Global Issues story

Putting Passion to Work in the World

Neeley School students learn that one way to improve the global challenges of the future is through businesses that fuel social and environmental change. 

October 09,  2015

By Elaine Cole

[Excerpt from Neeley Magazine Spring/Summer 2015] – Rather than focusing solely on what they can gain from the world as a result of their business degrees, Neeley School students are looking at the positive impacts they can make on the world.

Patrick Hollinger, Mackenzie Carmichael and Jessica Nailor are raising money to build a home and classroom in Zambia through their impact project for the BNSF Next Generation Leadership Program. They hope to raise $160,000 for a home and classroom for older children.

“These older kids are passionate about being the next generation of leaders and transforming Zambia over the next 50 years,” Patrick said.

Neeley Fellows honed in on the world problem of hunger when they packed 10,172 meals for Stop Hunger Now. The shipment was sent to Evangelical Alliance of Guatemala, which provides food, schooling, counseling, clinics, protection and vocational training to children in Guatemala.

Garry Bruton, professor of management, leadership and entrepreneurship, and David Gras, assistant professor of strategy and entrepreneurship, show students how business can be a solution to poverty.

“I hope to help Neeley students see business as more than just a way to make the most money, but as a way to create a better world by providing good jobs that result in positive change,” said Bruton, who leads study trips to South Africa, Cuba and China.

Gras traveled to Ethiopia, India, Peru and Brazil to study entrepreneurship at the base of the pyramid, and challenged his students to create jobs for destitute women in Ethiopia. They constructed a plan to design jewelry and headbands that the women could then create. When the products were ready for market, they negotiated with TCU Barnes & Noble for retail space.

Perhaps the hallmark of the Neeley School’s commitment to business at a catalyst for change is the Richards Barrentine Values and Ventures® Competition. The annual competition draws college students from around the world to present their values-based business plans at TCU.

“This is not an academic exercise. These students want to improve the quality of life for other people, and they want to do it with a business that is vibrant and dynamic and purposeful,” said Ray Smilor, the Schumacher Executive Faculty Fellow in Innovation and Technology.

Read the full article in the current issue of Neeley Magazine. Click on the magazine cover photo at to download your copy today.