Meet some of the speakers and mentors from past StartingBloc Institutes.

Laurin Hodge

Laurin Hodge

Executive Director + Co-Founder, Mission : Launch

Laurin Hodge often says she did not pick prison; prison picked her. It was the unexpected incarceration of her mother for a first-time, nonviolent, white-collar indictment, which motivated her to craft a social entrepreneurial career. As the Executive Director, Hodge oversees the day-to-day development and serves as the vision keeper for Mission: Launch’s mission is to accelerate self-sufficiency for Americans with an arrest and/or conviction record. Laurin is a millennial woman of color with a plan for cities and regions to become “Reentry Ready” as a means to support inclusive economic growth and criminal justice reform.

Robert Egger

Robert Egger

Founder, DC Central Kitchen & LA Kitchen

The DC Central Kitchen is a $10 million-per-year engine of social enterprise and job creation.

James Beard Foundation's Humanitarian of the Year and an Oprah Angel.

'Top 50 Most Influential Nonprofit Leaders' list four years in a row.

Tiffany Yu

Tiffany Yu

Founder of Diversability

Tiffany Yu is the founder of Diversability, an award-winning social enterprise to rebrand disability through the power of community. She is also a web developer interested in building mission-driven companies. Previously, Tiffany was the Director of Business Development at REVOLT, the music network from Sean Diddy Combs and an investment banker at Goldman Sachs. In 2016, she was named one of the New York Business Journal's Women of Influence. Tiffany is a StartingBloc Fellow and a World Economic Forum Global Shaper and has been featured in Forbes, the Guardian, and The Wall Street Journal. Follow her on Twitter at @ImTiffanyYu.

Kierra Johnson

Kierra Johnson

Executive Director, URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity

Kierra Johnson heads the leading pro-choice organization working to mobilize and provide ongoing support for the diverse, upcoming generation of leaders who promote and protect reproductive choice both now and in the future. With 17 years of experience in the field, Kierra is a leader in the reproductive justice and progressive movements. She has lifted up the value of regional and cross-movement collaborations to foster youth leadership development that will strengthen the pro-choice progressive base in crucial communities in the United States. She serves on the Groundswell Fund’s Board of Directors and on the National LGBTQ Taskforce National Action Committee.

Michelina Ferrara

Michelina Ferrara

Deputy Director, Atlas : DIY

Michelina Ferrara is a fierce and fiery advocate for social change. Her experience as an organizer, youth worker and activist connects issues ranging from youth incarceration to immigrant justice to reproductive justice to creating safe spaces for youth—building an intersectional framework that transforms our communities. She lives, loves, and shouts from Brooklyn where she can be found rocking high top sneakers & big earrings, and chanting Assata Shakur: It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love and protect each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains!

Majora Carter

Majora Carter

CEO of Startup Box

Majora Carter is an urban revitalization strategy consultant, real estate developer, and Peabody Award winning broadcaster. She is responsible for the creation & successful implementation of numerous green-infrastructure projects, policies, and job training & placement systems. After establishing Sustainable South Bronx and Green For All (among other organizations) to carry on that work, she built on this foundation with innovative ventures and insights into urban economic developments designed to help move Americans out of poverty.

Chauncey Nartey

Chauncey Nartey

Associate, Goldman Sachs

Chauncey is an Associate at Goldman Sachs, where he works to drive diversity strategy for the Americas. Immediately prior to his role at Goldman, Chauncey served as the Director of Talent at ROADS Charter High School, a network of high schools on a mission to prove what’s possible for the young people most consistently failed by our educational institutions.Chauncey also founded the Association of Black & Latino Educators (A.B.L.E.). Chauncey began his career as a corps member in Philadelphia, teaching US and global history at the middle and high school levels. He subsequently served as a Campus Director for Citizen Schools. Chauncey holds a BA in Political Science and Public Policy from Duke University, and a MA in Urban Education from the University of Pennsylvania. He is a StartingBloc NY’15 Fellow.

Susie Lee

Susie Lee

CEO, Siren

Susie Lee is the CEO and co-founder of Siren, a dating app that unlocks real personality for first time-conversations. A graduate of Yale, Columbia and UW with degrees in molecular biophysics and biochemistry, science education, and art, Lee brings her skills as a social sculptor to amplify humanity in technology. Her work has been collected by numerous institutions including the Denver Art Museum, Mitchell Center for the Arts, Frye Art Museum, and Crystal Bridges Museum of Art. Siren partnered with Durex on a 37million view campaign and has been featured on NPR, The Guardian, CNN, The Stranger, GeekWire, ThinkProgress, Frieze, and The Establishment.

Scott Sherman

Scott Sherman

Executive Director, Transformative Action Institute

Scott is an expert on the most effective ways that citizens succeed in creating social progress and innovation.

His work on nonviolent social change has been praised by the Dalai Lama and Mother Teresa.

He has won the outstanding teaching award from the UC Berkeley and is a faculty member in UCLA's School of Public Affairs.

Gayle Karen Young

Gayle Karen Young

Chief Talent & Culture Officer, Wikimedia Foundation

Gayle is a culture-builder and a catalyst for human development and specializes in team dynamics.

She brings a rich organizational consulting background with corporate and nonprofit
clients to her work.

Gayle is also the Board President of Spark.

Houston Spencer

Houston Spencer

VP of Communications, Rio Tinto

Houston leads the Communications and Media Relations team for the Fortune Global 500 company Rio Tinto.

He leads the vibrant conversation about Oyu Tolgoi, one of the worlds largest copper mines.

Houston has over 20 years' leading international teams at Alcatel-Lucent and McKinsey.

Shivani Siroya

Shivani Siroya

Founder, InVenture

She is an Unreasonable Institute, Echoing Green and Ted Fellow.

InVenture provides simple money management tools and credit scores to offline populations.

Currently teaching 'Mobilizing Communities' at Pepperdine University.

Cheryl Kiser

Cheryl Kiser

Executive Director, The Lewis Institute & Babson Social Innovation Lab

Cheryl has developed Babson as the 'go to place' for global social entrepreneurship resources, activities, relationships, networks, knowledge and convenings.

Before Babson, Cheryl was the Managing Director of the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship and has been one of the leading voices in the U.S. on the role of business in society.

She has also managed the largest annual conference in the world on corporate citizenship, the International Corporate Citizenship Conference.

Susan Burton

Susan Burton

Founder, A New Way of Life

After Susan’s five-year old son was accidentally hit and killed by a car, she numbed her grief through alcohol and drugs. As a result, she became trapped in the criminal justice system for nearly two decades before finding freedom and sobriety in 1997.

Drawing on her personal experiences, Susan founded A New Way of Life Re-Entry
Project (ANWOL) in 1998, dedicating her life to helping others break the cycle of
incarceration. ANWOL provides resources such as housing, case management,
employment and pro bono legal services, and empowers through advocacy, leadership
and community organizing on behalf of people who struggle to rebuild their lives after
dwelling in the underworld of incarceration.

William McNulty

William McNulty

Co-Founder, Team Rubicon

Team Rubicon unites the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders to rapidly deploy emergency response teams.

William has also worked in support of the Under Secretary of Defense and the Defense Intelligence Agency.

He holds a B.A. in Economics and an M.A. in Government from Johns Hopkins.

Mitchell Wade

Mitchell Wade

Founder, Institute3

Led CHOICE Humanitarian to help 60,000 people escape extreme poverty.

His latest project is Institute3, a think tank for practitioners obsessed with sustainable growth.

Mitchell is writing his third book about his proven method that enables sustainable growth.

Kabira Stokes

Kabira Stokes

Founder and CEO, Isidore Electronics Recycling

Isidore recycles e-waste and creates jobs for previously incarcerated persons.

Previously a Senior Field deputy for City of LA.

'Emerging Giant of Justice' award from CLUE L.A. & 2013 Social Innovation Rockstar by Yoxi.

Rafe Furst

Rafe Furst

Senior Vice President, Crowdfunder

Rafe is an entrepreneur, investor and advisor who connects ideas, people and resources to make good things happen faster.

He has founded or been a first round angel investor in over 30 startups, which collectively have generated over $1 Billion in revenue and $450 Million in liquidity to their stakeholders.

Rafe's been featured in the New York Times Magazine and WIRED.com for his ideas on unlocking shared value, has won awards for cancer awareness and video production and hold's a championship bracelet from the World Series of Poker.