Institute Speakers

Our speakers are from across industries, ready to connect with and inspire you. Check out some of past Institute speakers.

Are you interested in being a speaker at our Institute or have a recommendation for a great speaker? Please email us ([email protected]) with a bio and related speaker videos.

Learn more about the Institute

Institute Speakers

Our speakers are from across industries, ready to connect with and inspire you. Check out some of past Institute speakers.

Are you interested in being a speaker at our Institute or have a recommendation for a great speaker? Please email us ([email protected]) with a bio and related speaker videos.

Learn more about the Institute

Laurin Hodge

Executive Director + Co-Founder, Mission : Launch

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, Laurin oversees the day-to-day development of the organization and serves as the vision keeper for shifting policies, programs, practices and ultimately the allocation of resources. Through Mission: Launch Laurin envisions the elimination of the social stigma returning citizens face upon release from prison or jail. The lasting harm caused by our criminal justice system requires a robust approach to change. By way of an innovative workforce development strategy Mission: Launch seeks to simplify the path from incarceration to stability and ultimately self-sufficiency by addressing occupational licensing barriers for DC-Baltimore residents.

Seth Godin

Best Selling Author

He writes about the post-industrial revolution, the way ideas spread, marketing, quitting, leadership and most of all, changing everything. You might be familiar with his books Linchpin, Tribes, The Dip and Purple Cow. In addition to his writing and speaking, Seth has founded several companies, including Yoyodyne and Squidoo. His blog (which you can find by typing “seth” into Google) is one of the most popular in the world. He founded the altMBA workshop, an intensive 30-day experience that has more than 1,000 graduates in 30 countries. His latest book, What To Do When It’s Your Turn is now in its fifth printing. You can find it at yourturn.link. Photo by Brian Bloom.

Krista Tippett

Host/Executive Producer On Being & President, Krista Tippett Public Productions

She created and hosts the public radio program and podcast On Being and curates the Civil Conversations Project., an emergent approach to the differences of our age She received the 2013 National Humanities Medal at the White House for “thoughtfully delving into the mysteries of human existence. On the air and in print, Ms. Tippett avoids easy answers, embracing complexity and inviting people of every background to join her conversation about faith, ethics, and moral wisdom.

Kierra Johson

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

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!

Robert Egger

Founder, DC Central Kitchen & LA Kitchen

Robert is the Founder and President of L.A. Kitchen, which recovers locally sourced, cosmetically imperfect fruits and vegetables to fuel a culinary arts job training program for men and women coming out of foster care and older men and women returning from incarceration. Robert pioneered this model during his 24-year tenure as the president of the DC Central Kitchen, the country’s first “community kitchen”. Since opening in 1989, the kitchen (which is an $12-million-a-year, self-sustaining social enterprise) has produced over 35 million meals and helped 1,500 men and women gain full-time employment. He was the recipient of the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington’s 2007 “Lifetime Achievement” award and the 2004 James Beard Foundation ‘Humanitarian of the Year’ award.

Gayle Karen Young

Former Chief Talent & Culture Officer, Wikimedia Foundation

Gayle Karen Young is a culture-builder and a catalyst for human and organizational development. She comes from a rich organizational consulting background with both corporate and nonprofit clients. She was in process of becoming a monk when she became an executive instead, taking on the role of Chief Culture and Talent Officer at the Wikimedia Foundation (Wikipedia and its sister free-knowledge projects) until early 2015, when she decided to return to private practice as a rogue provocateur. Born in the Philippines to Chinese parents and raised in the United States, she has a multicultural perspective, an adventurous spirit, and a deep commitment to expanding human freedom.

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.

Meghan French Dunbar

Co-Founder, Conscious Company Media

Meghan French Dunbar is Co-Founder of Conscious Company Media, which is the first multimedia organization in the country that specifically focuses on purpose-driven business. The company’s flagship product — Conscious Company Magazine — was the first print and digital, nationally distributed publication in the United States to focus solely on sustainable and conscious business. After its launch in January 2015, the magazine was quickly picked up by Whole Foods Market, Target, HEB, Barnes and Noble, Kroger, and more.

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 is currently writing a book called, ‘How We Win: The Science of Making the World a Better Place’. He is currently the Senior Director of Social Innovation at Claremont McKenna College.

Aaron Walker

Founder & CEO, Camelback Ventures

Aaron is on a journey to live in the spirit of his baseball hero, Jackie Robinson, who said “a life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.” With this ethos, Aaron taught ninth grade English in West Philadelphia, put together deals for companies large and small as a lawyer, and supported new ideas to improve education as a portfolio director for the NYC Fund for Public Schools. Aaron is humbled to say that he graduated from the University of Virginia and Penn Law School. He also knows that this doesn’t entitle him to anything and is ready to earn his keep.

Vicki Saunders

Founder, SheEO

Vicki Saunders is an entrepreneur, award-winning mentor, advisor to the next generation of change makers and leading advocate for entrepreneurship as a way of creating positive transformation in the world. Vicki is Founder of SheEO and #radical generosity a global initiative to radically transform how we support finance and celebrate female entrepreneurs. Vicki has co-founded and run ventures in Europe, Toronto and Silicon Valley and taken a company public on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Vicki was recently named one of the 100 most influential leaders of 2015 from “EBW – Empowering A Billion Women”, In 2001, Vicki was selected as a Global Leader for Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum.

Laurin Hodge

Executive Director + Co-Founder, Mission : Launch

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, Laurin oversees the day-to-day development of the organization and serves as the vision keeper for shifting policies, programs, practices and ultimately the allocation of resources. Through Mission: Launch Laurin envisions the elimination of the social stigma returning citizens face upon release from prison or jail. The lasting harm caused by our criminal justice system requires a robust approach to change. By way of an innovative workforce development strategy Mission: Launch seeks to simplify the path from incarceration to stability and ultimately self-sufficiency by addressing occupational licensing barriers for DC-Baltimore residents.

Seth Godin

Best Selling Author

He writes about the post-industrial revolution, the way ideas spread, marketing, quitting, leadership and most of all, changing everything. You might be familiar with his books Linchpin, Tribes, The Dip and Purple Cow. In addition to his writing and speaking, Seth has founded several companies, including Yoyodyne and Squidoo. His blog (which you can find by typing “seth” into Google) is one of the most popular in the world. He founded the altMBA workshop, an intensive 30-day experience that has more than 1,000 graduates in 30 countries. His latest book, What To Do When It’s Your Turn is now in its fifth printing. You can find it at yourturn.link. Photo by Brian Bloom.

Krista Tippett

Host/Executive Producer On Being & President, Krista Tippett Public Productions

She created and hosts the public radio program and podcast On Being and curates the Civil Conversations Project., an emergent approach to the differences of our age She received the 2013 National Humanities Medal at the White House for “thoughtfully delving into the mysteries of human existence. On the air and in print, Ms. Tippett avoids easy answers, embracing complexity and inviting people of every background to join her conversation about faith, ethics, and moral wisdom.

Kierra Johson

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

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!

Robert Egger

Founder, DC Central Kitchen & LA Kitchen

Robert is the Founder and President of L.A. Kitchen, which recovers locally sourced, cosmetically imperfect fruits and vegetables to fuel a culinary arts job training program for men and women coming out of foster care and older men and women returning from incarceration. Robert pioneered this model during his 24-year tenure as the president of the DC Central Kitchen, the country’s first “community kitchen”. Since opening in 1989, the kitchen (which is an $12-million-a-year, self-sustaining social enterprise) has produced over 35 million meals and helped 1,500 men and women gain full-time employment. He was the recipient of the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington’s 2007 “Lifetime Achievement” award and the 2004 James Beard Foundation ‘Humanitarian of the Year’ award.

Gayle Karen Young

Former Chief Talent & Culture Officer, Wikimedia Foundation

Gayle Karen Young is a culture-builder and a catalyst for human and organizational development. She comes from a rich organizational consulting background with both corporate and nonprofit clients. She was in process of becoming a monk when she became an executive instead, taking on the role of Chief Culture and Talent Officer at the Wikimedia Foundation (Wikipedia and its sister free-knowledge projects) until early 2015, when she decided to return to private practice as a rogue provocateur. Born in the Philippines to Chinese parents and raised in the United States, she has a multicultural perspective, an adventurous spirit, and a deep commitment to expanding human freedom.

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.

Meghan French Dunbar

Co-Founder, Conscious Company Media

Meghan French Dunbar is Co-Founder of Conscious Company Media, which is the first multimedia organization in the country that specifically focuses on purpose-driven business. The company’s flagship product — Conscious Company Magazine — was the first print and digital, nationally distributed publication in the United States to focus solely on sustainable and conscious business. After its launch in January 2015, the magazine was quickly picked up by Whole Foods Market, Target, HEB, Barnes and Noble, Kroger, and more.

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 is currently writing a book called, ‘How We Win: The Science of Making the World a Better Place’. He is currently the Senior Director of Social Innovation at Claremont McKenna College.

Aaron Walker

Founder & CEO, Camelback Ventures

Aaron is on a journey to live in the spirit of his baseball hero, Jackie Robinson, who said “a life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.” With this ethos, Aaron taught ninth grade English in West Philadelphia, put together deals for companies large and small as a lawyer, and supported new ideas to improve education as a portfolio director for the NYC Fund for Public Schools. Aaron is humbled to say that he graduated from the University of Virginia and Penn Law School. He also knows that this doesn’t entitle him to anything and is ready to earn his keep.

Vicki Saunders

Founder, SheEO

Vicki Saunders is an entrepreneur, award-winning mentor, advisor to the next generation of change makers and leading advocate for entrepreneurship as a way of creating positive transformation in the world. Vicki is Founder of SheEO and #radical generosity a global initiative to radically transform how we support finance and celebrate female entrepreneurs. Vicki has co-founded and run ventures in Europe, Toronto and Silicon Valley and taken a company public on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Vicki was recently named one of the 100 most influential leaders of 2015 from “EBW – Empowering A Billion Women”, In 2001, Vicki was selected as a Global Leader for Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum.