We sat down with Unleashed founder, Tommy Flaim, ND ’16 to understand his take on how Unleashed impacted his college experience and beyond. As Tommy explains, he founded Unleashed with the idea that profit and purpose are not mutually exclusive. At Notre Dame with its strong Catholic tradition and prestigious business school that totes the mantra “ask more of business” this idea caught on quickly. Today, Unleashed has grown to over 60 active members and provides students exposure to how profits and purpose can go together with hands-on projects, guest speakers, and learning workshops. Tommy’s vision and leadership have allowed the club to build on its strong foundation, and we hope he is proud of where Unleashed is today. Now Tommy has taken the lessons he learned from Unleashed and started his own social impact apparel company, Fox & Robin. Please enjoy the following questionnaire with our club founder.
1) What was your biggest takeaway from Unleashed and does it apply to your current job/career?
Profit and purpose are not mutually exclusive. Prior to college, I thought of business as a way to make money and philanthropy as a way to create positive change. Unleashed changed how I thought about these seemingly disparate worlds and inspired me to "ask more of business".
2) Was there something about your Unleashed experience that set it apart from other involvement on campus?
A lot of clubs I was involved with prior to Unleashed were resume builders. Unleashed, and social entrepreneurship, was a true passion of mine. If someone told me I couldn't put Unleashed on my resume, I don't think anything would have changed. I can't say the same about other extracurricular involvements on campus.
3) Did Unleashed have an impact on your career path or future ambitions? If yes, how so?
Yes, very much so. Immediately after college, I spent a few years in finance building a skill set. Now, I am now returning to the world of social entrepreneurship and am working on an activewear brand focused on addressing the social and environmental issues that plague the fashion industry. I was actually inspired by the founders of Nisolo, an ethical clothing brand, who I met on an Unleashed-related trip to Unreasonable Institute (now called Unchartered) - a social enterprise incubator in Colorado. We'll see where it goes, but it's very fun to work on.