BFP: What do you do?
JB: I am Strategic Analyst and Project Manager, Corporate Responsibility at Cummins Inc. Cummins is a global power leader, that designs, manufactures, distributes and services engines and related technologies, including fuel systems, controls, air handling, filtration, emission solutions and electrical power generation systems.
I manage strategic social impact projects for Cummins in Africa and other emerging markets. The bulk of my work revolves around building partnerships with other businesses and organizations to maximize the impact of Cummins’ initiatives on the ground.
BFP: What is the best part about your job?
JB: There are two things that I really enjoy about my job. The first is aligning opportunities for social impact with strategic business interests of the company. The second is working with talented people from all over the world to unleash to power of business to address major social problems.
BFP: What have been your greatest challenges?
JB: Building a strong business case for social impact projects in a down economy has been the biggest challenge I continue to face.
BFP: How have you overcome these challenges? What advice, would you give to others?
JB: An entrepreneurial mindset and an understanding of the important role of humility are very important in my work. Viewing socio-economic and environmental problems as opportunities for innovation and gaining business insights has helped in pitching CR projects to business leaders. Humility is also incredibly important when dealing with issues of global poverty. I would encourage anyone spending time on the ground in the developing world to view every interaction as an opportunity to learn, be it from talking to a CEO or a woman selling bananas on the side of the street. This will help to fight the natural tendency to impose our own beliefs and solutions on local problems.
BFP: If someone wants to do what you do, where should they start?
JB: Seek out opportunities to gain tangible skills and experience. Business school is an excellent way to build valuable skills and a mindset focused on innovation and efficiency that is applicable to many fields. There is no substitute for on-the-ground experience in emerging markets, even if for brief periods of time.
BFP: Finally, what do you hope to get out of being part of the BFP community?
JB: I hope to connect with a global community of like-minded individuals. I am especially interested in networking to build partnerships involving Cummins strategic initiatives in technical/vocational education and rural electrification around the world.
Thank you to Jimmy Bettcher for taking the time to do this interview.
Read previous Member of the Week interviews here.