Posted by: Academy of Achievement | 05/29/2013

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Christina Lagos Triantaphyllis, Class of 2010
Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation Fellow, The Bridgespan Group

While a graduate student at the Harvard School of Public Health, I had the incredible opportunity to attend the Academy of Achievement’s 2010 Summit in Washington, D.C. This meaningful experience renewed my interest in public service, and in the intersection between political processes and social enterprise. I am deeply grateful to Catherine and Wayne Reynolds, whose generosity and dedication to Academy of Achievement program participants has planted the seeds of potential social change in each of us.

Since my participation in the Reynolds Fellowship for Social Entrepreneurship, I have had the opportunity to advise pioneering social sector organizations as a consultant with the Bridgespan Group. I was first drawn to Bridgespan when its co-founder, Jeff Bradach, spoke to the Reynolds group about the interesting challenges facing social entrepreneurs and the organizations they lead.

Applying best practices from the for-profit sector, I have worked with multi-million dollar foundations, new philanthropists, direct-service providers, and international NGOs to address society’s most pressing issues in global development, public health, and youth development. In the process, I have recognized the importance of a broader problem. Government and other funders fail to focus on high-return investments in proven social interventions that disrupt intergenerational cycles of poverty. This issue is one that I hope to address throughout my career.

In the meantime, the non-profit I co-founded continues to grow and flourish. PAIR (Partnership for the Advancement and Immersion of Refugees), which focuses on the educational advancement of refugee youth, now serves over 300 students. A Reynolds Fellowship trip to the Rio Grande Valley helped to broaden and deepen my familiarity with issues affecting both immigrants and refugees in the United States, and the skills I have developed at Bridgespan have enhanced my contributions as a PAIR board member in a variety of ways.

In reflecting on my time since the Reynolds Fellowship, I am reminded of a grounding belief I developed in those formative two years that remains fundamental to my personal theory of change: that those of us who have been blessed with certain opportunities, circumstances, and experiences are uniquely positioned to address important societal problems. The Reynolds experience has set me on a path of applying results-oriented approaches to social challenges —one that I hope continues to intersect with the inspiring work of other Reynolds Fellows and Academy alumni.

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