The changemaker CPA

The decision to get my MBA was what I thought would be a natural progression from accounting to finance. I chose The Portland MBA program for its connection to the city I loved, and its commitment to sustainability and social responsibility. I figured I’d pivot to finance and work for a sustainability-focused company. But, one finance class and at least five personality assessments later, I realized that was the wrong choice for me. I’m fundamentally motivated by my core values and need to pursue a career in line with those values — not just work for a company with a CSR department.

That’s where Net Impact came in.

Net Impact is an international nonprofit organization with a mission to inspire, educate and equip individuals to use the power of business to create a more socially and environmentally sustainable world. The Portland State School of Business chapter consists of inspiring change agents who want to use their business degree to make a positive impact in the world — my kind of people! I was initially attracted to the club because of B Impact, a student-led program that pairs student volunteers with companies looking to become B Corps — a certification for companies that meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency. I was able to help a local startup gain B Corp certification while gaining consulting skills and learning about this socially-conscious way of doing business.

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Honing my design thinking process at a workshop in Colombia.

Fast forward a year-and-a-half, and I became the development chair for Portland State’s Net Impact chapter. I also decided to pursue a certificate in Social Innovation and was able to travel to Colombia for the Social Innovation field study. Who knew an accountant like me could fall in love with the design-thinking process?

My fellow travelers and I on our Social Innovation field study in Colombia.

I was initially terrified I would have to make a jump from the for-profit business world to the mission-minded nonprofit world. Now, I realize that doesn’t have to be the case. I see a shift happening where for-profits and nonprofits are moving toward each other. Because of societal and governmental pressure, companies are making sustainable and socially responsible choices, whether they want to or not. Nonprofits are thinking about more financially sustainable ways to operate that don’t rely on donors and grants. I don’t need to pick one career path or the other — I can merge my skills and my values by using my finance skills to make a positive social change in the world.


Rebecca Crump has a background as a CPA in corporate accounting and financial analysis. She is passionate about using her MBA and finance skills as a force for positive social impact.



Categories: alumni, student life