Andria Seneviratne: A Leap of Faith

By Christine Cox | Fall 2015

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Andria Seneviratne (ACCT ’10, MSA ’11) has received the Recent Alumni Service Award from the Office of Graduate Alumni Relations. The award recognizes a graduate business alumna/alumnus who graduated in the past seven years and who demonstrates commitment to the College or to the ideal of “Ask More of Business” through service.

Two years ago, in what she calls a leap of faith, Seneviratne left a job with Deloitte to work with City First Enterprises, a Washington, D.C., nonprofit bank holding company that seeks to increase economic access for low-wealth communities.

Her role is senior vice president of the Community Wealth Building Initiative, which focuses on creating jobs, increasing individual financial assets and promoting a healthier environment. Specifically, she leads efforts to incubate and support green wealth-building businesses that create local jobs. A complementary effort increases local procurement spending of place-based institutions such as universities, hospitals and local governments to support local businesses.

“This initiative allows me to think about and respond to social, economic, and environmental issues,” she says. “It’s an extension of what I learned at Mendoza, where I learned to look at business as a calling and a tool to make a difference in the world. And this was at a time when people were losing faith in business.

“Even today, I interact with communities that see corporations as the problem but, in true Mendoza fashion, I refuse to give up on business. I believe our new reality presents a new opportunity for business to increase market share and profitability. This requires businesses to go beyond philanthropy and corporate social responsibility to optimize long-term rather than short-term profitability by addressing societal needs and challenges. It’s not easy, but there are already corporations pushing this strategy forward. I’m excited to be part of it.”

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