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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

Interview

Surviving Japan’s 9.0 Earthquake Changed This Trader’s Life For Good

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

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

“I was living in Tokyo at the time and working for a Wall Street bank when the earthquake hit; I was on the trading floor literally when this huge earthquake hit,” says Wendy Hapgood, 40, now chief operating officer for the Wild Tomorrow Fund.

She goes on to explain that it wasn’t the earthquake that rattled her so much or even the ensuing tsunami. Rather, it was the nuclear crisis that developed in the following days.

“A lot of people commented at the time of the disaster, ‘Well, you know, it wasn’t that bad; nobody died [from the radiation].” And I really thought—because I was there on the ground and I experienced it personally—that they were missing a crucial part of the environmental destruction and the poisoning of our Earth,” she explains.

“I used to joke with friends that I felt like the only banker on Wall Street who wanted to quit to join Greenpeace,” she says. Watch the full interview with Hapgood in the video player at the top of this article.

Several years would pass before she left Wall Street to form the Wild Tomorrow Fund with her co-founder and Executive Director John Steward.

Wendy Hapgood CREDIT: WILD TOMORROW FUND

For his part, he credits a conservation volunteer trip to South Africa in 2013 with inspiring him to step away from his career as an advertising creative executive. “I first witnessed the immense struggles wild animals and the people responsible for their safety were facing.”

Steward is proud of the impact their organization is having. “I am most proud of educating people on the issues facing our natural world. I have seen many people take positive action to protect wildlife who I believe would not have done so without my influence.”

When Hapgood left Wall Street in 2015, she not only co-founded the Wild Tomorrow Fund but also started a master’s program in sustainability management at Columbia University’s Earth Institute. She studied the intersection of poverty and rhino poaching.

Poaching is a hot-button issue for her. She notes that rhinos are critically endangered entirely because of poaching, with fewer than 20,000 white rhinos and 5,000 black rhinos left in the wild.

Things aren’t much better for elephants. From 2007 to 2014 when the last census was taken, 30% of elephants in Africa were gone due to poaching. Seeing “144 thousand elephants killed in the last seven years, sort of on our watch, this is not a crisis from the past it’s a crisis of today.”

The Wild Tomorrow Fund started working by literally putting boots on the ground. While the organization considered sexier investments like drones, when they learned that rangers in South Africa were not only poorly paid but so poorly equipped they didn’t even have boots, they raised money to buy them boots.

Today, the organization has a four-pronged approach to conservation:

  1. Wildlife protection: the fund provides support to 16 different wildlife reserves, funding uniforms, equipment and training. Part of the funds helps to support dehorning rhinos to protect them from poachers.
  2. Conservation research: The fund conducts research to contribute to the conservation of threatened species and their ecosystems. Not only are they looking out for elephants, but also hyenas and the scarcely known suni antelope, an endangered species about the size of a chihuahua living in rare and threatened sand forests.
  3. Habitat conservation: The fund purchases land that is or can be restored to serve as habitat for endangered species. Hapgood notes, “Habitat loss is perhaps the biggest threat to the future of our planet’s wildlife.”
  4. Community development: Noting the connection between poverty and poaching, the Fund sees a need to connect conservation to community benefit.

“I would like us to have even greater impact on the ground in Africa,” Steward says of his vision for the fund’s future. “The activities we choose to support will stay fluid in order to match the region’s conservation challenges. For the foreseeable future, we will continue to help protect wildlife by supporting the region’s underfunded wildlife reserves and we will continue to purchase and protect large areas of wild land that are under threat from agriculture and human development.”


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Think You Know Haiti? Samuel Dameus Says Think Again!


Samuel Dameus, a social entrepreneur from Haiti, says the world’s perception of Haiti is malformed, by what we read about Haiti in the media. The Caribbean country rivals its peers for sheer beauty as a destination.

While not without its problems, Haiti’s reputation has become a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy. Samuel is working to change the narrative, to help the world reimagine Haiti less as a destination for aid and more as a tourist destination.

Be sure to watch the full interview with Samuel at the top of the article.

Credit: Samuel Dameus

Interview with Samuel Dameus , the Founder  of Faces of Haiti.

The following is the pre-interview with Samuel Dameus . Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.

For-profit/Nonprofit: For-profit

Revenue model: Event fee, Books & Canvas sales

Scale: $102,500

What is the problem you solve and how do you solve it?

Changing the narrative of Haiti through images while reducing its lack of visibility to the world. The exhibition and book reveal the beauty of Haiti which directly impact the tourism industry. It provides direct access to an audience of prospective tourists to discover Haiti who otherwise would never get to see the country’s true beauty which exists in the rich culture, landscape and its people. Faces of Haiti has also created a platform and a movement to engage every Haitian and friend of Haiti as an ambassador to promote Haiti.

More about Faces of Haiti :

Facebook: facebook.com/facesofhaiti

Website: Samueldameus.com

Faces of Haiti is an international photo exhibition

Samuel Dameus

Samuel Dameus ’s bio:

Twitter: @samueldameus

Facebook: Facebook.com/Samueldameus

Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/samuel-dameus-981140167

Instagram: @samueldameus

Born with a natural sense of leadership, Samuel Dameus has demonstrated his energy talents as an effective leader throughout his career. A native of Cap-Haitien, Haiti, Samuel Dameus is a young dynamic professional in social communication, digital marketing and photography. Dameus is passionately dedicated to offer his best to his country.

Dameus has worked as Director of Communications at the Ministry of Tourism and Sunrise Airways as “Marketing Director”, and in several other private institutions as a consultant in Communication.

Over the years, he continuously uses technology to effectively communicate his vision and ideas. His interest in using technology effectively to communicate has initiated his involvement in developing his knowledge of the latest and most practical forms of communication in the ever-changing world of technology. As stated, images are unquestionably one of the best communication tools, which is why Dameus naturally started his social photography shortly after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.

He is the founder of “Faces of Haiti”, an international photo exhibition project and an eponymous published book. Both reflect the current situation throughout Haiti with a particular emphasis on different aspects of the country, the beauty of Haiti still unknown and unfamiliar throughout the world. This social vocation has allowed it to fully expose in many major cities around the world, the thousand and one facets of Haiti, including its multidimensional splendor. Miami, Orlando, Havana, Beijing, Cairo, Geneva, New York, Montenegro, Paris, Boston, Washington D.C., Bueno Aires, Montreal and very soon London and Port-au-Prince are the some cities featuring the photography exhibition.

Dameus is also a sought after speaker and influencer who has received several awards for his commitment over the last year aimed at Haiti’s progress through tourism and culture.


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The New Sheriff In Human Trafficking Is Wielding Big Data

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

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

Heather (not her real name) was working consensually at an escort service as a sex worker when she realized that a human trafficking ring was trying to trap her. “She was completely panicked,” says Sherrie Caltagirone, to whom Heather reached out.

Caltagirone leads the Global Emancipation Network, a young, nonprofit organization that utilizes data to identify both traffickers and victims. Their weapon is Minerva, named for the Roman goddess of wisdom and strategic warfare, which puts the big data to work.

Studies about the number of people being trafficked today yield different results, ranging from 20 to 45 million, giving the estimates a margin of error greater than 100%. The trafficking problem is huge but so is the lack of good data. The Global Emancipation Network is out to fix that.

“Human traffickers are reliant on current technology to increase their revenue. But the same technology can be used against them,” Caltagirone says, explaining the fundamental premise of her work. (Be sure to watch my full interview with Caltagirone in the video player at the top of this article.)

Using Minerva, Caltagirone was able to identify the individuals involved in the attempt to trap Heather in this trafficking ring. Leveraging the organization’s relationships, “we were able to rescue her from that situation and she was not trafficked.”

The Global Emancipation Network has received help from Microsoft Philanthropies, which provides technological support that accelerates the effort. GEN has recruited Microsoft volunteers and utilized Microsoft Philanthropies’ grants and discounts over the past two years since GEN was founded. This is part of the Tech for Social Impact Team at Microsoft.

Sherrie Caltagirone CREDIT: GLOBAL EMANCIPATION NETWORK

“The upstream impact GEN has had in the human trafficking sector is remarkable given their size,” says Justin Spelhaug, general manager for the Microsoft program. “It is inspiring to see how a relatively small organization saw an opportunity to put their talents to work and went all in, leaning on partners like Microsoft Philanthropies to provide the tools to fulfill their vision. GEN is just scratching the surface on the immense impact they can make in ending the human trafficking industry.”

Caltagirone says the long-running efforts to thwart trafficking needed an upgrade. “The strategies that we have been employing are completely ineffective,” she says.

She points to the recent FBI takeover and shuttering of Backpage as an example. The site was used for selling sex, including trafficking victims. Shutting it down was hailed as a victory. Caltagirone says we’re just playing “whack-a-mole.” The perpetrators, who were not arrested, will simply move their ilicit wares to other websites.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, NCMEC, was created in 1984 by John and Revé Walsh. It is designated by Congress to serve as the national clearinghouse for information about missing and exploited children.

Staca Shehan, the executive director of the case analysis division of the NCMEC, notes that Microsoft introduced Caltagirone and GEN to the NCMEC in 2016. “Sherrie has traveled to NCMEC to provide training to our staff in-person and collect feedback based on our use of the tool,” Shehan says.

Shehan explains how the NCMEC uses Minerva. “Minerva helps NCMEC find information in large, hard to search data sets. Specifically, Minerva has helped NCMEC locate additional phone numbers in online advertisements and further analyze who that phone might be registered to, which can lead to possible current location for the child. Time is critical in missing child cases and Minerva is one of the tools that support NCMEC’s efforts to generate leads quickly to support the child’s recovery.

Fighting human trafficking is different than address many other social problems. In other situations, even bad actors may have no malice, no intent to cause a problem. Rather, problems either arise through no human action, as in the spread of malaria or polio, or as byproducts of other activities, as in our near-universal use of fossil fuels with its impact on the climate. In contrast, with human trafficking, there are bad guys acting with malice.

This contrast leads to difficult results for those at risk of trafficking. In Heather’s case, trafficking was averted, but her life was devastated. The would-be traffickers told her full-time employer about her nontraditional side hustle and she lost her job. They told her landlord and she lost her apartment. Ending human trafficking and its related suffering will not be easy.

Minerva has now identified 989 individual victims and perpetrators and is tracking 22,000 more. The work of the Global Emancipation Network provides everyone in the anti-trafficking effort with a new tool that both protects those at risk and blocks, hinders and punishes the traffickers. There’s a new sheriff in town and she’s slinging big data.


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This Quadriplegic Turns His Horror Into Hope For Others


Nathan Ogden broke his neck twice–the second time when he was dropped off an x-ray table a year after being paralyzed. He turned tragedy into triumph, building a successful career as a speaker.

In recent years, he’s turned his attention and his focus to others less fortunate than himself. He’s created a nonprofit organization, Chair the Hope, to provide wheelchairs to people, typically in the developing world, who lack access to this life-changing device.

Watch Nathan’s story in the video player above.

Interview with Nathan Ogden, the Co-Creator of Chair The Hope.

The following is the pre-interview with Nathan Ogden. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.

For-profit/Nonprofit: 501(c)3 Nonprofit

Revenue model: The following are our current streams of revenue but we are working on many others at the moment.

– Strait Donations at chairthehope.org
– Nathan speaking at events with part of the fee going to nonprofit
– Sales of the movie “Chair The Hope” and Nathan’s book “Unfrozen”
– Annual Gala/auction fundraiser
– Ticket sales from theaters showing the movie
– Company and other organization donations

Scale: In just over one year from creating Chair the Hope we have raised over $100,000. At $150 a wheelchair, that is 666 individuals and families who have, or will have, their lives changed forever.

What is the problem you solve and how do you solve it?

It’s estimated 100 million people in the world need a wheelchair but don’t have the means or opportunity to get one. Paralysis, diabetes, amputees, spina bifida, and birth defects are just a few causes creating this need. Chair The Hope raises funds and has partnered with the Wheelchair Foundation to manufacture and deliver wheelchairs throughout the world. By working with local communities and over 150 countries we are making a difference in providing independence and mobility to those who desperately need it.

Nathan’s Website:  NathanOgden.com

More about Chair The Hope:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chairthehope/

Website: www.chairthehope.org

Chair The Hope is a nonprofit that helps those with disabilities locally and throughout the world. There is a strong focus on providing wheelchairs and other adaptive devices to those in need, allowing that individual and their families the power of independence, the power of life.

Nathan Ogden

Nathan Ogden’s bio:

Twitter: @nathandogden

Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/nathan-ogden-08622227/

Instagram: @nathan_ogden

Nathan Ogden has taught thousands how to conquer their fears and move from paralysis to progress through eliminating excuses in their lives. He is a highly sought-after keynote speaker, wheelchair athlete, co-creator of the non-profit Chair The Hope, and author of the book Unfrozen. In 2001, Nathan broke his neck snow skiing leaving him paralyzed and in tremendous pain. Nathan lives in Meridian, Idaho and is married to a beautiful wife with four children. He uses his unique life-changing experiences in overcoming challenges to train a vast variety of groups, from high schools to business executives throughout the country. Nathan’s courage and determination give hope and power to all who know him and hear his messages.


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Women’s Unique Traits Make Them Powerful, Author Says


Amy Stanton, the CEO of Stanton & Company, an agency that focuses on sports and lifestyle businesses, mostly run by women, co-authored The Feminine Revolution with Catherine Connors. Their thesis: women’s feminine traits don’t make women weak, they make them powerful.

Interview with Amy Stanton, the CEO of Stanton & Company.

The following is the pre-interview with Amy Stanton. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.

For-profit/Nonprofit: For-profit

Amy’s Book:  https://femininerevolutionbook.com/

More about Stanton & Company:

Twitter: @StantonCompany

Facebook: facebook.com/StantonCompany

Website: stanton-company.com

Stanton & Company LLC is a sports and lifestyle marketing and PR agency. Our services include brand strategy, marketing, PR, events, content development, social media and more. We bring the skills and high-level thinking from big agencies and big brands to philosophy-driven, entrepreneurial clients.

Amy Stanton. Photo Credit: Molly Stanton

Amy Stanton’s bio:

Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/amykstanton/

Instagram: @amykstanton

With a background in traditional marketing and deep experience in marketing to and building brands for women, Amy Stanton has a unique perspective on the women’s landscape, the role of femininity in personal and professional lives, and the impact that unleashing our true feminine power can have on happiness.

Amy founded Stanton & Company (S&Co) with a passion for promoting and building positive female role models and messaging for women. Since 2006, when the company opened its doors, S&Co has built a roster of philosophy-driven brands, including exceptional athletes, lifestyle experts, and brands in the healthy, active living space.

Before founding Stanton & Company, Amy served as the first-ever chief marketing officer (CMO) for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and was the head of marketing and communications for NYC2012, New York’s Olympic bid, where she developed and executed both the local and international campaigns for this first-ever endeavor. Amy started her career in account management at advertising agencies including BBDO, JWT, and BBH.

Between her leadership roles on Fortune 500 accounts in advertising, her role as the CMO at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, and, most recently, as founder and CEO of an eleven-year-strong marketing and PR agency focused on building female-focused brands, Amy has deep experience in the women’s space and a wide range of relationships with powerful women who have inspired her thinking about femininity and how women can be our best. Amy has received accolades and awards from the Sports Business Journal and Women in Sports and Events (WISE) LA, and Stanton & Company has been recognized as an industry leader. She speaks about marketing and representation, women in sports, and women’s leadership.

Amy recently wrote a book called The Feminine Revolution with co-author Catherine Connors, challenging the idea that femininity and feminine qualities are weak, and encouraging women to define and embrace their feminine behaviors as sources of power.

Interview with Catherine Connors, the Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Maverick.

The following is the pre-interview with Catherine Connors. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.

For-profit/Nonprofit: For-profit

Catherine’s Blog:  herbadmother.com

More about Maverick:

Twitter: @genmaverick

Facebook: facebook.com/genmaverick

Website: genmaverick.com

Maverick is a digital community platform for young people to express themselves, anxiety free and to connect with people around shared interests.   This new community invites you to be who you want to be, say what you want to say, be curious, and find your people.

Catherine Connors: Photo Credit: Catheryn Brockett

Catherine Connors’ bio:

Twitter: @herbadmother

Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/catherineconnors

Instagram: @herbadmother

Catherine Connors is a writer, entrepreneur, activist and mother. She is the co-founder and CCO of Maverick, the founder and author of the website Her Bad Mother, and co-author of The Feminine Revolution.

As the founder and author of Her Bad Mother, Connors has been helping mothers navigate motherhood, womanhood and raising empowered girls since 2006. Named one of Time’s Top 25 Blogs of 2012, HerBadMother.com has been featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and sundry other publications, as well as on CNN, ABC, CBC and the BBC online. A former academic, she holds a BA in Communications and Political Theory (Simon Fraser University), a MA in Political Science (University of Toronto), and PhD (ABD, University of Toronto) in Political Science. Her research on the place of women and girls in the history of social thought, which took a close look at how social understanding of their roles has been defined in reflected in philosophy, art, literature and popular culture, has continued to inform much of her writing as well as her work in media.

Formerly the Editor in Chief of Babble Media and head of content and Editor in Chief of Disney Interactive’s women and family division, Connors has made appearances on most major media outlets, including CNN, NPR, and Good Morning America. Continuing her passion for helping young women and girls, in 2015 Connors created Demeter Media Group, a research and media development company dedicated to developing media properties and content products serving the market of women and families. Demeter’s flagship project, Project Girl Quest, became the basis for Maverick, a creative community and social network for girls and young women that Connors co-founded in 2017.


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How You Can Grow Donations From Your Existing Donors 72%

Adam Treiser wanted to do something to make a difference in the world. A lawyer by training, he was unsatisfied with the work he was doing, so he immersed himself in artificial intelligence. He developed a way to help nonprofits optimize the ask to every donor.

If you ask a donor who is willing to give you $250 for $25, you’ll likely get the $25. On the other hand, if you ask a donor who is ready to give you only $50 for $250, you’ll likely get zero! Knowing just the right ask is a game changer.

Using only information that you already have, his company, Arjuna Solutions can help you increase donations from your existing donors. Their experience to date suggests a first-year bump of 19 percent and a second-year increase of 72 percent.

Learn more here. (Disclosure: Arjuna Solutions has agreed to pay a small commission to the Your Mark on the World Center to support our work when you sign up.)

Interview with Adam Treiser, the Founder and CEO of Arjuna Solutions.

The following is the pre-interview with Adam Treiser. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.

For-profit/Nonprofit: For-profit

Revenue model: The value of artificial intelligence – or any intelligence – is in the ability to make better decisions.  Arjuna enables nonprofits to realize the benefit of AI by selling each decision for a few cents each. For example, if a nonprofit is sending a direct mail campaign to 100,000 donors, it will purchase 100,000 ExactAsk ask amounts from Arjuna.  This means that nonprofits get the benefit of AI, without any capital expense, lengthy subscription fees, and no setup, maintenance, or data fees.

Scale: Nonprofits using ExactAsk raised more than $250 million in 2017 across more than 570,000 donors.  Since 2016, Arjuna has produced nearly 20 million ask amounts, generating an average increase in donor lifetime value of 19% within 12 months and 72% within 24.

What is the problem you solve and how do you solve it?

Arjuna solves the problem of how to maintain the value of individual donor relationships.  While most nonprofits have employees that manage major givers and cultivate those relationships over time, it simply is not cost effective to do that for the millions or thousands of non-major givers.  By using artificial intelligence, Arjuna enables nonprofits to apply the same personalization methods of major giving to its database of donors.

Learn More:  www.exactask.com

More about Arjuna Solutions:

Twitter: @arjunasolutions

Facebook: facebook.com/ArjunaSolutions

Website: www.arjunasolutions.com

Arjuna Solutions is an artificial intelligence company specializing in consumer pricing.  The firm’s ExactAsk Platform was specifically developed to enable nonprofit organizations to determine individually optimized price points for individual donor solicitations that optimize Donor Lifetime Revenue while retaining patrons.

During the past two years, Arjuna’s ExactAsk Platform for individual giving optimization has produced more than 18 million individually optimized “Ask Amounts” for nonprofit organizations to use in individual donor campaigns. These precision ask amounts have generated an average uplift in donor revenues of 19% within first year and 72% in the second year.

Arjuna’s clients typically experience three operating benefits with ExactAsk including:

   1. Faster response rates to solicitations
   2. Improved levels of participation from donors and most importantly
   3. Increased giving that are correlated to the amount requested of the donor.

These benefits substantially increase revenue for nonprofits while also multiplying the value of donor relationship management platforms like Salesforce, DonorPerfect, Constant Contact, and others by applying AI to the data those systems collect.

Nonprofits purchase ask amounts for a few cents each. There are no capital costs, no subscription fees, consulting fees and no maintenance, set-up fees or data acquisition costs.

On average, ExactAsk increases the lifetime value of a donor by 19% within 12 months and 72% within 24 months.

The technology is employed in a wide variety of fundraising campaigns categories when executed through direct mail and email solicitations including: Acquisition, Renewal, Upgrade, Lapsed, Recurring, Special Appeal and End of Year Campaigns. There is minimal change to existing fundraising workflows, providing maximum efficiency in adopting the technology.

Adam Treiser, Founder/CEO of Arjuna is a distinguished professor of Decision Sciences at the Johns Hopkins University Whiting School of Engineering. He was recently commissioned to deliver the Keynote Address at the United Nations Conference on Human Horizons covering the subject of “ A.I. for Humanity”.

Arjuna Solutions was also named one of the Top 25 Machine Learning Companies of 2018 by CIO Apps Magazine.

Adam Treiser

Adam Treiser’s bio:

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/atreiser/

Adam Treiser is founder and CEO of Arjuna Solutions, and professor of analytics and decision science at the Johns Hopkins University.  Adam regularly speaks about artificial intelligence and how it can be used for good. He recently delivered the keynote address at the United Nations on the topic of “AI for Humanity”.  


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Proven Business Leader Launches The Period Project To Serve Young Women

Lakisha Simmons holds a PhD in Management Information Systems, seeming to make her an unlikely candidate to tackle a distinctly non-business, non-technological social issues. But that didn’t stop her.

Simmons recognized that too many young women here in America struggle to afford feminine hygiene products. To address the issue, Simmons launched the Period Project, to ensure that every young woman has access to period products.

Interview with Lakisha L. Simmons, Ph.D., the Executive Director of The Achiever Academy; Founder Homework Suite App; Associate Professor of MIS at the Jack C. Massey College of Business at Belmont University of The Achiever Academy.

The following is the pre-interview with Lakisha L. Simmons, Ph.D.. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.

What is the problem you solve and how do you solve it?

We tackle issues that are obstacles for girls and young women when striving for success. We found that college women, especially minorities, had difficulties with climbing the corporate ladder and achieving personal and professional success. So we provide networking opportunities and soft skills workshops to bridge those gaps. We also know that period poverty is an issue that prevents economically disadvantaged girls from attending school and therefore host a number of product drives each year.

More about The Achiever Academy:

Twitter: @TheAchieverMe

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheAchiever.me/

Website: http://theachiever.me ; http://lakishasimmons.com

The Achiever Academy (501(c)3) (http://theachiever.me), is a mentoring and leadership academy to develop poised, persistent, and prosperous college-educated women. The Achiever Academy targets high school, collegiate, and professional women to participate in its events and workshops.

Our Vision is that young adult women are highly achieved, poised, persistent, and prosperous in their personal and professional lives.

Our mission is to support, mentor and teach girls and young adult women to be poised, persistent, and prosperous through sophisticated and inspiring fine dining, service, and networking experiences.  The Academy hosts fine dining, networking and service experiences (Period Projects) that include leadership events and soft skills workshops focused on three outcomes: career success, community impact, and a prosperous life.

For-profit/Nonprofit: 501(c)3 Nonprofit

Revenue model: The Achiever Academy is supported by generous sponsors and donors.

Scale: The Achiever Academy has served over 400 girls, college women, and professional women in 2018. We have three board members and a small group of volunteers that work to make our event-based model successful.

Dr. Lakisha L. Simmons

Lakisha L. Simmons, Ph.D.’s bio:

Twitter: @drkishasimmons

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/drkishasimmons/

Instagram: @drkishasimmons @theachiever.me

Dr. Lakisha L. Simmons (Dr. Kisha) is a Six Sigma Black Belt (Caterpillar, Inc), and associate professor of management information systems at Belmont University in Nashville, TN.  She is the founder of Homework Suite App and The Achiever Academy nonprofit. Her expertise in business intelligence and her research in data science and edtech have resulted in over 40 peer-reviewed scholarly works and countless awards. Dr. Kisha was awarded the 2018 Nashville Emerging Leader in Education by the Nashville Chamber of Commerce and 2018 Susan Short Jones Emerging Leaders Award by the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc Metro Nashville Chapter.

Dr. Kisha earned her undergraduate degree in Management Information Systems from Tennessee State University. She holds a Ph.D. in Management Information Systems with a minor in Marketing from the University of Mississippi. Prior to receiving her doctorate, Dr. Simmons held several positions with Caterpillar Financial Services Corporation, including Six Sigma Black Belt and IT Business Analyst.

Dr. Kisha’s platform centers on keeping girls in school and successful (through Period Project initiatives and college-women networking events) and developing them into poised, persisted and prosperous women (through workshops). She spends a great deal of her time mentoring, training and speaking to young women about tech careers, adulting and academic success strategies.

She is an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Faculty Member of The PhD Project, and the Honor Societies of Phi Kappa Phi and Beta Gamma Sigma International.

More about Lakisha Simmons:  http://lakishasimmons.com


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Social Entrepreneur Challenges All To See Opportunity In Place Of Risk


Sly Young sees communities commonly called “at risk” differently. He sees “opportunity communities,” places where positive change saves lives and creates new possibilities for people in that place.

Interview with S. L. “Sly” Young, the Founder and President of Saving Our Communities at Risk Through Educational Services (SOCARTES) and Beyond SPRH, LLC.

The following is the pre-interview with S. L. “Sly” Young. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.

What is the problem you solve and how do you solve it?

SOCARTES is committed to providing individuals access to personal development opportunities, which can lead to these individuals reaching their career potential and goals.

Beyond SPRH’s goal is to deliver quality services with minimal time, effort, and cost with an objective of highly satisfied customers and measurable performance outcomes.

Sly Young Speaker:  slyoung.com/inspired.html

More about Saving Our Communities at Risk Through Educational Services (SOCARTES) and Beyond SPRH, LLC:

Twitter: @socartes_org  @beyondsprh

Facebook: facebook.com/beyondsprh

Website: socartes.org / beyondsprh.com

SOCARTES is an educational nonprofit founded in December 2012; its focus is to help individuals overcome personal challenges and barriers to achieve educational goals within their communities.

Beyond SPRH, LLC provides solution-oriented services to help individuals and organizations maximize output potential.

For-profit/Nonprofit: SOCARTES is a nonprofit organization, which isn’t a 501(c)3.  Beyond SPRH, LLC is a for-profit company.

Revenue model: SOCARTES is primarily self-funded, but also receives occasional donations from the community to support program delivery within the community.

Beyond SPRH’s revenue is generated from consulting work, speaking engagements, and book sales.

Scale: SOCARTES is operated by S. L. Young with oversight by a Board of Directors.  There isn’t a need for staff as the founder (who is an educator with over ten years of teaching in higher education) teaches inmates at a local jail using books written by the founder.  Also, under this model overhead costs are minimal. Beyond SPRH is a sole proprietorship with under $100K annual revenue.

S. L. “Sly” Young

S. L. “Sly” Young’s bio:

Twitter: @slyoungva

Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/staceylyoung

Instagram: @slyoungva

S. L. Young is a multi-award winning educator, mental health advocate, author/writer, program leader, professor, inspirational speaker, and radio host. Mr. Young’s materials provide solution-oriented guidance to address life and business challenges.  During his professional career, Mr. Young managed multi-million dollar projects in various Fortune 500 companies for over 15 years in the areas of billing, engineering, network security, operations, product development, and more.

Mr. Young is also the founder of the non-profit organization – Saving Our Communities at Risk Through Educational Services (SOCARTES), which teaches individuals in opportunity “at-risk” communities about life, business, and soft skills. Mr. Young’s for-profit company, Beyond SPRH, LLC, provides solution-oriented services to help individuals and organizations maximize output potential.

Mr. Young graduated from the American University in Washington, D.C. with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (B.S.B.A.) in International Business with a marketing concentration. He also graduated from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. with a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) in Finance and Investments with a human resources concentration and a Master of Science (M.S.) in Project Management.

In 2018, Mr. Young received special recognition for his work to educate inmates.  The first is the “Martin Luther King, Jr. Drum Major Innovative Service Award” from the U.S. Department of Education for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, in collaboration with the White House Initiative for Educational Excellence for African Americans.  The second is the “Distinguished County Service Award” from Volunteer Arlington (a program of the Leadership Center for Excellence).


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2 Guys Talk #MeToo–Can This End Well?


Mike Domitrz began training audiences on safe and respectful behavior in the workplace and elsewhere long before #MeToo was a hashtag–long before there were hashtags.

On the eve of the Senate vote on the confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, following the hearing with Dr. Christine Blasey Ford last week, Mike and I connected for a perilous discussion about #MeToo–perilous because the #MeToo discussion should include women.

(For the record, I have spoken to women about these issues and have written about their perspectives here.)

Mike says we need to work together to create safer, most respectful spaces for the people in our lives, both at home and at the office. He draws a close parallel, suggesting that developing a safe, respectful environment at work requires drawing on some of the lessons we learn about having safe, respectful relationships at home.

Be sure to watch the full discussion in the video player above.

Interview with Mike Domitrz, the Author and Speaker of The DATE SAFE Project.

The following is the pre-interview with Mike Domitrz. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.

What is the problem you solve and how do you solve it?

Reducing sexual violence by creating a Culture of Respect

Podcast:  www.RespectPodcast.com

More about The DATE SAFE Project:

Twitter: @DateSafeProject

Facebook: FaceBook.com/datesafe

Website: www.DateSafeProject.org

Help organizations, communities, educational institutions, and the US Military create a Culture of Respect

For-profit/Nonprofit: For-profit

Revenue model: Fee for educational programs and presentations along with educational materials and online training programs we provide.

Scale: We present 150 – 250 trainings and presentations each  year.

Mike Domitrz

Mike Domitrz’s bio:

Twitter: @MikeDomitrz

Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/datesafeproject/

As the brother of a survivor, Mike Domitrz has been traveling the world sharing with audiences for almost 3 decades. As an author, speaker and host of “The RESPECT Podcast,” Mike loves sharing skill sets for creating a world founded in respect.


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Tragedy Inspires Service To Children Of Cancer Patients


Nick Arquette was still a kid when his mother was diagnosed with cancer. The experience tore him apart, at once wanting to help his mom and still wanting to be with and like all the other kids who weren’t worried about their parents.

Ultimately, his mother succumbed to the cancer. As the years went by and her memory faded, Nick increasingly wanted to do something in her honor. Reflecting on his childhood, he launched Walk With Sally in her name to mentor children of cancer patients so they can enjoy more normal lives.

Interview with Nick Arquette, the Founder & CEO of Walk With Sally.

The following is the pre-interview with Nick Arquette. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.

What is the problem you solve and how do you solve it?

At Walk With Sally, I believe we are really filling a crucial support gap in the cancer community by offering hope and mentorship to the children who are often left by the wayside in the wake of a parent’s cancer journey.

Volunteer:  walkwithsally.org/get-involved

More about Walk With Sally:

Twitter: @walkwithsally

Facebook: facebook.com/walkwithsally

Website: www.walkwithsally.org

Walk With Sally believes no child should walk alone in the face of a loved one’s cancer journey. Because we don’t want cancer to define or limit children for the rest of their lives, we create hope, healing and a supportive community through individualized mentoring, which transforms the lives not only of the children but also of the families impacted by cancer.

For-profit/Nonprofit: 501(c)3 Nonprofit

Revenue model: The majority of our annual revenue comes from our special events and fundraising efforts. Rallying the support of the community in order to really grow our fundraising model has had the biggest impact on our growth. This makes up for 50-55% of revenue generated each year. The remaining revenue is generated from either grants or private and corporate donors.

Scale: When Walk With Sally first started back in 2006, it was just a vision, and it all began by testing out the idea of a mentor friendship with one child, thanks to a partnership with the Lawndale school system. From that point until 2014, we were completely volunteer based. In 2014, Nick stepped in as CEO to oversee the nonprofit full time. From 2014 to current day, we have been able to grow the program from all volunteer based support, to now having 7 full-time employees. Our impact has also grown by 300%, from supporting only a few families at a time, to now having helped hundreds of families throughout 35 cities across greater Los Angeles. Since 2014, when Walk With Sally really implemented a solid business model and moved away from being volunteer-based, the annual revenue has increased by 200% between 2014 and current day.  

Photo Credit: Walk With Sally

Nick Arquette’s bio:

Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/nicholas-arquette-94376817

Instagram: @walkwithsally

Nick Arquette founded Walk With Sally in 2005, naming it for his mother who was diagnosed with breast cancer and after many years of treatment, died when Nick was sixteen. With an entrepreneurial spirit, Nick never forgot how challenging and isolating the years of his mother’s illness and loss had been for him as a child. Wanting to keep the legacy of his Mother alive while seeking to serve youth facing similar circumstances, Nick searched for mentoring opportunities in the community only to discover that NO organization was filling this critical support gap.  After careful research, he launched Walk With Sally and began mentoring a youth who had recently lost his mother to cancer.  From that first successful friendship, Walk With Sally’s core Mentoring Program has expanded, having served hundreds of families throughout the South Bay over the past 10+ years. Today Walk With Sally has helped countless families along the way and the program currently supports over 100 active children; boys and girls ages 7-17, with trained volunteer mentors throughout Los Angeles County.  With all his work throughout the community, in 2011 Nick was awarded Citizen of the Year by MB Chamber Women in Business and was a finalist for the Daily Breeze Most Philanthropic in 2012. Walk With Sally was awarded the distinction of Nonprofit of the Year in 2017 by the Palos Verdes Peninsula Chamber of Commerce.


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