Taking with them lessons learned and inspiration from the recent Social Entrepreneurship panel discussion at Hamilton, three students – Nicholas Solano ’14, Eren Shultz ’15 and Evan Warnock ’14 – headed to Cambridge to attend Harvard’s 2012 Igniting Social Innovation Conference on Oct. 6.
The day began with keynote speeches by several successful entrepreneurs, including Paul Rice, founder and CEO of Fair Trade USA, Andrew Slack, founder and CEO of the Harry Potter Alliance and Pat Walsh, founder and CEO of StayClassy. All of the speakers emphasized the importance of utilizing one’s own passions and talents to bring about social change.
The keynote speakers and 60 other panelists then held office hours during lunch. This gave attendees the opportunity to discuss their ideas and broaden their knowledge in the field of social entrepreneurship.
After lunch, Solano, Shultz and Warnock attended breakout sessions in their specific areas of interest – transformative leadership, sustainable agriculture and educational initiatives, respectively. Each panel was discussion-based, providing plenty of time for Q&A and networking opportunities. These panels provided participants the chance to delve into their specific niches with the brightest minds in the field.
The day ended with a closing keynote address by Lara Galinsky, the vice president of Echoing Green, a global nonprofit that aims to unleash next generation talent to solve the world’s biggest problems. An award ceremony featuring pitch competition winners and an Eat for Equity Dinner concluded the event.
Hamilton is in the process of developing its own social entrepreneurship program through the Levitt Center, the Career Center, and the COOP. The lessons learned and contacts made at the Ignition Summit will provide useful insights for this process.