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Social Innovation & Social Entrepreneurship
(504) 247-1963

Center for Engaged Learning & Teaching (CELT)
310 Richardson Building
6823 St Charles Ave
New Orleans, LA 70118
Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship at Tulane University

The NewDay Social Entrepreneurship Distinguished Speakers Series presents prominent leaders from across the field of social entrepreneurship to share their own experiences, challenges, insights, thoughts, and recommendations to students and the community.  The speaker series provides the Tulane community an opportunity to meet and engage with some of the most remarkable people working in the area of social entrepreneurship today.








Paul Polak

Paul Polak, Social Entrepreneur and Author, Out of Poverty

Public Lecture, Mon. June. 1, 2015

6 pm - 7 pm Propeller Incubator, 4035 Washington Avenue, New Orleans, LA

For the past 30 years, Paul has worked to help design and produce low–cost, income–generating products that have already moved more than 20 million people out of poverty. With the mission of inspiring and leading a revolution in how companies design, price, market and distribute products to benefit the 2.7 billion customers who live on less than $2 a day, he leads teams in combining radically affordable technology with radically decentralized supply chains.  Paul has been titled by some as the father of a new movement to end poverty and has founded eleven energy, health, and international development  companies. He was named one of the world’s “Brave Thinkers” by The Atlantic, along with Barack Obama and Steve Jobs, for being willing to “risk careers, reputations, and fortunes to advance ideas that upend an established order.” Paul is also one of Scientific American’s 50 leading contributors to science.


Brett Jenks

Brett Jenks, President and CEO, Rare

For more than twenty-five years, Rare has empowered local communities in over fifty countries to shift from being resource users to environmental stewards. Rare’s unique approach trains local leaders to lead change, leaving a legacy of increased capacity and a sense of ownership, responsibility and pride in conservation. Jenks leads Rare’s organizational development, from strategic planning to program development and fundraising. Under Brett’s leadership, Rare has expanded to five continents and reached six million people; formed worldwide partnerships with the leading environmental NGOs; and received four Fast Company Social Capitalist Awards. Prior to his work with Rare, Brett served as the Costa Rica Program Director for WorldTeach, and as both a journalist and filmmaker. He graduated magna cum laude from the University of Massachusetts and holds an MBA with honors from Georgetown University.



Jane Wei-Skillern, PhD, Berkeley Haas School of Business

Jane Wei-Skillern is an Adjunct Associate Professor at the Center for Nonprofit and Public Leadership at the University of California, Berkeley.  She holds a PhD from Stanford University and her research focuses on the leadership and management of social enterprises.  She has examined the topics of nonprofit growth and management of multi-site nonprofits, and for nearly a decade, has been focused on nonprofit networks. Her research on nonprofit networks examines how nonprofit leaders that focus less on building their own institutions and instead invest to build strategic networks beyond their organizational boundaries can achieve dramatic gains in mission impact with the same or fewer resources.

Some of her pioneering research on nonprofit networks, such as "The Networked Nonprofit," have been published in Stanford Social Innovation Review (Spring 2008). She has taught social entrepreneurship and nonprofit strategy to MBAs and executives for more than a decade and is one of the lead author of the Harvard Business School casebook, Entrepreneurship in the Social Sector (Sage Publications, 2007).


Matt Flannery, Co-Founder, and

Matt began developing Kiva in late 2004 as a side-project while working as a computer programmer at TiVo, Inc. In December 2005 Matt left his job to devote himself to Kiva full-time. As CEO for ten years, Matt led Kiva's growth from a pilot project to an established online service with partnerships across the globe and hundreds of millions in dollars loaned to low income entrepreneurs. Matt is a Skoll Awardee and Ashoka Fellow and was selected to Fortune Magazine's "Top 40 under 40" list in 2009.  In 2011, Matt was chosen for the The Economist “No Boundaries” Innovation Award.   More recently, Matt co-founded, which is a village banking service in the cloud for the USA.  Matt graduated with a BS in Symbolic Systems and a MA in Philosophy from Stanford University.


Scott Sherman

Scott Sherman, PhD, Founder, Transformative Action Institute

Scott Sherman is a writer and researcher on the most effective methods of social change. He has worked on nonviolence and social justice projects from the war-torn island of Sri Lanka to the inner cities of America. He is an expert on the most effective ways that citizens succeed in creating social progress and innovation. Sherman’s work on nonviolent social change projects has been praised by such Nobel Peace Prize Laureates as the Dalai Lama and the late Mother Teresa and eventually leading him to found the Transformative Action Institute. He is also a nationally recognized speaker on environmental regeneration. He has won the outstanding teaching award from the University of California at Berkeley. In 2004, he was nominated for the National Society of Collegiate Scholars’ Faculty of the Year award for the entire U.S. Sherman earned his undergraduate and law degrees from U.C. Berkeley, as well as his Ph.D. in environmental studies from the University of Michigan. Scott has also worked with the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Environmental Law Foundation. He is currently an adjunct faculty member in UCLA’s School of Public Affairs.


Phil Auerswald

Phil Auerswald, 2013 Presidential Fellow at George Mason University, & Co-Founder and Co-Editor of Innovations

Part of Discovering Social Innovation through Scholarship: A Graduate Student-Led Symposium at Tulane University

Philip Auerswald is the 2013-14 presidential fellow and an associate professor of public policy at George Mason University. His most recent book is "The Coming Prosperity: How Entrepreneurs Are Transforming the Global Economy". He is the founder of Innovations, a quarterly journal about entrepreneurial solutions to global challenges. In June 2013 he led the launch of the National Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, an organization dedicated to using the National Mall in Washington DC as a platform to celebrate and support entrepreneurship and innovation. In parallel he is involved in start-up initiatives related to mobile health service delivery and the integration of apprenticeships into collegiate education. From 2010 to 2013 he was an an advisor to the Clinton Global Initiative, focusing on job creation and market-based solutions.



Liz Ogbu

Liz Ogbu: Designer, Urbanist, Social Innovator

Liz is an expert on sustainable design and spatial innovation in challenged urban environments globally. From designing shelters for immigrant day laborers in the U.S. to a water and health social enterprise for low-income Kenyans, Liz has a long history of working with communities to tackle wicked social problems through design. Currently, she has her own multidisciplinary design and consulting practice and is on faculty at UC Berkeley and Stanford’s Previous roles include first-ever Scholar-in-Residence at the Center for Art & Public Life at California College of the Arts, Innovator-in-Residence through the inaugural Fellowship, and Design Director at the nonprofit Public Architecture. Her projects have been featured in museum exhibitions and received numerous design awards globally. She has also written for and been profiled in publications such as Metropolis, Core 77, and the Journal of Urban Design. Named as one of Public Interest Design’s Top 100, Liz is also a Senior Fellow of the Design Futures Council and one of the 2012 Next City Vanguard. She earned architecture degrees from Wellesley College and Harvard University.

David Bornstein

David Bornstein

Co-founder, Solutions Journalism Network

David Bornstein is a journalist and author who focuses on social innovation. He co-authors the Fixes column in The New York Times Opinionator section, which explores and analyzes potential solutions to major social problems. He is the co-founder of the Solutions Journalism Network, which supports journalists who report on constructive responses to social problems. His books include "How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas," "The Price of a Dream: The Story of the Grameen Bank," and "Social Entrepreneurship: What Everyone Needs to Know." He is currently completing a book on social innovation in the U.S. and Canada. He lives in New York.

Read the New Wave Article.


Sal Khan, founder of Khan Academy

Education Reimagined:

Sal Khan, Education innovator and founder of Khan Academy

Described as Bill Gates’ favorite teacher, Khan is on a mission to provide a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere. He started Khan Academy to offer open access to quality, self-guided learning tools online. The Academy, which grew out of a series of online YouTube videos Khan created to tutor nieces and nephews in New Orleans, now has more than 6 million users per month. It has delivered more than 250 million lessons in the last two years, covering subjects from basic math to college-level biology and art history. Khan has been profiled by Fast Company, Forbes, “60 Minutes” and named one of TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world. 

Read the and New Wave articles.


Kristin Richmond

Real Food for All:

Kristen Richmond, Co-founder of Revolution Foods

Kristin Goos Richmond founded Revolution Foods in 2005 with Kirsten Tobey to transform the way kids eat. Revolution Foods now serve 600+ lunchrooms and over 120,000 meals each day to students across 9 states and employs more than 750 community members. They are leading the conversation on childhood health and is improving the lives of  hundreds of thousands of students every single day. Kristin Richmond’s work focuses on creating sustainable solutions which allow current and  future generations of youth to obtain equal access to healthy food, education and career opportunities.


Martin Fisher

Martin Fisher,
Co-Founder and CEO of Kickstart
A poor person’s top need is a way to make money

With a desire to help people help themselves, Martin Fisher co-founded and is CEO of Kickstart, an organization whose mission is to get millions of people out of poverty quickly, cost-effectively and sustainably.

Martin Fisher, an engineer, inventor and social entrepreneur, went to Kenya on a Fulbright Scholarship in the late 1980’s, and stayed there for 17 years, working in various social work organizations. Realizing that just like anyone, the number one need of poor families in Africa is "a way to make more money," Fisher, and his co-founder Nick Moon, developed a new model for fighting global poverty - Kickstart.

By bringing together the entrepreneurial spirit of the poor, innovative tools and technologies, and the power of the marketplace, they developed a cost effective and sustainable way to help families lift themselves out of poverty. They started to design affordable moneymaking tools and mass-market them to the poor, who in turn bought the equipment and used it to establish highly profitable family businesses. As of February 2012, KickStart has helped create 128,400 enterprises in Africa, sold 198,292 irrigation pumps to farmers and moved 641,800 people out of poverty.

Fisher has won numerous awards and recognition for his inventions and work as a social entrepreneur, including the IDEA Design Gold Medal, TIME Magazine's 2003 European Hero award, 2005 Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship, and the Schwab Foundation's "2003 Social Entrepreneur of the Year" award.

In 2008 he was named Engineer of the Year by Design News magazine. Also in 2008, he received the prestigious $100,000 "Lemelson-MIT Award for Sustainability" for his achievements in transforming the lives of hundreds of thousands of poor Africans though invention and innovation.

Read the New Wave article from October 31 and November 5.

Sonal Shah

Sonal Shah
Breaking Down Barriers: Real Social Change Requires Revolutionary Innovation

2012 Alberto-Culver Women in Business Lecture

Economist Sonal Shah joined Tulane for a lecture about pushing the boundaries of traditional business and social models, and how new models of innovation are needed to solve our society’s pressing social challenges. Shah recently served as the Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of the first White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation. Before joining the White House, Ms. Shah led Google’s global development initiatives for its philanthropy,, focusing on leveraging technology and information to help the world’s poor. Prior to Google, Ms. Shah was a Vice President at Goldman Sachs, Inc., developing and managing the firm’s environmental strategy. She is also the co-founder of the international non-profit Indicorps, which offers fellowships for the Indian diaspora around the world to work on development projects in India.


Bill Strickland

Bill Strickland, President & CEO of Manchester Bidwell Corporation

Bill Strickland was born in 1947 and grew up in Manchester, an inner-city neighborhood of Pittsburgh. His life changed when he became inspired by high school art teacher Frank Ross, a skilled artisan on the potter's wheel.

Today, Manchester Bidwell Corporation has evolved into a national model for education, culture and hope.  Bidwell Training Center provides market-driven career education created through strong partnerships with leading local industries. The center offers accredited Associates Degree and diploma programs in fields as varied as culinary arts, chemical laboratory technologies, health careers, horticulture and office technology.

Manchester Bidwell Corporation is a business model that works. The model works so well that Bill Strickland is replicating the Manchester Bidwell enterprise throughout the country. He has said, “If this country has a future, it's because of the ability to form visions and partnerships. I believe that we can change the United States of America in my lifetime. We've got to change the way this country sees itself."


Kathryn Hall-Trujillo

Kathryn Hall-Trujillo, Founder of Birthing Project, USA


TEDxTU: Inspire Change

Kathryn Hall-Trujillo worked for the state of California from 1976 to 1991 as a public health administrator, and during that time, noticed that families often struggled to pay for the care of infants born with serious health problems. When she realized that pregnancy care for expectant mothers would cost less than 0.01 percent of the funds used to stabilize a sick infant, she created Birthing Project USA -- a nonprofit organization that pairs moms-to-be with volunteers who provide guidance and support throughout the pregnancy and first year of the baby's life.

Birthing Project USA works primarily with African-American women, whose babies are statistically more than twice as likely to die in their first year than Caucasian babies. The organization's volunteers are known as "sister friends," who make sure their "little sisters" attend their prenatal appointments and help them budget their personal finances.


Paul Rice

Paul Rice, President and CEO of FairTrade USA


Watch a recording of this event

After working for more than a decade in Central America and helping Nicaraguan coffee farmers improve their livelihoods through an organic coffee export cooperative, Paul Rice opened TransFair's first "national headquarters” in 1998 to bring the fair trade movement to the United States. FairTrade USA (previously named TransFair USA) promotes a market model that guarantees small-family agricultural producers a fair price for their products, direct trade and access to credit and support for sustainable agriculture.


Nishith Acharya

Nishith Acharya, Executive Director of the Deshpande Foundation

Nishith Acharya is Executive Director of the Deshpande Foundation, where he leads the Foundation's global activities, including strategic planning, grant making, evaluation and advocacy efforts for a wide array of causes, issues and partner organizations around the world. The foundation actively promotes social entrepreneurship by hosting, supporting and guiding dynamic individuals dedicated to generating innovative, scalable ideas, particularly in the Sandbox. Nishith is a US Board Member of the Akshaya Patra Foundation, the world’s largest school lunch program and also a Foundation partner.


Mike Feinberg

Dr. Mike Feinberg, co-founder of Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) Foundation


Dr. Mike Feinberg is co-founder of KIPP, a network of 57 public charter schools across the U.S. serving poor and minority students. Nearly 80% of students completing eighth grade at a KIPP school go on to attend college. KIPP, the Knowledge Is Power Program, is a national network of free, open-enrollment, college-preparatory public schools with a track record of preparing students in underserved communities for success in college and in life.  KIPP builds a partnership among parents, students, and teachers that puts learning first. By providing outstanding educators, more time in school learning, and a strong culture of achievement, KIPP is helping all students climb the mountain to and through college. See photos of the event.

Deborah Bial, Founder Posse Foundation

Deborah Bial, Founder of The Posse Foundation

Watch a Recording of this Event

Posse is a nonprofit foundation that has developed one of the most comprehensive and renowned college access and youth leadership development programs in the United States. Founded in 1989, Posse identifies inner-city high school students with extraordinary academic and leadership potential and provides the opportunity to pursue personal and academic excellence by placing them in supportive multicultural teams, or posses, at some of America's most selective colleges and universities. On March 11, President Barack Obama announced that The Posse Foundation is one of 10 nonprofit organizations that will receive a portion of the $1.4 million he received from the Nobel Peace Prize. Read the New Wave Article.


Bill Shore, Founder Share our Strength

Bill Shore, Founder of Share our Strength

Watch a Recording of this Event

Share Our Strength is the nation's leading organization to end childhood hunger.  Bill Shore is also the chairman of Community Wealth Ventures, Inc., a for-profit subsidiary that offers strategy and implementation services to foundations and nonprofit organizations interested in implementing innovative approaches to promote social change.  He has written several books on how acts of conscience can change the world and was named one of America's Best Leaders by "US News & World Report."


Earl Phalen Martin

Earl Martin Phalen, CEO of Reach Out and Read and Founder of Summer Advantage, USA

Watch a Recording of this Event

Phalen, who was born into the foster care system, works to do all that he can to ensure that all children have access to a high-quality education and are given a fair chance to fulfill their potential, just as he was.  Reach Out and Read, promotes early literacy skill development of children ages 0-5 and Summer Advantage USA ensures the academic and social development of school-aged children, ages 5-14.  President Obama modeled federal legislation after his summer learning program. Phalen is a Mind Trust Fellow and Ashoka Fellow, and holds a B.A. from Yale University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.


Len Riggio, Chairman of Barnes and Noble

Beginning with a single college bookstore in 1965, Mr. Riggio built one of the largest enterprises in the history of American retail.  He is widely known as a visionary in the bookselling industry, and as a brilliant marketer and entrepreneur.

Having realized his goal of making books and the world of ideas available to the general public, is now using his innovation and entrepreneurial mindset t restore community, hope and housing to hard-working families who had lost their homes as a result of Hurricane Katrina and the infamous levee failure through Project Home Again. This unique program allows families who are saddled with damaged homes that they are unable to repair to exchange their old house for a new Project Home Again home.  They have already completed more than 40 homes in Gentilly and is continuing to build additional homes in the St. Anthony neighborhood. Read the New Wave article.



Blake Mycoskie, Founder and CEO of TOMS Shoes

TOMS’ simple promise to give a pair of new shoes to children in need around the world with every pair sold is revolutionizing the way consumers shop.  The One for One business model has encouraged conscientious consumers to purchase and give more than 140,000 pairs of new shoes to children in need in just 3 years. By the end of 2009, TOMS will give an additional 300,000 pairs of new shoes to children in need all around the world, including at home in the US.  In February 2009 at the Clinton Global Initiative University plenary session, former President Clinton introduced Blake to the audience as “one of the most interesting entrepreneurs (I’ve) ever met.” Read the Hullabaloo Article.


Bill Drayton

Bill Drayton, Founder of Ashoka

Bill Drayton started the nonprofit organization, Ashoka: Innovators for the Public in 1981 to help support and celebrate social entrepreneurs -- individuals who create new and innovative ways to solve social problems. He is considered as the 'godfather of social entrepreneurship' -- a movement that has grown dramatically over the past 25 years. To date, Ashoka has supported more than 1800 social entrepreneurs in over 60 countries. Following Ashoka's trailblazing example, a growing number of foundations have been created by other philanthropists to support social entrepreneurs. Bill Drayton is also involved in many other organizations working for social change, including chairing Community Greens, Get America Working! and YouthVenture. He has received numerous awards in recognition of the important contribution he has made in helping to empower and inspire social change through social entrepreneurship around the world, including the American Society of Public Administration's National Public Service Award; Common Cause's Public Service Achievement Award, and in 2005, US News & World Report named him as one of America's 25 Best Leaders. Read the New Wave Article.


Darrell Hammond

Darell Hammond, Founder of KaBOOM! Playgrounds

Darell Hammond grew up with seven brothers and sisters at Mooseheart, a group home outside of Chicago. The Mooseheart community instilled in Darell the power of volunteerism and helping those less fortunate.  His journey would eventually lead him to co-found KaBOOM! in 1995 and begin his lifelong commitment to give all children the opportunity to play. Under Darell’s leadership as Chief Executive Officer, KaBOOM! has raised over 100 million dollars to build over 1,500 playgrounds, skate parks, sports fields and ice rinks and improved thousands of others across America in just 12 years.  Darell has won numerous national service and leadership awards and has been profiled in People, Washingtonian, Fortune, Fast Company and Worth magazines, the Non-Profit Times, the Chronicle on Philanthropy and Crain’s Chicago Business. He has also received the President’s Volunteer Service Award. Read the New Wave article.

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