Each month we will shine a spotlight on a member of our Talent Network to help you meet each other virtually. We start the series with Hady Barry, one of the first Jacobs Fellows at the Haas School of Business at the University of California Berkeley.

Tell us a little bit about yourself

I think of myself as a West African, as I grew up in Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal. I’m a strong believer in living a life of purpose and am passionate about the power of education to transform lives. I’m currently finishing my MBA at UC Berkeley Haas and in my spare time I produce podcasts. Before Haas I worked in international development for a USAID contractor with a strong focus on agribusiness in West and East Africa. After Haas I’ll be joining FSG, one of the leading social impact consulting firms.

Why did you apply for the Jacobs Foundation Business Fellowship?

I applied for the Jacobs Foundation Business Fellowship because of the strong alignment between the goals of the Fellowship and mine. I have been lucky to have had access to a wonderful education and it has inspired me to pursue a career path that would enable the same access for other African girls. I wanted to work at the intersection of business and education and this desire led me to Haas. It was a wonderful moment when I discovered the Jacobs Foundation Fellowship and how well my personal goals aligned with the Foundation’s work, in particular the Transforming Education in Cocoa Communities (TRECC) program in Côte d’Ivoire.

What did you plan to do during the Fellowship?

Given my interest in social entrepreneurship I wanted to use my time at UC Berkeley to incubate ideas on how to bring education to girls, in particular high quality education. The Jacobs Foundation Fellowship was a wonderful gift that gave me the freedom to explore this path. Through Haas I was able to sit on the board of the Daraja Education Fund (DEF), which supports the Daraja Academy for girls in Kenya. I also took classes on entrepreneurship and design thinking but found it challenging to design solutions when living so far away from my target constituents. I had left West Africa a while ago and struggled with ways to test out hypotheses and my assumptions on the realities on the ground. Therefore, I returned to Senegal for an internship with Dalberg Global Development Advisors. I also accepted that not leaving Haas ready to launch a social enterprise was not a failure. I had realized that I wanted to take more time to really understand the challenges that contribute to poor access to education African girls face. This summer I will be joining the Jacobs Foundation’s TRECC Impact Finance team in Abidjan as a Fellow. v

How will you use the Jacobs Foundation Talent Network in the future?

I am really interested in the Talent Network and all the combined expertise it has to offer. I hope to connect with influencers and industry experts in education. I am also interested to connect with the media Fellows as I am interested in the intersection of media and business. It’s a wonderful opportunity to have access to so many people from different sectors.

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