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Mickey Ackerman

Mickey Ackerman
Chief Design Strategist

Mickey Ackerman

Mickey Ackerman
Chief Design Strategist

@MickeyAckerman
Email Mickey


An internationally recognized design leader, Mickey Ackerman has spent decades teaching designers how to define problems clearly, then solve those problems through multidisciplinary teamwork. For 15 years as the head of the Industrial Design department at the Rhode Island School of Design, Mickey established a portfolio of sponsored projects and created real-world design solutions for industry leaders such as Intel, Rubbermaid, Frigidaire, and General Mills. He also established strategic partnerships with the Harvard Business School, MIT Sloan School of Management, NASA, and BostonÍs Center for Integration of Medicine and Innovative Technology, among many others. An educator at heart, Mickey is passionate about student-centered learning and serves on the Board of Directors for the Yestermorrow Design/Build School in Vermont and the Green School in Bali, Indonesia.

Angela Blanchard

Angela Blanchard
President & CEO, Neighborhood Centers, Inc.

Angela Blanchard

Angela Blanchard
President & CEO, Neighborhood Centers, Inc.

@CajunAngela


Through her more than thirty years of experience, thought leader Angela Blanchard has reached an epiphany: A community should be defined by its strengths, resources, achievements and hopes – not its degree of “brokenness”. As a result of her unwavering and passionate efforts as president and CEO of Neighborhood Centers Inc., Blanchard has extended this community development framework throughout the Houston region to impact over 500,000 people a year. Under Angela’s vision and leadership, Neighborhood Centers remains the largest non-profit in Texas and is ranked in the top 1% of charitable groups in the nation.

Blanchard’s insightful knowledge of community revitalization and its impact on metropolitan areas, has garnered three invitations to the White House to meet with community development leaders, senior white house officials and President Barack Obama. Blanchard is honored to have advised the administration on the President’s Promise Zone Initiative and Ladders of Opportunity, which will work to ensure that all families, no matter where they live, have ladders of opportunity to the middle class.

An expert in Human Capital Development, Blanchard, has participated in The Brookings Institution Metropolitan Leadership Council. The “Met Council” serves as a leader in providing policy makers with research, analysis, and ideas that impact metropolitan areas. Blanchard’s paper in the publication, “Investing in What Works for America’s Communities”, a project sponsored by the Low Income Investment Fund and the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, highlights ideas of leading experts in community and economic development, academia, government policy, and philanthropy who offer entrepreneurial solutions to the national epidemic of poverty. Blanchard’s work has also afforded her participation and collaboration at the Clinton Global Initiative, where she offered insight on innovative investment approaches that help build community programs, grow local economies, promote thriving neighborhoods, and present investors with expanded opportunities for financial and social returns.

Blanchard has been featured in Fast Company Magazine, as one of 2013’s Top 1000 Most Creative People in the nation and as a Gen Flux Leader for adapting and leading during troubled and disruptive times. Her Business Innovation Factory speech entitled “Emerging after the Storm” and TEDxHouston talk outlined a powerful transformational model for community redevelopment with important implications for other efforts throughout the nation.

In addition to her work with Neighborhood Centers, Blanchard serves as a Board Member at the Greater Houston Partnership (GHP), the National Community Advisory Board for JP Morgan Chase and was recently appointed to the GHP Regional Workforce Development Task Force. She has spoken at a number of high-profile events, including the White House Social Enterprise and Opportunity Series and Executive Leadership Academy in Australia where she discusses key issues like disaster recovery and leading in a crisis. Blanchard has also presented at the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce: Immigration Summit and Panel, the Houston Rotary Club and the PolicyLink Equity Summit, and many others.

Dorie Clark

Dorie Clark
Rethinking The Way We Monetize Our Talents

Dorie Clark

Dorie Clark
Rethinking The Way We Monetize Our Talents

@dorieclark


Q&A WITH DORIE CLARK

Tell us just a bit about the subject of your BIF Summit story.

Well, I’m actually not sure of the topic! I do have a new book coming out Oct. 3, Entrepreneurial You. It’s the last of a trilogy. The first one, Reinventing You, was about how to reinvent yourself professionally, then the second, Stand Out, was about how to get your true talents recognized. This one is about how you can monetize those talents. Monetization is an egalitarian force. If people view money as tainted or dirty, that’s not sustainable. It doesn’t work. How to monetize your talents in a way that’s long-lasting is a great skill.

What, to you, is the value of sharing stories?

I started my career as a reporter, and I learned rapidly that the job is not done unless you get a good story to tell. Humans remember stories. And you have to get good at telling stories or you’ll have no chance of standing out, in the sense of getting recognition for your true talents.

Do you have a motto, or “words to live by”? If so, what is it?

I love this Teddy Roosevelt quote: “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.”

What one thing (or more, if you like) you would like Summit attendees to know about you before they hear your story?

Since my last BIF talk, I’ve got a new hobby — standup comedy. Also, I got a producer’s credit on a jazz record that won two Grammys. The Ted Nash Big Band Presidential Suite: Eight Variations on Freedom is a creative musical take on history that transforms key moments from historic speeches — as read by influential figures from the worlds of arts, politics, and sports — into modern jazz.The album won Grammys for Best Large Jazz Ensemble and the tune “Spoken At Midnight” won for best instrumental composition.

Talia Milgrom-Elcott

Talia Milgrom-Elcott
Leading The Challenge To Bring More STEM Teachers To Schools

Talia Milgrom-Elcott

Talia Milgrom-Elcott
Leading The Challenge To Bring More STEM Teachers To Schools

@100kin10


Q&A WITH TALIA MILGROM-ELCOTT

What attracted you to the BIF Summit?

I had the privilege of going to a recent BIF Summit, and I thought it was a wonderful venue for storytelling. BIF is a partner with 100Kin10, doing interesting and powerful work around education. I’ve had a chance to work on projects with Sam Seidel (Director of BIF’s Student Experience Lab) and Whitney Johnson (former BIF Summit storyteller) and think the world of them both. I thought the BIF Summit would be a wonderful place to tell a story.

Tell us just a bit about the subject of your BIF Summit story.

100Kin10 is a national network responding to the need for 100,000 excellent science, tech, engineering, and math teachers. As of last year, we are on track to reach the 100,000 goal on time, by 2021.

There’s a unique opportunity in working toward a goal over the course of a decade. Our strategy gets to evolve as we learn more and build the network’s capacity to act. We also get a clearer view of the hardest challenges and the existing solution set. We’ve realized that if we get to 2021 having only placed 100,000 STEM teachers into classrooms, it’d be a very short celebration. Having not fixed the cracks in the foundation of getting and keeping great STEM teachers, we’d need to start all over again recruiting, preparing, and supporting the next 100,000.

So we set out to strategically map the long way forward. With that map, we believed we could chart our course to addressing the root causes head on.

After 2+ years of extensive research with input from thousands of teachers and hundreds of other experts, we developed a comprehensive map of the grand challenges. I’ll tell the story of how we developed this map and how it will unleash the next generation of problem-solvers and innovators.

What, to you, is the value of sharing stories?

I love stories — stories are one of only a few deep ways that human beings have held onto memory. Sometimes we tell stories in song, like ancient Greek ballads and the cantillations that put the Bible to song. Stories are an ancient vehicle for memory transmission.

I grew up on stories. My grandmother used to lay next to me, tickle my back, and tell me her stories. She was a great storyteller, and her stories, from mundane stories of childhood misadventures to profound stories of escaping Nazi Germany, shaped my sense of the universe. When I was 10 or so, I remember thinking that I knew all her stories. She passed away earlier this year. Even when she stopped making total sense, she would tell stories and you could hear the arc, the trajectory, of the story. Now I tell her stories to my kids.

Do you have a motto, or “words to live by”? If so, what is it?

No, I don’t. I’ve never had favorite things, favorite books, or favorite colors (although, as a kid, purple was by default my “favorite” color, because my cousin’s favorite color was pink, and somehow those were the only two choices!). Now I try to have norms and guiding principles, but they’re a far cry from a motto.

What would one thing (or more, if you like) you like Summit attendees to know about you before they hear your story?

I’m a mother of three girls, and that’s one of the core parts of my identity. Being a mother pushes the limits of my heart, my expansiveness, in the best way. They love stories, and I love sharing stories with them. When I get home one will ask, “Tell me something about your day.” Or at night, when we’re lying with them at bedtime, they’ll ask us to tell them a story: about our bodies, about how the world works, about when we were young.

I also take very seriously that I’m a wife and a partner. I do my best learning about how to be the best me in the world through my husband. He is my center, which I never would have guessed I would say, or I would feel when I was a 20-something. When we were engaged my husband described me as his “level,” and he got me an old brass level that I have on my desk right now.

One more thought, about how I work: I love what I think of as “tippy-toe” work: hard work, the work that stretches you, and that you can reach if you’re willing to take a leap. It requires creative leaps of imagination, synthesis, adaptation, and creative problem-solving with other people, where the ideas get better the more you give to them.

Sophie Wade

Sophie Wade
Helping People And Corporations Move Into The New World Of Work

Sophie Wade

Sophie Wade
Helping People And Corporations Move Into The New World Of Work

@ASophieWade


Q&A WITH SOPHIE WADE

What attracted you to the BIF Summit?

I met Rabbi Irwin Kula at an event, and we spoke about the new positive relationships developing in the workplace, which he suggested could be filling in some of the relationships that previously were provided by someone’s religious community. Later, he mentioned the BIF Summit to me. He told me the Summit is a fascinating event focused on transformation and innovation. He described how the Summit works, with cross-pollination among the storytellers and audience, and it rang very true with me.

Tell us just a bit about the subject of your BIF Summit story.

I realized that one reason I’m qualified to write my book Embracing Progress: Next Steps For The Future Of Work, is that perhaps I‘m one of the original “millennials!” I studied Chinese and moved to Hong Kong and have lived and worked in five different countries. There has definitely been logic to my career moves, across a spectrum of technology and media. At the same time, I have had a very diversified career, the kind people are starting to have now. So it’s easy for me to understand the desire constantly to be learning and open to change. These days, people do not stay with one organization for 30 years.

As you go through these work changes, there is also a huge opportunity for individual innovation — understanding who you are and how you’re interacting with the world. Everyone will need to be more aware of themselves, become more self-directed and manage their own careers. Meantime, much innovation is still needed to support the ongoing changes in the workplace. For example, venture capitalists are investing in new companies that will enable the “back end” operations for freelancers, such as creating credit lines for independent contractors.

What, to you, is the value of sharing stories?

Sharing stories is a way to make a connection on a personal basis, to help people relate to you as a person, and to connect in different ways. We can hide behind all kinds of data, numbers, and research. However, if you make me tell my own story, you make me open up, and that opening up makes other people share in the same way as well.

Do you have a motto, or “words to live by”? If so, what is it?

I do. “Embracing Progress”, which is the title of my book. The focus on progress helps people look further ahead to a positive future, distracting them from all the ongoing change that can feel scary. And, “Onwards and Upwards.” Where we’re going isn’t just onward or upward, it’s both.

What’s one thing (or more, if you like) you would like Summit attendees to know about you before they hear your story?

As we are now encouraged to “bring our whole selves to work”, we find out people are quirky and wonderful. But managers haven’t been coached on how to deal with quirky and wonderful people. At the same time, Millennials haven’t had too much experience in the workplace to be able to navigate it well, and Boomers and Generation Xers are not familiar with the new landscape either. I believe we will need more coaching and mentoring relationships to help us muddle through this.

I often use what I call a “technical” term to describe the next 10 years as we evolve to the Future of Work environment — “messy”. People are messy, the transition will be messy. We need to get comfortable with that. My book has a lot of information to help explain what’s going on and how to prepare and adapt. It has cartoons too, as some humor is always helpful!

Kay Zagrodny Kay Zagrodny

Kay Zagrodny
Senior Experience Designer

Kay Zagrodny

Kay Zagrodny
Senior Experience Designer

[email protected]


Originally from Rhode Island, Kay Zagrodny is excited to apply her anthropology background as an Experience Designer at BIF. She is interested in coming to deeper understandings about human motivations and behaviors, and has performed research on populations living with HIV/AIDs, food systems, community development and microfinance organizations. Her worldview is influenced by her background in ethnographic research methods and passion for looking at how morals and values impact peopleÍs decision-making processes. Kay holds a B.A. in Anthropology from St. MaryÍs College of Maryland, and an M.A. in Anthropology with a concentration in globalization, development, and culture from the University of Memphis.

Amy Whitaker

Amy Whitaker
Author of Art Thinking, Connector of Creativity and Commerce

Amy Whitaker

Amy Whitaker
Author of Art Thinking, Connector of Creativity and Commerce

@theamywhit


Amy Whitaker is the author of Art Thinking, which has been featured in the Financial Times, the Boston Globe, Vanity Fair, Success, Self, and elsewhere. Amy holds both an MBA from Yale University and an MFA in painting from the Slade School of Fine Art. She is an assistant professor at NYU Steinhardt. For many years, Amy has taught business to artists and designers. She also lectures widely about creativity in the workplace. Amy is passionate about developing better language for the space between creativity and commerce, and starting a movement of “inventing point B” in any area of life.

Alexander Osterwalder

Alexander Osterwalder
We Need Tools And Skills To Innovate More Effectively

Alexander Osterwalder

Alexander Osterwalder
We Need Tools And Skills To Innovate More Effectively

@AlexOsterwalder


Q&A WITH ALEXANDER OSTERWALDER

What attracted you to the BIF Summit?

BIF has managed to create an amazing community of smart and creative people that inspire me every time I participate.

Tell us a just a bit about the subject of your BIF Summit story.

I want to tell the story of how I started a business book project with my kids, for kids. It transformed the way I think about success. Success is a multi-faceted beast that is definitely not just about wealth and fame. For me, success is about the little things we each do every day to create a better society.

What, to you, is the value of sharing stories?

I get inspired by the personal stories of others. At the BIF Summit, people often share stories that we don’t usually get to hear about. Personal stories. Moving stories. Stories about the rollercoaster between failure and success. The stuff behind the scenes.

Do you have a motto, or “words to live by”? If so, what is it?

Don’t fear failure. Just try. Every little action is an opportunity to make a small difference in the world.

What would one thing (or more, if you like) you like Summit attendees to know about you before they hear your story?

I want to learn from each one of you as much as I can.

Eli MacLaren

Eli MacLaren
Chief Market Maker

Eli MacLaren

Eli MacLaren
Chief Market Maker

@elithechef
[email protected]


Eli is Chief Market Maker leading BIF’s development efforts. With over a decade of experience in building and leading social ventures, Eli is an accomplished social innovator with a deep knowledge of the new platforms affecting social change and has an established track record in non-profit fundraising and capital development.

Eli joined BIF after serving as the Executive Director of the Maine WomenÍs Fund, a public foundation creating lasting change by investing in the power of women and the dreams of girls in Maine. Eli is a systems thinker with a proven track record building institutions — setting strategic vision and direction, raising capital, managing and developing partnerships and growing and integrating cross-disciplinary teams. During a tough economic climate, under Eli’s leadership, the Fund doubled its assets under management and grew fundraising by over 10% annually.

Before leading the Maine Women’s Fund Eli served as Chief Program Officer at GlobalGiving, the first online philanthropic marketplace that enables donors to find and fund social entrepreneurs around the world. At GlobalGiving, Eli managed supply side operations, raised capital, and worked with cross-functional teams to scale the platform. To date, GlobalGiving has managed $42 million in volume.

Before GlobalGiving Eli served as the International Director for Ashoka’s Citizen Base Initiative, where she worked with social entrepreneurs from around the world on strategies to finance and scale their work. Eli’s work led to the creation of a new business unit for social financial services, a $20 million funding deal, and the corporate strategy “Everyone A Changemaker.”

Taylor Halversen

Taylor Halversen
Experience Designer

Taylor Halversen

Taylor Halversen
Experience Designer

@tshnips
[email protected]


Taylor is an Experience Designer with know-how in all three of BIFÍs working areas _ education, healthcare, and community. It is her personal crusade to eliminate system tension and confusion through effective communication and streamlined service delivery. She gets great satisfaction from creating activities that help users share their stories and deliverables that enable organizations to bring ideas from concept to reality.

Education

In the education sphere Taylor has worked to improve the experience of young adults transitioning from high school to college, and from college to career. As a student at Utah State University, Taylor engaged with BIF as a student researcher, uncovering insights about the college experience and acting as a team lead for the development of a user-centered student services website. As an Experience Designer, Taylor co-developed a social media and web-based prototype to aid students in their career discovery process, and designed and ran a study assessing the effectiveness of the prototype with more than 200 young adults nationwide.

Healthcare

TaylorÍs background in intercultural communication enabled her to effectively co-develop and co-facilitate BIFÍs first bilingual participatory design workshop series. With the findings from this work, she co-designed a clinic for the South Dallas community, tailored to meet the unique needs and circumstances of a diverse, low-income population.

Taylor has also worked with administrative healthcare teams, using Agile and Design Thinking methodologies to help leadership tune into the voice of families and align their efforts to serve patients most effectively.

Community

Taylor previously performed the role of Citizen Experience Lab associate for BIF, where she built up the labÍs networks, developed project opportunities, and served as the labÍs voice on and offline.

Before working at BIF, Taylor was a news reporter and co-manager of the Utah Public Radio news team, where she wrote and produced award-winning, local-flavor stories for a statewide audience.

Taylor graduated Summa Cum Laude with bachelorÍs degrees in Communication Studies and Liberal Arts from Utah State University, where she was also named Undergraduate Researcher of the Year for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences for her ethnographic research efforts.

Taylor spends much of her time outside of work with her church community, engaging in worship, service, and social activities. She loves to express herself through music with singing and playing the piano, and if there is a tune playing, no matter the style or venue, expect to see some dance moves.

Tori Drew Tori Drew

Tori Drew
Chief Operating Officer

Tori Drew

Tori Drew
Chief Operating Officer

@toridrew
[email protected]


Tori is Chief Operating Officer, overseeing BIF’s day-to-day operations as well as finance, staffing, project management, and technology. She has over 10 years experience scaling the organization, which has more than tripled its size during her time at BIF.

Prior to BIF, Tori was Director of Production, Online and Emerging Technologies for Columbia Records a division of Sony Music. She executive produced over 50 websites a year, for Columbia artists and labels; working with designers and programmers. Artists included, Aerosmith, Fiona Apple, Destiny’s Child, Neil Diamond, Bob Dylan, Fugees, and Billy Joel. Tori also acted as a liaison between Columbia, Sony Music creative services, artists and management.

Tori holds a BA from Ohio Wesleyan University in theatrical production.

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@josiemorway