I’m broadly interested in exploring the role business plays in addressing social issues, and strengthening the social sector using a business-minded approach. I am open to opportunities that would allow me to help any organizations align profit and purpose, but ultimately, I want to lead a nonprofit organization or a social enterprise.
I worked on the HIV, Health, and Development team and provided technical support and knowledge management on UNDP’s global digital health portfolio. I evaluated the maturity and impact of grant proposals, interviewed key stakeholders about technology management, funding, and product-market fit for COVID-19 related digital interventions, and analyzed the digital health donor ecosystem for opportunities to collaborate and expand our program offering.
This experience expanded my understanding of key operating metrics for civil societies and governments, as well as their strategies beyond simply “doing good.” By extension, I became more committed to creating social impact through evidence-based, innovative, and interdisciplinary solutions that are crowd-sourced from the public, social, and private sectors.
The diversity in people and projects that I was exposed to is unmatched, and coming from Health Care Management, this was the perfect opportunity for developing leadership skills in health, innovation, and policymaking.
While working for the UN has been a childhood dream come true, this experience proved many of my preconceptions wrong and showed me aspects of health governance and public-private partnerships that hopefully I can work on in the future to improve.
I was able to work autonomously and be involved in projects that interested me the most, and I met colleagues from vastly different backgrounds who share my passion for creating sustainable social impact. I truly feel that I contributed to the mission of the organization doing what I love and am good at.
The one thing was really challenging for me is that digital health is still a nascent area for UN support, so there was a lot of learning upfront to understand the strategic framework of the UNDP that encompasses the individual programs and projects I later worked on. Fortunately, because I got the insider scoop from friends before starting my internship, I didn’t experience that big of a cultural shock, but I was still surprised at times by how time-critical work in health can be burdened by bureaucracy.My involvement with YIGH as the Sustainable Health Initiative Fellow, and this impact investing class at the Jackson Institute of Global Affairs, taught by Blair Miller, completely changed my view on nonprofits, global health, and philanthropy. I learned that there are other ways of creating bigger, scalable, and sustainable impact. Both experiences exposed me to technologies and innovations that, in combination with the right people, method, and management, can lift millions of people out of poverty or poor health – relevant to the digital health work I did at the UNDP.
It’s a great opportunity that would open doors for you, and it’s meaningful work. I personally reflected a lot about being distanced from the actual work happening on the ground, the implication of new technology on the bottom of the pyramid populations, and the absolute privilege of doing an unpaid internship in the heart of Manhattan to address world poverty. I would encourage anyone considering a similar opportunity to think about them too.
YSPH Summer Funding.