The Intersection of Business Strategy and Social Impact

PROVO, Utah – Apr 02, 2021 – At home in Australia, Jaysen Valdes felt like he was “marinating in stagnation” and that his goals were out of reach. However, thanks to his own grit and the resources available at the BYU Marriott School of Business, the senior in the strategy program now uses his business skills to reach his own aspirations and to help early-stage organizations around the world reach theirs. 

“When I lived in Australia, attending BYU was a far-fetched dream that I didn't feel was completely attainable, but I always kept that goal in mind,” he says. “I used to watch the devotionals and think about how I'd feel watching them in person.” When Valdes studied at a university in his hometown of Melbourne, he put in eighty hours weeks of study and work to reach his goal of studying strategic management at BYU Marriott.

Valdes particularly wanted to attend BYU because he felt that the school's resources would help transform him and would open up additional career options. “I wanted an opportunity to transcend myself and to pursue a path that I didn't feel was viable in Australia,” he says. “I wanted to come to the United States so I could improve and become unrecognizable to my past self.” Among Valdes's many goals is also a desire to find ways to help others in need, an endeavor that has been important to him throughout his life. An experience years ago helped shape Valdes’s outlook on life and the impact that he could make with an education from BYU.

“When I was visiting my extended family in the Dominican Republic at ten years old, I was eating at a McDonald's restaurant and saw a young family with their faces plastered to the window staring at my family and me,” he recalls. “I asked my mom why they were starting at us. She told me that they were hungry, and in that moment, my mind was blown. I thought, ‘Whoa, this just can't be real.’” After that experience, Valdes decided that he wanted to focus his life and future career on social impact.

He learned about how to use his business skills to make a difference through his work with BYU Marriott's Ballard Center for Social Impact. “I joined the Social Venture Academy, an accelerator for social ventures, where I consulted a Ugandan maternal health care company on their business model, and I assisted a COVID-19 ventilator-focused startup with their global expansion strategy. During my past two years with the Social Venture Academy, I learned about the social venture impact cycle and how to use business for social good in the world.”

Building on his experience with the Ballard Center, Valdes has patterned his professional experience to be aligned with both business and social impact. He has been the Chief Strategy Officer of a non-governmental organization (NGO), worked in Impact Investing, consulted with a Native American telemedicine company, and connected refugees to skilled corporate employees. Valdes now supports startups, social ventures, and NGOs globally as the managing director of ViewShift International, a student-led consulting firm founded by a fellow BYU Marriott strategy student. Reflecting on his time in the strategy program, Valdes says that he utilizes everything that he learned from his classes and his own skills and experience to work with his clients. “I feel a lot of pressure, but I find the work exhilarating,” he says.

“I currently manage around forty student consultants from four different countries, and we’ve worked with clients across North America, the Asia-Pacific area, and Africa,” he says. “My team has our sights on Europe and the Middle East next. My role includes inspiring and managing teams, providing trainings, engaging with clients and helping teams be effective. Even though I haven't yet graduated from BYU Marriott, I know I don’t have to wait until I have my degree to make an impact in the world.” When Valdes does graduate in April 2022, he'd like to work for an established social impact consulting firm, but he'd also like to continue to scale his own consulting firm.

As Valdes works at the intersection of business strategy and social impact, he will continue to wholeheartedly pursue his goals. “I love a proverb that says, ‘Man who waits for roast duck to fly into his mouth, must wait a very, very long time,’” he says. “I've approached my life using a philosophy that I’m not waiting around hoping opportunities are going to fall into my lap. I plan to give my all, blood, sweat, and tears, to accomplish my goals.”

BYU Marriott strategy student Jaysen Valdes
BYU Marriott strategy student Jaysen Valdes. Photo courtesy of Jaysen Valdes.

Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Kenna Pierce