Creating an Inclusive Economy

(Panelists: Michele Kahane, Dennis Derrick, Christina Sass, Porter Braswell, and Natalia Oberti Noguera)

On October 2, 2017, The New School hosted a panel discussion to publicly launch the Impact Entrepreneurship Initiative (IEI), a new university-wide initiative that supports early-stage entrepreneurial leaders in developing the mindsets, skills, and sense of purpose needed to thrive in a rapidly changing world. Titled “Creating an Inclusive Economy: Pathways for Impact Entrepreneurs,” the event featured four inspiring leaders who are creating positive impact through a variety of entrepreneurial approaches: Natalia Oberti Noguera, Founder and CEO of Pipeline Angels and Creator of Pitch Makeover, Porter Braswell, Co-Founder and CEO of Jopwell, Christina Sass, Co-founder and President of Andela, and Dennis Derrick, Founder of Corbin Hill Food Project. Michele Kahane, Faculty Director of the IEI and Associate Dean of Educational Innovation at the Schools of Public Engagement, moderated the discussion.  

For those who were not able to attend the event, we invite you to view a livestream video of the event and interviews with the panelists. During the program, panelists shared their personal journeys to becoming an impact entrepreneur, reflecting on their challenges, motivations, and choices. In addition to sharing lessons they have learned throughout their lives and careers, the panelists also described how their organizations are attempting to disrupt the status quo in order to create a more inclusive economy. One theme that emerged repeatedly in the discussion was the topic of various strategies to navigate unequal power dynamics and create more inclusion in the workplace.

Personally, I found that the panelists did a fantastic job of articulating their personal stories, and thereby, indirectly motivating the audience. If you’ve ever wanted to start a venture or implement an idea and are seeking inspiration, Christina Sass’s comments may be of help:

“I failed horribly. I took a long pause and a lot of deep breaths, and then I spent a lot of time alone saying that I’m no longer going to be afraid of failing. I asked myself ‘What do you want to do. What is the very specific problem that you’ve seen over and over again, and how would you address it if you did it most efficiently and most effectively?’ And then I was not afraid not to fail anymore.

(Natalia Oberti Noguera, Founder and CEO of Pipeline Angels and Creator of Pitch Makeover)

The Impact Entrepreneurship Initiative aims to catalyze the creation of a more inclusive economy by making entrepreneurship education, resources, and networks more accessible to students from diverse backgrounds at different stages of the entrepreneurial journey. We will host another public event in the spring of 2018 that continues to advance important dialogue concerning the creation of a more inclusive economy. If you’d like to stay informed of upcoming events and opportunities, please subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on social media.