Liz Ward ‘14 MSRE is one of 25 business school graduates honored by AACSB International (AACSB)—the world’s largest business education alliance—as the 2023 Class of Influential Leaders. The annual initiative recognizes notable alumni from AACSB-accredited business schools whose inspiring work serves as a model for the next generation of business leaders, and this year’s class features individuals defining what it means to be a societal impact leader.
Ward was honored for her outstanding work in affordable housing and upward mobility. The Belk College of Business graduate combined her experience in real estate, banking and affordable housing development to found Give Impact LLC. Recognizing the City of Charlotte’s housing instability challenges, Give Impact provides clients with customized solutions that focus on maximizing their ability to affect positive change through affordable housing in their community.
“Liz Ward’s achievements demonstrate that success in business can also mean success for society. Her efforts to prioritize purpose, people, and planet should inspire all of us to reorient our ideas about impactful leadership,” said Caryn Beck-Dudley, AACSB president and CEO. “It is a privilege to amplify her efforts and the entire 2023 Class of Influential Leaders.”
Ward’s dedication to positive change in both industry and society have been present throughout her entire career. She was honored with the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce's Young Professional Nonprofit Leader of 2017 and the Distinguished Alumni Service Award by the Belk College in 2018.
“Liz exemplifies what it means to leverage one’s knowledge to serve our community,” said Jennifer Troyer, dean of the Belk College of Business. “From her time at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing Partnership to founding Give Impact, she has focused on ensuring her fellow Charlotteans have access to affordable housing, an increasingly pressing issue in our region. She is an outstanding representative of Niner Nation in our community.”
Now in its eighth year, AACSB’s Influential Leaders spotlight program recognizes more than 275 business school graduates who have created lasting impact in business and society. All honorees have earned an undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral degree from one of the more than 950 AACSB-accredited business schools worldwide.
The 2023 honorees include advocates across businesses, nonprofits, and governments who are committed to creating positive change in the world. These changemakers use their business education to create a more sustainable environment, elevate employment and education opportunities for underrepresented populations, and improve the livelihoods of society’s most underserved communities. They represent business education’s efforts to create and promote positive societal impact—a key feature of AACSB’s 2020 business accreditation standards and the focus of its recent accelerator work. Support for the 2022 Influential Leaders initiative is provided by Academic Partnerships.
The unique stories of each honoree, and how they are creating meaningful, lasting impact in the world, are available at aacsb.edu/influential-leaders.