Being Kind Works.

When Entrepreneurship, Booth, and Kindness Meet

How the Chicago Booth ‘Pay-It-Forward’ mentality has shaped my career exploration and summer pursuits. By Alison Cenname.

Like many MBA candidates joining Chicago Booth in the fall, I hoped to offer an amazing story of what I accomplished this summer. Boothies arrive from all of the world, with successful prior careers, adventurous travel experiences, and personal stories to share.

Before the graduate program even begins, incoming students have the opportunity to connect with the University through the program Startup Summer, which connects them to startups founded by Booth alumni. I decided to take advantage of this unique career opportunity to develop my knowledge, skills, and network.

As someone who is passionate about health and wellness within the workplace, I was excited to interview and accept an internship at KindWorks.AI, co-founded by Booth alumni Daniel Lozano and Nicole Yelsey. The technology company leverages the skills of both behavioral science and technology to offer businesses a customizable platform that encourages and enables Kindness in the workplace to boost high-performance, talent-retention, and well-being at scale.

KindWorks.AI interested me for multiple reasons. First off, artificial intelligence is arguably the future of the workplace: it offers automation and efficiency, advanced analytics and decision making, skill augmentation and employee transformation — just to name a few of its benefits. I knew that working at a company within this space would hold value, regardless of what I later pursued during and after my MBA program.

In addition (and perhaps more importantly), company culture was critical in my internship selection process. Oftentimes you hear people say that ‘it matters just as much who you work with as it does what you’re working on’ — and I don’t think that statement should be ignored. Employee morale is critical to the success and longevity of any organization. Kindworks.AI seeks to foster the same Kind community which it embodies itself.

I quickly integrated into the team and was seen as a valuable member from the first day of my internship. In just a few weeks, I have engaged in investor pitch meetings, and I manage the investor pipeline. I work daily with our CEO and own my own marketing work stream, leading the launch of the KindWorks.AI podcast. I appreciate that my colleagues and managers support me as I identify and pursue new challenges for myself within the startup space.

I was pleasantly surprised to discover the interconnected relationship between KindWorks.AI and the Chicago Booth community. There are many ways that I’ve already seen the power of the Booth community displayed through my internship at KindWorks such as:

  • Co-Founder connections: Former Boothies Daniel Lozano and Nicole Yelsey met through the Chicago Booth alumni network and co-founded the mission-driven tech startup.
  • Professor support: The third public demo of their product offering, an AI agent who encourages and enables Kindness, took place during a Booth class in which current students could test the product and provide user feedback.
  • Investor Partners: Booth alumni put trust in one another, as many initial investors of KindWorks.AI came from the university network.
  • Customer Partners: The first institutional customers of KindWorks.AI were secured through Boothies who worked at top three consulting firms and placed their trust in KindWorks.
  • Student Opportunities: Booth provides students like me with opportunities to connect to promising startups to grow and learn from alumni who are also passionate about mentoring the next generation.

Throughout the admissions process, the ‘pay-it-forward’ outlook was highlighted as a key component of the Chicago Booth experience. As an incoming MBA student, I am already first-hand witnessing it in my summer internship. As an entrepreneur, this mentality is invaluable, providing an incredible advantage to be successful in the startup space. Chicago Booth is not just a network; it’s a community. A community of smart, innovative, successful and Kind people who want to help their peers. Even the KindWorks.AI mission encompasses the ideals of paying it forward towards our colleagues. As Boothies, we seek out to disrupt and revolutionize the world, and I look forward to paying it forward during my time on campus this fall.

About KindWorks.AI

KindWorks.AI’s mission is to encourage and enable Kindness habits for billions. The KindWorks enterprise platform delivers high-performing teams by increasing employee sense of purpose, connectivity, and morale. The platform’s AI agent (‘Beni’) connects through communication tools like Slack, WhatsApp, and Teams to enable and encourage the practice of intentional Kindness, grounded in its scientifically proven benefits. Employees have reported a boost of +177%, 255%, and 63% on how appreciated, connected, and impactful they feel at their workplaces.

Visit the KindWorks website and watch the introduction video to learn more.

alison-cenname

Author

Alison Cenname is a dual-degree MBA/Master’s of Social Work candidate at The University of Chicago, where she also received her BA. She previously worked at the NYC headquarters of JPMorgan Chase & Co.

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