Social Impact Dinner: How the Common Good Plays Out

By Tom Porter

Alumni from a variety of career paths, all of them dedicated to having a positive impact on society, attended campus recently to meet students.

The Social Impact Dinner, as it was called, gave students the opportunity to talk to graduates about different ways of serving the common good as they think about life after Bowdoin.

CXD student dinner
The event on September 28 featuerd guided table discussions between students and alumni

The event was sponsored by the Office of Career Exploration and Development (CXD) and the McKeen Center for the Common Good. It featured eleven alumni from class years 1997 to 2019, representing a range of socially impactful career options, including the nonprofit world, education, and consulting.

“The goal of the dinner was to explore how the common good plays out beyond Bowdoin via the work that alumni do through social impact work,” said Senior Associate Director Meg Springer. “I think it’s a great example of the variety of career paths and ways in which alumni incorporate the common good into their professional lives,” she added.

The keynote speaker was Kristina Powell ’06, executive director of The Telling Room, an arts nonprofit focused on young writers ages six to eighteen with the belief “that the power of creative expression can change our communities and prepare our youth for success both now and in the future.” In 2022, Powell was honored as a “Mainer of the Year”—an award given to twenty-five leaders in Maine who have positively shaped the state of over the past year.

After welcoming remarks and introductions were made, students took part in guided table discussions with alumni, where they talked about what the common good means to them, the meaning of “social impact,” and why the alumni do the work that they do.

"The social impact dinner gave me the opportunity to reflect on what the common good means to me,” said Angela Degado ’25. “Throughout my time at Bowdoin, I've consistently searched for ways to make a difference in our community,” she added. “The stories shared by the invited guests helped me realize that creating change for the better is something you can do at any time and place."

The evening was rounded off with some more informal networking and a summer opportunities fair. This gave students the chance to learn more about the funding options to available to them through CXD, the McKeen Center, environmental studies, and the Office of Research and Fellowships, enabling students to pursue nonfunded internships, many of them in the nonprofit sector.

“Because of you, the world is a better place today,” Springer said in closing.

alum guests
Featured alumni guests. Details are below, listed left to right.

Maurice (Mo) Asare ’19: associate consultant at The Bridgespan Group.
Mindy Gomes Casseres ’97: vice president, environmental, social, and governance at SharkNinja.
Ryan Shawn Herman ’17: education researcher at UNICEF-Innocenti; policy analyst at World Bank.
Lex Pe’er Horwitz ’19: LGBTQ+ educator and public speaker. President of Lex Horwitz Consulting LLC.
Zalika May ’13: alumni engagement manager at DREAM Charter School.
Kat McNeil ’12: chief of staff at Blue Rabbit Veterinary.

Mohamed Nur ’19: senior associate at New Profit.
Kristina Powell ’06: executive director at The Telling Room.
Shamir Rivera-Quintal ’10: director of operations at Coalition for a Better Acre.
Connie Rutledge ’10: director of workforce partnership development at City Colleges of Chicago.
Justin Strasburger ’07: executive director at Full Plates Full Potential.