The Berkeley Board Fellows provides a connection between students and boards that, in some cases, last longer than just the designated program year. Cal Blake, a past Fellow who continues to be involved in Planned Parenthood Northern California whose board he served through BBF, discusses his personal experience of being a Fellow.
Cal Blake, MBA/MPH ’15
Currently works with the Governance Committee of Planned Parenthood Northern California
1. What factored into your decision to stay involved with Planned Parenthood Northern California?
Planned Parenthood Northern California aligns with my interests in many ways, so it was an obvious choice to stay on. I’m learning how a clinical services organization works; I’m involved in strategic decision-making at the Board level during a major shift in American healthcare; and I’m giving back to my community through a venerable nonprofit.
2. How was BBF a part of your experience at Haas?
It was fantastic – looking back on it, I wish I’d allocated more time to this during my first year. Haas is good at giving us many compelling ways to spend our time, and my classmates and I feel like we’re always over-committed. Seeing things from the board level of a major nonprofit, this was one of the most constructive experiences for me, mostly because it concretely applied what I learned in the classroom – accounting, strategy, healthcare policy, operations, etc.
It also showed me how important Haas is to the Bay Area and Northern California. I got to see the alumni network in action, and not just in the context of looking for internships or jobs. Haas grads are everywhere!
3. What made BBF a success for you?
It was a true experiential learning experience for me – seeing the ACA implementation firsthand; working on a talent and supporter pipeline for a prestigious organization; thinking and acting holistically across finance, accounting, operations, and strategy issues. Such a broad scope of experience is rare, even for MBA students. I think it also helped me build long-term personal connections in healthcare, outside of Haas, in the Bay Area. And of course, it’s a pleasure to be working for a mission that I believe in!