All R.E.A.L. Workshop Series Speakers
David Benzaquen Founder & CEO, PlantBased Solutions
David Benzaquen is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of PlantBased Solutions, a brand management and marketing agency building the market for plant-based foods to solve what he believes to be one of the world’s most urgent health, environmental and ethical challenges. Prior to launching his business, David worked in the nonprofit and government sectors as a lobbyist, fundraising consultant, community organizer, direct service provider and legislative aide. A perennial sector switcher with a hunger for pursuing the most effective social change, David holds a master’s degree in nonprofit management from The New School for Social Engagement and a bachelor’s degree from American University in Political Science.
César Bocanegra Chief Operating Officer, DonorsChoose.org
As the COO of DonorsChoose.org, César wears multiple hats. He manages a team that vets thousands of projects per month, and facilitates the purchase and delivery of materials to classrooms across the country. In addition to office management and several IT functions, César also manages the organization's human capital, customer relations, and donor appreciation efforts. Prior to joining DonorsChoose.org, César spent 11 years with AT&T in various roles, including Sales and Finance. He was the national president of HISPA, a non-profit organization focused on developing Hispanic youth. César earned his mechanical engineering degrees from Caltech (B.S.) and MIT (M.S.) and holds an MBA in Strategic Management from the Wharton School of Business.
Boris Bulayev Co-Founder & Executive Director, Educate!
Boris Bulayev is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Educate!, an organization he's been running since he was 19 with a friend from college.
Educate! works to change the education system in Uganda, and elsewhere, to prepare young people to take leadership initiative, create small businesses and improve their livelihoods. Educate! has had lots of early success, works directly with 20,000 young people in Uganda, was backed by Echoing Green and Ashoka , and has grown to a team of almost 62. It incorporated its curriculum into Uganda's national curriculum to additionally reach 25,000+ annually starting in 2012.
Before jumping into Educate! full time, Boris worked at startup incubator Loeb Enterprises, learning about entrepreneurship and how to start companies. Boris emigrated from Latvia at age 7. He is a Startingbloc fellow, an Empact100 Top Young Entrepreneur of 2011, a recipient of the 2011 Grinnell College Young Innovator for Social Justice Prize, and a Forbes Top 30 under 30 Social Entrepreneur in 2012 and 2013.
Victor d'Allant Founder & CEO, Dallant Networks
Paris-born Victor d’Allant (@dallant) is the Founder and CEO of San Francisco-based Dallant Networks, the social enterprise building online communities for large foundations and international organizations. Clients include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Skoll Foundation and the World Bank Institute. He started his career as a photojournalist and his photographs have been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in Paris. He holds an MA/ABD in social anthropology from the Sorbonne and an MBA from UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business. His motto: “Only jet. No lag.”
Breanna DiGiammarino Education Category Marketing Director, Indiegogo
Breanna DiGiammarino is the education category marketing director at Indiegogo, where she leads outreach to universities, post-secondary schools and primary schools in an effort to revolutionize the way that education is financed. She has also been responsible for developing key partnerships with institutions such as the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U), George Mason University and the University of California, San Francisco. Prior to Indiegogo, Breanna was the Senior Associate at the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, a social venture fund in San Francisco, and an Associate Consultant at The Bridgespan Group, the non-profit arm of Bain & Company, where she consulted with high impact educational organizations and foundations.
Breanna was invited as a reader for the 2011 and 2012 Echoing Green social venture fellowship and Haas Global Social Venture competition. She is also an Avanti Fellows advisory board member. Breanna holds a Master of Public Administration in Nonprofit Management from the NYU Wagner School of Public Service and graduated with a B.A in Biology and Government from the University of Virginia.
Founder and CEO, Blue Engine
Nick has served as CEO & Founder of Blue Engine since 2009. Ehrmann began his career in education as a Teach for America corps member in Washington D.C., joining forces with local philanthropists in 2002 to launch the nonprofit “I Have a Dream”—Project 312. The partnership secured over $1M in commitments for a ten year, comprehensive youth development program for his fourth-grade students, many of whom are struggling to make it in the world of higher education. In 2003 he began graduate work at Princeton University as a William G. Bowen fellow and completed his PhD in sociology in 2010. His dissertation—Yellow Brick Road—explored the negative effects of academic underperformance on the transition from high school to college. Nick was selected as a finalist for the Washington D.C. First-Year Teacher of the Year award and the national Teach For America Sue Lehmann Award and was named an Echoing Green Fellow in 2010 and a Draper Richards Kaplan Fellow in 2011. He currently lives in New York City and can be reached at email@example.com.
2009 Reynolds Scholar; Nonprofit Video & Storytelling Consultant
Annie Escobar believes there is more good than bad in our world. More love than hate. More hope than helplessness. And she's driven to share the stories she's heard that prove this. She has created over 60 videos for over 30 purpose-driven organizations including KIPP, New Schools Venture Fund, Human Rights Campaign, Amplify and The Segal Family Foundation. Annie has worked with several organizations to create and implementstorytelling strategies, including BRAC, the world's largest development organization. She is the co-author of The Starter Guide to Non-Profit Video Storytelling, available for free download at www.startstorytelling.com.
Co-Founder, Impact HUB NYC
Marissa Feinberg is co-founder of Impact Hub NYC, a go-to coworking space for companies that change the world. Marissa recently launched FLOCKD, powering productivity and connectivity for innovation. Previously, she Partnership Development at Felissimo, building a network of 350 organizations in support of design for social innovation. As a 10-year publicist & marketer, she frequently speaks, teaching entrepreneurs PR and marketing for startups via Investor's Circle, Startup Leadership, NYC Fastrac, Skillshare and Parsons the NEW School for Design.
Chief Data Scientist, Crisis Text Line
Bob Filbin is Chief Data Scientist at Crisis Text Line, the first large-scale 24/7 national crisis line for teens on the medium they use and trust most: texting. The service will launch August 1st. Bob specializes in the application of behavioral psychology to questions of data collection, analysis, and reporting, to make sure data leads to good behavioral change. Bob has given lectures on using data to drive behavioral change at places including MIT, the University of Pennsylvania and the North American International Auto Show, and has published articles in the Harvard Business Review and Ypulse. He runs in Prospect Park.
Frank Fredericks is the founder of World Faith, Mean Communications, Çöñár Records, and Co-Founder of Religious Freedom USA. After graduating from NYU, Frank worked in the music industry, managing artists such as Lady Gaga. In 2006, he founded World Faith, a youth-led interfaith organization active in 15 countries. As an active blogger, Frank has contributed to the Huffington Post, Washington Post, and Sojourners. Frank has been interviewed on Good Morning America, NPR, and New York Magazine. He is an alumnus of the IFYC Fellowship, Soliya Fellowship, AMENDS at Stanford, and YouthActionNet Fellowship.
Alan Hilburg Principal, Hilburg Associates
Alan Hilburg, Principal of Hilburg Associates, brings over 30 years of experience as one of the world's leading authorities and innovators on reimagining brands. As an often-sought public speaker, Alan has been described as "frustratingly insightful, inspirational, stimulating to the point of exhaustion, illuminating and always elevating." He was identified by the London Times, WSJ and Advertising Age as a "leading brand architect." His career includes guiding six of the top 30 branding campaigns of the 20th century including Johnson and Johnson’s Tylenol brand recovery; the creation of GE’s ‘Bringing Good Things to Life’; Wendy’s iconic “Where’s the Beef?”; and, the creation of the Olympic Torch Run for AT&T. He and his teams also navigated numerous award-winning campaigns for National Geographic, Coca Cola, Burger King, Gillette, Johnson Wax, World Wrestling Federation, Four Season Hotels, American Airlines, JPMorganChase, US Air Force, Shell, Chevron, Exxon-Mobil, Micron and other global brands.
Taryn Hipwell CEO, EcoDivas LLC
Taryn Hipwell is an enthusiastic and empowering Writer, Producer and EcoDiva who is committed to creating fun, authentic and bold content that shatters stereotypes, shifts perceptions and changes lives. She is the CEO of EcoDivas LLC. EcoDivasTV.com highlights the silly, sassy, sexy, smart and sustainable sides of being Eco. Taryn teaches “Sustainability and the Fashion Industry” at FIDM, writes for Textile Insight Magazine, and does Eco Fashion speaking tours and workshops all over the US and around the world. She has worked for designer Anna Sui, styled films and celebrities, and produced and directed one of her first short films to show what Warner Bros. does to be green. She is a 2014 Los Angeles Business Journal – Women Making a Difference Award nominee.
Rachel Ishofsky Managing Director, Innovation: Africa
Rachel's career in the developing world started as an NYU student studying in Ghana. She launched her first community based organization with Ghanaian partners at 19 years old, while also writing about education and foreign aid for the local government newspaper. After graduating summa cum laude, she went on to travel to over 30 countries, where she lived, worked and volunteered throughout sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia. Today, Rachel runs Innovation: Africa, a non-profit/social enterprise that brings Israeli innovation to African villages. She has spoken about her work and travels around the country in venues such as Harvard and the New York Stock Exchange, and recently published an op-ed in Forbes.
Linda Kay Klein
2006 Reynolds Fellow Alumnus
Director, Echoing Green's Work on Purpose Program
Linda Kay Klein is a writer, speaker, expert on women’s religious and spiritual lives, and Director of Echoing Green's Work on Purpose program. Work on Purpose leverages the best practices of some of the world’s most successful social entrepreneurs to equip and inspire emerging professionals to create careers that are right for them and good for the world. Linda also sits on the advisory board of Feminist.com's religion and spirituality microsite, Our Inner Lives, and writes a column for the site, entitled Fierce, Faithful, and Free.
Principal / Founder, Already Alive
The most important thing to know about Michal Marantz is that he named his company Already Alive. This is not a mistake or a sloughed-off attempt at naming something to sound catchy. It is the embodiment of who he is. Michael is a multidisciplinary storyteller with the emphasis here, on Story. As a Filmmaker, Composer, Digital Artist, and Experiential Designer, pushing the bounds of traditional media in innovative ways is his day job. As a human, creator of content, and fast-walking Brooklynite, he is constantly in pursuit of stirring his viewers to feel the same way he does: Already Alive.
Richard Marker is an internationally recognized speaker, educator, and advisor on philanthropy. He is the founder of 2 educational initiatives for funders: the NYU Academy for Grantmaking and Funder Education and the Wise Philanthropy Institute. The NYU Academy for Grantmaking and Funder Education, now entering its 11th year, is the worlds oldest and most comprehensive university program exclusively teaching philanthropists and foundation professionals.
Marker has lectured in 39 countries on 5 continents and in 40 of the United States, writes a popular blog Wise Philanthropy and is the author of Saying Yes Wisely: Insights for the Thoughtful Philanthropist. (Blooming Twig Books, 2009, 2011). In addition to the Institute, Wise Philanthropy includes Marker Goldsmith Philanthropy Advisors and Green Strides Consulting. Over his career Marker has been CEO of a major foundation (Bronfman-Seagram Foundation), a trustee of several others, a professor (Brown, Hofstra, Loyola, and New York Universities), a management consultant (The Solutions Group), a senior executive in the non-profit world (Hillel Foundation), and a university chaplain (Brown University).
Marker has received an Excellence in Teaching award from NYU, his career has been the subject of a feature length article in Lifestyles, and Forbes recently published an extended interview with him (March 2012). He is a professional member of the Global Speakers Federation/National Speakers Association. In addition to his professional work, Marker has served in leadership roles on a wide variety of volunteer and foundation boards and served as chair of two international boards. He is married to Mirele Goldsmith, PhD., who is also on the faculty of the NYU Academy and is his partner in Wise Philanthropy. They are the parents of Adam, a public interest attorney in Washington, DC.
CEO, Design Observer
Michael Mossoba is CEO of Design Observer, a leading media platform dedicated to design, culture, and social innovation. He previously founded Goodness500, a social enterprise that ranks companies based on corporate social responsibility. Michael holds an MBA from the Yale School of Management and is passionate about design, technology, and social impact.
2006 Reynolds Scholar Alumnus
Founder, Everyday Ambassador
Mobile Technology Consultant, World Bank
Kate Otto is a consultant to the World Bank, USAID, and other international development partners, in the field of mobile health technologies. She is also the founder of Everyday Ambassador, a movement to ensure technology helps, not hinders, our ability to connect with others in service efforts. Kate is a 2006 Reynolds scholar, and graduated NYU with her BA in International Relations and MA in Health Policy & Management.
President & CEO, Claverack Advisory Group
Russell Pomeranz has twenty five years of experience leading the finance and administrative departments of nonprofit organizations with missions related to social services, education, the arts, and think tanks. Most recently, Pomeranz started his own consulting firm, The Claverack Advisory Group, to focus on the critical connection between the nonprofit financial function and organizational programmatic, strategic, and financial trajectories. Before establishing a consulting practice, Pomeranz was the COO / CFO of the Vera Institute of Justice, a $20 million criminal justice think tank. He is also currently an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Public Administration at NYU Wagner.
Pomeranz currently chairs the Workforce Professionals Training Institute (WPTI), is a board member of Jobpath, Center for Family Life, Economic Mobility, Berkshire Taconic Center for Non-Profit Excellence and is on the Finance Committee for the Staten Island Community Charter School He has been published in The New York Times, Chronicle of Philanthropy, The Wall Street Journal, and the CPA Journal. He has a degree in Economics from Haverford College and an MBA from the University of Michigan.
Founder and CEO, DoGoodBuyUs
Zack Rosenberg is the Founder and CEO of DoGoodBuyUs, the marketplace for social good/s. One of the first online resources of its kind, DoGoodBuyUs offers a unique fundraising platform for non-profit groups and charity partners. On this site, consumers shop for beautiful items while giving generously at the same time. Zack has always dedicated himself to giving back, serving on the boards of non-profits and also working tirelessly to help colleagues find work. In 2009, he created SixDegreesofZack Rosenberg (SDZR), a monthly e-newsletter bringing great people together with great job opportunities in digital media. With over a thousand subscribers, each issue gets results. He recently posted his twenty-first edition, which now offers expanded content including timely interviews with industry leaders.
Founder, Esse Law Group
Merging her passion for social justice, her love of the law, and her entrepreneurial spirit, Shaheen Sheik-Sadhal founded Esse Law Group, a boutique law firm empowering today's social entrepreneurs to find their bottom-line in the new sustainable economy of profitability and positive social impact. She services early-stage startups and emerging growth companies in corporate transactional matters including debt and equity financings. Her clients include InVenture (Winner: Buisnessweek, America’s Most Promising Social Entrepreneurs: 2012) and ONEHOPE Wine (Inc. 5000 Company). Shaheen received her BA from the University of California, Berkeley and JD from the University of Virginia. After graduating law school, Shaheen was a professional recording artist, a favorite on MTV, and her newest music can be heard on George V Records’ Buddha Bar compilations.
Founder and CEO, Charter School Business Management (CSBM)
John Wood - NYU Reynolds Fellow in Scalability
A social entrepreneur committed to the financial solvency of charter schools, Raj Thakkar is considered a national expert on charter school finance. He founded Charter School Business Management (CSBM) in 2006 after serving as Chief Financial Officer of Explore Charter School for four years. Currently managing budgets totaling over $400 million for their 100+ clients, CSBM provides a wide range of business services for charter schools, including full service management of schools’ financial responsibilities and training for school leaders, finance/operations staff and Board members. Recognizing that 80% of charter school closures are due to financial mismanagement, CSBM is dedicated to providing school leaders with the financial “peace of mind” they need so that they can focus on their crucial work of educating their students. Raj has been featured in numerous publications and conferences as a result of CSBM’s work towards eliminating charter school closure due to finances. He was named Small Business Person of the Year for the NY district by the U.S. Small Business Administration in 2011. CSBM was also awarded Small Business of the Year for Eastern Region of the U.S. by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in 2009. In October 2012, CSBM was selected to participate in the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program, an initiative to help small businesses growth and create more jobs. In November 2012, CSBM was named #14 out of the 50 Best Places to Work in New York City by Crain’s NY Business. Raj received his Bachelors in Engineering Science from Hofstra University and MBA in Finance from NYU’s Stern School of Business.
Director, Consulting - Public Sector, Cisco Systems
Molly Tschang is director in Cisco’s consulting business with a specialty is coaching executive teams to sustained high performance with a distinct systems focus. She brings 20+ years experience as a change agent, guiding leadership teams to navigate, lead and thrive in change. Previously Tschang was a thought leader on public, private and citizen sector collaboration to expand ICT access in emerging markets. As a Cisco Leadership Fellow, she was executive director of NetHope, the first consortium of leading international NGOs collectively solving technology problems. During her tenure NetHope members received a $41M Microsoft grant. Tschang has also led the global team that integrated 50+ acquisitions into the company, ensuring Cisco's entrepreneurial culture endured through rapid change. She also supports Community Solutions, Global Tolerance, NetHope and Save the Children, teaches yoga and adores tennis.
Greg Van Kirk is the co-founder of Community Enterprise Solutions and Social Entrepreneur Corps. He is an Ashoka Lemelson Fellow, Ashoka Globalizer, Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur of the Year (2012) and a member of the Clinton Global Initiative and the Ashoka Siemens Foundation “Community Impact Development Group”. He and his team is focused on expanding the reach and impact of their award winning “MicroConsignment Model” globally. He has served as an economic development consultant for organizations such as USAID, Chemonics, VisionSpring, Soros Foundation, Church World Service, IDB, Water For People and Fundacion Paraguaya. Greg also contributes time as “Social Entrepreneur in Residence” for universities and has recently worked with Columbia University, New York University, Indiana University, University of San Diego and Arizona State University. He is a senior advisor for AshokaU. He has taught courses in social entrepreneurship at Columbia University and NYU Wagner. Greg began working in rural small business development as a Guatemala Peace Corps volunteer in 2001. Greg worked in investment banking for five years before arriving in Guatemala. Two deals he led at UBS during this time won "Deal of the Year" honors from "Structured Finance International" magazine. Greg is a graduate of Miami University and currently lives with his family in New York City.