Breakfast + Registration

Opening Remarks

Village to Raise a Child Presentations

IGNITE Talk | Sandra Kim

Panel Session I

IGNITE Talk | Elsa Sze


Innovation Showcase

IGNITE Talk | Luis Von Ahn

Panel Session

IGNITE Talk | Liz Powers

Closing Remarks


Panel Topics



Growing pains: microfinance

For a long time, microfinance was branded as the panacea to poverty. However, this idea of allowing people to "pull themselves up by the bootstraps" has left much to be desired. With large Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs) placing more emphasis on profits earned than on communities served, the microfinance landscape has taken a turn for the worse, away from socially responsible business and toward a profit-first mindset. Despite the fact that microfinance has pulled many people out of poverty, high interest rates and aggressive loaning practices have caused many others to default on their loans. This panel will discuss the successes and shortcomings of microfinance, especially as it relates to economic development.

Featuring: Adam Grenier, Lecturer at Tufts, Former Kiva Fellow | Alex McCue, Former Director of Student Programs at Human Connections | Dilip Mookherjee, Professor of Economics at Boston University

Munch on this: Sustainable food + Nutrition Systems

Sustainable food and nutrition has become increasingly more important as innovations occur beyond the supermarket. As consumers begin asking where their food comes from and how it was grown, the issues surrounding sustainability begin to arise. We aim to tackle this multi-faceted issue and as such, we bring together companies that disrupt the food production system and pave the way for sustainable diets.

Featuring:  Nicole Ledoux, CEO & Co-Founder at 88Acres | Lara Lepionka, Founder and Executive Director at Backyard Growers | Phil and Therese Meers, Founders at Viking Icelandic Yogurt | Gary Adamkiewicz, Assistant Professor of Envrionmental Health and Exposure Disparities at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health


As a college student or recent graduate, you have probably spent much time agonizing over future career paths. This panel sets out to explore what you can do in the realm of social innovation and social change. This panel will help you think about what social innovation means and how you can get involved. The panelists will start the conversation about the role of social innovation in relation to markets, governments, and communities, to help you delve into an exciting world of possibilities.

Featuring: Stephanie Khurana, Boston Managing Director at Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation | Gillian Caldwell, CEO of Global Witness, Producer of Citizen Koch 

Saving Our Planet: Environmental Sustainability

Growing populations, increasing temperatures, and urbanization are leading to the exhaustion of natural resources. The consequences of deplenished resources are severe: they have led to water and food shortages, soil erosion, global warming and the extinction of species. In order to build a sustainable future, it is essential that scientific, political and industrial leaders work together to solve environmental challenges that our world faces. This panel will focus on social innovators from a variety of backgrounds and fields that are working to make our world a greener place to live.

Featuring: Cindy Noe, Environmental Policy Consultant, HKS & MIT Sloan School of Management Candidate | Eric Gratz, CTO at Battery Resourcers | Otto Lundman, Cofounder & Business Developer at Modvion 





What are new and creative ways in which entrepreneurs today are tacking issues of feminism by means of social innovation? How do we keep the conversation feminism inclusive of everyone who wants to participate, given the fractures in the movement along race/gender/class lines? What role does social innovation have in empowering women?

Featuring: Kerry Conley, Assistant Director of the Women and Public Policy Program at Harvard Kennedy School | Jessica O'Connell, Executive Director at Emily's List | Rana Abdelhamid, Founder of Women's Initiative for Self-Empowerment

Sustainable Design: Building Resilient COmmunities

How can the built environment enhance community-building and prepare for an uncertain future of climate change? This panel will explore how designers, planners and architects are "building" for a sustainable future, through the lens of design, technology, community organizing, and policy. 

Featuring: Maryam Eskandari, Founder MIIM Designs LLC | John Peterson, Curator of the Loeb Fellowship at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and Founder of Public Architecture | Emmanuel Pratt, Executive Director at Sweet Water Foundation 

International Disasters and Health Crises: Getting Involved

Every year, natural disasters and disease epidemics tragically claim many lives. The lesser known reality is that first responders at disaster or epidemic sites face enormous obstacles, from finding appropriate ways to treat victims, to acquiring adequate financial support. In this panel, we'll explore how you can get involved in major health crises as a social innovator, with experts in first response, local politics, and international relief.

Featuring: Nahuel Arenas, Director of Humanitarian Programs and Policy at OXFAM America | Sean Kivlehan, MD, MPH, Associate Director of International Emergency Medicine Fellowship at Brigham and Women's Hospital | Patrick Vinck, Ph.D., Assistant Professor at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Associate Faculty at Harvard Humanitarian Initiative 

Quality Education for All

Education is crucial to the growth and well-being of an individual, community, and even entire society. Many social problems - from poverty to gender inequality - can be targeted through improving access to quality education. Unfortunately, huge disparities exist in educational access, especially in developing countries. What are social innovators doing to change that, and how can we help?

Featuring: Leslie Engle Young, Director of Impact at Pencils of Promise | Ranjini Govender, Government Affairs Director at Stand for Children