Hello Liberia! IBD’s Executive Director, Kristi Raube, Takes on a New Adventure

Kristi Teaching

Kristi Teaching

After more than 18 years dedicating herself and her career to academia, teaching, mentoring and guiding graduate students at Berkeley-Haas, IBD Executive Director Kristi Raube and her husband will depart early next year for their newest adventure — moving to Africa.  Kristi has accepted a position as the Peace Corps Country Director for the Republic of Liberia.  Before her Berkeley-Haas career, Kristi was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) and Togo, where she trained community groups in health and agriculture projects, and coordinated logistics for Peace Corps training and new volunteers.  During her career at Berkeley-Haas, Kristi focused on her passion for healthcare and social impact.  She is now returning full circle with her new position in Liberia.   We sat down recently with Kristi to get a better sense of how she feels about this once in a lifetime opportunity, as well as what she is leaving behind at UC Berkeley and Berkeley-Haas.

Kristi in Zaire during her time in the Peace Corps

Question: What excites you the most about your new position?

Kristi Raube: “There are so many reasons why this position is so exciting.  First, this is an opportunity for me to be closer to the problems that I have been passionate about my entire career.  In many ways, this position will allow me to keep doing the work I have been doing these last 19 years, except now I get to be embedded in the solutions, as I have never had an opportunity to stay longer than a couple weeks.

Rt. Hon. Dr. Ruhukana Rugunda, Prime Minister, Republic of Uganda

Rt. Hon. Dr. Ruhukana Rugunda, Prime Minister, Republic of Uganda

That’s why I really love the Peace Corps approach.  They have 3 goals:  The first is to train the Peace Corps Volunteers to meet the needs of the community.  Second, they want to promote understanding of the United States to the people that Peace Corps volunteers are serving. Finally, they want to promote understanding of the communities where the Peace Corps volunteers serve.  Their method is very grassroots as they become embedded in the communities -they don’t just parachute in to do work and leave.

Second, I will get to continue my work with young people, in fact, many of the volunteers are about the same age as Haas students.  

There have been a lot of challenges in Liberia.  The Civil War ended in 2002 and many years were lost for young adults.  There wasn’t an opportunity to focus on one’s education or professional development.  In this role, I will get the opportunity to work with 50 people on my Liberian staff.  I will get to groom and shape staff and offer them the opportunity to develop themselves in their professional lives.  

I also am very excited about doing something good in the world and perhaps making a small difference. “

Kristi on a recent trip to Tanzania to visit her oldest son, who is volunteering in the Peace Corps

Kristi in Tanzania this Nov. 2017. She was visiting her oldest son, who is volunteering in the Peace Corps.

Question:  What are you the most anxious about?

Kristi Raube:  “My decision is affecting our whole family and in some ways, it is not just me going to Liberia to follow my dream, it’s everyone.  My husband is leaving his job and home to take this leap of faith. He has never been to Sub-Sarah Africa and he is doing this because he believes in me.  It is an amazing thing to have a husband who is willing to do that. Our family will be very far away.  One of our three sons will be finishing college in May and the other just started this year.  They won’t have their “home” to go to while we are away. They will need to travel a long way to see their parents.”

Question:  What will you miss about Berkeley-Haas?

Kristi in Zaire during her time in the Peace Corp

Kristi in Zaire during her time in the Peace Corp

Kristi Raube:  “I have been at Haas for almost 19 years and I am eternally grateful for the trust and support that people have given to me to grow as a leader, manager and as a teacher.  It’s been a journey.  I have embraced the Berkeley Haas Defining Principles to always push myself to be better.

And, it’s all about the people.  I am also going to miss the students.  Every year, you get a new batch, and they are smart, curious, open, inquisitive, enthusiastic and want to make a difference in the world.  What a fantastic environment to be in!   I will miss my faculty colleagues who are always asking interesting questions.  You can go to a million interesting talks and intellectually it is a candy store playground. Last but not least, I will miss my colleagues and staff. I feel really lucky working with this very  committed, wonderful group of people.”

Kristi with the 2016 IBD Team Samai at the IBD Conference

Kristi with the 2016 IBD Team Samai at the IBD Conference

Question:  Will you take any of the Berkeley Haas Defining Principles to your new position?

Kristi Raube: “All Four! This position and work are definitely embodying the “Beyond Yourself” principle, as we are really giving of ourselves through the work.  I think at the very start, personally, I need to focus most  on “Confidence without Attitude.”  I have a lot to learn.  I don’t know that much about the Liberian culture.  I need to be humble in the way I approach my work and so I can bring understanding to the issues and background and the why and how people are.  That links to “Student Always”.  For me, part of this is the challenge and the opportunity to really learn something new and stretch myself.  That is really exciting.  I guess I am also “Questioning the Status Quo” by deciding to move across the world to take this job instead of retiring here at Haas.  In some ways, all the Haas Defining Principles are not that far away from what I will be doing even though it is a different organization and clearly a different setting.  The Defining Principles really resonate with me as they are the way I lead my life.”

Kristi in Tanzania November 2017

Question: Do you know what your position looks like on a daily basis?

Kristi Raube: “I don’t know yet, but I do know who my constituents are!  The first are the 125 Peace Corps Volunteers in Liberia.  They are in every county of the country.  A lot of my work will be understanding the work that they are doing and what are their issues and problems, and where are they having successes.  I am very excited about this part of the job.  I will be responsible for training, safety and enabling them to be able to do good work.

The second group is the Liberian staff.  I have heard over and over that the staff has this amazing energy, optimism, and hard work ethic. I also understand that the Liberian staff need to have the opportunity to grow in their skill sets and education.

Kristi reading a letter from home during her time in Zaire volunteering for the Peace Corps

The third group of constituents are the Government, NGOs, businesses and America Embassy Communities.  I will be the representative and the face of the organization and as we think about where we will put volunteers and what they will be doing, I will need to work with the Minister of Education, Minister of Health and the President of the Country.  I will work with the other NGO’s and the businesses working in Liberia.  As you know from my work with the Berkeley Haas Institute for Business and Social Impact, I am passionate about the role of business and creating social good.  I will look to see if there are interesting opportunities.”

Question: What one thing do you think the individual who will steps into the role of Executive Director at IBD should know?

Kristi Raube:  “When I took over IBD it was all about rebuilding, but now, the Staff, Students, and Faculty components are all there and super strong. There is such great work being done and students are having great experiences.  Does that mean that there is no opportunity for improvements?  No, absolutely not.  The great thing about me leaving is there is an opportunity for someone to come in with fresh eyes and to look at these issues and figure out better ways to do organize IBD.  I feel really happy and proud of the work that we have collectively done and the foundation that has been left behind.”

Kristi and IBD's David Richardson in 2017 with Monica Wiese and Pablo Seminaro Butrich - IBD Alumni '05 and '04

Kristi and IBD’s David Richardson in 2017 with Monica Wiese and Pablo Seminaro Butrich – Alumni ’05 and ’04

End of Interview

The impact Kristi Raube has made on the IBD program is deep and invaluable.  Her passion and dedication to the mission of IBD — helping clients redefine how they do business globally, and providing MBA students with the opportunity to build their international consulting skills — has shown in all of her work.   Over her long career at Berkeley-Haas, Kristi has touched in the most positive of ways the lives of hundreds of students, clients, and colleagues.   As we say goodbye, we have no doubt that Kristi’s new Peace Corps and Liberian colleagues will get to know her as we have and come to appreciate all that she will bring to her new position. Please join us in congratulating Kristi on her new move to Liberia at ibd@haas.berkeley.edu.

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Spreading Strategic Philanthropy: Prof. Takes Course to Sienna

A peak Berkeley-Haas experience for Vivian Wei, BS 11, was donating $10,000 to nonprofits during her time in school.

Wei (pictured below) was not an unusually flush undergrad at the time; she was a student in Cal Strategic Philanthropy, a course taught by Nora Silver, director of the Haas School’s Center for Nonprofit and Public Leadership. Subtitled “Real Money, Real Impact,” the course teaches its undergrad participants to be effective philanthropists.

Silver, also an adjunct professor, is leading a workshop on Strategic Philanthropy in Sienna, Italy, this week for the International Society for Third-Sector Research. “The purpose is to inspire and prepare instructors worldwide to teach an experiential undergraduate class in strategic philanthropy, and to provide resources and a professional network to support their course development,” says Silver.

Learning strategic philanthropy proved valuable to Miss San Francisco Vivian Wei, BS 11

The Cal course teaches students about personal and group values, group decision-making, social issues, grant-making criteria, nonprofit assessment, social impact, and the landscape of philanthropy. “The class is an example of classic Berkeley-Haas innovation, one where classroom teaching leads directly to real-world impact,” says Silver.

To support that real-world impact, the Learning by Giving Foundation has contributed $10,000 each year to the Cal Strategic Philanthropy class, giving student teams the opportunity to research and identify, perform due diligence, and select nonprofits to receive the funds. “It is challenging because there is so much that goes on behind the scenes at a nonprofit,” says Wei, now a tax consultant with Deloitte. “We conducted a lot of interviews to learn how each organization could use our money effectively.” Wei’s class gave $5,000 each to SPARK, which provides apprenticeships to youth from disadvantaged communities, and Swords to Plowshares, to support a green job training initiative for veterans.

Wei, who claimed the Miss San Francisco title in March 2012 and went on to compete for the Miss California Crown this June, has given a lot of interviews herself. “When judges asked about my favorite class in college, I always talked about Strategic Philanthropy and how proud I was that we were able to act as a foundation to support local Bay Area nonprofits,” she says.