DC Central Kitchen partnered with Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business as the featured non-profit for their First-Year Seminar Social Impact Consulting Project, a course which requires all first-year McDonough students to work in teams and present strategic solutions to a nonprofit’s business challenges over several competitive rounds.
The project started with 260 students divided across 13 sections, leading to a final challenge on the evening of Thursday, November 10th where DCCK staff, including Chief Human Capital Officer and McDonough School of Business alumna Dr. Tee Okasi-Nwozo, MBA, Workforce Development Director Mikeya Kirksey, Chief Impact Officer Ja’Sent Brown, Workforce Development Specialist Gregory Lily, and Director of Guest Experience Joy McIntyre judged the four remaining contenders.
To tackle this year’s project, the students had to propose solutions to two DC Central Kitchen business challenges: developing strategies to expand our Culinary Job Training program from 100 students per year to 250 by 2025 and increasing DCCK volunteer recruitment numbers to 20,000 annually.
Professor Robert Bies, the leader of Georgetown’s Social Impact Consulting Project, noted the significance of this presentation for the students, “These are primarily 18- and 19-year-olds. They have only been here for 10 weeks. So, this is the first college-level presentation for many of these students.”
With only ten minutes to present their ideas and five minutes for a quickfire Q&A with our judges, the students had to deliver concise, thoughtful presentations with little room for error.
They were more than up to the challenge. All four teams presented creative and resourceful solutions to our proposed problems, with ideas ranging from utilizing Google Ad grants to implementing part-time culinary programs. But the winner of the night, Team Five Forces, brought true ingenuity, rigor, and strategy to their presentation.
When delivering the winning award, DCCK Director of Guest Experience Joy McIntyre noted, “I was impressed by all these ideas. I hope we can use some of them.”
Made up of first-year students Marica Salas, Karl Arora, Mateo De Ferrari, Saanya Shah, and Joshua Chilmaid, Team Five Forces recommended creating a mentor/mentee “buddy system” with our Culinary Job Training graduates and developing official DCCK cooking classes taught by our students to increase both our Culinary Job Training enrollment and our volunteer base.
After receiving the first-place prize, Team Five Forces member Saanya Shah remarked, “This has been a wonderful experience for me. We went into this thinking we would not make it past the first round. But the more we worked on this project, the more we realized how viable our ideas are and how essential these solutions are for the community.”
These solutions are indeed essential for the community. As we move into our new 36,000 square foot headquarters, where we will begin recruiting record numbers of students for our Culinary Job Training program and engaging more volunteers with new opportunities, the enterprising ideas of the first-year students of Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business will help guide our choices in the process.
Thanks to all the participating students for their original ideas and hard work, and to Georgetown University faculty and staff for their guidance and hospitality!