Spotlight: Funda Sezgi

Funda longWhat drives you?

“Working with people and organizations that share my values around society, and the world. At the same time, I’m disciplining myself not to burn out; I feel I am making a difference and that is a strong driver.”

Biggest SocEnt trend you have seen in the last 5 years?

“It has certainly become more institutionalized. Take Stanford, for example: if you go to work for a nonprofit or social enterprise after you graduate, you are forgiven your student loans. The UK has proven that they are pioneers in changing the legal structure enabling social enterprises (which I wish we had in Sweden!). If you look at the EU, it seems that the message “We can’t solve it all through business and charities” has finally landed, they are pouring some good funding into social entrepreneurship and innovation. So yes, a lot is happening in the space!”


Funda grew up in Turkey and focused on business administration during her undergraduate studies, with a semester abroad in Melbourne, Australia. Her master’s in European Business and Law took her to Lund in Sweden before she decided to pursue her Ph.D. in Strategy and Management at IESE in Barcelona, Spain. “I was so sure that was my path” Funda says,, “but a year and a half into the program my dad passed and I took a break to re-think what I really wanted to do with my life.” It was around that time that she met Johanna Mair and they talked about Aravind, a social enterprise that fights cataract diseases which often lead to the loss of eyesight. “I ended up going to India and it all came together: studying social enterprise and recognizing its potential for social change”. She finished her Ph.D. and returned to Turkey just to find out that the shoe didn’t fit anymore. Instead, she applied for consulting jobs in Sweden, and within three weeks was hired as a strategy consultant at IMEP Group. “When I started doing my Ph.D., I collected my data and it was very hands-on which I enjoyed. But if you want to stay in academia, you have to be very conceptual and theoretical. Doing a Ph.D. helped me but at the same time, it disconnected me from the real world, I prefer working with real organizations. After all the studies I had done, I felt like I was missing corporate experience to meet my theoretical expertise.” she explains. “I was going to do it for a year and half or so, I knew I wasn’t going to do it forever.”

About finding the he job at Impact Hub she says today “This is where it all came together for me, my passion for social change and the skills I had gained over the past years.”