Kyle Berner is the founder of Feelgoodz, a company that produces flip flops from 100% natural Thai rubber. Feelgoodz’s model is truly triple bottom line – the rubber trees planted for their product absorb carbon dioxide, the flip flops are 100% biodegradable, and the rubber farmers they work with are treated fairly. Kyle and Feelgoodz have received numerous accolades since the company’s founding in 2007, including being featured in The Wall Street Journal and receiving the New Orleans City Business Innovator of the Year award.
Avery Brewton serves as the Community Service Program Manager at Tulane’s Center for Public Service, advising student groups about community service opportunities and overseeing the Community Service Scholars program. In addition, she is the university’s contact person for the Help NOLA program through which she assists students, community leaders, and faculty from around the country in promoting and coordinating volunteer opportunities throughout New Orleans. Prior to joining the staff at CPS, Avery served as an AmeriCorps Volunteer in Service to American (VISTA) at the Neighborhood Gallery. A graduate of Florida A & M University, Avery holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science with a concentration in Urban Studies and Economic Development.
Matt Candler is the founder of 4.0 Schools. After teaching and coaching middle school students after college, Matt returned to his home town to help design the main operations center for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. After the Games he studied decision sciences and the emerging charter sector at the Kellogg Graduate School of Management. He then served as founding co-principal of a K-8 elementary school and helped local founders launch new charter schools in the Southeast. From 2001 to 2004, Matt served as the KIPP Foundation’s Vice President of School Development, where his team established 37 new schools across the U.S. Matt later served as COO of the New York City Center for Charter School Excellence, a $41 million effort to promote quality charter school creation which has led to dramatic results. Matt served New Schools for New Orleans as its first CEO and built a team whose human capital and school creation efforts have led to the most innovative and aggressive public school reforms in the nation. Matt’s recent work with reformers in Tennessee has led to the creation of the Center for Charter School Excellence in Tennessee. Matt continues to play an active role in Louisiana reform as chairman of the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools and co-founder of the city-wide teacher support community www.closingthenolagap.org.
Andrea is the Board Chair and Co-Founder of Social Entrepreneurs of New Orleans (www.seno-nola.org), an organization that inspires great ideas to solve social problems and helps innovators take their ideas from vision to reality. SENO was the winner of the 2009 “Social Entrepreneur of the Year” Award through Tulane University’s Freeman Business School and represents social entrepreneurs and innovators on the Board of New Orleans Business Alliance, a City of New Orleans public-private partnership responsible for the city’s economic development and business retention. She founded the local chapter of children’s literacy organization First Book-Greater New Orleans that has built the home libraries of 8,000+ New Orleans children from low-income families. She is the Quality Initiative Director at the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools, responsible for increasing the quality of charter schools statewide. Andrea was named 2010 CityBusiness “Women of the Year” and New Orleans “40 Under 40.” She graduated from Stanford University with a B.A. in Philosophy and Anthropological Sciences, received an M.Ed. in Education Policy and Management from the University of New Orleans and Harvard Graduate School of Education, and was trained in business management at Dartmouth University’s Tuck School of Business Bridge Program.
Emily Connuck was a New York City public school student K-12. Her interest in education began as she was becoming involved in her own school community, participating in student government, the NYC Student Union, her high school’s School Leadership Team, and various other clubs and organizations. Emily is now a sophomore majoring in Art History at Tulane, and plans to be an elementary school teacher in the future. As a college student, Emily closely follows the education world, volunteers at local elementary schools, and belongs to various organizations supporting and shaping education in the United States.
Executive Director – Janet Davas is the Executive Director of Liberty’s Kitchen. Ms. Davas has almost thirty years experience in the energy sector where she gained exceptional organizational and communication skills and business acumen. After returning to New Orleans post Katrina with her husband David and daughter Elizabeth, she served as Director of Development and was then named Interim Chief Executive Officer of Café Reconcile, a food service based mission located in the Central City neighborhood of New Orleans.
Ifeyinwa Madu Egwaoje
Ifeyinwa Madu Egwaoje has committed her life to working to reducing maternal mortality through community work in Nigeria. At age 14, she went through a three year training program with the Girls’ Power Initiative, where she developed her expertise as an adolescent reproductive health and gender development trainer. Ifeyinwa became a facilitator with the organization training young girls to become visible and empowered members of their communities. She was involved in the implementation of Family Life HIV/AIDS Education curriculum in Edo State using the Learning About Living project. Her desire to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS has made her a trainer and led her to work as the Monitoring and Evaluation officer for a USAID funded project on HIV/AIDS prevention. As part of her national youth service in Nigeria, Ifeyinwa worked as a research assistant with Society For Family Health, providing evidence to malaria, HIV/AIDS and maternal health programs. In 2010, she became one of a prestigious group of young people around the globe when she was selected as an Ashoka young champion. Currently she is working with the Birthing Project USA in Louisiana and Mississippi as part of a mentoring and training program after which she will go back to Nigeria and replicate the program to suit the Nigerian environment.
John Elstrott is a Professor of Entrepreneurship and the Executive Director of the Levy- Rosenblum Institute for Entrepreneurship at Tulane University’s Freeman School of Business. Dr. Elstrott teaches courses in entrepreneurship and has research interests in the areas of entrepreneurship, family business, strategic planning, regional economic development, technology commercialization, and environmental economics. He is an active entrepreneur in the venture capital, wetlands mitigation banking, pharmaceutical, financial services, medical and functional food, and authentic herbal remedy industries. Dr. Elstrott serves on the boards of several public and private corporations and non-profit community service organizations. He serves as the Chairman of Board and is past chair of the audit committee for Whole Foods Market, Inc., a Fortune 300 and S&P 500 company.
Robert X. Fogarty, 27, is the executive director of evacuteer.org and founder of Dear New Orleans + Dear World. He is a native of Omaha, Neb. and 2005 University of Oregon graduate. Fogarty left a job in the finance and technology staffing industry in New York City to join AmeriCorps in New Orleans 15 months after Hurricane Katrina. In his role as the City of New Orleans volunteer coordinator, Fogarty recruited and coordinated 219 volunteers to assist in the largest assisted evacuation in the history of the United States in advance of Hurricane Gustav. Over 20,00 New Orleanians with no alternative transportation means evacuated the City safely through the City Assisted Evacuation Plan (CAEP).
Nick Reder is the co-founder of Roozt.com, a deal-of-the-day shopping site exclusively for socially responsible companies. Roozt sells a limited quantity of one product at a time at 50-75% retail price from an inspiring company that falls into one of four categories: humanitarian, eco-friendly, community conscious, and ethical. Roozt is primed to become the home for responsible shopping, as it currently has thousands of members. Launched in late September, Roozt continues to grow in popularity and has been featured in many publications, including the Los Angeles Business Journal, dailybrink.com, and allbusiness.com. Nick is a third-year JD/MBA student at Tulane University. Nick chose Tulane for his graduate education to be part of the rebuilding the New Orleans community. Originally from Los Angeles, Nick graduated Dean’s List from the University of Southern California in 2008 with a B.A. in Communication and a minor in Business. Nick’s prior work experience has been in the field of media and entertainment: the last two summers, he was a summer associate at Marvel Studios in Business and Legal Affairs.
Ashlei Rodgers is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in International Public Health and Development at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. She is the president of the Student Government Association and Outreach Coordinator of TU Changemakers. Prior to starting graduate school, Ms. Rodgers had a professional career in public relations and marketing. She was also an active volunteer at AIDS Foundation Houston, where she worked with young mothers and their children who were infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. After a 4-year career in public relations, Ms. Rodgers decided to pursue her passion of traveling and doing humanitarian work. She then spent a year teaching English and volunteering in the lower income areas of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Her experience in South America inspired her to pursue a career in international public health. In the summer of 2010, Ms. Rodgers did an internship in Bogota, Colombia working with Profamilia, the leading sexual and reproductive health organization in South America. While there she worked with marginalized populations and assisted with programs focused on prevention and awareness of HIV/AIDS and other STIs. Upon graduating in May 2011, Ms. Rodgers plans to combine her public relations and public health experience to pursue an international career in social marketing.
Rui You is a Tulane undergraduate in the class of 2014. She is currently a member of multiple clubs on campus, including Best Buddies, Red Cross, and Net Impact. Rui has a passion for social entrepreneurship, philosophy, photography, and Internet anthropology. She aspires to create a social network site specifically for social entrepreneurship. She wants to include the concepts behind TED, Khan Academy, the works of Jonathan Harris (wefeelfine.org & universe.daylife.com), and all other philanthropy organizations onto a more personalized site where each individual can make a significant impact and the world can witness and be inspired by all the positive changes in society.