- Research By Topic
- Student Programs
- Executive Programs
- GSB Social Innovators
- Community Engagement
- About CSI
Skip to Content
Change lives. Change organizations. Change the world.
You are missing some Flash content that should appear here! Perhaps your browser cannot display it, or maybe it did not initialize correctly.
In a time of ever-greater interest in solving societal problems through personal and collective ingenuity, the "social entrepreneur" has emerged as cultural hero. What exactly is a social entrepreneur, and how are individuals carrying out that role?
In this panel discussion, part of the Stanford 2009 Entrepreneurship Week sponsored by the Stanford Social Innovation Review, the Center for Social Innovation's award-winning magazine, leaders of innovative organizations talk about the triumphs and challenges associated with running a social enterprise. They discuss what led them to found their organizations, what models they have used to structure their efforts, and how they are partnering with other groups, foundations, funders, and sectors to carry out their missions. They consider how the economic downturn has affected their dealings, and offer advice to would-be entrepreneurs for manifesting their own dreams and goals.
Jane Leu, Upwardly Global executive director and founder, has devoted her professional life to helping immigrants and refugees improve their career situations. Before founding Upwardly Global, she was the assistant director for Resettlement, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, and the assistant director of RefugeeWorks, which provides technical assistance to refugee employment programs. She also helped launch seven refugee Welfare-to-Work programs. In 2000, she and Conrad Asper cofounded the craigslist nonprofit venture forum, a new approach for connecting the giving community to social change organizations. Leu was the first program coordinator of the Nonprofit Program (now the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations) at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government and a member of the Going to Scale Project that generated interest in venture philanthropy.
Charles Slaughter is founder and president of Living Goods, a sustainable system for defeating diseases of the poor that uses an Avon-like network of mobile health promoters. He is the founder of TravelSmith Outfitters, a direct marketer of travel clothing and gear that he created in 1991 and built into the number one brand in travel wear. In the late 1980s he served as a program officer for Trickle Up, a pioneering micro-enterprise development program. Slaughter sold TravelSmith in 2004. Shortly thereafter, as its pro-bono president, he lead the turnaround of CFW Shops/HealthStore, which employs a system of franchised rural clinics to reduce death and illness from infectious diseases in Kenya. He also advises and invests in consumer businesses and, as an affiliate of Golden Gate Capital, has participated in the acquisition of more than a dozen companies with combined sales in excess of $2 billion. Slaughter was a recipient of Ernst and Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year award. He currently serves on the boards of Living Goods, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, Spiegel Brands and BRAC USA. Slaughter earned both a BA and a master’s in public and private management from Yale.
Morgan Simon is the executive director of the Responsible Endowments Coalition. In 2002, as an undergraduate at Swarthmore College, she led the filing of the first student-led shareholder resolution since the apartheid era, successfully convincing Lockheed Martin to add sexual orientation to its nondiscrimination policy and give domestic partner benefits. She has also led similarly successful efforts at FedEx, Dover, and Masco. Simon has extensive experience in international and community development. She was the cofounder of Girls Action Initiative, a nonprofit organization in Philadelphia that provided mentorship for middle-school girls. Working with the United Nations Development Project in Honduras, and local organizations in Mexico and Sierra Leone, she has contributed to HIV/AIDS and environmental research and outreach. She has also worked in corporate reform at Women's Initiative for Self Employment, helping low-income women start small businesses, and as part of ForestEthics' Corporate Action Program, which works to improve the environmental policies of large corporations.