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 The mission of the "Your Mark on the World Center" is to solve the world's biggest problems before 2045 by identifying and championing the work of experts who have created credible plans and programs to end them once and for all.
Crowdfunding for Social Good
Devin D. Thorpe
Devin Thorpe


This category is used to choose the posts that will be added to the headline rotation at the top of the home page.

Student Entrepreneurs Create ‘Talking Stickers’ To Prep Kids For School

Jamie Austin and Aisha Bukhari co-founded Attollo SE Inc. as graduate students at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. Attollo was selected as a finalist for the 2015 Hult Prize competition, awarded last month at the Clinton Global Initiative.

Jamie explains, “Young children from underprivileged families do not develop the vocabulary they need for success in primary school. The extent that the vocabulary of these children is behind their more privileged peers has been termed the vocabulary gap.”

Aisha notes that over 100 million under-privileged kids are not ready for primary school, adding, “A key reason less-privileged children are not primary school ready and drop out of school later in life is that they are unable to understand and communicate with the world around them. They lack the quantity and variety of words needed to develop meaning and understanding of words. They lack the vocabulary needed to succeed.”

A solution, Jaimie explains, is Attollo’s product: Talking Stickers. You can see a demo here:

You can download an audio podcast here or subscribe via iTunes.

“Talking Stickers, which is comprised of an electronic device called ollo that can scan stickers, record and play-back audio in any language or dialect, helps parents deliver educational content from our partner educational organizations to their children. Talking Stickers also enables children to learn in unstructured ways through exploration of their world and environment,” Jamie says.

Aisha adds, “Since stickers can be placed on anything, Talking Stickers transform common household items into educational toys. Talking Stickers follow proven, culturally relevant, early learning curriculum to deliver the best education for every child in their home. In essence, Talking Stickers is a teaching tool, empowering parents to talk, sing and read to their children in a playful manner and build their vocabulary.”

Aisha explains their passion, saying, “We believe that literacy is a fundamental human right.”

“Language development is just the beginning. We envision Talking Stickers as a tool to communicate information about health, nutrition and all areas of early childhood development. Millions of parents struggle with correct usage of child products (medicine, nutrition supplements etc) because they are unable to read. Talking Stickers solve this problem by providing audio instructions enabling parents to correctly use child products,” Aisha concludes.

Jamie adds, “We aim to help underprivileged children below the age of 6 to develop their vocabulary skills, making them ready for primary school. This will help them to succeed in school and will increase their chances to get a good job and lift their family out of poverty.”

On Wednesday, October 14, 2015 at 2:00 Eastern, Aisha and Jamie will join me for a live discussion about the Hult Prize competition and their remarkable technology. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

More about Attollo SE Inc.:

Twitter: @attolloSE

Attollo provides an affordable and playful way for parents to develop their child’s vocabulary at home. We do it through our innovation – talking stickers – which is comprised of a low-cost hand-held electronic device, named ollo, that can scan stickers, record and play-back audio in any language or dialect.

Co-founders Peter Cinat, Aisha Bukhari, Jamie Austin, Lak Chinta, courtesy of Ottollo

Co-founders Peter Cinat, Aisha Bukhari, Jamie Austin, Lak Chinta, courtesy of Attollo

Austin’s bio:

Twitter: @jamieWaustin

Jamie has a PhD in neuroscience and a MBA from the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. He as worked as a health educator in a developing country and a project manager for Canada’s largest hospital network. Jamie is a co-founder of Attollo and currently manages the development and production of educational content and the measurement of learning outcomes.

Bukhari’s bio:

Twitter: @bukhariAisha

Aisha is a Co Founder of Attollo SE Inc and an Action Canada Fellow (2-15-2016). She is an engineer and a social entrepreneur. She enjoys work that involves creating a positive social impact, leading change and developing integrative solutions. She is passionate about energy, innovation and social justice. Prior to co founding Attollo, she was working at Toronto Hydro where she spent six years leading development and implementation of innovative smart grid solutions. A career highlight includes leading the utility aspect of a consortium-based Community Energy Storage project – the first of its kind in North America. Aisha has also been an active participant in shaping the energy storage policy and framework in Ontario. She also served on the advisory board for Women in Renewable Energy, a non-profit organization. Aisha has a Bachelors degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Toronto, a Masters degree in Electric Power Engineering from the University of Waterloo and is a recent graduate of the part-time Morning MBA program from the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto.

 Remember to “join the cavalry” by subscribing to our content here.

Devin D. Thorpe

Coddle the Critics, Tolerate the Trolls, and Hug the Haters

Before I begin to make my case for putting up with the haters in your life more graciously, let me come clean. I hate, I mean detest, “feedback.” I’d rather go to the dentist than read feedback after I give a speech or publish an article. I’m easily insulted by faint praise so imagine how I feel with real criticism.

Recently, and I’m showing my age here, someone slammed one of my recent YouTube vids with a one word insult, “Noob.” I had to look it up to confirm that in fact, I had just been called a 21st century idiot. To be fair, the interview he commented on, was not my best. It was a painful reminder that I don’t have anyone’s permission to waste their time, insult their intelligence or preen.

And that is the point. If this hater had not taken the time to call me a noob, I wouldn’t know that my work didn’t live up to expectations and I wouldn’t be inspired, if only to avoid being called a noob again, to do better work.

Recently, I did a piece about a voluntourism start up. Some of the hardcore impact folks mocked the piece and the program rather mercilessly on social media. Ouch! When I piped up in defense of the piece and the program, the tone changed—but only slightly. Rather than make pithy quips about the failings, the crowd of trolls provided meaningful essays on the failures of the program and the piece. Ouch again!

Yes, a few conceded a few points and a few fans showed up in support, but the consensus was that the program wouldn’t have the desired impact and that the piece was deficient in its analysis and reporting. I was ticked off. How could anyone be critical of my writing when, obviously, I am just a nomination cycle away from a Pulitzer!  And how could anyone be critical of this well-intentioned program that I’d spent almost ten minutes vetting!


After sulking for a few days (can you imagine what a pain I am to live with?) I decided to invite one of the haters to be on my show. She was brilliant. The article for the show got five times more reads than the first piece and the show got 10 times more views in the first 24 hours.

What happened here? I had a better subject, I wrote a better piece and I had a more consequential discussion on air. Why? Precisely because I listened to the critics.

Trust me, I’m the first person to think of everyone critical of my work in any way, shape or form as a hater or a troll, but despite the fact that they infuriate me, I concede that I could not improve my work without them.

Positive feedback will only go so far. It is vitally important to know what works, but that idea is almost meaningless without the word “better.” That is, I need to know what works better than the crap, well, let’s say less brilliant content I produce. That means I need to know what doesn’t work. If all I know is what works, I can only plateau. To improve, I need to know both what works and what doesn’t work.

So, we need the haters and the trolls to tell us frankly and honestly what our fans, friends and mothers won’t tell us, when we suck, when we’ve got it wrong, when we make mistakes. The fear of negative feedback will naturally force us to improve our work.

If we are, and we definitely are, trying to solve big world problems like hunger, poverty, AIDS, malaria, cancer and every other public health menace, then we need—we desperately need—the negative feedback to identify the weaknesses in our plans.

The world’s biggest problems won’t solve themselves and they won’t get solved by processes built only on positive feedback. We need to love the haters because they are a vital part of accelerating our progress.


Three Surprising Legal Tips for Nonprofits

Ask anyone in the nonprofit world and you’ll hear that budgets are constrained. Running a nonprofit, however, is not easy. Brent Andrewson, an attorney at our sponsor Kirton McConkie, offers these three surprising legal tips to help.

  1. Be mindful of conflicts of interest. If you have a great board of directors, officers and employees it is likely you’ll find your organization navigating conflicts of interest from time to time. The existence of a conflict does not mean that you cannot proceed with a proposed project or transactin, but it does mean that you need to proceed carefully in this nuanced arena.
  2. Be sure to know when you need to register with a state for fundraising there. Forty states require nonprofits to register. Just having a website doesn’t trigger registration requirements, but other normal solicitation activities, including crowdfunding may.
  3. Being a nonprofit triggers regulation; it doesn’t exempt you from it.The tax, fundraising and other implications of nonprofits subject organizations to increased–not reduced–scrutiny from regulators.

On Thursday, October 1, 2015 at 1:00 Eastern to talk about these three tips. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

You can download an audio podcast here or subscribe via iTunes.

More about Kirton McConkie:

Kirton McConkie is Utah’s largest law firm. It provides excellent service in helping clients solve problems, achieve results and realize opportunities. We serve individuals and businesses, from large multinational organizations to small start ups. As the largest law firm in Utah, we represent a depth of collective knowledge and skills, clients desire. We also know, for the most part, clients tend to hire individual lawyers they have heard about, who have been referred to them or who they already know. We know it is true because it happens for us all the time. Many of our new clients come from referrals. To us, this is the highest form of recognition for the work and service we provide as lawyers and as a law firm.

Brent Andrewsen, Kirton McConkie

Brent Andrewsen, Kirton McConkie

Brent’s bio:

Mr. Andrewsen is a member of Kirton McConkie’s Corporate, and Tax and Estate Planning sections. His practice includes estate planning, probate and trust administration, gift taxation, tax-exempt organizations, charitable trusts and planned giving. Mr. Andrewsen also has advised clients with respect to business matters and has assisted in forming various business entities and transactions. He is a frequent speaker on issues regarding tax-exempt organizations, planned giving, estate planning, and related topics. In addition to his professional work, he has sat on the boards of various charitable organizations over the years. Mr. Andrewsen has an AV PreeminentTM peer rating from Martindale-Hubbell and is recognized as one of Utah’s Legal Elite for estate planning, a Mountain States Super Lawyer for estate planning and non-profits and a Best Lawyer for trusts/estates and nonprofit/charities. He was also honored by Utah Business magazine as a 40 Under 40 Rising Star.

Remember to “join the cavalry” by subscribing to our content here.

Devin D. Thorpe

‘Do Magic with Your Life’

Rai Chowdhary is a successful engineer, entrepreneur and author. Having accomplished many of  his goals, he now focuses on helping others achieve theirs.

Rai calls his system “Do Magic with Your Life.” He has a simple, executable plan to help people achieve their dreams. He focuses on helping people identify achievable dreams and then developing a path to get there.

He offers these three tips as a short summary of his complete system:

Tip 1: Define what you want to become:

Time is a one way street, and it is an equal opportunity phenomenon. From billionaires to the man on the street, and from noble laureates to illiterates, all have exactly 24 hours in a day and 365 days to the year. Like fine grains of sand escaping from your fist, it slips away – whether you notice it or not. Then why not channel it to do-magic with your life? Start by creating your dream; if you don’t have one yet – get on the road to discovery, but get moving…and once you have identified what you want to become, define it. That is the D in Do-Magic.

Tip 2: Create your dream:

You need to “create” Your dream at the intersection of your passion, your strengths, and the opportunities you see in this world. This ensures the highest chance for success and unleashing of your potential. Without passion, there won’t be enough drive to move you forward; without strengths, you will run out of steam and struggle; and without vectoring these in the direction of right opportunities, there will be much wasted time and effort. So, all three are essential and work in sync.

Tip 3: Move toward your dream:

Even if the future looks dark, the path is not completely visible, move towards your dream. Standing still isn’t going to lead you anywhere, and just because the flashlight you have illuminates the path by a few yards is no reason to stay stuck. You will see more of the path as you begin moving forward. In some cases – you will be the trail blazer and create your own path.

On Thursday, October 1, 2015 at noon Eastern, Rai will join me for a live discussion about his “Do Magic” principles. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

You can download an audio podcast here or subscribe via iTunes.

More about The KPI System:

KPI stands for Key Performance Improvement – and, it works through Do-Magic. Do-Magic is an acronym with each letter indicating key steps one needs to take – for example: D= Define your Dream; without a dream, you might end up drifting. O = Observe and be Objective. Observe who has done this before, and be objective about your dream, or it can quickly turn into an illusion. M is for Mindsets, Milestones, and Measures of Success…etc. Thus Do-Magic offers a framework and system to create and live your dreams – be it at a personal level, or for an organization.

Rai Chowdhary

Rai Chowdhary

Rai’s bio:

Twitter: @raichowdhary

Rai Chowdhary is an entrepreneur, investor, and coach. He realized and lived his dream of becoming a top engineer, despite insurmountable odds early in life that nearly ended his career. His products and technologies have helped millions and span a wide spectrum that includes automotive products, snack foods, and, medical implants.

His next dream was to become a coach to the world’s leading companies. To realize it, he founded a coaching and training company, winning customers from small and medium enterprises, to Fortune 500 corporations.

Do-Magic is at the core of his approach to life and business; his latest book Do-Magic with Your Life documents the system and framework of Do-Magic. Now he is on the journey of sharing Do-Magic across the world – enabling people to create and live their dreams.

Remember to “join the cavalry” by subscribing to our content here.

Devin D. Thorpe

Learning to Make a Difference: Three-Year Follow-up

Three years ago, I wrote the book, Your Mark on the World. In the book, I profile a host of ordinary people who were doing remarkable things for good. One of the subjects of the book was a group of my students at South China University of Technology where I was teaching when I wrote the book.

The chapter I wrote about this group is included in this post below. I’ve asked one of the students, Niu Chongran, or Adrian, to join me on Tuesday, September 15, 2015 at 6:00 Eastern. We’ll talk about his experience with the service project described in the book (and below) and his experiences since. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

You can download an audio podcast here or subscribe via iTunes.

Chapter 27

Learning to Make a Difference

Niu Chongran, or Adrian, got his first real taste of volunteering in China as a student last year at South China University of Technology when his teacher assigned the students to form groups and do some form of volunteer work as a way to develop managerial skills and experience.

Chongran was the leader of a group of freshmen that also included Lu Xiaoliang or Dandelion, Liu Shiqin, Feng Yucheng or Jack, and Zhang Jiahui or Ana.

(Long before college, most Chinese students choose an English name to facilitate their study of English.  Chinese given names are often chosen based on their meaning and may not necessarily be names in the English sense of the word.  Hence, when Chinese students choose English names they don’t feel constrained to use a traditional name, but may choose any English word that resonates with them by virtue of its sound or its meaning.)

The students in the class were initially bewildered by the assignment, but most ultimately caught the vision of volunteering and worked hard to plan, organize and execute a project that would leave someone or something better off.

Chongran’s group decided to coordinate their efforts through the Guangzhou Volunteer Union, an only-in-China sort of organization.  The GVU as it is commonly known is a government organized non-governmental organization or GO-NGO.

Going back to the Cultural Revolution in China from 1966 to 1976, the strident form of communism practiced at the time devastated the economy and left citizens in fear of their government; no one volunteered to do community service of any sort in this environment.  The idea of selfless sacrifice of time and resources for strangers and the less fortunate was inadvertently obliterated by the effort to govern the people specifically for the common good.

The government created the GVU to promote volunteering in the community in 2002; volunteering had sprung to life in the 1990s in Guangzhou, but the government hoped to accelerate the development of volunteering by providing funding to advance the cause.  Their primary activity is to train people in the basic aspects of volunteering, that is, why it should be done and how one might find time to help other people.

Their focus is on helping the elderly, especially those who have no living children.  Each year they help to coordinate 15,000 volunteers in making 70,000 contacts with almost 17,000 seniors either in person or by phone.

After completing a basic course in volunteering, people can opt for more advanced training that teaches them to better appreciate the needs of seniors and to learn how to assess their situation and identify opportunities to help.

The most common problem identified by the GVU among seniors is severe depression; seniors often report contemplating suicide.  The effort appears to be effective; no known suicides have been reported among the seniors in the program.

In one case, Feng Xian or Cherry, a Vice President of GVU with responsibility for coordinating the meetings of the Board of Directors, reported proudly that one of their volunteers had found a woman who was despondent and thinking about suicide.  Not only did the program visits help to improve her mood, but as her mood improved, she joined the volunteers and is now among the most active in visiting other senior citizens.

Chongran’s group got involved with the 2011 effort to make and deliver scarves to the senior citizens.  Chongran and his team hoped to knit five scarves—one from each member of the group, but ultimately the boys in the group were unable to pull it off.  The girls came through, each knitting a scarf (though one of the three scarves was not in the end viewed as being an acceptable gift, leaving two) to be given to seniors.


Left to right:  Lu Xiaoliang “Dandelion,” Feng Yucheng “Jack,” Niu Chongran “Adrian,” Zhang Jiahui “Ana,” and Liu Shiqin (front).  Photo courtesy of Niu Chongran “Adrian.”

Via email, Chongran told me in his excellent English as a second language, “There’s differences between weaving a scarf for senior and buying a scarf for senior, because most of us don’t know how to weave the scarf and we took time to learn and weave, eventually when the scarf was finished by our own hand, we have already weaved our love inside, that’s enough to inspire everyone’s potential of being love.”

Through the GVU, the five student volunteers identified a very elderly woman who lived with the elderly wife of her nephew, who wasn’t entirely out of the picture but who did not live full time with his wife and aunt.  Each of the elderly women received a scarf and a thoughtful visit from the group.

Jiahui noted afterward, “From that project, I not only knew more about life in Guangzhou but also got shocked by what the volunteers did. There were shower devices installed by volunteers also a specially made telephone for the old, buttons of which are quite big to make it easier for the old to read. By marking words like help on the button, the old lady could call for help with ease.”  She added a note that represents the sentiments of her group, “I think we should not only focus on the material abundance, but give them more company.”

The students spent several hours with the senior ladies, having already spent countless hours learning how to knit and then knitting them beautiful scarves for them.  One can only guess at the impact the visit had on the seniors, but I don’t have to guess at the impact on the students.

Shiqin caught the vision of the project and how it benefits not only the seniors, but also the volunteers.  She noted, “I think being a volunteer is not only helping others but also helping ourselves to grow; it’s those efforts that help us realize our responsibilities to contribute to the society and provides us with a source of satisfaction and fulfillment.  And I will continue to do these right things.”

Chongran is organizing an ongoing effort to follow up on the project and plans to broadly recruit students to join him formally in the fall; he already has several committed.  When the entering freshmen arrive on campus next fall, one of the activities will be a day for students to join clubs.  One of the options will be Chongran’s student club for caring for senior citizens.

Yucheng commented, “For me this is an unforgettable experience… From this I learned that we can help people and we should help people who need.  I can never forget the smile in the old lady’s face.”

Expert’s Three Keys To Promoting Your Story

Our supporter, Mike Schwager, is a PR pro who specializes in helping people and organizations, especially those doing good in the world, to share their stories for maximum media exposure. He’s sharing his three key for promoting your story with Your Mark on the World readers today.

1. Be Persuasive: Pitching a story to an editor or reporter has some basic tenets for a persuasive publicist. First, always tell the truth. Second, know your outlet before you call or email. Third, have the right attitude: See the journalist as a peer in communications. Believe in your story. Believe in yourself.

2. Be Creative: Creative formatting tips: First, use news to make news. Remember “relevance,” “impact,” “timeliness” and “novelty.” Second, seasonal tie-ins. Once, eight weeks before Christmas, we convinced the manufacturer to designate a Holiday Consumer Affairs Specialist who could talk about “everything you wanted to know about mailing gifts for the holidays.” We booked this specialist on literally dozens of top all-news stations in major markets around the country. Third, products are newsworthy when they Are evolutionary or revolutionary. I’ve booked many products that were a next step up in technology on shows like Today or Good Morning America.

3. Humanize Your On-Air Appearance: First, humanize yourself and your organization. People don’t want to hear cold statistics or facts; make more use of anecdotes. Second, a smile is worth a thousand words, and remember to smile when appropriate. Also, use the first name of your interviewer, or opponent. When you transmit a smile, or use someone’s first name, you’re energizing the empathetic cord between you and your audience. You become more likable.  As you’re talking to an interviewer, think of someone you’ve been close to who you love and care about. The interviewer will feel that positive emotion. (I learned that from Walter Cronkite in the men’s bathroom at CBS).

On Tuesday, September 15, 2015 at 1:00 Eastern, Mike will join me for a live discussion about pitching your story to the media. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

You can download an audio podcast here or subscribe via iTunes.

More about Worldlink Media Consultants:

Media Relations and Communications Services: Speech Writing (for CEOs, government officials [US and overseas], and celebrities); Op-Ed page writing; TV interview training (by phone and in-person); Publicity [primarily for non-profit and humanitarian organizations, authors, and leading-edge thinkers]; Video Production; Reputation Repair; Creative Consulting.

Mike Schwager

Mike Schwager

Mike’s bio:

Twitter: @MikeSchwager

Mike Schwager’s communications career began at CBS, for Network Radio News, and as a writer for CBS Audience Services. For the latter, Mike explained CBS policy to viewers and shareholders. From CBS he moved to the large public relations agency, Burson-Marsteller, where he served as a broadcast media specialist, promoting the Fortune 500. From Burson, Mike became partner at Michael Klepper Associates, where he promoted China as PR Director of The Exhibition of the People’s Republic of China; and managed accounts for The Louisiana World’s Fair; Father Flanagan’s Boystown; Kelloggs; The government of Canada; Data General; Polaroid; and Automatic Data Processing (ADP).

At his own agencies, The Media Relations Group, and later, Worldlink Media Consultants, Mike’s client roster included: The United States-Mexican Development Corporation; IBM; Harvey Mackay’s “Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive” (which he turned into a mega best-seller); Inc. Magazine Publisher Wilson Harrell’s “For Entrepreneurs Only” (Wilson dedicated his chapter on public relations to Mike); John Robbins’ “Diet For A New America;” Cleve Stevens’ “The Best In Us;” Opportunity International; CURE International; World Vision; Darcy O’Brien’s “The Hidden Pope;” The Mentors Channel and The WellBe (digital bracelet that measures stress); Jack Nadel’s “The Evolution of an Entrepreneur”); and Bob Lenz’s “Dignity Revolution: Standing Up For The Value Of Every Person.”

Mike is presently about to launch a publicity campaign with breakthrough information on mental disease for renowned psychiatrist, Dr. Clancy McKenzie, M.D., Founder/Director of The Alternative American Psychiatric Association and author of “Delayed Posttraumatic Stress Disorders From Infancy” and “Babies Need Mothers: How Mothers Can Prevent Mental Illness In Their Children.”

Mike’s public relations websites are at:, and He maintains two spiritual/humanitarian sites at:, and Mike is also host of a spiritual/humanitarian Internet radio show, The Enrichment Hour, on

He can be reached via e-mail at: He is based in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. His phone is: 954-423-4414.

The Woman Who Distributed 25 Million Dictionaries Still Looking To Give More

Mary French is a on a crusade to improve literacy around the world. Partnering with organizations like Rotary International for help, Mary French has collected and distributed 25 million dictionaries, mostly to third graders in every state in the U.S. and in other countries around the world.

“The problem is that children do not have access to dictionaries with more than 32,000 words in school. In order to be functionally literate a person must know more than 5,000 words to be able to read instructions or hear them and understand them to complete a task,” Mary explains, adding, “A dictionary is a reliable resource that makes a person self-reliant and able to think independently.”

Mary is making remarkable progress with the Dictionary Project. She notes, “To solve the problem of illiteracy we partner with people who want to put dictionaries into the hands of students where they live by giving them their own personal dictionary. Since the project began we have donated over 25,000,000 dictionaries to people in all fifty states and around the world.”

Mary has a remarkable vision of the future she’d like to create. “We would like to have more people involved to ensure that everyone will be able to enjoy the benefits of owning a dictionary so that they will be able to use the English language effectively. To solve the problem of illiteracy in every community children need to be encouraged to spend more time reading and less time watching television. By learning new words people are able to form associations with other people and create more connections to enrich their lives and make this country a better place to live for all.”

On Thursday, September 10, 2015 at 3:00 Eastern, Mary will join me for a live discussion about her inspiring work. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

You can download an audio podcast here or subscribe via iTunes.

More about the Dictionary Project:

The Dictionary Project is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization that raises money to provide dictionaries to everyone to ensure that they will be able to enjoy the benefits of owning a dictionary.

Mary French

Mary French

Mary’s bio:

Mary has a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in English from Charleston Southern University. She has been the Director of the Dictionary Project since 1995 when the organization began, founded by Mary and her late husband Arno French. She has written and published ‘The Best Dictionary for Students’, ‘A Student’s Dictionary & Gazetteer’, ‘A Student’s Dictionary & Gazetteer, Canadian Edition and ‘A Student’s Dictionary & Gazetteer, Caribbean Edition’, and with the help of Siddarth and Karan Rai, ‘A Student’s Dictionary & Animal Gazetteer’. Mary and Arno were terrible spellers. The dictionaries were a reliable and accurate aid to help them spell words correctly and expand their frame of reference. The Dictionary Project was created to provide that opportunity to all of the children in South Carolina; a state that ranked 47th in the nation in education. Improving education is a difficult challenge. South Carolina is now 42nd in the nation in education in part because of the Dictionary Project.

Remember to “join the cavalry” by subscribing to our content here.

Devin D. Thorpe

Gate Global Impact Seeks To Disrupt Impact Investing Sector

Your Mark on the World sponsor Gate Global Impact is trying to change the way impact investing is done, giving ready access to deals and investment opportunities to more people than ever before.

Joseph Latona, Managing Director for GGI, says, “GGI is working to centralize the fragmented Impact investing sector. Many people have heard about Impact investing, but then do not know where to find these investments or even a place to find information on what an impact company or fund looks like.”

“GGI mission is to provide a centralized regulatory compliant market place that allows investors to source Impact investments and providing Companies the ability to connect with like minded investors to raise capital,” Joseph concludes.

On Thursday, September 10, 2015 at 1:00 Eastern, Joseph will join me for a live discussion about the progress GGI is making toward is goal of fundamentally disrupting the impact investing space. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

You can download an audio podcast here or subscribe via iTunes.

More about Constellation Fin Tech:

Twitter: @gateimpact

CFT is a disruptive Financial services company that applies its core technology infrastructure to facilitate private and unregistered securities transactions in a regulatory compliant manor. Two main subsidiaries are GATE Global Impact, and ShareNett. GGI is our impact investing solution, allowing Investors to source both primary and secondary investments that in addition to the possibility of a financial rate of return they also provide a social or environmental rate of return. GGI provides companies and for profit social organizations a utility to raise capital and connect with cause focused investors. ShareNett is our Family office and High Net Worth invitation only platform. Built by a family office (Raptor our majority owner) for family offices that allows members the ability to connect and co-invest in member originated deal flow.

Joseph Latona

Joseph Latona

Joseph’s bio:

Mr. Latona has spent the past 15 years in the financial services industry with a background in trading Fixed income, derivative securities and architecting technology systems. Mr. Latona is a Managing Partner and oversees the day to day operations of Constellation Fin Tech LLC, that operates the subsidiaries Gate Global Impact Inc, ShareNett LLC and Vision Quest Securities ( Member FINRA, SIPC) In 2010 Mr. Latona and his partner Vincent Molinari Co-founded Gate Global Impact Inc, (GGI) leveraging there collective industry experience and personal passions to bring visibility to the emerging socially responsibly and environmental investing sector.

Rabbi Rescues At-Risk Youth In Utah

Over three years ago, I launched the work of the Your Mark on the World Center with the publication of my book, Your Mark on the World. In the book, I profiled some wonderful people doing amazing things to make the world a better place.

One of the most fascinating people I profiled was Rabbi Benny Zippel of Chabad Lubavitch of Utah, who had launched a program to provide spiritual help and support to at risk youth spending time in residential schools, including some who were there as an alternative to incarceration.

Three years later, I’m eager to catch up with Rabbi Zippel and his Project HEART.

“Thousands of precious young souls find themselves in Utah for 9-18 months at a time in a variety of residential treatment centers, to help them be able to better cope with their challenges in life. As one can understand, the challenges facing these young men and women are not limited to them themselves but can have a lasting impact on their families and loved ones as well,” he explains.

“As the Executive Director of Project HEART, my work focuses on providing a support system for these young people, based on the principles of Judaism and spirituality, helping each and every one of them discover how they truly are a gem, and all that is necessary is for them to uncover the beauty that exits within them,” he adds.

Operating and funding the program is a big challenge. Yesterday, Project HEART raised over $200,000 in 24 hours via Charidy in a one-day crowdfunding campaign. The success was driven in part by matches from Gail Miller, Scott Anderson and a group of other supporters so that every dollar donated became four.

Rabbi Zippel explains, “Project HEART is a non-profit organization that functions only through the generosity of the local community. We are hoping that by raising awareness of the help that our students need, people will get involved and do their part to help us change these lives.”

On Thursday, September 3, 2015 at 2:00 Eastern, Rabbi Zippel will join me here for a live conversation about the work of Project HEART.

You can download an audio podcast here or subscribe via iTunes.

More about Project HEART:

Twitter: @ChabadUtah

Project HEART was founded in July of 1992, as one of the branches of Chabad Lubavitch of Utah, the local branch of the world’s largest Jewish outreach organization. Project HEART focuses on providing love and unconditional support for young men and women who find themselves here in Utah in Residential Treatment Centers, as well as support for their families.


Rabbi Zippel’s bio:

  • Born in Milan Italy, May 5, 1966
  • July 1984 Oxford Institutes, Milan Italy: Advanced Degree Modern Languages
  • June 1988: Rabbinical College of America, Morristown New Jersey: Bachelor Of Religious Studies
  • September 1989: Central Yeshiva Tomchei Tmimim Lubavitch, Brooklyn, New York: Rabbinical Ordination,
  • Married Sharonne Schochet, February 13, 1990
  • Moved to Salt Lake City, Utah in July 1992 to establish Chabad Lubavitch Of Utah (Utah branch of world’s largest Jewish Outreach Organization, Chabad Lubavitch)
  • December 1992: Founded Project H.E.A.R.T. (Hebrew Education for At Risk Teens) – a weekly outreach endeavor to hundreds of Jewish teens throughout Utah with acute behavioral and life threatening issues.
  • February 2002: official Salt Lake Olympic Chaplain Jewish chaplain for XIX Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City, UT
  • August 2006: Gave Invocation at Luncheon at Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City, Utah, hosted by US Senator Orrin G. Hatch welcoming US President George W. Bush.
  • December 2007: Attended White House Chanukah Party in Washington D.C., as guest of US President George W. And First Lady Laura Bush.
  • May 2009: Accompanied Governor Jon M. Huntsman on his 1st visit to Israel
  • May 2012: Gave keynote address at National day of Prayer event at Utah Valley University
  • June 2014: Received Bronze Minuteman Award by the Utah National Guard at Utah National Guard Fifty-Third Annual Dinner at Little America Hotel in Salt Lake City in recognition for work with Project H.E.A.R.T. (Hebrew Education for At Risk Teens) throughout the State of Utah
  • Father of 6 children (4 boys, 2 girls)
  • Speaks: Italian, English, French, German, Hebrew, Yiddish, and Portuguese.

Gate Global Impact Looks Forward With New Partner, Raptor Group

Controlling interest in Gate Global Impact, a Your Mark on the World Center sponsor and an investment platform for impact investments and creating new market infrastructure, was recently acquired by Raptor Group via the formation of Constellation Fin Tech.

I’ve been following Gate Global Impact for years now and have had founder Vince Molinari on my show several times. Last year, we talked with Daniella Foster of the U.S. State Department about the role that crowdfunding is playing in international development. We had previously talked about the same topic, Vince’s passion.

Gate Global Impact is destined to become a major player in impact investing.

On Wednesday, August 26, 2015 at 4:00 Eastern, Vince will join me for a live discussion about Gate Global Impact and Constellation Fin Tech, and their relationship to Raptor Group.

You can download an audio podcast here or subscribe via iTunes.

More about Constellation Fin Tech:

Twitter: @GateImpact

Constellation Fin Tech is an innovative and disruptive financial technology software platform company with focus platform launches on impact investing and family offices.

Vince Molinari

Vince Molinari

Vince’s bio:

Twitter: @VinceMolinari

Vincent Molinari is the co-founder and CEO of GATE Global Impact, a leading electronic marketplace platform that’s helping the world’s leading organizations standardize and accelerate impact investing.

Vincent is an active speaker on issues related to capital markets and early-stage companies, and he regularly speaks at events around the world. He’s been invited to testify before the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services and the Subcommittee on Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises. Vincent has also testified before the Securities and Exchange Commission Advisory Committee on Small and Emerging Companies regarding secondary market liquidity. He regularly consults with members of Congress and regulatory agencies on these issues.

Vincent is a managing partner at Constellation Fin Tech and a founding board member and former co-chair of the Crowdfund Intermediary Regulatory Advocates, a self-regulating association that works with governmental and quasi-governmental entities to establish crowdfunding industry standards and best practices. Vincent is also a co-founder of the Crowdfunding Professional Association, a leading trade organization for the crowdfunding industry, and sits on the board of CF50, a global think tank of 50 of the leading minds from academia, policy, and industry.

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Devin D. Thorpe

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