Kevin Shane ’03 always has had a talent for using entrepreneurship to bring people together. It started with baseball cards. The business-minded 12-year-old from suburban New Jersey became the center of his card-trading circle of friends when he created his own business to buy new cards in bulk, at lower cost, direct from card companies. Soon, he and his friends had more cards than they could count. “It was so much fun,” he remembers.
A few years later, a high school guidance counselor suggested the budding entrepreneur apply to Babson. Today the vice president for capital markets at Sharestates, a Great Neck, New York-based real estate lending platform, credits Babson for a critical part of his professional development. “One of my biggest assets has always been my ability to work with other people—how to speak with them, how to engage with them—and Babson helped me refine it,” he says.
As an undergraduate, Kevin met ambitious and like-minded classmates, and he and some friends started BlabberForce, a firm that used word-of-mouth to promote events and products to college students. “It was a cool experience for a college student to have a business on campus back then,” Kevin says, “because it wasn’t a thing everyone did.” But the lasting lesson he took from the experience was about the critical importance of relationships in life and in business.
In his current role at Share-states, Kevin raises capital and works to streamline operations, the two tasks he likes to do best. “I get to work with people,” he says, “and I get to help make things work better.” Kevin soon learned that his skills also are well-suited to fundraising. When he was 5, his mother was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. As Kevin got older, he wanted to help, so in 2004 he raised money for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Walk MS and has supported the event each year since then. He’s not shy about asking people for money. “I do it for a living. Some people are uncomfortable doing it,” he says, “but I’ve never had a problem asking for causes that I believe in.”
In 2013, Kevin brought his fundraising talents to Babson. Having worked in web development, he used his knowledge of the technology to create software for a 24-hour fundraising challenge. Kevin tested the model at his former New Jersey high school, and giving participation rose from 28 to 60 percent among his former classmates. So when his Babson Class of 2003 was nearing its 10-year reunion, Kevin led an online virtual reunion and day of giving. In one day, 83 classmates made gifts to Babson, and 70 people posted related updates and comments to Facebook. “It was like everyone was back together again,” he says.
Since then, more than 20 classes have held days of giving using Kevin’s model. Last year, Babson launched Make Your Mark, an annual day of giving for the Babson community that helped raise the overall alumni giving participation rate. “Communities can be extremely powerful,” Kevin says. “Maybe it’s for a cause, maybe it’s for a party, but when people come together, things can get done.”—Jeff Stupakevich, manager, advancement communications