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Innovator-in-Residence


The Levitt Center’s Innovator-in-Residence Program brings social innovators and entrepreneurs to campus to help students develop ideas and projects that seek to address a long standing social problem in innovative and creative ways. The visitors lead workshops and meet with individuals or groups during office hours. Cyrus Boga ’90 and Melinda Little are the Innovators-in-Residence for the 2015-16 academic year.

Melinda Little

March 3-4, 2016

Melinda Little is an entrepreneur by background, perhaps most widely recognized regionally for leading the successful effort to establish The Community Store in Saranac Lake, the first community owned department store in NY State. In 1996 she co-founded Independent Means, the leading provider of family-centered financial education programs and products in the United States and in the late 1980’s founded The Company of Women, a national mail order catalog company that was a for-profit subsidiary of a non-profit battered women's shelter. She is currently focusing her entrepreneurial skills on establishing and coordinating Point Positive, an angel investor group committed to investing in and nurturing promising and scalable start-up and early stage companies within the Adirondack.

Little lives in Saranac Lake. She’s a member of the board of ROOST and is president of the Tri-Lakes Humane Society. Little has an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management and a BA from Wellesley College.

Cyrus Boga

October 29-November 1, 2015 and February 9-10, 2016

Cyrus Boga is the founder of Novamaya.  After working for many years in investment banking and in corporate finance, he spent the better part of a decade establishing and running a multimillion dollar social entrepreneurial venture that had over 40 employees at its peak.  He is grateful for having had the opportunity to straddle many different worlds, and his broad professional and academic experiences have informed his philosophy and passion for relevant, transdisciplinary education.

He has an M.A. from the Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, a B.A. from Hamilton College, and undertook coursework and research towards his PhD in Chemical Engineering at Yale University. He is a member of several professional and civic organizations.

Anastasia Plakias

April 14-15, 2016

Anastasia Plakias is the co-founder and Vice President of Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farm, a rooftop farming and green roofing business dedicated to organic urban farming. A published writer and photographer, Anastasia is a passionate and outspoken crusader for fresh, healthy foods and greener, more sustainable cities. She is also the co-founder of City Growers, an educational non-profit organization that works to educate New York City youth about agriculture, food, and the urban environment. In addition, she regularly holds workshops and speaks on topics related to urban farming and sustainability.

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