2013 Conference Sessions
Please be advised that session topics, descriptions, and speakers are subject to change. All changes will be reflected here.
Creating Engaged Customers
As sustainable energy technologies become more abundant and affordable, startups like MPOWERD need to look ahead to confront the challenge of customer adoption. MPOWERD is the creator of the innovative Luci solar lantern and continues to develop consumer products that use clean energy, with a social vision of solving energy poverty issues in the developing world. In this workshop, participants will explore some of MPOWERD’s existing and prototype products with the founders of the company and explore ways to drive consumer adoption in both developed and developing markets.
Moderator: Bruce Usher, The Lise Strickler ’86 and Mark Gallogly ’86 Faculty Director; Executive-in-Residence at Columbia Business School
- Jacques-Philippe Piverger, CEO, MPOWERD
- John Salzinger, Senior Director of Business Development & Co-founder of MPOWERD
Many global companies have made significant shifts in sustainability practices, gaining plaudits from environmental and social advocates, but often costing the company time, resources, and money. How can influential stakeholders, employees, customers, and investors be convinced to rally behind such changes? And how can this support be translated into concrete action?
Moderator: Erika Karp ’91, CEO, Cornerstone Capital Inc.
- Mitchell Gold, Co-founder & Chairman, Mitchell Gold
- Jeff Seabright, Vice-president of Environment & Water Resources, The Coca-Cola Company
- Brian Orlando ’99, Senior Marketing Director, Unilever
Come hear 4 food-entreprenuers give small talks on their big ideas for solving the global food crisis. In our world of 7 billion, 1 billion suffer from undernutrition, while another 1 billion suffer from over-nutrition. Although the world’s farmers harvest enough to feed the planet, twenty-five percent of our global food supply is lost to spoilage. In addition, society has a growing concern about the environmental and social consequences of where our food comes from and how it gets to our plates. Each world-class speaker will have 10 minutes to share their groundbreaking story and offer sustainable business solutions to the global food crisis.
Facilitator: Arianne Perry’14
- Christopher Lorn, Co-Founder, Table for Two USA
- Stephen Ritz, Founder, Green Bronx Machine
- Kavita Shukla, Founder & CEO, Fenugreen
- Jacqueline Holmes, Kopali Organics
Social Media & Film
Getting mass attention for a social cause or issue can be the critical element to making an impact. Social media has made it easier than ever to relay content to broad audiences as long as you can catch their attention. What are the creative ways that successful marketers have attracted attention to their causes and capitalized on the resulting momentum? How can we creatively attract attention and capitalize on momentum? How can we develop campaign ideas to garner attention? Is there a case for generating ideas so outrageous that they might just work?
This session will explore successful and not-so successful campaigns geared towards educating youth. Speakers will discuss best practices for educating and engaging youth both in a domestic and international context. We will examine how social media and rapid information sharing has shaped the success of organizations like Sesame Workshop and dosomething.org and how these lessons can be applied to other social campaigns. Finally, we will explore how technology and media can be leveraged to expand operations internationally and reach a greater audience.
Moderator: Shane Snipes, Chief Digital Officer, Good-B
- Naomi Hirabayashi, Chief Marketing Officer, DoSomething.org
- Daniel Lewis, Director of New Media Communication, Sesame Workshop
- Abran Maldonado, Co-founder, NuSkool
Films have the ability to take the viewer inside a completely new life, inspiring audiences towards change and an understanding of alternative lifestyles. Whether it’s witnessing indifference in war torn Darfur, fighting for better public education in New York City or celebrating female empowerment within the Arab world, these movies take us to the heart of major social issues. Come behind the lens and hear three renowned filmmakers discuss how their work strives to make a difference. How do films generate mass movements? Is there a secret ingredient to moving public opinion? What tactics do filmmakers use?
Moderator: Monika Mitchell, Founder & CEO, Good-B
- Mona Eldaief, Director, Rafea: Solar Mama
- Madeleine Sackler, Filmmaker, Dangerous Acts Starring the Unstable Elements of Belarus
- Ricki Stern, Filmmaker, The Devil Came on Horseback
Reaching Mass Markets
Two billion people live on less than US$2.50 per day. How do you apply creative ideas and methods to design products for Base of the Pyramid (BoP) customers? Interactive product ideation will highlight the perspective of design strategy firms and BoP product start-ups.
Moderator: Natalie Foley, Vice-president & Chief Operating Officer, Peer Insight
- Ed Chan-Lizardo, Chief Development & Partnerships Officer, KickStart International
- Donnel Baird ’13, Founder, BlocPower
- Manmeet Kaur ’12, Executive Director & Founder, CityHealthWorks
- Connie Lewin, Strategic Partnerships & Marketing Director, Global, Sustainable Health Enterprises (SHE)
Mobile technology has enriched and empowered individuals in the developing world in many ways, from better information on employment prospects to improved financial access. But what’s next for mobile? What are the cutting edge big data business models that provide information to address the needs of the poor?
Moderator: Scott Anderson, Managing Editor, Next Billion
- Alina Kogan ’12, Venture Lab, Accion
- Keith Nalepka, Vice-president of Global Sales and Marketing, PharmaSecure
- Shivani Siroya, CEO & Founder, InVenture
- Camilo Tellez-Merchan, Financial Sector Specialist, CGAP-World Bank
In this session, you will step into the shoes of an impact investor. Jessica Martin will introduce you to a potential impact investment opportunity for agriculture development in Africa. You will learn about the criteria Acumen uses to determine which investments to make, evaluate a potential business plan and work with your peers to decide whether to invest.
Moderator: Antony Bugg-Levine, CEO, Nonprofit Finance Fund
- Jessica Martin, Innovation Associate, Acumen
Communities Taking Action
Affordable housing development faces more budgetary and regulatory challenges than ever. Innovations in financing and construction offer new housing solutions. In this session we learn from the Atlantic Yards’ modular housing program, City of New York’s adAPT NYCCompetition, and Phipps Houses’ Hunter’s Point South. Project champions will discuss lessons, challenges, and the future of affordable housing.
Moderator: Leanne Lachman, President, Lachman Associates; Executive-in-Residence, Columbia Business School
- Daniel Nissenbaum ’88, Director, CRA Programs for the Urban Investment Group (UIG), Goldman Sachs
- Kathryn Matheny, Chief of Staff & Deputy Commissioner for Strategy and Operations at the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development
- Robert P. Sanna, Executive Vice President and Director of Construction & Design Development, Forest City Ratner
- Adam Weinstein, President and CEO, The Phipps Houses Group; Chair, Phipps Community Development Corporation
To view the materials associated with this session, please click here.
How do you build momentum for a cause? Learn about how successful builders of environmental and political movements inspire momentum nationwide, and the results that can be attained by mobilizing masses of people. Apply key lessons in innovation approaches to critical social challenges in your community and beyond.
Moderator: Deborah Bielak, Partner, Bridgespan
- Peter Lehner, Executive Director, Natural Resources Defense Council
- Laura Olin, Social Media Director, Obama for America
When the well-being of communities is threatened, some are resilient and come together to take action. Why and how do people mobilize to make change? Join us as we discuss a case study in effective grassroots organizing in the wake of Hurricane Sandy in New York City.
Moderator: Ray Horton, Frank R. Lautenberg Professor of Ethics and Corporate Governance and Faculty Director, Programs in Social Enterprise, Executive Education, Columbia Business School
- Matt Pelak, Director of Strategic Partnerships, Team Rubicon
- Diego Ibanez, Organizer, Occupy Sandy
- Jake Beinecke, Farm Viability Project, Analyst, Open Space Institute
- To view related articles about this session, please click here.
Social Venture Pitch Competition
The 2013 Social Impact Pitch Competition will feature emerging social entrepreneurs in a variety of fields who will each be allotted five minutes to pitch their enterprise to a panel of judges. The judges will provide feedback and rate each competitor. This session is intended to highlight and analyze the common interaction between funder and entrepreneur and to expose conference participants to exciting new startups in the social enterprise space.
Moderator: Professor Ron Gonen ’04, Founder, Recyclebank
- Kesha Cash ’10, Director, Investments, Jalia Ventures
- Alberto Escarlate, Venture Partner, Collaborative Fund
- Abran Maldonado, Co-founder, NuSkool
- Tommy Mitchell, CEO, Green Barrel Energy
- Casey Santiago ’07, Founder of Kangu
Film Screening- Wham! Bam! Islam!
When film maker Isacc Solotaroff was researching this project, it seemed that Muslim societies across the world were at a fascinating crossroads. There were the forces of fundamentalism that wanted to anchor the culture to Qur’anic strictures and modernists who wanted to find a way for Islam to integrate with the rest of the world. Mr. Solotaroff was fascinated to see what would happen to someone like Naif who was so demonstrably planting his flag on the side of those who want to push Muslim societies into the 21st century. Beyond that he was doing it in a way that could be seen as highly provocative — a children’s entertainment property based on Western-styled superheroes with powers that are borrowed from Allah’s 99 names! —Mr. Solotaroff figured that was likely to stir up the hornets nest and would make for an interesting film.
Spark provides Social Innovators with an opportunity to explore resources, connections and potential solutions to help their social ventures, by tapping the collective knowledge within Columbia University, and the larger entrepreneurial and social impact community in the New York area and beyond.
To learn about the Conference Spark Workshops, please click here.