In this episode, our guest Lakshmi Iyer discusses her work at FSG, a mission-driven consulting firm that is dedicated to advising corporate, foundation, and nonprofit leaders. She describes how philanthropy and corporations can be viewed skeptically and are often misunderstood by social work and explains how for-profit organizations can help solve social issues and create an impact through collaborative partnerships. Models of social innovation and entrepreneurship are summarized and examples of how social workers can serve as change agents are discussed. Social change approaches utilized by organizations and their connection to social work education, research and practice – including how these strategies address current silos – are explored.
Lakshmi Iyer, MPP, MSW is an Associate Director at FSG where she is a core member of FSG’s corporate practice as well as a leader of FSG’s thinking on corporations and racial equity. During her time at FSG, Lakshmi Iyer has led projects with a variety of companies including Intuit, Toyota, BHP, and Cisco, to help them design and implement strategies for creating shared value, enhancing their corporate philanthropy, and community development. She brings expertise in many issues including community development, financial inclusion, racial and gender equity and has worked in diverse contexts including the U.S., India, Brazil, Japan, and Australia. She is also the co-author of a series entitled, “The Competitive Advantage of Racial Equity.” Lakshmi Iyer also leads speaking engagements on the topics of shared value, racial equality and social impact measure.
Interviewer: Gokul Mandayam, PhD