Kushal is the founder of Vittana, a non-profit that fights youth poverty in developing nations. It pioneered the Vittana Loan — a $750 student micro-loan that can triple a girl's income. An award-winning organization, Vittana works in 12 countries, helps 1,000+ youth escape poverty every month and its impact is regularly highlighted in world press including the Economist, Wall Street Journal, New York Times and many others. Previously, Kushal ran technology for a $1 billion team at Amazon and is the author of 20+ patents and papers. Kushal was recently named as one of Seattle's Top 40 People Under 40 and voted the #1 Game-Changer in Philanthropy by 1.7 million readers on Huffington Post. He is a frequent speaker on youth poverty, education and social entrepreneurship, including at SOCAP, Pop!Tech andTEDxBrussels. In his free time, he races triathlons, takes pictures and works with dogs. Kushal lives in Seattle with his 1-year-old German Shepherd puppy.
Jeff Sheets serves as director of the Advanced Advertising Lab and adjunct professor of advertising, teaching the theory and practice of integrated marketing communication. He has spent the last 10 years working and consulting with world-class brands and retailers.
Sheets graduated from the advertising program at BYU and immediately went to work in New York City as the marketing communication manager for Time Inc., creating and tracking direct response television advertising. He then returned to Utah, completed a post-grad integrated marketing communication program from the University of Utah, and served as director of marketing forFranklinCovey, Deseret Book Co. and OGIO.
Since 2002, Sheets has been teaching at BYU and working on his own personal consulting business in advertising. He is also currently serving as a member of the Board of Directors for POPAI, the global association for advertising and marketing at retail.
Before joining the UN Foundation, Aaron Sherinian served as Managing Director of Public Affairs for the Millennium Challenge Corporation, a U.S. government development assistance agency administering poverty reduction grants totaling over $7 billion in 40 partner countries. In this capacity, he oversaw the agency’s strategic communications portfolio, media relationships, and public relations agenda.
His professional background includes a decade of service as a Foreign Service Officer for the U.S. Department of State. Before returning to Washington, he was Press Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Quito, Ecuador, where he was responsible for Embassy relations with media outlets and acted as the Ambassador’s communications advisor.
His diplomatic experience includes a tour as Deputy Political and Economic Chief at the U.S. Embassy in Yerevan, Armenia, where he managed programmatic coordination and outreach for the U.S. government’s annual assistance budget of $90 million.
He served in the Political and Consular Sections of the U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica and in the Office of Policy Planning under two Assistant Secretaries of State for the Western Hemisphere. His experience also includes service at U.S. Missions in Colombia and the Holy See (Vatican).
Before joining the Department of State, Mr. Sherinian worked at the Washington International Trade Association (WITA). He also held positions as a marketing consultant for the Italian distributors for Apple Computer and as a freelance interpreter and writer in Italy. He is a member of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and the National Association of Government Communicators (NAGC).
Mr. Sherinian is a native of Pasadena, California. He holds degrees from the Johns Hopkins University (School of Advanced International Studies – SAIS) and Brigham Young University. In addition to Spanish, he speaks Italian, Armenian, and French. He and his wife have three children.
Fun fact about Aaron Sherinian: Aaron and his wife are known among friends for hosting a weekly “dance party” for their kids and friends in their very own living room…some tunes, some laughs, and a chance to boogie around the Armenian rugs they’ve collected through the years.
Sharon Eubank is the Director of LDS Charities. She began her career as a legislative aide focusing on environmental issues and legislative policy in the U.S. Senate. Eubank co-founded an educational retail business in Provo, Utah that catered to special needs and gifted children as well as parents and educators. In 1998, Eubank joined the staff of LDS Charities, the humanitarian arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She worked to establish 17 international employment offices and directed the humanitarian wheelchair donation program. In 2008, she became the regional director for LDS Charities for the Middle East North Africa region. In 2011, Eubank was appointed the chief executive officer of LDS Charities worldwide.
Joseph Grenny is coauthor of four New York Times bestsellers: Crucial Conversations, Crucial Confrontations, Influencer, and Change Anything. An expert in topics ranging from influence and leadership to organizational change and effectiveness, Joseph has been cited in every major newspaper and has appeared on more than one hundred radio and television programs. Joseph also writes "The Influential Leader", a regular column on BusinessWeek.com. Joseph speaks and consults regularly with leaders across the globe from East Asia to India to Europe. He has also addressed executive-level teams for clients including Baxter, Yale Medical School, IBM, Progressive Insurance, Sprint, Textron, McGraw-Hill, Allstate, Texas Instruments, and Genentech. Joseph was cofounder and president of California Computer Corporation. In 1990, he cofounded VitalSmarts, one of the most respected corporate training and organizational development companies in the world. Joseph was also named an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year for his work in founding and leading VitalSmarts.
Fraser has held positions of leadership in nonprofit organizations large and small in places as diverse as Appalachia, Minneapolis, and Seattle and has a deep understanding of the role they play in improving civic welfare.
She led the Utah's Disability Law Center for 10 years, helping to create the groundbreaking collaborations ‘And Justice for All” and the Community Legal Center. In 2008 she founded the Community Foundation of Utah. The foundation helps people gather assets and ideas to serve Utah for good and forever.
Fraser has served as president of the Utah Nonprofits Association, and has been widely recognized for her contributions, including the Utah State Bar’s Community Member of the Year, as a Utah Business magazine's '30 Women to Watch’, and the Pete Suazo Social Justice Award. She is an adjunct faculty member of the University of Utah David Eccles School of Business and in 2011 served as the first Professional in Residence at the University’s Center for Public Policy and Administration.
Fraser holds degrees in Medieval History and Political Science from Duke University, a MA in Human Development from St. Mary’s University and was a Social Innovation Fellow at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. She and her husband Harris Sondak and 15 year old daughter Neah spend what some consider an inordinate amount of time in Alta.
Natalie is a senior studying marketing and communications at Brigham Young University (BYU). She grew up in Minnesota and began attending BYU as a freshman in 2007. In 2011, after returning from an 18-month service mission in Panama, Natalie participated in several social innovation classes and programs offered by the BYU Ballard Center. She went on to become a BYU Ballard Center Social Innovation Fellow and a team lead on the Social Innovation Leadership Council. She has also done internships with Ashoka U, The Innovation Network, and Ashoka US in Washington, D.C. Natalie currently works as a communications associate with Good Line, a creative collaborative focused on making micro-documentaries for the social sector.
Kyle Durfee is a Business Management student with an emphasis in Strategy and a minor in Sociology. He is the founder of the BYU Anti-Human Trafficking Club, and he spent last summer interning for Polaris Project, one of the largest and most widely revered organization fighting human trafficking. He will spend the next summer in Piura, Peru, helping a social impact organization measure and improve its poverty alleviation efforts.
Jace McLaws is a junior studying accounting at Brigham Young University (BYU). He grew up in Spokane, Washington, and his hobbies include basketball, piano, listening to indie music, snowmobiling, and water-skiing. Jace began attending BYU as a freshman in 2008, and after serving a 2-year service mission in Japan, he became fascinated with everything to do with social innovation. After participating in classes and on-campus internships offered by the BYU Ballard Center, Jace traveled to Uganda last summer to teach entrepreneurial and managerial skills to local residents. He went on to become one of BYU's Ballard Center Social Innovation Fellows and has spent the year involved with the Social Innovation Leadership Council.
Benjamin Gong is a senior at BYU studying economics and business strategy. He grew up in New Hampshire and spent two years in Taiwan on a service mission. He developed an interest in microfinance and international business, and worked for two summers in mainland China. During the summer of 2011, Ben interned with a renewable energy company in Beijing, and the following summer as an analyst for a microfinance startup company in Shanghai. Ben is one of BYU’s Ballard Center Social Innovation Fellows and has been a team lead on BYU’s Social Innovation Leadership Council. In his spare time, Ben enjoys pickup ultimate Frisbee, listening to “This American Life,” and playing the violin.
Jo-Ann Tan is a business development marketing manager at Acumen Fund, a non-profit global venture fund that uses entrepreneurial approaches to solve the problems of poverty. Before Acumen Fund, Tan built a marketing analytics team and developed new marketing strategies for a $1 billion apparel distributor. Tan also worked at strategy consulting firm Marakon Associates in New York and Singapore. She began her career at the Monetary Authority (Central Bank) of Singapore. Tan received a BA in Economics and an MS in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford University.