Quitting the Corporate World

Social entrepreneur Drew Hackman ’11 tackles an array of pressing issues
by Stephanie Frank ’11

After graduation, Drew Hackman ’11 followed a likely career path for a chemical engineering major: managing projects at a Fortune 250 industrial gas company.

“I had a great job and loved my team,” he says. “But the company’s connections to the oil industry created too much cognitive dissonance.”

Drew Hackman
Photo: Drew Hackman
Drew Hackman has found a value-added way of life.

Hoping to align corporate values with his personal values, Hackman became a consultant for hospitals in his native Chicago. However, he soon discovered the role left him “too far removed from impactful patient care to be fulfilling.”

So Hackman left the corporate world and spent three months traveling alone across Europe and Asia. His goal wasn’t to find himself, but “to take a break from the day-to-day grind that promises a prescribed definition of freedom later on in life.”

After returning to the States, Hackman decided to wholly pursue his passion for social impact in Denver, Colo., where he could connect with the city’s growing social-entrepreneurial scene.

“Rather than simply championing causes through social media, I needed to be intentional about my path,” he recalls.

Hackman set out to pair his professional skills in consulting and project management with his passion for solving social problems and championing underrepresented groups.

In May 2017, he founded Startup Hacker Consulting, his business consulting firm that advises nonprofits and social entrepreneurs tackling diverse issues such as child-care access, environmental sustainability, homelessness, Latinx arts, women’s rights, food equity and mental health. Along with strategy consulting and business planning, Hackman offers nonprofit sustainability workshops and is a fractional COO for a civic-engagement educational platform, Citizen Discourse.

Now applying to top MBA programs, he continues down his very intentional path, but now with the professional and personal harmony he imagined.

“I feel an immense level of fulfillment, having aligned my career directly with my values,” Hackman says.