Northwest Indiana native Jordan Hestermann strives to find solutions to poverty as director and founder of nonprofit organization Becoming We the People.
Formed in 2008, the Chicago-based organization seeks the fundamental problems behind poverty and networks with groups initiating change.
After receiving her master's degree in business administration at California State University, Hestermann, 32, was expected to become a CEO or own her own business.
“For some reason, my brain asked, ‘Then what?’ So I started to think about how I could best utilize my skills and not have to keep looking for the next best thing,” she said.
“I think I always knew I would work on something that involved social change.”
Becoming We the People expanded in 2011 to include a low-cost tutoring program in Highland, housed inside Kempo Jujutsu Martial Arts Academy.
“Lack of education and/or unequal access to education is a huge factor in why we have poverty. We decided to start this program to offer people skills they may not be able to get elsewhere,” Hestermann explained.
“We are offering tutoring on a donation basis of $5 per hour, and have high quality tutors volunteering their time.”
Hestermann is currently working toward her doctiorate in management at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York.
“I am researching the connection between business practices and poverty. The work I am doing as a PhD student, looking at the relationship between business and poverty, is very much a part of what we are doing at Becoming We the People,” she said.
“We are currently researching methods and ideas for updating the poverty measurements in the U.S. because the means of measuring poverty has not been updated since the 1960s,” she added.