Catalysts for social development, divorced from explicit market necessities, have had the longstanding position of being driven and directed by global agencies, such as the United Nations or by foundations and philanthropic capital, through which many individuals ‘give back’ to society after they have acquired wealth. The most recent expression of this can be found with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has worked to make advances in the field of global health, development and the sciences – such as the development of a vaccine for meningitis impacting sub-Saharan Africa and the improvement of delivery overtime. An alternative to this established philanthropic approach has been the emergence of new forms of social enterprise and entrepreneurship that seek to not only bring about positive social change – whether in respect to the environment, health or poverty alleviation – but development and continuation of viable commercial projects. What connects many of these efforts is the utilization and leverage of technology in order to reach the broadest public possible in order to deliver social goods. This panel will ask: what are the methods that make social enterprises viable and sustainable? How can technology be further developed and utilized in order to provide social welfare? What new forms of social enterprise are on the horizon?
Julius Akinyemi is the initiator of Unleashing the Wealth of Nations project and the Resident Entrepreneur at MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Akinyemi, a native of Nigeria, is exploring the commercialization of technology innovation to empower people in developing nations, so that they may invent new opportunities for themselves and their societies in a networked “always-on/always connected” information economy, with an entrepreneurial spirit.
Prior to his residency at the MIT Media Lab, Akinyemi was Global Director of Emerging Technologies for PepsiCo, Inc.; Senior Vice President for Emerging Technologies and Wireless Business Technology for Wells Fargo Bank, where he also served in various areas of the bank including finance, systems, retail and commercial banking. Julius has been involved in various industry groups including membership in the Mobile Finance Steering Committee of the Financial Services Technology Consortium and Bank Information Services (BITS) Financial Services Round-table. He was also involved in the Consumer product Group’s RFID technology item tags project. Julius was an Executive Advisory Board member of Cingular/AT&T Wireless as well as Verizon Wireless companies. Previously he was Director of Finance and MIS for Pan American World Airways (Western Europe Region) based in Paris, France.
Akinyemi is the founder of Applied Technology Solutions, which provides low-cost Internet access in developing countries, and co-founder of Sweden-based ICT4Africa. He was a member of the working team for ICT to eliminate poverty at the UN. He has an MBA from Ohio University.
Leila Chirayath Janah is the founder of Samasource, an award-winning social business that connects people living in poverty to microwork — small, computer-based tasks that build skills and generate life-changing income. She serves on the boards of OneLeap and TechSoup Global and as an advisor to mobile shopping app RevelTouch.
Prior to Samasource, Janah was a a Visiting Scholar with the Stanford Program on Global Justice and Australian National University’s Center for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics. She was a founding Director of Incentives for Global Health, an initiative to increase R&D spending on diseases of the poor, and a management consultant at Katzenbach Partners (now Booz & Co.). She has also worked at the World Bank and as a travel writer for Let’s Go in Mozambique, Brazil, and Borneo.
Janah is a frequent speaker on social entrepreneurship and technology, and her work has been profiled by CBS, CNN, NPR, the BBC, The New York Times, and The New Scientist.
She received a BA from Harvard and lives in San Francisco.
Nancy Pfund is a Managing Partner of DBL Investors. DBL Investors is a venture capital firm whose goal is to combine top-tier financial returns with meaningful social, economic and environmental returns in the regions in which it invests. Ms. Pfund currently sponsors or sits on the board of directors of a number of private companies, including Tesla Motors, Pandora Media, BrightSource Energy, Solar City and Solaria.
Previously, Ms. Pfund was a Managing Director at JPMorgan. Ms. Pfund joined JPMorgan (then Hambrecht & Quist) in 1984 as a securities analyst and later joined its venture capital department as principal and then Managing Director. Ms. Pfund also built and directed H&Q's external affairs and philanthropic programs from 1996 to 2001. Prior to joining JPMorgan, Ms. Pfund worked at Intel Corporation, Stanford University, the State of California, and the Sierra Club. In 1988, Ms. Pfund was appointed as a charter member of the National Advisory Council for Environmental Policy and Technology.
In 1999, Ms. Pfund was appointed by President Clinton to serve on the Congressional Web-Based Education Commission. Ms. Pfund is a member of the board of directors of the California Clean Energy Fund (CalCEF), a not-for-profit fund that invests in companies pursuing alternatives to a fossil-fuel dominated economy, and is a founding officer and director of ABC2, a foundation aimed at accelerating a cure for brain cancer. She is a member of the Advisory Board of the UC Davis Center for Energy Efficiency and has been appointed as a member of CPUC Commissioner Timothy Simons’ New Directions Program for the Future of California Utilities.
Ms. Pfund received her BA and MA in anthropology from Stanford University, and her MBA from the Yale School of Management.
Aishwarya Lakshmi Ratan serves as the Director of the Global Financial Inclusion (GFI) Initiative at Yale University and Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) - http://poverty-action.org/financialinclusion. Aishwarya joined Yale and the team at IPA in New Haven in June 2011.
Prior to this, in her years at the Microsoft Research Lab in Bangalore, Aishwarya gained extensive experience leading projects on the role of technology in enabling social and economic development and poverty alleviation.
She has an undergraduate degree in Economics from Wellesley College and a Master's degree in Public Administration and International Development (MPA/ID) from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Mr. Roland Rich brings to the job over 30 years of experience as a diplomat, a scholar and a democracy promotion practitioner. Prior to his appointment to UNDEF, Mr. Rich was a member of the directing staff at the Centre for Defence and Strategic Studies of the Australian Defence College, teaching and mentoring colonel-level officers undertaking a master’s degree in international relations. In 2005 Mr. Rich was a research Fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington DC. Between 1998 and 2005, Mr. Rich was the Foundation Director of the Centre for Democratic Institutions at the Australian National University which is Australia’s democracy promotion institute undertaking projects in the Asia-Pacific region. Mr. Rich joined the Australian foreign service in 1975 and had postings in Paris, Rangoon, Manila and, from 1994-1997, as Australian Ambassador to Laos. He has also served as Legal Advisor and Assistant Secretary for International Organisations in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. His appointment to UNDEF was warmly welcomed by The Hon. Alexander Downer, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Australia.
Mr. Rich has also contributed to the scholarly literature on democracy and democracy promotion. In 2004, together with Edward Newman, he edited a publication entitled The UN Role in Promoting Democracy published by United Nations University Press which examined the areas of comparative advantage the UN had in this field. His most recent publication, in 2007, is Pacific Asia in Quest of Democracy published by Lynne Rienner Publishers which surveys the current state of democratic consolidation among the countries along Asia’s Pacific Rim.
Gary D. Schwartz, Vice President at Tides, has been at Tides for the last thirteen years. He has held many positions within this public charity including more recently the Managing Director of Tides Foundation. He views Tides as a Philanthropic Social Enterprise that aims for triple bottom line returns and most importantly, provides sophisticated financial and management services - and inspiration - to donors and doers so they can focus on achieving their vision for a just and sustainable planet.
Gary has worked in the non-profit and NGO sectors for his entire work life and has focused on organizations working on issues of anti-violence, contemplative practice and indigenous traditions, and the leadership of women and girls. Previous to his work at Tides Gary was the Executive Director of the Fund of the Four Directions - a private foundation focused on supporting NGO's ran by and for Indigenous Peoples throughout the world. He sits on numerous Boards of Directors including the Inner Resilience Program and the New Field Foundation.
Gary was educated as a poet with a degree in Creative Writing and has also studied law and non-profit management in New York City.