Steven Atamian

Affiliate Instructor

B.S. Business Administration, Global Management, University of Southern California
B.A. International Relations, University of Southern California

Email: atamian@uw.edu


I am passionate about inspiring student leaders to develop innovative solutions for social challenges. To apply this, I teach the theory and practice of Social Enterprises, which can be defined as any organization (for-profit or non-profit) that utilizes business principles to solve social and environmental challenges without dependency on charitable grants or donations.

Since 2011, I have been teaching a variety of social enterprise leadership courses in an experience-based pedagogy while providing the tools for students to take ideas to market. My courses build students’ understanding of the convergence of the nonprofit and for-profit industries, leadership skills to create social impact, and acumen to create a business plan for their own initiative.

Ultimately, I believe that the very word ‘business’ needs to be demystified in our society. My courses help students from any discipline understand and apply business principals as a means to positive social ends, and more than just profit maximization.  Students begin to look at both for-profit and non-profit organizations with a more critical lens to seek the underlying intentions that may cause both positive and negative externalities.  Through this process, students not only become more conscious consumers and donors, but agents for social change.

Recent Courses Taught

BIS 494A: Social Enterprise Innovation and Leadership
BIS 494D: Social Enterprise Lab
BIS 393: Social Enterprise: New Models for Funding Mission-Based Work

Professional Experience

I am the Co-founder and Director of two organizations: Global Brigades, a leading global health and sustainable development organization powered by university students, and Empowered.org, an organizational management tool for charitable organizations to coordinate volunteers, fundraise and share impact.  I have been involved with setting the vision and administrative infrastructure for both entities, leaning on market-based income strategies to perpetuate their social missions.  From 2004-2008, I led Global Brigades as a volunteer while employed full time for Deloitte & Touche where I worked to help design and implement their corporate social responsibility strategy in the Pacific Southwest. Notably, I helped Deloitte develop a methodology around skill-based volunteerism, leveraging the professional knowledge of employees to maximize impact with beneficiaries.