2018 Best & Brightest: Haley Harada, Santa Clara University

Haley Harada

Santa Clara University, Leavey School of Business

“Honored because I’ve never really considered myself the best or brightest at anything.”

Fun fact about yourself: I buy most of my clothes (and a lot of other things) at thrift stores – (Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc.) – there is really stylish and cool stuff there if you’re willing to find it! The most novel thing I’ve ever thrifted is probably a Paul Frank bench, which originally retailed for $130. Avoiding fast fashion is also a great way to save money and reduce your environmental footprint.

Hometown: Honolulu, Hawaii

High School: Iolani School

Major: Finance

Minor: International Business

Favorite Business Course: Business Writing

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

Honors & Awards: SCU Presidential Scholar, SCU Dean’s Scholar, SCU Honors Program, Leavey Scholars Program, Dean’s List (2014-2017), Genesis Film Festival Short Documentary Award

Involvement: Beta Gamma Sigma, Santa Clara University Neighborhood Prosperity Initiative, Bronco Urban Gardens, Santa Clara University Multicultural Center, Ka Mana’o O Hawai’I Community Outreach Chair, Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship

Where have you interned during your college career?

Global Social Benefit Fellow                                                                                    April 2017-Present

All Across Africa in association with Santa Clara University Miller Center

  • Perform eight weeks of field research in rural Rwanda to advance the mission of KAZI Goods
  • Generate consultancy reports about ongoing social impact assessment and regional economic analysis

Research Assistant

Santa Clara University Miller Center                                                                            September 2017-Present

  • Assist Professor Al Bruno with his research on social enterprises in various sectors.
  • Organize and facilitate interviews with entrepreneurs
  • Write case studies for comparative analysis

Business Development & Marketing Intern

Love My Dog, London, UK                                                                                            October 2016-December 2016

  • Prepared web content for new product launch on LoveMyDog.co.uk
  • Created and scheduled online social media and blog posts
  • Assist CEO with various projects including fashion photo shoot
  • Engaged with customers and potential buyers

Human Resource Intern

Oahu Transit Services, Inc. Honolulu Hawaii                                                                 June 2016-Aug 2016

  • Updated and managed employee files and filing system
  • Assisted with employee attendance and disciplinary attendance procedure
  • Estimated lost wages for injured employees

Human Resources and Customer Service Intern

Oahu Transit Services, Inc. Honolulu Hawaii                                                                  July 2015-September 2015

  • Managed company database through data input, client profile updates
  • Assisted with bus pass administration
  • Purged and filed documents in over 4,000 human resource files in compliance with federal regulation
  • Communicated with customers and employees to answer questions and explain information

Where will you be working after graduation? I have no idea.

Who is your favorite professor? My favorite professor is Keith Warner. It’s actually pretty funny because he isn’t a business school professor and we don’t have much in common, but has changed the trajectory of my academic path and future career in a lot of ways. He’s taught me what it means to apply business thinking to social issues and is currently overseeing my thesis about multi-sided platforms. Since meeting him over a year ago, I think I’ve been in his office at least once a week to get guidance on various reports, projects, and life questions. He’s always pointing me to articles and ideas that I haven’t previously considered, which pushes me to grow. Throughout everything, he’s encouraged me to find and maintain my own voice.

What did you enjoy most about your business school? Santa Clara University’s Leavey School of Business teachers have exponentially expanded my worldview by facilitating invaluable business experiences in the real world. Whether its creating a marketing proposal for our school’s community garden outreach program, providing operations recommendations for a local bakery, assisting an entrepreneur create a business plan for her Mexican food truck venture, or interning abroad at a luxury pet fashion company in London, SCU professors have facilitated these experiences and provided me with the opportunity to genuinely connect, cross-culturally communicate, deeply understand, and grow. I am so grateful for that.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? Business is about the beneficiaries. People think business is all about the bottom line sometimes — and while profit is important and necessary in every business, businesses are really just a way to serve others. No beneficiaries, no business. So, if you think about things this way, applying ethical and socially conscious practices to businesses can be extremely transformative, especially for marginalized populations that are disproportionally affected by unjust economic and environmental activities.

“If I didn’t major in business, I would be majoring in or studying…If I didn’t major in business, I would be majoring in film. I am drawn to visual storytelling, interesting or often overlooked narratives, and the use of film to promote social justice.”

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? I’ve met some of my best friends through the business school and connected with so many interesting and inspirational people from all around the world.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My dad taught me that business is a way to use creative thinking, connect with others, and make a positive impact on the world. As a businessman, entrepreneurial thinker, and innovator, he has influenced me to become the businesswoman I am today. He has instilled ethics and compassionate values into my daily practices and personhood.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? I am most proud of my work this past summer with Santa Clara University’s Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship as a Global Social Benefit Fellow. I decided to take a risk and forego a traditional internship experience. Instead, travelled over 10,000 miles away from my hometown to work for an artisanal social enterprise in Rwanda called All Across Africa. I am proud of myself for taking that risk, but I am even more proud of the high-level marketing and consultancy reports I generated, which helped the company achieve a $300,000 grant from the Greater Impact Foundation by the end of summer.

If you were a dean for a day, what one thing would you change about the business school? I honestly look up to our dean, Caryn Beck-Dudley, and don’t think I would ever be able to do the job better than her. She’s extremely down-to-earth, honest, approachable, and engaged with students. I met her last year and was inspired by her personality and magnetism.

Which classmate do you most admire? I especially admire my classmates in the Leavey Scholars Program. Each is driven, talented, and involved in their own way. I really look up to each and every one of them.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? My parents have pushed me to strive for more at my highest points and supported my decisions. They have been there for me when I needed them and, perhaps more impressively, let go of control when I needed to grow and do things on my own. They taught me what it means to work hard, navigate difficult situations, persevere, and create. Even more importantly, they’ve shown me what it means to be a good person.

What would your theme song be? Something by Two Door Cinema Club because it instantly lifts my mood and makes me want to dance!

What are the top two items on your bucket list?

Swim with sharks (and no cage) – They offer this in Hawaii, and the thought of it really scares me, but I think I might love it when it’s all said and done.

Eat fugu in Japan – (fugu=pufferfish in Japanese)

Favorite book: To be honest, I am not much of a book person, though if I had to pick, it would probably be The Little Prince.

Favorite movie: Slumdog Millionaire! Love the cinematography, inclusive casting, and (of course) the happy fairy tale ending.

Favorite vacation spot: Croatia

What are your hobbies? Travelling is probably my favorite thing to do. There’s just something about seeing a new place for the first time with fresh eyes and an open heart. It can change your perspective in an instant. There is so much learning to be done from unfamiliar people, places, and cultures. Since coming to Santa Clara, I’ve been able to travel to 17 countries on 4 continents, and I’ve taken my film camera with me to almost all of them. I love film photography for practical reasons (no constant battery charges, memory card uploads, mass photo sorting) and for process reasons as well. Shooting film can be frustrating, yet extremely rewarding. Seeing a process through from start to finish, without the immediate gratification of seeing a shot, takes dedication, skill, and good luck! I also like going to museums (any type), practicing yoga, trying out new recipes, and watching New York Times Op-Docs.

What made Haley such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2018?

“Haley has a vision for business in society, and addressing the needs of society. She brings keen insight and terrific analytical skills to bear on business problems, but she also asks the bigger questions about how businesses can help people. She has seemingly natural skills at business model analysis, financial model planning, and listening to what the customer needs. She used these skills and more in her Global Social Benefit Fellowship serving as a consultant for All Across Africa, a women-serving social enterprise in Rwanda.”

Keith Douglass Warner OFM
Senior Director of Education and Action Research
Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship
Santa Clara University

Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.