Elizabeth John: PowerMyLearning Executive Director


My Native Admission Statement: At PowerMyLearning, we believe that the most important adults in shaping a student’s education are their teachers and family members. Through our work, we hope to empower these adults to meet the individual needs of each child. We can do this in a number of ways, including coaching teachers and parent coordinators, facilitating bilingual family workshops at schools, and leveraging our online platform, PowerMyLearning Connect.

How did you get into the industry?:

I started teaching math after I graduated college through the New York City Teaching Fellows program. I knew I wanted to be in education since high school, but I didn’t realize that there were so many ways to get involved outside of teaching. I started at my first nonprofit in 2007 managing educational programs, and have been in the industry ever since. What brought me to PowerMyLearning was their holistic approach to improving education by strengthening the relationships between students, teachers and families.

Click to Read More:

Roger Royse: Royse Law Firm Founder


My Native Admission Statement: The life of the law has not been logic, it been experience, as famously said by Justice Wendall Holmes. I have been practicing business and tax law for more than 30 years, representing startups to multi nationals in markets throughout the world, including Silicon Valley, Hollywood, New York City and the midwest. For the past 25 years I have focused on startups, especially international startups entering the US market from China, India, Europe and other areas. We are at the forefront of the legal issues around emerging and important technologies such as agri-tech, blockchain, AR/VR, artificial intelligence and deep learning.

How do you motivate others?:

We have the opportunity in Silicon Valley to help build the next bog thing in many different sectors and technologies. We also are in a unique position to re-create the way law is practiced and legal services are delivered. Many of our lawyers are attracted to our model because of the freedom that it offers them to define the careers and do the kind of law that they want to do.

Click to Read More:

David Shove-Brown: //3877 Partner


My Native Admission Statement: I am a firm believer in positive reinforcement; I have worked for yellers and screamers and watched firm’s culture get destroyed by an “adult” throwing a temper tantrum. We help people learn from mistakes and apply that knowledge in the future, not berate them into submission so that they develop a fear of decision making and a loathing of coming to work. We want our teams to rise to the occasion and continue to elevate throughout their careers. I have a gift of gab; I enjoy speaking to clients, potential clients, our team and getting everyone excited for the task at hand. I enjoy rallying the troops and getting the best out of those around me. Simultaneously, I thoroughly enjoy one on one interaction with people learning about their experiences and expertise as we strive to make great designs.

Favorite People/Role Models?:

My wife, Maureen, my business partner, David Tracz, my parents Larry and Alice, my mentors Stanley Hallet, George Dove, Ann Cederna, Vyt Gureckas and Stephen Perkins and most importantly, my daughter Brighid Teagan.

Click to Read More:

Adam Ferrier: THINKERBELL Founder & Consumer Psychologist


My Native Admission Statement: I was once described by myself as an ‘enigmatic irritation’. I wear black a lot, I’m disheveled and I cant quite shake a slight slur. I always wanted to be a consumer psychologist, and after getting side tracked into forensic and clinical psychology, that’s what I am. In my marketing life I’ve worked for a brand consultancy, then Saatchi & Saatchi, then co-founded Naked Communications in Australia before co-founding Thinkerbell with some friends.. Here’s five things I’d love you to know Apply to go to space at www.spaceseries.com. I like talking about Batman. I used to like talking about what makes people cool, I did my thesis on ‘the underlying constructs of cool people’. But the older and fatter I get the less credible I become on the subject. Thinkerbell is our newish agency and we practice ‘measured magic’, it’s going well. Develop your own catch phrase. Everyone should have a catch phrase (and a sound track).

Biggest Success?:

Being happily married with two kids. Without fail. A close second would be being gainfully employed. I’m forever grateful that my wife loves me, and that I can earn a buck.

Click to Read More:

Maria Miller: SPOT Co-Founder & President

Screenshot 2019-04-10 at 10.37.50 AM.png

My Native Admission Statement: I would love for our customers to feel like we encourage and support them to live BIG, that they have taken an adventure or a risk they would have not done had we not been there. Spot is an ambitious startup penetrating the $558 Billion dollar life insurance industry by opening an entirely new channel of distribution and targeting a demographic, which to date, has been untouchable by traditional behemoths. On average, Americans under the age of 45 account for less than 5% of the total population with life insurance. That’s because life insurance wasn’t created for the actual wants and fears of the people Spot aims to serve and wasn’t designed for an adventurous lifestyle. Be good. Be kind. Know that you have an impact.

How did you get into the industry?:

I received a call from a Head Hunter and took an interview, even though I was not actively searching for a job. I never thought I would end up in insurance but loved the company culture and had immense respect for my leadership. The more I learned about the industry, the more passionate I became with helping others understand the importance of planning for the ones we love most. I simply took a chance. As for the entrepreneurship, a mentor of mine recommended the book, How Will You Measure Your Life?; after reading said book, I knew I wanted to do something that could impact many, not just a company’s bottom line.

Click to Read More:

David Chitayat: Genimex CEO

Screenshot 2019-04-10 at 10.24.28 AM.png

My Native Admission Statement: I am the CEO of Genimex, a product design, engineering and manufacturing company with offices in Shanghai, Taipei, and New York. After living in China for 15 years, I now reside in Brooklyn NY. I have experience leading companies in product concept design, engineering, manufacturing and supply chain management. I have a proven track record in developing and producing new products, holding more than 20 personal patents. Working with a varied company culture from China to NYC, as a leader, it is important to guide, critique and praise based off performance and internal strategic initiatives.

Any emerging industry trends?

China’s new untapped market is in the domestic Chinese market. China’s largest cities and Shanghai being one of them contribute to $7 trillion global consumer spending. Shanghai, for example, is booming with wealthier, younger, better-educated consumers that are more aware of foreign brands and ideas and open to what is newer and novel. The only challenge I see is how China will continue to handle the new age of consumption. China might face challenges as digitalization continues and new spending power is emerging. To thrive in the coming years, companies must understand the economic drivers, generational differences and trends shaping China’s complex and fast changing consumer market.

Click to Read More:

Tanya Harris: Harman Cyber CEO


My Native Admission Statement: I am a female entrepreneur within the field of Artificial Intelligence and Insider Threat. She is on the Board of Harrman Cyber, Universal Data Protection and ICOM4, and was previous Chair of American Chamber of Commerce, Women in Leadership. My personal mission is to help companies solve the problem of data protection and insider threat from a human motive/behavior standpoint, so that companies can start to protect their critical data from being exposed due to employee error and malicious attacks. People live with their own frame of reference, therefore when they have rejected the product, it is that person who has rejected it, not the organization that they work for. I do not let peoples’ opinions impact my motivation, I always maintain a positive can-do attitude and bounce back quickly from setbacks.

Any industry opportunities or challenges?

We can do more AI as it can help identify the growing threat of a malicious insider threat by raising the satisfaction levels of employees. The challenge is data privacy laws under GDPR. Let me explain, the data that a company holds about their employees and clients, can be used to predict dissatisfaction that goes unnoticed to the human eye, in order intervene before it gets out of control. However, due to fear of employee backlash when using their data to predict happiness or dissatisfaction levels and bad press, many companies are not prepared to use this data which places their business at risk. And with research figures citing between 60% and 90% of cyberattacks and data breaches caused from insider threat, this is an issue that needs to be faced.

Click to Read More:

Joan Hornig: Designer, Philanthropy is Beautiful®

My Native Admission Statement: In my 20’s, I worked in alumni and corporate fundraising at Harvard College and Columbia Business School. Through these positions I gained invaluable experience in counseling, advising and an introduction to business leaders and corporate structure. My 30’s and 40’s brought my first exposure to the boy’s club of Wall Street. I learned to hold my own in a room full of men and honed my skills with a wide range of responsibilities from management of cost centers to management of assets. By my 50’s and early 60’s I started flexing my entrepreneurial muscles by founding Philanthropy is Beautiful® Jewelry which has a social impact model of connecting consumerism with activism and tying it to philanthropy. I created an innovative business model where 100% of my profit on each purchase is donated to the charitable organization of the purchaser’s choice. I have since used my platform to increase equal opportunities for all. I currently focus on leveling the playing field for women and marginalized populations through an affiliation with The Female Quotient working on retail, impact, opportunity and messaging through my jewelry designs.

My Motto?

We are more similar than different – We all want to be safe, happy, loved and loving.

Click to Read to More

MALLORY NEUBERGER: Author of "Sober.House" & The Frog Pad Executive Director

Screenshot 2019-04-10 at 8.37.12 AM.png

My Native Admission Statement: My name is Mallory Neuberger. I’m a cocaine addict and an alcoholic in recovery, and becoming an addict is the best thing that ever happened to me–once I got sober. Since that day, my life has become all about staying sober, living my best self, and helping other addicts and alcoholics to find lasting sobriety and happiness, free from the substances that want us all miserable and dead. We are only as sick as our secrets. Today I wear the things that were killing me on my sleeve. I have a disease called addiction. It is not my fault so please don’t judge me for it.

Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?

My houses are a legacy to my mother, who died from alcoholism. She collected frogs, and my first house sits on a canal covered with lily pads. There was a shortage of women’s sober houses in South Florida (there were nine men’s houses for every women’s), so I set out to create beautiful, safe, serene houses for women, where they could find recovery, friendship, accountability, and fun, ultimately living the lives that they want and deserve. I have two houses in Delray Beach, Florida and I am open to creating more nearby and in other areas that I love.

Click to Read More:

Megan Griffiths: Writer & Director

Screenshot 2019-04-10 at 8.09.51 AM.png

My Native Admission Statement: I am a writer/director working in film and television. I have premiered films at top-tier film festivals such as Sundance, Toronto, Tribeca and South by Southwest, and I have directed episodes of television for HBO, EPIX, TNT and Netflix. My focus is on empathy-centered storytelling, and I work hard to understand the motivations of the characters in every narrative, as I think that helps me and the audience to better understand the people in our own lives.

My Most Challenging Moment?

Every moment when I’m not actively on set directing, because those are the moments when I’m trying to build something new—and that always feels next to impossible.

Click to Read More:

Anil Pereira: Felix & Paul Studios Chairman & Serial Entrepreneur


My Native Admission Statement: I am a 25 year marketing veteran with deep experience across both startups and large companies with a focus on launching new products, developing highly trusted global brands and building scalable revenue machines. I previously served as a Vice President at American Express (DRTV, New Products); EVP & GM at VeriSign (Corporate Marketing, Enterprise Services, IPO Lead); SVP at Classmates.com (New Products, International, IPO Lead); and also founded two companies of my own—SecondSpace (Acquired by NASDAQ:CSGP) and Verious (TechCrunch Disrupt Startup Battlefield Finalist). I currently serve as Chairman of the Board of Felix & Paul Studios (Immersive Entertainment = VR/AR/MR) and “Virtual CMO” to a number of B2C, B2B, and B2B2C startups from seed to late stage across a range of industries. I look for founders, teams and companies that are tackling large, untapped markets, who have a strong sense of business ethics and shared values and situations where I can add “10X value” by being a part of their extended teams. I am proud of the fact that many of these relationships continue for years and several of them have spanned multiple companies by the same founders.

Career advice to those in your industry?

The biggest piece of career advice I give to others is to stick with something for more than just a couple of years. I spent 7 and 6 years, respectively, at my first 2 professional jobs after business school and that allowed me to gain depth and expertise and move up the ladder within the same company.

Click to Read More:

Allison Alt: Social Impact 360 Executive Director


My Native Admission Statement: “Buy this car to drive to work. Drive to work to pay for this car.” We aren’t going to be doing this anymore. I’m changing the future of business with the next generation. There is no reason we can’t have meaning and purpose in our work, and there is no reason we can’t solve important issues that matter to all of us in a financially sustainable way. Too long, it has been a choice, do well or do good. Make money or live a meaningful life. No more.

Social Impact 360 is a Teach for America meets Tesla.  We train young people to build businesses that solve social issues and how to create social impact in corporate America. We have more than 1,000 alumni who are young CEO’s and young innovators at top companies, and we are transforming into the Service Corps for Business for Good. The purpose of the Service Corps is to train companies in how to solve pain points using corporate social responsibility and sustainability concepts because everyone should have the opportunity to “do well and do good” no matter where you work. Everyone should feel meaning and purpose in what they do, and we shouldn’t struggle for resources to do important, good, and meaningful work.

My Current Passions?

I’m a music addict. I listen to music as if it’s going to run out of supply. I’m an artist at heart.

Click to Read More:

Dave Roberts: Professor of Hospitality & Tourism Management at the Pamplin College of Business at Virginia Tech & Former SVP, Revenue Strategy & Solutions at Marriott


My Native Admission Statement: I just retired from Marriott, and I’m now immersed in academia. I have the great fortune to work at Virginia Tech! (aside: Va Tech has a wonderful Hospitality & Tourism program – I say that with no bias, as neither I nor anyone in my family went there). My aspirations are to make a meaningful and lasting impact on the program, and on the students that I have the privilege of teaching. I plan to do some consulting and some writing as well, but my focus is on teaching and mentoring.

My Motto?

Believe in people, and act on that belief. This was the final line of my retirement speech at Marriott. I feel very strongly about this. If you look for the good in people, the talent, the exceptional work, the creativity, the new perspectives, . . . you are very likely to find it. And if people believe in you, and act on that, you will surely be highly motivated, and deliver outstanding results.

Click to Read More:


Screenshot 2019-04-09 at 8.37.45 PM.png

My Native Admission Statement: If someone can feel like they’re being talked to as a person or understood on a human level, that’s all I can ask for. Even in my merchandise, I’ll have small details like a tag or a thank you postcard that lets anyone who receives it know that I see them as a person with needs, and that I am the same. It’s the small stuff that makes all the difference in the world. The first round of merchandise I ever made, I wrote everyone’s names in calligraphy and hand wrapped every hat and shirt. It was an immense amount of work but I think it’s equally important to have that careful intention regard- less if I’m hand-packing something or not.

How did you get into the industry?

I started posting dance videos on YouTube which turned into making personality-forward videos to help give people a break from their daily stresses. Now I’m uploading weekly to YouTube and also helping via my comedic advice podcast called Just a Tip.

Click to Read More:

Michelle Courtney Berry MPS, CISD, RMT: Mindful Living Expert, Author, Keynote Speaker, & Powerful Wellness Coach

Screenshot 2019-04-09 at 8.25.51 PM.png

My Native Admission Statement: I help visionaries find the right balance between their work and their life. We used to call this work-life balance, but now we know better. Work and life are integrated, not separate things. In today's fast-paced, ever-changing digital economy, finding a way to work smarter, work less, but earn more, is the top of everyone's list. The only way to truly succeed and keep your brand relevant, is to stay healthy. I help you do just that by deploying some of the best mindfulness and total wellness hacks around. I have more than 20 years in the game and I’ve crawled out of burnout, anxiety, depletion, and overwhelm so I can devote my life to helping you stay accountable to your end goals. In sum, I support you in pressing reset so you can start walking the wellness path of real, authentic work-life integration.

My Favorite People/Role Models?

My favorite person in the world is my daughter Nina. My role models are many but I have to say the top two are: the late Maya Angelou whom I got life-changing advice from backstage right before I was opening for her.  http://ithacalit.com/backstage-with-maya.html#.VuYIvPkrL4Y  and next, I’d have to say personal business development coach and all-around speaking superstar and self-help expert, Coach Lisa Nichols from Motivatingthemasses.com - the first time I heard her speak and was coached by her, it changed the entire way I thought about what I charged and how I scaled my business.

Click to Read More:

Elsie McCabe Thompson: NYC Mission Society President

Screenshot 2019-04-09 at 8.11.57 PM.png

My Native Admission Statement: When I wake up in the morning, I set an intention to do one more thing that helps one more person. I make it a personal mission to encourage staff, volunteers, and donors to join me in building that momentum. I believe that together, we can move each other and our community members one more step forward, one day at a time. Offer help to others, not because it feels good for you, but because it simply is good. I think everyone should try one thing that makes you just a little bit scared every year—to push our comfort zones. We have to dare to do things we never thought we could. At Mission, we use this philosophy to help innovate all of our programs and services.

What do you love most about Your City?

The subways, full stop. There is simply no other city in the world that brings together so many different types of people into the same space, at the same time. This is where we witness humanity and the beauty of diversity in its fullest form. I truly prefer lunch and dinner foods to traditional breakfasts. If I had to choose, I would say Il Café Latte on Lenox between 119th and 120th streets.

Click to Read More:

Roy Schwartz: Axios President & Co-Founder


Bio: Roy Schwartz is a cofounder and president of Axios – a breakout startup news and information platform that helps people quickly and easily understand the most consequential topics in the world. Roy is the former chief revenue officer for POLITICO, the digital media company that upended and forever changed political and policy journalism in Washington, New York, and Europe. Prior to POLITICO, Roy was a Partner at Gallup’s management consulting practice in Washington, D.C. and California advising Fortune 500 companies on employee and customer engagement. Roy was featured in the 2015 FOLIO 100 as a “Corporate Catalyst” and by the Washington Business Journal in its 2015 “40 under 40.” An expert in digital media, business, and strategy, he is a frequent speaker at media conferences including SXSW, Min Folio, Digital East, Interactive Media Conference, etc. A proud Terrapin, Roy holds an MBA and bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland. 

Axios is available online through axios.com, via one of our nearly 20 newsletters, through engaging Axios360 newsmaker events and much more – all meant to get you smarter faster on the news that matters. 

Twitter/Instagram: @Axios

How and why did you start Axios?

A few years ago, Jim VandeHei, Mike Allen, and I all left our cool, safe jobs to start a new company with this shared belief: Media is broken – stories are too long, too boring, and websites are a maddening mess of pop-up and banner ads.

Following a year-long listening tour, we founded Axios in 2017 with the mission of delivering the cleanest, smartest, most efficient and trustworthy experience for readers and advertisers alike. Our solution to the problems plaguing the media industry is Smart Brevity: the idea that news and information should be quick, smart and worthy of your time. Since launch, we have advanced our Smart Brevity format to adapt to newslettersevents, a podcastsocial medianews stream, and an HBO show, with more in the works. 

Any emerging industry trends? 

The need for companies to clearly share concise corporate social responsibility messaging has never been so important – consumers, employees and stockholders continue to prove again and again that they care about the initiatives and principles that a brand upholds. But the days of long-form native advertising are slipping away – media ad sales teams and advertisers need to help Brands find smart, efficient ways of sharing what they are doing that is good and amplifying that message.

What is your long-term vision for Axios?

We have been extremely fortunate over the last two years. We have grown from 3 to nearly 20 newsletters, hosted dozens of events across the country, aired an HBO series and broke hundreds of crucial news scoops, all in Smart Brevity. 

In the future we want to continue to expand the ways in which we can stretch our efficient format – both through editorial and advertising means. We are constantly trying new experiments and working to bring Axios into different spaces – from different coverage areas (education, smart cities, blockchain, space) to new platforms and beyond. My long-term vision for the company is to continue growing, building and innovating with Smart Brevity and our audience-first mentality.  

My Goal of the Day:

Before I start each day, I always take a moment to prioritize several goals that I can set out to accomplish – from helping Axios land a new client to getting our new New York City office up and running. Throughout the day I revisit these goals as a check on myself and my team. Only by keeping clear goals are you able to make real progress.

My Deed of the Day:

I care tremendously about the people I work with – their development, ideas, and wellbeing – so I try to connect with at least one person each day, to take the time to really listen and ask them how they are doing, and if they are happy.

My Tip of the Day:

Every work day is about winning, getting ahead and continuing to adapt because if you sit still, someone is going to eat your lunch. Be ferocious about optimizing each day and each meeting so you can accomplish your goals and keep moving forward.  

Favorite Breakfast meal & restaurant: 

My kitchen- coffee & and a mini bagel.  Or if I have the chance, The Greenhouse at the Jefferson in DC is a really cool restaurant. 

What are you doing at.. 

6:00 a.m. = Working out 

10:00 a.m. = In a meeting

12:00 p.m. & Favorite Lunch Spot:

Lunch as a meeting in the office (salad) 

7:00 p.m. = Playing with my kids! 

11:00 p.m. = Have been asleep for two hours. 

What drink do you need to get through the day?

One coffee first thing in the morning keeps me going throughout the day. 

Favorite App: Stand-up Comedy on Youtube

Instagram Account: @Axios, of course!  

What should everyone try at least once: 

A Startup – you’re either going to love it or hate it, but it’s going to change your life. It’s not for everyone, but if it’s for you, you can never go back. 

Where do you enjoy getting lost: 

On a racetrack – I love going go-karting with my kids! 

Ann Mei Chang: Author of "Lean Impact" & Chief Innovation Officer, USAID


Bio: Ann Mei Chang is a leading advocate for social innovation and author of LEAN IMPACT: How to Innovate for Radically Greater Social Good (Wiley, Nov. 6, 2018). As Chief Innovation Officer at USAID, Ann Mei served as the first Executive Director of the US Global Development Lab, engaging the best practices for innovation from Silicon Valley to accelerate the impact and scale of solutions to the world’s most intractable challenges. She was previously the Chief Innovation Officer at Mercy Corps and served the US Department of State as Senior Advisor for Women and Technology in the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues.

Prior to her pivot to the public and social sector, Ann Mei was a seasoned technology executive, with more than 20 years’ experience at such leading companies as Google, Apple, and Intuit, as well as at a range of startups. As Senior Engineering Director at Google, she led worldwide engineering for mobile applications and services, delivering 20x growth to $1 billion in annual revenues in just three years.

Ann Mei currently serves on the boards of BRAC USA and IREX, is a nonresident fellow at the Brookings Institution, and is a visiting fellow at the Center for Global Development. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Stanford University, is a member of the Aspen Institute’s Henry Crown Fellows’ class of 2011, and was recognized as one of the “Women In the World: 125 Women of Impact” by Newsweek/The Daily Beast in 2013.

How did you get into the industry?

I taught myself to code at the age of 12, studied computer science in college, then worked for 23 years in Silicon Valley. However, in my mid-twenties, I made a decision to spend the second half of my career working for social good. As that transition point approached, I sought out roles that got me closer to my chosen focus on global poverty, such as leading Emerging Markets at Google. Then, made the leap by joining the State Department through the Franklin Fellowship Program.

Career Advice?

If you want to do something mission-driven, take it as seriously as you would something that is profit-driven. Doing *some* good is not enough. Aim high, take risks, and measure imoact so that you maximize both the breadth and depth of your impact.

Biggest Success?

At Google, when I started leading the mobile engineering team our revenues were about $50M annually. Despite that, we set an audacious goal of becoming the next billion dollar business in the company and reviewed our progress weekly. With the release of the iPhone and Android, along with an amazing team that leapt at each new opportunity, we achieved our goal in only three years.

Why is innovation for social good just as necessary as innovation for business?

The point of innovation is to create something that is better, faster, or cheaper than what exists today. We have so many long-standing societal ills – from poverty, toinjustice, to environmental degradation. I’d argue there’s nowhere that innovation is more needed.

What makes it harder?

The biggest factor is the nature of funding. Rather than invest in the potential for future growth, most donors care about tangible, predictable results. Thus, nonprofits are forced to operate more like utility companies than startups. This makes it hard for them to experiment, take risks, and pivot – all essential elements of innovation.

In addition, there are also a number of innate challenges in the types of problems we tackle. Measuring impact is much harder than measuring e-commerce purchases, our instincts can lead us astray when serving people very different from ourselves, and experimenting with vulnerable people requires great care.

What inspired you to transition to the social sector after a long business career at Silicon Valley tech companies like Google?

I decided to make this transition almost two decades earlier. In 1995, an executive at Apple named Elizabeth Birch left her job at the age of 38 to become the Executive Director of a nonprofit, the Human Rights Campaign. I’d never heard of anyone doing something like this, and it opened a whole new window of possibilities to me. I decided then and there that I would make a similar switch and spend the second half of my career in the public or social sector doing something to make the world a better place.

How can Silicon Valley approaches to growth and innovation also help accelerate social impact?

Everyone seems to look towards Silicon Valley for ways that technology can help solve social challenges. While the potential for tech is tremendous, I believe there’s an even greater potential for us to learn from the techniques that have led to the breathtaking pace of progress coming out of the tech industry. For over 50 years, Moore’s Law has accurately predicted that the number of transistors on a chip would double every two years, delivering exponentially greater computing power. Imagine if we could even capture a fraction of that progress for social good. This starts with setting more audacious goals, is enabled by embracing risk-taking, and becomes reality through fast experiments that drive learning.

Altruism is one of the best human qualities and motivators for social good, but what does it need to be complemented by to create social impact?

Generosity is a beautiful human quality, but it’s not sufficient in itself. We also need to focus on effectiveness. The unfortunate reality is that a lot of the time and money we donate makes us feel like we are doing good, but doesn’t necessarily make a lasting difference. For example, giving to an orphanage might feel satisfying as we can see the real suffering we are alleviating. On the other hand, in some countries this has created an incentive for healthy parents to give up their own children in hopes they can have better lives. Even worse, kids may be kidnapped to meet the demand.

Thus, generosity must be paired with another virtue, humility. This means switchingour focus from how much we give to whether we are making a lasting impact.

How can social sector organizations apply a lean approach to thinking differently about their finance models?

One of the three pillars of social innovation is growth. The difference we make is based on both the depth and breadth of our impact. If deliver significant impact, but only for a tiny fraction of those in need, are we really moving the needle?

Too often, scale ends up being an afterthought – something organizations only consider after they have proven an intervention works. But, the engine for growth should be an essential element of the core design. If a solution works, but is too expensive to scale, it may need to be entirely redesigned and retested. Thus, Lean Impact encourages us to test our growth hypotheses early on, along with value and impact.

What challenges did you encounter and what results did you achieve when you were chief innovation officer at USAID?

As with any large institution, there is inertia both in the culture and the procedures. Change takes time. We built support by seeking out early adopters – established leaders across the organization who saw the need and were willing to take some risks – and partnered with them to adopt new technologies and new ways of working. As they started demonstrating successes, they ended up becoming our best evangelists among their peers across the agency.

How could people in the private sector benefit from reading this book?

If you’re at a private sector company that is mission-driven, Lean Impact approaches will help you deliver on both profit and purpose in a meaningful way.

Lean principles make lots of sense for organizations, but how might a socially conscious individual apply them to create social change in their own community in some small way?

Bringing Lean Impact into your community can be as simple as asking an organization you volunteer with or donate to this essential question: “How do you know what you’re doing is working and are there ways you can do even better?” Look for opportunities to question the status quo, try something different, and scale what works.

What might our world look like if everyone started applying lean principles toward social good?

I believe we’d see dramatically better solutions for the problems plaguing people and our planet. We would embrace a healthier mix between addressing short-term needs and investing in longer-term transformation. Ultimately, our pace of progress would start to catch up with the accelerating pace of change around the world.

Claire Babineaux-Fontenot: CEO, Feeding America


Bio: I am a Louisiana native who is fortunate to have been part of a very loving and very large family. Over the course of their lives, my mother and father raised 108 children. My upbringing shaped my life by making me aware and grateful. Aware of my privileges and grateful enough to work really hard when I was given an opportunity—from schooling, to tax attorney for the state of Louisiana, labor and employment judge, to executive vice president of finance and global treasurer and then chief tax officer at Walmart. All of my experiences led me to where I am now—working to end hunger for millions of families as CEO of Feeding America.

My Goal of the Day: Move the needle on something that matters.

My Thought of the Day: Be the change you wish to see—NOW!!

My Action of the Day: Decide everything that I can today.

My Deed of the Day: See someone new today—don’t look past anyone.

My Tip of the Day: Gratitude is an Action

A Day in My Life:

What do you love most about Your City?

Its diversity. Chicago has over 70 diverse neighborhoods. It’s so full of unique people with different lifestyles, interests and contributions.  Oh, did I mention the food? Chicago has taught me that there’s more to pizza here than deep dish and that there’s more to the Chicago food scene than pizza!

Favorite breakfast meal & restaurant? 

Cracker Barrell—best pancakes in the universe.

What are you doing at:

6:00 AM – Chatting with my husband about the day ahead. By the way, I’m the only “morning person” in our pair. Need I say more about why he’s my guy?

10:00 AM – Meeting with Feeding America’s chief human resources officer.

12:00 PM – Getting ready to be interviewed on CNN.

7:00 PM – Visiting my grand-dog Veela, at my son’s apartment and Facetiming my daughter to get her in on the fun.

11:00 PM – Sleeping!

What drink do you need to get through the day and at the end (and how many)?

Green tea (3 or so, depending upon how awake I need to be).

Most used App/Favorite Instagram Account?

I just listened to “The Devil in the White City” on Audible. I learned so much about my new city while driving to Louisiana for Christmas (with Veela).  

What should everyone try at least once?

Boudin! It’s a delicious, spicy Creole/Cajun sausage from my hometown of Opelousas, Louisiana.

Where do you enjoy getting lost?

In a library or a clothing store—too close to call.



Bio: Payal is the Executive Chairman & Founder of ClassPass and the Artistic Director of The Sa Dance Company.

Payal has been a “dancetrepreneur” since the age of 3 when she started training in Indian classical and folk styles of dance.  It was her passion for dance, entrepreneurship, and making the world a more active, happy place that led to the founding of Classpass. ClassPass is a membership program for fitness classes across multiple gyms and studios, making working out more engaging, accessible, and affordable.

With over 25 years of dance experience, Payal also founded The Sa Dance Company, a contemporary Indian dance company. She has led the company to achieve tremendous community support, soldout performance, celebrity endorsements, and positive reviews in The New York Times, MTV, and prominent South Asian publications.  Payal has been quoted as “the dancer possessing not only the stand-out talent, but the undying passion, congenial disposition and sharp business savvy to be truly a force to be reckoned with” as the South Asian culture continues its inevitable integration into America.

Prior to founding ClassPass, Payal worked as a consultant at Bain & Company and in Warner Music Group’s Digital Strategy and Business Development Group. Payal also has a degree from MIT in Operations Research and Economics.

My Goal of the Day:

To keep making progress towards achieving my mission, and to use every minute with intention. Time is our most valuable asset. I won’t waste it. 

My Thought of the Day:

Being unique makes us exceptional. 🙂

My Action of the Day:

To create something meaningful and inspirational every single day. Each new day brings with it the opportunity to heal and improve the world, even if just a bit. 

My Deed of the Day:

To surround myself with an amazing team and empower and inspire them to accomplish more than they ever thought possible.

My Tip of the Day:

Make it your priority to equip yourself with the skills and tools to succeed. Also, take the time to reflect on your purpose, and then chase it with zeal. True purpose will lead you on the right path every time.

A Day in My Life:

What do you love most about Your City? 

  • Its vibrancy

Favorite breakfast meal & restaurant?

  • Green tea and a croissant

What are you doing at:

6:00 AM –

  • Drinking my green tea, stretching, and reviewing my goals for the day 

10:00 AM –

  • Conducting a meeting 

12:00 PM – Favorite Lunch spot/meal?

  • Trying out a new exercise class on ClassPass and then grabbing a yummy salad 

7:00 PM – 

  • Heading to dance practice!

11:00 PM –

  • Snuggling with my husband over some Netflix and getting ready for bed

What drink do you need to get through the day and at the end (and how many)?

  • Green tea in the morning and then a glass of water as often as possible 

Most used App/Favorite Instagram Account?

  • ClassPass, of course!

What should everyone try at least once?

  • Performing live on stage – singing, dancing, acting, anything!  

Where do you enjoy getting lost?

  • Anywhere I can run! 

More from CNBC Article:

“Ideas are a dime a dozen, and people can have ideas, but you need to be able to get stuff done,” Kadakia says. “And I really think it’s the people who know how to work — and whether that’s the big, higher-level stuff and also the nitty-gritty — they know how to get in there and get their hands dirty and solve problems.”

“I think the dance side of my life, which has always been sort of there since I was really young, just taught me if I had a vision to do something, okay, I’m going to work hard and keep practicing, keep rehearsing. And if I put the work in, the output will come,