Social Entrepreneurship Institute
December 2, 2016
Shubert Theater, New Haven, CT

2016 Institute Confirmed Speakers

Keynote Address

"Failures from the Field and the Myth of the Success Story" Jordan Levy

As one of the founding executives of Ubuntu Education Fund, Jordan Levy has spent the past 14 years molding the organization into a blueprint for global sustainable development. He has played a key role in professionalizing Ubuntu’s grassroots service delivery model that places orphaned and vulnerable children on a pathway out of poverty from cradle to career. In 2003, Jordan went to Port Elizabeth, South Africa to volunteer at the Ubuntu Centre for six months. Inspired by the strength, resilience, and hope of the community as well as the revolutionary Ubuntu Model, Jordan stayed for 11 years. Since returning to the United States, Jordan has directed the organization’s External Relations Department across its offices in New York, London, and Port Elizabeth. Jordan has launched a number of platforms to challenge the status quo in the development sector and change the way we think about scale, impact, and sustainability. He has contributed to various publications, including The Guardian and the Stanford Social Innovation Review, and speaks regularly at major events, such as The Guardian Global Development Conference. Recently, Jordan was the keynote speaker at the Yale University Global Health and Innovation Conference.

"How Texting is Saving Lives," Nancy Lublin

Nancy Lublin founded Crisis Text Line, a free, 24/7 text line and one of the first “big data for good” orgs. Previously, she was CEO of for 12 years, taking it from bankruptcy to the largest organization for teens and social change in the world. Her first venture was Dress for Success, which helps women transition from welfare to work in almost 150 cities in 20 countries. She truly believes in building things that matter.


Lessons Learned From The Experts

"Healthcare Social Enterprise: Proven Paths to Failure," David Aylward

David Aylward provides strategy and leadership to organizations and initiatives that seek to improve the vitality and wellbeing of disadvantaged people. He is a Senior Advisor to Ashoka’s Health for All focused on health systems in the developing world, and to Community Health Center, Inc., the largest provider of primary care here in Connecticut. He was the first Executive Director of the mHealth Alliance, funded by the Rockefeller Foundation and others, and based at the United Nations Foundation.

"Business Models for Social Enterprises in a Grant-Dominated World," Jason R.L. Kass

Jason has a diverse background in the public and private sector predominantly focused on Southeast Asia. Before joining Dimagi he was a Member of the Board of Directors and Manager for Client Services at GL Advisor helping to build the company’s start-up operations in Manila, and acted as a Consultant supporting companies looking to setup overseas operations in the Philippines. Jason received a Masters in International Affairs from American University’s School of International Service, and holds a B.A. in International Relations from Wheaton College in Massachusetts.

"What it Takes to Lead in Today’s Nonprofit Environment," Mark Roithmayr

As executive vice president/chief relationship officer, Mark Roithmayr oversees LLS's 56 domestic chapters, ensuring financial growth, operational efficiency, volunteer development and management. Roithmayr comes to LLS with a successful track record in the non-profit healthcare sector. As president of Autism Speaks for seven years, Roithmayr oversaw growth of a start up to the leading autism organization in the U.S. today. Among accomplishments during his tenure were the establishment of World Autism Awareness Day, the creation of a $170 million science portfolio, securing over $1.2 billion in government funding for autism research, and the passage of 32 state laws ensuring insurance coverage for children affected by autism. Prior to Autism Speaks, he served for 20 years with the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation in White Plains, NY, in a number of senior-level capacities, eventually being responsible for raising $220 million annually. He earned a bachelor of arts in communications with a concentration in public relations from Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ.


What Should You Do With Your Ideas? Navigating Responsible Global Engagement

"Scaling a New Revenue Model," Jane Aronson

Dr. Jane Aronson is a pediatrician, adoption medicine specialist and the founder and CEO of Worldwide Orphans, a non-profit organization that provides direct services to orphaned and at-risk children globally. She is on faculty at Cornell University, Columbia University and Mt. Sinai School of Medicine and speaks all over the world advocating for orphans, including Women in the World (2013) and Unite For Sight's Global Health & Innovation Conference at Yale (2009-2013). Her many recognitions include the Angel in Adoption Award, Glamour Woman of the Year (2013), Time 100 Nominee, Honored Alumna of Valley Stream North High School, Hunter College Hall of Fame, and Distinguished Alumna from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. She is regularly featured in the media, including frequent guest appearances on CNN and NPR. She is the author of Carried in Our Hearts: The Gift of Adoption: Inspiring Stories of Families Created Across Continents.

"Narrative Justice: Who Has the Right to Tell Development Stories?" Lisa Russell

Lisa Russell is an Emmy-winning filmmaker with a Masters in Public Health who has been producing films and creative projects for the past 10+ years. Working at the intersection between arts, social justice and global health, Lisa is considered a pioneer in bringing creative advocacy to the global health community. In 2014, she founded "I Sell the Shadow" which aims to create meaningful and sustainable relationships between artists and UN/NGO agencies.

"Growing Better Health: Taking Community-based Models to Scale," Jessie Cronan

Jessie Cronan is Executive Director of Gardens for Health. She joined the team in 2012, following work at TechnoServe and the Tanzanian Children’s Fund. She leads strategic growth and development. Jessie is a graduate of Princeton University and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Key Strategies in Entrepreneurship

"Does Your Model Fit Your Vision? And Why Ballerinas Don't Wear Ice Skates," Rodney North

Rodney North is a senior communications and marketing professional with more than 20 years experience in social entrepreneurship, advocacy, corporate communications, public relations, public speaking and employee training. 

In his most recent role of Director of Marketing and External Relations at Fairtrade America, he led a dynamic team promoting the fair trade model to the U.S. public on behalf of 1.7 million small-scale farmers and workers from 74 developing countries.

Previously, he was the lead spokesperson for Equal Exchange, an award-winning $60M social enterprise known for their pioneering work in employee-ownership and governance, fair trade, and outspoken advocacy for progressive business practices. There he also held various elected leadership roles within Equal Exchange’s worker co-operative, one of the largest and most successful in North America.

"Hackathons and Beyond: Fostering Innovation in Global mHealth," Alon Dagan

Alon Dagan is an emergnecy medicine physician with a background in biomedical engineering. His work focuses on the development of pragmatic and innovative tools used to address complex healthcare issues in low-resource settings. He studied biomedical engineering as an undergraduate at the University of Connecticut and went on to receive his medical degree there as well.

He currently works as a physician at Beth Israel Deaconness Medical Center, where he completed his residency, as well as BID-Needham, St.Luke's, and Cambridge Hospital. He also serves as an instructor of Emergency Medicine at the Harvard Medical School and is an MIT Reserch Affiliate in the Laboratory for Computational Physiology. He started working with Sana in 2016 and assists with the design and implementation of internatianal hackathons; he also brings a clinical perspective to techincal projects.

"Bring the Infrastructure and Plan for the Impact: Lessons Learned from Using Technology in Low Resource Settings," Paul Amendola

Paul Amendola, MPH, is the Executive Director of Vecna Cares Charitable Trust. He previously worked at the International Rescue Committee as the Senior Technical Advisor of Health Information Systems. Paul has designed and implemented health information systems projects, monitoring toolkits, and ICT interventions in low-resource settings in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. His work focused on increasing data quality and use through data training, reviews and advising on information systems and database creation. Paul is based in Cambridge, MA.