Impact At Scale

The Beeck Center engages global leaders to drive social change at scale.

Michael Bakan GU Impacts Leadership Series

The NextGen Leadership Series: Michael Bakan

May 8, 2017 | The NextGen Leadership Series, GU Impacts Profile: Michael Bakan


Interview by Ali Walton, Beeck Communications Analyst

Hi Michael, thanks so much for chatting with me. Can you start by telling me what your assigned location is and what makes you excited about it?

I will be working at Federal City Council in Washington, DC. I’m really excited to work at a public-private partnership that is making an impact in the DC community because, as a student at Georgetown, DC has become my second home, so I am excited to get to further engage with the DC community.

So what does social impact mean to you in your experiences so far?

To me, social impact is about kinship. While I believe that social impact encompasses data, technology, and the use of other tools to drive progress and foster growth, my experiences have taught me that a desire to see oneself in mutuality with others and to then act upon this kinship is the root that leads to social impact.

That was a great answer. How do you think you’ll grow through GU Impacts?

I hope to further engage with the narrative of Washington, DC through the lens of social impact. I feel tremendously honored to be able to attend Georgetown, and I believe that being a part of GU Impacts, in addition to working at Federal City Council in DC, will allow me to listen to the stories of individuals and communities in DC that are often removed from my own spheres at Georgetown. In the process, I believe that GU Impacts will expand my own talents and imagination to seek new ways to drive civic innovation and contribute to long-term impact.

Why did you decide to apply to GU Impacts?

I have been working on a variety of projects surrounding social entrepreneurship throughout the past few years, and from these experiences, I have developed many questions surrounding the meaning of social impact and how I could best grow as an individual. I felt that GU Impacts would provide the best opportunity for me to grow as a student surrounded by a community of support and shared desire to engage with our individual partner communities.

It’s clear that you have a passion for both Georgetown and social impact. What do you think makes GU Impacts different from other service programs at Georgetown?

I have always been drawn to GU Impacts’ extensive imagination. As a college student, I feel that service is often confined to a strict definition that lacks creativity and inspiration. At GU Impacts, service extends beyond just the normal models of nonprofits and volunteer work to also include progressive models around impact investing and public-private partnerships. Further, while GU Impacts focuses on grand strategies to drive impact, it is rooted in a belief that kinship and shared human connection are significant themes in driving social change. I am honored to be a part of a program that not only focuses on the impact within specific communities but also focuses on the formation and impact of each individual participant beyond the realms of traditional models of service.

What’s your favorite quote?

“The measure of our compassion lies not in our service to those on the margins but in our willingness to see ourselves in mutuality with them” – Greg Boyle, SJ

I can see how that quote has shaped your impact-focused thinking. That’s very powerful. Last question, what are you currently reading?

“The Power of One” by Bryce Courtenay

*This is a part of our series GU Impacts Fellows, The NextGen Leadership Series

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