Roughly one year following its formation, the vision of Lynn’s Social Impact Lab has remained steadfast under the watchful eye of Associate Director Erina McWilliam-Lopez.
Originally from Boston, Mass., McWilliam-Lopez never foresaw the career path she would eventually take. Never could she have imagined the opportunity she would receive to make a difference while also empowering individuals at the global level.
After obtaining two degrees in public relations and public administration in her collegiate years, McWilliam-Lopez worked in a variety of corporate marketing jobs before switching to a career of social impact and establishing roots with her family in California.
She began her social impact efforts working as the director of impact programs, focused on impact investing and curriculum design. It was there she would meet her eventual business partner Jerry Hildebrand and President Kevin Ross, an individual intent on bringing the two change-makers to Boca Raton.
“It was a such an incredible, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to come to a place where the president of the university is completely supportive of how we could affect the ecosystem throughout campus,” said McWilliam-Lopez.
McWilliam-Lopez and Hildebrand formed the Center for Social Impact to help generate a positive impact, both locally and globally, through sustainable business concepts.
“Something important that students should know about the Lab is that we’re really focused on experiential learning,” said McWilliam-Lopez. “We want you to take all of the knowledge from the classroom and help you implement it on the ground, in the street and around your community.”
Although the Social Impact Lab is still in its early years, its founders continue to take strides toward creating programs that will help students throughout their college years and prepare them for life in the workforce. In the past year, they have partnered with the Watson Institute to create the social entrepreneurship major, sent several students abroad with the Ambassador Corps program and gained the fastest recognition as a fair-trade university.
McWilliam-Lopez has played a large role in many of the new changes around campus. While she works primarily in the Lab, she continuously looks to spread the organization’s message across campus.
“Part of my role this year is running a faculty social impact task force,” said McWilliam-Lopez. “I am focusing on empowering the faculty at Lynn to infuse and innovate their curricula based on concepts of a new economy that relates to social justice, social impact and responsible business.”