelato from scratch, read on.

Funn Fisher, Masters of Urban Design at UC Berkeley, Owner of Secret Scoop (Thai Gelato)

The Story of Funn and Thai Gelato

Funn graduated from UC Berkeley’s Master of Urban Design Program in December 2009. That was just as the recession was at its peak and the job market had few openings. So it was in between sending out resumes and interviewing for jobs that Funn’s hobby of making gelato in the kitchen really took off. With the extra time, she perfected the flavor and texture of her products, and even did some design work for her gelato side project.

Making gelato was quite an unstructured process in the beginning. Funn would go online and purchase various natural extracts and ingredients and combine them with Thai spices and herbs depending on how she was feeling or craving that day. For example, Funn liked the pandan-flavored ice cream she had tried at another gelato shop so she experimented with pumpkin pandan, which was well received by some of her customers shortly after opening the shop in Berkeley last month. Despite drawing inspiration from other flavors she has tasted in both the East and the West over the years, Funn has never thought of herself as a competitor to any Italian gelaterias in the East Bay. As she puts it, ”I’m not competing with pistachio, hazelnut, mascarpone or other traditional Italian gelato flavors. I like those flavors but I’ll never make them because I didn’t grow up with them.”

At the end of the day, Funn just wants to bring the tastes of her home country and the experience of how Thai children enjoy their ice cream with sweet and savory sticky rice to America. And in doing this she wants to create another happy place in the SF Bay Area!

From Pop-Up Store to Brick-and-Mortar

Slowly but surely, Funn’s hobby grew into a veritable gelato business. What first started as small gatherings in the kitchen with friends taste testing Funn’s gelato experiments later became pop-up stands at street food festivals and craft fairs, and recently became an actual brick & mortar shop in downtown Berkeley.

The first external facing opportunity Funn had was at the Cortland Marketplace, an incubator for small food businesses to work side-by-side one another other in promoting their food products in a local community. That gave Funn the chance to collect feedback from real customers (not just friends) and to learn the operations of running an actual food shop, albeit a temporary one. From there, she applied for opportunities through La Cocina, which took her to the Airbnb block party, San Francisco Street Food Festival, Renegade Craft Fair, and many more.

Time and time again, customers would ask Funn where her shop was located. That was what sparked her idea that if she doesn’t do it now, she won’t ever do it. So she did it. She opened a shop.

Funn has come a long way from her days of an ice cream cooler to now a full fledge industrialized fridge at Secret Scoop

Lessons Funn Learned

You cannot do it alone. Prior to opening the shop, Funn did all of the gelato production herself. But soon after the shop opened she learned that she needed to hire staff to help make the gelato, Thai iced tea and coffee, and sticky rice.  Funn really came to this realization when she received an order to supply sticky rice and gelato for a 300 person party at Pixar. As it was only 3 weeks into the opening of her business, she didn’t have inventory for the amount Pixar needed. Therefore, she stayed in the kitchen until 2:00AM churning out gelato for that event. It takes a village to raise a child, and Secret Scoop is no exception. Funn now has staff dedicated to making gelato and sticky rice, but she is still the one that controls the flavors and consistency.

Behind-the-scenes of making homemade gelato by pasteurizing her own gelato base.

There are bad days and there are good days. Focus on the good ones. Whether it’s at festivals or in the store, the weather can play a huge factor in her business, for obvious reason. For example, during the two-day Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Music Festival, one of the days was hot, which helped Funn and team sell all of their gelato quickly. But the second day was drizzly and cloudy, so as expected, sales were much slower. However, Funn’s optimistic attitude helps the situation and she takes every opportunity as a learning experience. Even with the shop, she says she needs to go through a full year to understand the cyclical nature and seasonality of her sales and determine how to adjust her production and her hours of operation.

Specialize, don’t generalize. Funn started off being ambitious and tried to make as many flavors as her customers requested. She began by taking customized orders but producing small volumes to order was resource intensive and resulted in production inefficiency. Filling custom orders eventually caught up with Funn and she realized it was unsustainable. She recalled an Asian idiom that said, “You can become successful from selling one item on your menu, but if you make-to-order too many products you will die before you ever see success.”

From this experience, Funn decided to revise her game plan. She started pushing her best selling flavors from past events: chocolate lemongrass, salted tamarind sorbet, roasted coconut, and thai ice tea. This approach proved to be a good one as those became her signature flavors that helped brand her gelato shop. Currently, she has an eight-tray gelato case, which contains those four core flavors plus four additional flavors that rotate periodically.

Treat others the way you want to be treated. If you visit the shop, there is this indescribable happiness that consumes the store. I think it’s derived from Funn’s kind attitude toward customers and employees. Funn’s philosophy comes from that fact that she has had “a lot of managers in the past and learned what kind of leader I want to be. At Secret Scoop we don’t use a boss system. This is a happy place where everyone can comfortably share their thoughts and contribute their talents.”

The brick-and-mortar store itself designed by Funn herself!

                        

   

Changing the World 


In the 20th century if you wanted to change the world you studied law. In the 21st century if you want to change the world, study business. 

I first heard this advice when given to a group of law students. Ironic, right? For them, it was the start of a cautionary tale to go beyond the study of law, but for me, an unintended listener, this was a new understanding of global dynamics. Despite the sudden, recent focus on government and lawmakers, our society is profoundly influenced by the scope and power of business. For better or for worse, through financial markets or revolutionary high-tech innovation and product, our lives and futures are shaped by businesses.

As Haas students, we are being armed with the necessary tools to make an impact- an impact even larger than we ever imagined. We have likely established a deep conviction in the merit of our Haas defining principles. We will always be students, always learning. We will go beyond ourselves, without self-imposed limits. We will be confident but with humility. And, perhaps most importantly, we will question the status quo. The experience of studying, working, and problem solving with our extraordinary classmates has revealed a fifth defining principle. As we achieve, acquire, and succeed, it’s important that we also find a way to serve.

Past Haas-student-CEOs profiled in the Undergraduate blog exemplify all ‘Five’ Defining Principles.

Pedro Espinoza, founder and CEO of SmileyGo, created a connection between the nation’s largest businesses and millions of charitable organizations. Espinoza, inspired by his Haas coursework, used the power of business to do something good for everyone. His philanthropic platform is helping change the way businesses interact with communities. Within his own company, he has established clear philanthropic initiatives and together, with his employees, volunteered over 300 hours in the bay area during the past year. With enthusiasm and determination, Espinoza and his team are committed to change the way businesses do business.

Noor Gaith, founder and CEO of Nuurglass, transformed bonding activity with his father into a booming new company that saves lives, one iPhone at a time. His Uber-like, on demand phone and computer repair service, will bring your device ‘back to life’ quickly and cost-effectively while reducing e-waste. Gaith is determined to keep his business for and by students. He team of technicians are young Berkeley undergraduates, learning valuable business and technical skills that will eventually make them ambassadors for the company as Gaith expands to other UC campuses.

Alfredo Figueroa, founder and CEO of Canaan Express, makes financial services and package delivery possible for the Bay Area’s immigrant community. Influenced by his own childhood struggles and his parents’ determination and resilience, Figueroa has created a safe, reliable, and vital neighborhood service at his various locations. He is determined to make decisions that will benefit the greatest number of people, and has used that passion and commitment to drive his enterprising spirit. Threats of crime, corruption, and lack of protected postal service create substantial challenges for Hispanic immigrants who want to send help to their families back home. Despite the obstacles, Canaan Express is open every day, helping families maintain global connections.

Sebastien Werz (CEO) and Chai Mishra (CPO), Co-Founders of Movebutter, have created a better, healthier, and smarter food delivery service. Playfully calling themselves the ‘Milkmen of the Future’, Werz and Mishra bring customized, high quality produce direct from local farms to your front door. Determined to transform all things food, this duo is trying to improve the multi-trillion dollar US food market by establishing excellent quality and experience as standards. Movebutter will fix the broken food system by pairing real, fresh, wholesome ingredients and produce with today’s technological innovations for ordering and delivery. By cutting out the supermarket middleman, Werz and Mishra are giving customers a healthier, personalized, and more convenient grocery experience.

These CEOs are just some of the creative minds and eager innovators in the Haas undergraduate campus. Although they may have been some of our first success stories they are certainly not our last. Haas has given us the tools, training, experience, connections, and opportunities to succeed. Now it’s up to us to take those four (arguably five) defining principles and do something great with them.

So who’s with me?

On a personal note-

I want to take advantage of my last blog to tip my cap and tassel to my accomplished and remarkable Haas School of Business Undergraduates Classmates. To our esteemed and talented faculty, thank you for your support, enthusiasm, and expertise. It’s been a privilege to study and work with you.

Now, we scatter to the four corners of the earth. I know many of our paths will cross (I hope so). I look forward to sharing our progress, successes, and the use we’ve made of the defining principles learned here. “In the 21st century, if you want to change the world study business.” There is no better place to begin that endeavor than Haas.

…GO BEARS!!!

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Women’s Empowerment Day – Educate, Unite, Inspire

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Some of you may have seen the email in your inbox with the subject line, “Women’s Empowerment Day”, otherwise known as “WED”. Because spots were limited, I wanted to share my own personal experience during this day, encouraging all females interested in business to attend this event next year. And men? You, too, should read this post, so that we can take a step closer towards coming together as people.

I walked up the stairs to Memorial Stadium with Emily Luna and Elyse Weissberger. We were on our way to the top floor – the club house. As we exited the elevator, we were greeted by one the of the most spectacular views of the entire Bay Area, as you can see in the picture above. It was a clear and sunny day, setting the tone for the rest of the afternoon. It was Women Empowerment Day.

I’ve never been ashamed of being a woman. In fact, I’ve honestly never given too much thought about the disparity in equality between men and women. I’ve always just focused on being the best version of myself without much consideration of my gender. Now, not only do I feel “self-powered” as a woman, I also feel honored to be associated with such a remarkable group of people. With accomplished and ambitious women surround me, I felt inspired.

Challenging the Status Quo

After grabbing a cup of coffee, I took my seat at one of the many circular tables. Our first keynote speaker was Krystal Thomas. Some of you may know her as your UGBA 100 professor, but I know her as a graceful and strong woman that has continuously challenged the status quo. She spoke about her own personal struggles as a black woman fighting to follow her passions in the entertainment industry. My favorite quote from Krystal is, “Quantity is about sales. Quality is about relationships.” One of the most basic frameworks in business is prices x sales = revenue. In order to increase revenue, you can either increase the price or the quantity of your sales. Nevertheless, it is essential that the quality of your work and character is never compromised. Krystal is now the executive producer for Pooka Ventures, which is a branded entertainment and media consultancy that creates content at the intersection of entertainment and purpose. After listening to her speech, we were invited to engage in dialogue amongst those sitting at our table of about six to eight women. With a mix of students and Cal alumni professionals at my table, we discussed the idea of closing the gap between racial groups on campus. Tackling heavy and controversial topics allowed us to open our minds and engage in priceless conversation that I will never forget.

Closing the Gap

Our next keynote speaker was Hilary Weber, founder and CEO of Opportu, which is an innovation coaching and consulting company seeking to enable leaders and teams to build high-impact creative cultures. She is also co-founding a second company, based in India, focused on entrepreneurial excellence and women’s self-empowerment. Hilary stressed the importance of the Haas core values and the difference between “empowerment” and “self-powerment”. She pointed out that women who are struggling to survive on a daily basis need empowerment. As women who have or are about to graduate from Haas, we need self-powerment. We already have the power and opportunity to be who we want to be in the world. We just need to believe in ourselves to fight the obstacles that come our way. Though the issue of inequality between men and women needs to be addressed, the issue of inequality amongst women shouldn’t be undermined either. As women, we shouldn’t treat each other differently because of the color of our skin, differences in beliefs or the clothes we wear. We have so much more in common than we do different. Unfortunately, society seems to focus only on the differences, completely neglecting different groups from supporting each other as a whole.

For five hours, I had the honor of listening and conversing with some of the most amazing women I have ever met. It wasn’t about distinguishing ourselves from one another. It wasn’t about putting blame for inequality on men or any other group for that matter. It was about uniting ourselves together as women. It was about educating each other about an issue that truly does exist in society, and more specifically, in the business world. It was about inspiring each other to support one another, so that we can fight for the equality that is long overdue. I encourage any woman who has the opportunity, to attend Women Empowerment Day next Spring. It’s an unforgettable experience.

Special thanks to Dresden John and Erica Walker for organizing this amazing event!

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Racial Equity@Haas: Blog Series Purpose, Reflection, & Impact

Charlie James is a senior at the Haas School of Business with a minor in Food Systems at the College of Natural Resources. He studies the intersection of business and food and enjoys learning of food businesses and venturing to understand what social, racial, cultural, historical, and economic circumstances provided their growth. With like-minded Haas students, Charlie began a food justice consulting student organization called FEED (Food, Equity, Entrepreneurship, & Development) to provide space for business students interested in pursuing a career in socially grounded food businesses. As the Chair of the Berkeley Food Institute (BFI) Undergraduate Advisory Council, he is working on developing a space for the undergraduate food community with student food organizations while nurturing room for their collaboration and ensuring their voices are heard at BFI. After studying at Haas, Charlie plans to study abroad in Japan and move in with his Grandmother and Uncle who own and manage a farm in the rural urban mix of the city of Odawara. He’s driven to learn the Japanese language fluently and understand the culture intimately in order to communicate with his relatives there and support his Grandmother and Uncle with their farm. For fun, he loves watching anime with close ones, experimenting with cooking recipes, and engaging in uncomfortable but important conversations.

Blog Series Purpose, Reflection, and Impact

Diversity is often mistaken for racial equity, especially in most business schools. Diversity resides in representation of people of various backgrounds. While diversity is important, it is surface level. Racial equity calls forth reparations to unequal beginnings through not only representation but also social, political, legal, moral, economic, and cultural rectification. Racial equity runs deep as it necessitates a change of thinking and acting to nurture an inclusive culture for people from all racial backgrounds where conversations on race are not neglected but encouraged.

However, before we can begin to address the misunderstanding of racial equity as diversity, it’s important to begin conversations on race, which are hard to come by at most business schools. They are especially hard to initiate. It is for this reason that I began a blog series aimed at opening the culture of the Haas School of Business to conversations on race. While the end goal runs much deeper in developing a social justice consciousness that includes more identities than only race to inform actions and decisions, talking about race honestly and openly is a start.

To maximize the impact, I joined forces with another Racial Equity Fellow for Net Impact, Alankrita Dayal, and a fellow Haas student dedicated to our mission, Naayl Kazmi. We began a blog series called Racial Equity@Haas, which we were able to publish through the Haas Undergraduate Student Blog thanks to its open and considerate leaders, Katherine Krive and Lexa Gundelach.

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Collectively, we created a game plan to interview the professors of core classes Haas students are required to take in order to illuminate the professors views on racial equity; we thought students would be more prone to read interviews from people in power they already know, core professors. However, only a few professors agreed to undergo interviews, leaving our plan at a loss. In recovery, we opened up the blog series to hold interviews of anyone in the Haas community as to shed light on the diverse perspectives of community members, students, staff, professors, and even the dean, on how racial equity is perceived at Haas.

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We’ve since interviewed three professors, three students, and the Dean of Haas. Much of the learning came to me during interviewing the different community members. The Dean illuminated how the history of Haas has shifted to being more diverse over the years, and an interview with one of the professors by Naayl revealed the impact of Proposition 209, which nullified affirmative action, on the few Haas students of color at the time. Seeing the school from a historical perspective, there was much improvement in fact. Still, race is not something openly talked about, is hard to talk about, and often triggers students to change the topic.

I remember engaging students on conversations on race and having them look the other way, change the topic almost immediately, or even look at me as though I’m racist for even talking about race. While these reactions will persist among certain groups, there are students who encourage me to continue.

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I share all the blog posts we make on Facebook while tagging members of the blog in them and my small team of Naayl and Alankrita to reach a larger audience, and there has been thankful, empowering, and even revealing feedback. One student who was interviewed wasn’t comfortable in having the person’s name referenced in the blog post, so we posted it as anonymous. Once on Facebook, another Haas student said she would have done the same.

While conversations often still focus on diversity instead of on nurturing an inclusive culture that would encourage conversations and consciousness building on race, this blog has began a conversation on race that’s heading in the direction of a more inclusive business culture. Although there’s a long way to go, I am happy we are going.

Something to Smile About: SmileyGo Facilitates Corporate Philanthropy 

SmileyGo CEO and Founder Pedro Espinoza on Capitol Hill with other inspiring CEOs

“I don’t eat dessert,” Pedro Espinoza joked, explaining his success. Kidding aside, Espinoza runs SkyDeck’s newest and most promising start-up: SmileyGo. Described as a ‘Yelp meets Salesforce’ data platform, SmileyGo is a desktop analytics tool for corporations to find, partner with, and fund nonprofit organizations. Its index of over 1.7 million tax exempt entities allows businesses to focus on their specific philanthropic interests. Espinoza wants to use the digital world to help millions of people through connections that lead to new laws, programs, and partnerships.By eschewing on dessert, Espinoza successfully juggles finishing his Haas degree, traveling to Chamber of Commerce meetings, presenting as a keynote speaker, working with Congress to change business, leading/pitching/and growing SmileyGo, golf and tennis meetings, and somehow getting nine to ten hours of sleep every night. All of this was sparked in 2014 by Professor Ross’ business-ethics description of the back and forth between Congress and top corporations. Espinoza was inspired and saw an opportunity to use corporate social responsibility, lobbying, and politics to support philanthropic partnerships, laws, and regulations.

Now Espinoza has been successfully funded by SharkTank investors, established offices at SkyDeck, hired a new team of technical operators, and is this year’s UC Berkeley winner of the statewide ‘I am a UC Entrepreneur’ competition. The young CEO spoke at Berkeley’s Post-Doctoral Entrepreneurial Program this past Wednesday and will be flying to Peru later in the month to address executives at Toyota Latin America. Big accomplishments perfect for someone motivated to help take on life’s biggest challenges.

Espinoza emphasizes the importance of young entrepreneurs pursuing professional endeavors that help solve national or global problems. He hopes fellow future leaders are ready to take on issues are pertinent as cyber security, infrastructure, preservation of democracy, and pure water accessibility. By tackling these problems step by step, Espinoza is confident our generation has what it takes to create big solutions.

Perseverance, positivity and realism are key for Espinoza. SmileyGo applied for funding and incubation at Citris Foundry, one of the Bay Area’s largest accelerators, earlier this year. When it wasn’t able to secure a spot, Espinoza, undeterred, met with the founder (and UC Berkeley Alum) Patrick Scaglia for guidance. Espinoza’s enthusiasm, determination, and unique business platform set a series of fortunate events in motion for SmileyGo. Scaglia’s mentorship and advice led to a spot in SkyDeck which introduced SmileyGo and Espinoza to the UC’s entrepreneur competition, gaining Congressional recognition, and now showing promise of becoming a leader in facilitating corporate social responsibility. Despite his early success, awards, and once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, Espinoza stays modest, happy, and grateful for his opportunities at Haas and the inspiration, guidance, and love his family has given him.

SmileyGo strives to build value in communities. Espinoza and his team lead by example. Together with CTO Joseph Pereria, SmileyGo employees volunteered over for 300 hours in the bay area last year. The company and its people want to serve something great: inspire millions of companies to fund millions of non-profits to help millions of people. It’s no small task but Espinoza’s big family, global upbringing, and earnest yet joyful and loving personality combine to make the dynamic force that drives SmileyGo.

With all he has on his plate, it’s no wonder Espinoza has no time for dessert.