News

Student Spotlight with Beau Lambert


Mandisa Thomas
August 2, 2023
Executive Programs

As a child in Maine, Beau Lambert had two goals: becoming a schoolteacher and racing bikes. The first never happened, but bikes took over his life after college. He took a chance on his first “real” job with minimal mainstream business experience and zero non-profit knowledge, but he felt he had felt at home at Rye Airfield, an indoor skatepark. Rye Airfield was a world-class skate park known for community outreach and robust programs.

Beau’s Social Impact Area

“I’ve never seen those kids hang out together.”, “Will you be here tomorrow!?!”These are a few of the most common phrases we hear in our programming, and they are validating in so many ways, but most importantly, they keep us charging forward to get into more schools, and it keep the requests for our presence rolling in.

Our tools are simple, skateboards and bicycles. The approach is simple as well, train teachers not only how to do the activities themselves, specifically skateboarding, but also how to incorporate a fully developed curriculum that covers all subject areas. Once they are comfortable facilitating the instruction portion on their own, we loan them all the necessary gear and move on to the next school. We should put nearly 20,000 different school-age kids around New England on skateboards during P.E. classes in 2023.

I really do love and live what I do. My current role is Executive Director of First Push Syndicate. Life has been a meandering path that can be traced back to a few key life experiences. First, as a 12-year-old when I was told to “Do BETTER” after yet another scuffle. It was then that becoming a teacher and coach became a mission, and the seeds of my future impact were sowed. Along the way, a teaching degree was earned while simultaneously chasing the dream of being a professional cyclist. Second, after college graduation and a hard-headed decision to stay based in Maine, equal parts of pride and a desire to give back to the kids that like me, only wanted to ride a bike. So, while the majority of my competitive peers were in the big mountains of Colorado or on the west coast, I stayed home in Maine, grinding out a cold winter and kicked off my first after school program. This crew became known as Team Grimace, we “practiced” weekly and, over time had more than 100 members winning local, state, regional and eventually national titles. Many of us are still in touch and I am equally as proud of Mike Dennett and Adam Craig. Mike D. went on to become an entrepreneurial farmer that leases his sheep to solar companies so they can mow the solar fields while also balancing family life as a middle school science teacher (we will be doing programming together this year). Adam is an 18x US National Champion and 2008 Olympian who has come home to Maine to give back as a mountain bike advocate around the state.

Can you share a favorite moment, lesson, or connection with a classmate that resonates with you?

I love the jam outs, for me, it’s more about the social part than the informational part regarding current coursework. Listening to what everyone else is working on is great for my own personal energy. There are so many good things happening but listening to Rosaline talk about launching her initiative and Gilberto touch upon his background, and current efforts really hit me emotionally. Both brought tears to my eyes while retelling their stories to my own family. One exercise I routinely visit to keep me on the course is the Gruber & Mohl classification grid. It has definitely helped me say no with a bit more ease.

What advice do you have for future applicants?

Don’t hesitate; the Convening alone is worth the investment you are making in your future. I truly feel that the coursework is relevant whether you are a seasoned changemaker or a dreamer just getting started. Be open, be honest, and most of all, be present. If you do those things, you will find yourself surrounded by countless incredibly bright and thoughtful people that will elevate you to the next level.

Thank you, Beau for sharing your experience in the Center for Social Impact Strategy! Follow our page to hear from more brilliant Changemakers, sign up for our upcoming information sessions to learn more about the Executive Programs, and read our 2023-2024 Program Outlook to start your journey towards making a social impact.

Did you know executive education graduates can apply to the Master of Science in Nonprofit Leadership (NPL) in an accelerated, on-campus, or online format? Learn more at the link provided above or reach out at infonpl@sp2.upenn.edu.

Applications are live for the Executive Program in Digital Media for Social Impact and the Executive Program in Social Impact Strategy. Apply by October 22, 2023, to receive a $500 discount!