I believe that for the first time in human history we have the real opportunity, the tools and the will to end our world’s most pressing problems. We’re at an inflection point, and what we do over the next decades can lead to a just, sustainable future or it can mean utter failure. We get to choose.
Molly is a StartingBloc Fellow with passion for sharp communications, strong and flexible relationships, and seamless community experiences. StartingBloc's LA '12 Institute was a meaningful inflection point in her life, and she's excited about working to offer the StartingBloc experience to movers, shakers, and change makers.
Virgil has worked on everything from behavioral health to communication technology to roller coaster ride operation. StartingBloc offers him a space to connect with people who are truly up to something, and he is inspired by what the Fellowship makes possible. He loves travel, making pierogis, and everything related to Pittsburgh.
The Board of Directors
Mitchell Wade helps innovators turn insights into change. He was lucky enough to work with public policy analysts at RAND, executives at Schwab, technologists at Accenture--plus architects, priests, and rowing coaches. Then Mitchell struck gold, teaming up with seven social entrepreneurs working in the poorest villages of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. They helped 60,000 people escape extreme poverty, quadrupled per-dollar impact, and launched their organizations toward sustainability. Mitchell's latest project is creating Institute3, a thinktank for practitioners obsessed with
Mary currently serves as Vice-Chair of the Tecovas Foundation. Mary's experiences in the interactions between philanthropy and social entrepreneurship space have driven her to become a leader in the emerging generation of philanthropists. She also serves on the board of the Cleveland Council on World Affairs and the City Club of Cleveland Endowment Foundation. In 2010, Mary was a participant in the Next Generation Leaders summit at the White House. She graduated with a BA in Political Science and History from Kent State University lives with her husband in Cleveland, Ohio.
Cheryl Yaffe Kiser
Cheryl is the Executive Director of The Lewis Institute and The Babson Social Innovation Lab, and is responsible for leading a critical aspect of the growth strategy for Babson by promoting broad support for Babson's work in integrating social innovation and social relevance into its curriculum and co-curricular activities. She is a recognized leader in corporate social responsibility and social innovation. Before coming to Babson, Cheryl was the Managing Director of the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship. For more than 12 years she played a central role in creating the largest research center of its kind in the U.S. Cheryl is also the co-creator of Food Sol an 'action tank' at Babson’s Social Innovation Lab dedicated to using entrepreneurship to redesign the food system.
Vikas manages a structured finance business called CIBL Management, LLC, and works with a number of technology start-ups both as an advisor as well as an angel investor. Vikas has previously held positions at UBS Investment Bank in the Structured Products & Strategic Solutions Group working to develop novel solutions for a variety of the bank's clients. He has previously worked with Ashoka as a pro bono consultant to their Social Financial Services Group. Vikas received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Computer Science from Duke University with a Minor in Economics, and an MBA from Graduate School of Business at Stanford University.
J. Todd Smith
Todd is the co-founder and CEO of Oxen, a food systems innovation company enabling the next generation of hyperlocal, sustainable, and transparent agriculture through its farm-to-consumer subsidiary The Trusted Table, patented technologies, and a proprietary food metric. Prior to co-founding Oxen, Todd co-founded Gratio Capital, an investment advisor that launched the Values Fund, a socially responsible mutual fund that garnered the top 2009 Wall Street Journal. He later founded The Longitude, and while there, BloombergBusinessweek named Todd and his team 'America's Most Promising Social Entrepreneurs' for their launch of Hello Rewind. In 2010 spurred by the problems in our national and local food systems, Todd began focusing full-time on the agriculture space. He is an alumnus of the University of Delaware.
Whitney is an associate at Alliance Bernstein Global Wealth Management and the Founder and Executive Director of Sustainable Strength. Whitney works with a team to manage approximately $2.1 billion of private funds, with global placement using research based investment strategies. Whitney also acts as Executive Director of Sustainable Strength a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization focused on sustainable economic and infrastructural development in urban areas, with current projects in Newark, NJ and Brooklyn, NY. Whitney received his Bachelors of Arts degree in Sociology with a focus on Markets Management and the Economy from Dartmouth College, and holds a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies with a focus in Urban Sociology, also from Dartmouth College. Whitney has completed additional work at Oxford University and Columbia Business School and he is a London 2008 StartingBloc Fellow.
Sophie Waskow (BOS '07) is currently a project facilitator in the Office of Sustainability at The George Washington University. Sophie previously worked at SustainAbility, a corporate social responsibility consulting firm. She helped to found the Washington DC Regional Board of StartingBloc and has served as chair and co-chair for five years. Sophie is actively involved in the Women's Launch Pad mentorship program at Brown and helps to advise student projects at Brown's Social Innovation Initiative. Sophie graduated with honors from Brown University with an A.B. in English Literature and is pursuing an MPA with a focus in sustainability management at GW.
The Fellow Advisory Committee
StartingBloc is constantly looking for new ways to offer Fellows the resources that they need to achieve dramatic impact. The Fellow Advisory Committee (FAC) is a group of highly engaged Fellows who serve as representatives of StartingBloc’s community of Fellows as we continue to improve our programs and services.
The purpose of the FAC is to support StartingBloc in the design and delivery of high quality services to the global Fellowship. The FAC also serves to promote StartingBloc’s values by fostering collaboration between Fellows. We’re serious about this commitment: The chair of the FAC serves as a voting-member of StartingBloc’s Board of Directors.
Members of the FAC represent a wide range of geographies, cultures, and Institute classes. Currently the FAC members include:
- Abe Taleb (BOS ’10)
- Claire Penicaud (LA ’11)
- Jess Yueh (LON ’07)
- Laura Tomasko (LON ’08)
- Luke Barbara (NY ’10)
- Michelle Ng (LON ’08)
- Rebecca Offensend (LON ’08)
- Richard Johanson (BOS ’09)
- Ronjon Bose (BOS ’09)
- Sophie Waskow (BOS ’07), Chair
- Taylor Buonocore (LA ’11)
- Vinay Nagaraju (LON ’07)