Posted by: Academy of Achievement | 05/24/2013

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Steven Ballantyne,  Class of 2010
Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation Fellow, Program Director, Project Realize

First, I would like to thank Wayne and Catherine Reynolds for their generous support, which allowed me to pursue an MPA at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Since graduating, I have been able to combine my for-profit and not-for-profit interests in a unique way. I manage a program called Project Realize, funded by Vista Equity Partners founder, Robert Smith.  We help companies grow to the next level by implementing proprietary business intelligence systems and standards of operations.  In a way, we are proving that businesses need human capital more than financial capital.  It’s a different way of thinking, and of giving back. We are “teaching a man how to fish,” and the long-term impact is indefinite.

When selecting companies to adopt, apart from looking for visionaries, we look for community-minded management.  We aim to transform the business, and in turn, the surrounding community.  By helping the business grow, we are building the community, through job growth and an increased tax base.  As they grow, the businesses we help are able to increase their involvement in community programs.  In partnership with the Chicago-based chemical manufacturer Cedar Concepts, Project Realize has the ability to continually grow, and to increase its impact on the community year after year.

I love my job, and Robert Smith has big plans for the future.  I will make sure to keep you abreast as we grow.

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