A Rally With Impact
By Justin Walker
Vida Mulec Brett has seen quite a lot of the world, so it is no wonder she wants to make a positive impact on it.
Born in Maribor, Slovenia, Brett grew up in a loving family and community. Living just 20 minutes from the Austrian border, Brett was no stranger to different cultures and nations. But God was serving up a taste of that to come.
Brett was active in many different sports growing up, but she fell in love with tennis at 7 years old.
“Shortly after I started training, coaches recommended to my parents that I should pursue the sport a little more seriously,” she said. “I did and my parents were very supportive of that path.”
Even from a very young age, Brett showed great potential. By 12 years old she was competing all over Europe, and that same year she came to the U.S. for the first time to attend a tennis academy in Florida.
By 14, Brett was now a formidable international player. She went on to win numerous Slovenian national championships in the sport and qualified for the professional tour—all while gaining her education.
“I never let go of my school,” Brett said. “I was a full-time student, getting more and more challenging school work and still competing on the professional circuit.”
Brett’s success on the court was reflected in the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) rankings, where she was ranked as high as 796 in singles and 371 in doubles.
Her love for tennis and her education guided her to look for ways to continue both. That is when Katja Kovac, a fellow Slovenian tennis player and then-freshman on Baylor’s tennis team, recommended she look into opportunities at Baylor.
“I got a very warm welcome to the University,” she said. “I had a really positive experience overall—not only in school, but with the broader Baylor community. I am still close to some of the people I met there.”
Brett enrolled at Baylor in 1999 and was an integral part of several firsts for the Bears tennis team. In 2001, the women’s team made their first trip to the Round of 16 in the NCAA Tournament. Two years later she helped the women’s tennis team to their first-ever Big 12 tennis championship.
Vida Mulec Brett, BBA ’03
Co-Founder, V&H Social Impact
New York City, New York
While Brett enjoyed many successes on the court, she also had a calling in the classroom and beyond. After graduating with a BBA Finance and International Business degree in 2003, she moved to New York to attend the New School, earning an MA in International Affairs and Development. This led to an internship with the Mission of Slovenia to the United Nations, where Brett worked with the Slovenian ambassador.
In 2006, Brett entered a phase of life full of success and setbacks. She started a career with Deutsche Bank, where she led projects in the Global Markets sector. However, the 2009 recession caused cutbacks within the company and Brett’s team was let go.
“Once this happened, I started thinking about my real passions in life and how to integrate those into my work,” Brett said.
Brett had lunch with a friend who recommended she meet with Robin Quivers, the co-host of The Howard Stern Show. Quivers wanted to start a foundation that supported education, nutrition and art organizations nationwide. Brett loved the idea and soon became executive director of Quivers’ private foundation, a post she held for five years.
Despite the success of the foundation’s work, Quivers had health challenges preventing her from carrying on with the foundation, closing it in February 2014. Brett had enjoyed the experience but wanted to see if there was a way to achieve that kind of social impact within the context of a profitable business.
“That is when I met my business partner, Heather Lord,” Brett said. “Neither of us were exactly sure what we would do next, but we both knew we wanted to make an impact.”
Brett and Lord formed V&H Social Impact, a company focused on innovation and social impact strategies for businesses and organizations. Their clients range from consumer product companies, to start-ups, to educational institutions, to artists and philanthropists. As one example of their work, V&H designed and delivered a first-of- its-kind, fast-track immersion program with Jefferson University to turn doctors into inventors.
“I am most proud of that project,” she said. “It was some of our most impactful work.”
With a growing family, Brett has seen a shift in priorities. Brett and her husband, Patrick, now have two children: Ana Theresa, 3, and Peter Joseph, 1. Peter Joseph was born just before the pandemic and the family relocated to Slovenia for most of his life. They have since returned to New York, where Brett is ready to jump back into projects and continue to spark change.
“I love working with a great team and making a difference,” she said. “I was blessed to have that opportunity at Baylor and I am fortunate to have it again with my work today, seeing some of these projects come to life—transforming a vision into a successful project that makes a real impact in the world—that is the most rewarding feeling.”