#EHSServes: Toni Karasanyi '00 on His Global Service

This month, we’re highlighting alumni pursuing lives of service — to country, their local community, and the global community. For today’s installment, we have Mutoni "Toni" Karasanyi '00, external affairs officer at World Bank Group. Read more about Karasanyi's global work empowering developing countries in his own words. #EHSServes

What does being of service mean to you?

In my mind, being of service means giving more than you receive. It means striving to enrich the lives of those around you. In development finance, we have a very ambitious mandate to channel billions of dollars to empower developing countries and provide them with the expertise needed to realize their goals. However, on a day-to-day basis, I think ‘being of service’ informs how I treat my colleagues, our partners around the world, and our clients. 

How has service changed your life?

I think I’ve always been motivated to help others more than focusing on myself and my own needs. Before working in this industry, I worked in the private sector in Rwanda and the US. By comparison, I find myself much more motivated chasing goals beyond my own sales numbers or other performance metrics. Whether I’m talking with entrepreneurs about how we can better support their start-ups off the ground or working with diplomats to better prepare for G20 meetings, I wake up every morning excited to support our clients. And no matter how talented, skilled, or experienced you might think you are, the energy, excitement, and commitment you put into your work is often the key to success. 

What prompted you to a life of service? Did Episcopal help lead you down that path?

That’s a good question. My grandfather was a reverend and I was involved in the church from an early age. However, it was at Episcopal where I became more actively involved in volunteering opportunities. In my senior year, I joined the Vestry team and helped organize efforts to contribute to local soup kitchens and host groups of under-privileged youth on campus. Looking back, whether I was already on the path or not, I think Episcopal certainly helped me realize how much I enjoyed helping others. 

What do you hope your legacy will be?

Define legacy. I think people focus too much on how they will be remembered in some distant future and far too little on how they’ll be remembered on a day-to-day basis. To put it another way, I’m much more concerned about my reputation today than I am about my legacy tomorrow. I think it’s important to treat everyone you meet with respect, and to try and help others however and whenever you can. One of my favorite quotes is “People might not remember what you said, but they’ll remember how you made them feel.” So, I hope that whomever I meet — at church, at work, or at the dentist’s office — walks away with some positive impression of how I made them feel, even if it’s only for a moment.