Staff

Turner Family Center for Social Ventures

Mario Avila

Director

Bio

Mario Avila

Director

Mario serves as the founding Director of the Turner Family Center for Social Ventures at Vanderbilt University, a new hub that serves as a resource and thought leader for people across the university interested in combining revenue-generating businesses with social impact objectives. Most recently, he was the CEO of Emerge and founder of Contigo Financial, a socially-responsible consumer lender headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee. His management experience includes finance, education and consulting in three different countries. He was a Fellow of Vanderbilt University’s Cal Turner program for Moral Leadership in the Professions and helped develop a hybrid housing-microfinance model to finance mortgage needs of people at the base of the pyramid in Central America. Mario serves on various boards including Conexión Americas and is Chairman of the Nashville Social Enterprise Alliance. He earned an AB from Dartmouth College and an MBA from Vanderbilt University.

Kathleen Fuchs

Manager

Bio

Kathleen Fuchs

Manager

Manager

I am grateful to serve as the Manager for the Turner Family Center for Social Ventures, where emerging leaders have common ground to explore and integrate their desire for meaningful and sustainable social impact with practical business strategy. Prior to joining the TFC staff, my work focused on college access for first generation immigrant students to pursue higher education, leadership development, and career success here in Nashville with the YMCA Latino Achievers program. Vanderbilt first brought me to Nashville, when I studied here as an undergraduate in Human & Organizational Development and Spanish. After several years in non-profit work, I received a Master’s in Civic Leadership from Lipscomb University’s Andrews Institute for Civic Leadership. I am also member of the Nashville Mayor’s New American Advisory Council. My work in Nashville reflects my deep passion for creating sustainable and strategic partnerships across sectors for community impact on both the individual and collective level. I am excited partner with our amazing graduate students through the TFC to advance this work and cultivate strong leaders in systemic change.

 

Advisory Board

Bart Victor

Affiliated Faculty

Vanderbilt Business Faculty

Bio

Bart Victor

Affiliated Faculty

Cal Turner Professor of Moral Leadership Across the Professions for Vanderbilt University
Ph.D. Business Administration, University of North Carolina

Dr. Victor joined the Owen faculty from the Institute for Management Development International (IMD), in Lausanne, Switzerland, where he was Professor of Management and Director of the Program for Management Development. Prior to IMD, Dr. Victor was on the faculties of the University of North Carolina and the University of Nebraska. In addition to serving on the Advisory Board for the Turner Family Center for Social Ventures, Dr. Victor leads the Project Pyramid program.

Bio

Turner Family Center for Social Ventures

Jacob Hill

MBA '15

Bio

Jacob Hill

Jake received his undergraduate degree from Centre College in Danville, KY. He began his professional career in McAllen, TX as a high school teacher at PSJA High School while serving in Teach for America. He continued his career as an educator at KIPP Academy Nashville before entering the corporate world as a recruiter at Asurion. While at Owen, Jake served as President of Project Pyramid, was active in Net Impact, and served as Chairman of the Honor Council. He graduated from Owen in 2015 and is currently a Senior Consultant in Human Capital at Deloitte.

Sarah Gaffney

Board Chair

MBA '18

Bio

Sarah Gaffney

Board Chair

MBA ’18

I am a second year MBA student at Vanderbilt’s Owen Graduate School of Management pursuing concentrations in strategy and human and organizational performance. The TFC was one of the reasons I was drawn to Owen, as a unique hub for social impact and student learning. I experienced this firsthand as the Center contributed many meaningful development opportunities throughout my first year.

For as long as I can remember, I have been passionate about serving my community and working to eliminate poverty. I am especially committed to the mission of the TFC because I believe enterprise has an imperative yet untapped role to play in driving social change. Additionally, I feel certain that solutions to poverty will require the transcendence of sectors and specialties, just as the TFC brings together students from Vanderbilt’s different graduate disciplines.

These beliefs were solidified through my career prior to business school in which I spent eight years managing corporate responsibility and community outreach for Viacom/CMT (Country Music Television). Originally from Washington D.C., I also have a B.S. from Vanderbilt University in Human & Organizational Development.

Carys Petrie

Project Pyramid Chair

MBA '18

Bio

Carys Petrie

Project Pyramid Chair

MBA ’18

I grew up in Scotland and studied law at the University of Glasgow. Prior to Owen, I was the Operations Director of a social enterprise group, spending 9 years launching and building businesses focused on funding global microfinance and domestic entrepreneurship education.  This work gave me the chance to travel across the developing world, while also building partnerships between corporations and non-profits.

Over the course of my first year at Owen, the TFC provided incredible opportunities to continue to pursue my passion for social ventures, while working with students from other graduate schools and applying classroom learning to real-life problems. I’m excited to lead Project Pyramid this year and help make an impact, both for our students and for partner organizations focused on tackling poverty in sustainable, meaningful ways.

Turner Family Center for Social Ventures

Kathleen McKissack

M.Ed., IEPM, '15

Bio

Kathleen McKissack

Kathleen was first exposed to issues of global poverty when she took a semester off from her undergraduate studies at Clemson University to live and work in rural Uganda. There she became interested in issues of educational access, quality, and innovation in developing countries. After finishing her B.A. in Psychology, she entered Vanderbilt’s masters program in International Education Policy & Management where she explored the intersection of education, poverty, social enterprise, and product design. Kathleen was delighted to be a part of the group of students who initially designed and raised funds for the Turner Family Center for Social Ventures, and currently serves on the TFC Advisory Board.

Programming Board

Sarah Gaffney

Board Chair

MBA '18

Bio

Sarah Gaffney

Board Chair

MBA ’18

I am a second year MBA student at Vanderbilt’s Owen Graduate School of Management pursuing concentrations in strategy and human and organizational performance. The TFC was one of the reasons I was drawn to Owen, as a unique hub for social impact and student learning. I experienced this firsthand as the Center contributed many meaningful development opportunities throughout my first year.

For as long as I can remember, I have been passionate about serving my community and working to eliminate poverty. I am especially committed to the mission of the TFC because I believe enterprise has an imperative yet untapped role to play in driving social change. Additionally, I feel certain that solutions to poverty will require the transcendence of sectors and specialties, just as the TFC brings together students from Vanderbilt’s different graduate disciplines.

These beliefs were solidified through my career prior to business school in which I spent eight years managing corporate responsibility and community outreach for Viacom/CMT (Country Music Television). Originally from Washington D.C., I also have a B.S. from Vanderbilt University in Human & Organizational Development.

Carys Petrie

Project Pyramid Chair

MBA '18

Bio

Carys Petrie

Project Pyramid Chair

MBA ’18

I grew up in Scotland and studied law at the University of Glasgow. Prior to Owen, I was the Operations Director of a social enterprise group, spending 9 years launching and building businesses focused on funding global microfinance and domestic entrepreneurship education.  This work gave me the chance to travel across the developing world, while also building partnerships between corporations and non-profits.

Over the course of my first year at Owen, the TFC provided incredible opportunities to continue to pursue my passion for social ventures, while working with students from other graduate schools and applying classroom learning to real-life problems. I’m excited to lead Project Pyramid this year and help make an impact, both for our students and for partner organizations focused on tackling poverty in sustainable, meaningful ways.

Christiana Newcomb

Hult@ Vanderbilt Director

MBA '18

Bio

Christiana Newcomb

Hult@ Vanderbilt Director

MBA ’18

I grew up in the small town of Valley Center, California. I received my undergraduate degree from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo where I studied Business Administration. Prior to beginning at Vanderbilt, I worked at an Entrepreneurship Center coordinating programming and resources for start-ups and small business owners. From there I moved into a marketing/advertising agency in account management and creative roles for clients in health care, tourism and government. I came to Owen to continue my education in business development and pursue a career in Brand Management.

Serving others has always been a core value for me. While I’ve spent much time volunteering with nonprofits, I’m very interested in the intersection between business and social impact. The TFC has challenged me to look beyond traditional org structures to discover other models of giving back. Leading a TFC Trek to East TN in 2017 was a hands-on way to explore the relationship between healthcare, education and business in addressing social challenges and building stronger communities. It opened my eyes to how much more there is for me to learn about social ventures and confirmed that the TFC was a group I really wanted to grow with.

Daniella Gafen

Events Chair

MBA '18

Bio

Daniella Gafen

Events Chair

MBA ’18

After graduating from Washington University in St. Louis with a degree in Architecture, I moved to New York to participate in a year-long service corps program focused on social justice and poverty alleviation. I was placed at the in-house non-profit of a Title 1 public high school in Brooklyn, whose mission is to fund and implement high-quality, individualized programming and counseling to prepare students for success in college and career. I worked to connect our students with enrichment opportunities programs around the city that are staples of more affluent school districts.

After four years, I abandoned my first career goal of becoming an architect and applied to business school, with the new goal of returning to the education sector after graduating. As an MBA student with “nontraditional” background and career goals, I was drawn to the Turner Family Center for the opportunity to complement my more traditional business classes with the kinds of conversations and work that is most meaningful to me, while challenging my own. Being a part of the TFC has challenged me to think about business and poverty alleviation through new lenses and enhanced my experience and learning at Owen by introducing me to some of my incredible peers across Vanderbilt’s graduate schools.

Dia Chakraborty

Summit Chair

M.Ed., IEPM '18

Bio

Dia Chakraborty

Summit Chair

M.Ed. ’18 | International Education & Policy Management

I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Dehli in 2012 and started work as a Financial Analyst with Sunlife Insurance. Two years later, I realized that my true calling was working in the development sector and this is when I applied for the Teach For India fellowship. During my fellowship I observed, the bottlenecks stemming from the dismissive approach to policy formulation which disregarded key stakeholders in the realm of education. After teaching at a Government school for two years I understood that my true passion lies in tackling development challenges in education and I decided to dedicate my career towards the same. This resolve landed me at Vanderbilt, pursuing a degree in International Education Policy and Management so that I could fully comprehend the formulation and implementation of policy matters at the ground level.

The Turner Family Center, through its various activities (treks, coffee chats, and pitches) around campus played an integral role during my first year and being part of the programming heralds an exciting year two!

Kevin Lubin

Member at Large

M.A. GPED '18

Bio

Kevin Lubin

Member at Large

M.A. ’18 | Graduate Program for Economic Development (GPED)

I graduated from Millersville University in central Pennsylvania with a degree in Financial Economics. After graduation, I knew I wanted to learn more about using economics to serve others globally, so I enrolled in the Graduate Program for Economic Development (GPED) here at Vanderbilt.

When I matriculated into the GPED program, I sought opportunities to apply my economics coursework in meaningful, practical situations. Through the TFC, I was able to achieve that goal by participating in the Hult Prize, Social Enterprise Consulting, and Project Pyramid. By engaging in the TFC, I have learned about social entrepreneurship as an alternative method to the traditional avenues of international development, and I hope to continue to build on this knowledge as a member of the programming board.

Matt De Niear

Member At Large

M.D. / PhD.

Bio

Matt De Niear

Member At Large

M.D. / PhD. | Medicine

I grew up in Mahwah, New Jersey, just outside of New York City prior to attending Davidson College in North Carolina where I earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Neuroscience. Following college, I continued on to Vanderbilt University to pursue dual MD and PhD degrees as part of the Medical Scientist Training Program. I received my PhD in Neuroscience in 2016 and I am presently completing the last year of my MD program.

While at Davidson, I was part of the Bonner Scholars Program, a program that supports students to bring about positive community change through service to the community. While at Davidson, I observed how economic forces affected communities. It was also during this time that I first learned about market-based approaches to poverty alleviation and social entrepreneurship. At Vanderbilt, I became involved with the TFC through participating in case competitions like the Hult Prize. Over the past year, I have worked with the TFC to address the needs of the local community by facilitating a partnership between the TFC, and Shade Tree Clinic, a free clinic run by Vanderbilt medical students.  I hope to continue building a bridge between the business and medical communities to address issues of poverty and access to healthcare as a member of the TFC programming board.

Mike Woodnorth

Member At Large

MBA '18

Bio

Mike Woodnorth

Member At Large

MBA ’18

I earned my undergraduate degree from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business, where I concentrated in Finance-Real Estate and International Business and was a member of the Investment Banking Network. From there, I moved to Nashville, TN where I spent a year as an analyst for a healthcare investment bank before leaving to help start a healthcare lending group. After working with that group for two years, I was feeling a strong urge to do something more impactful with my career.

As I was considering applying to different MBA programs, I had my eye out for one that would allow me to marry my business background with my lifelong passion for serving others. I was fortunate enough to have a top business school located right in my backyard, but when I learned about the work that Vanderbilt had been doing through the Turner Family Center for Social Ventures, I knew it was where I wanted to be. Between the faculty, coursework and programming provided by the TFC, there have been plenty of firehoses to drink from in my quest to get smart in the social impact space.

Thayer Rosenberg

Partnerships, Careers, Education

MBA '18

Bio

Thayer Rosenberg

Partnerships, Careers, Education

MBA ’18

After receiving a BA in Philosophy and Economics from Boston College, I served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Nicaragua for over three years in the health sector. When I returned to the US, I worked in Washington, DC for two global health non-profits focused on strengthening healthcare markets in low- and middle-income countries. Currently, I am an MBA candidate at the Owen Graduate School of Business at Vanderbilt University concentrating in Healthcare, Strategy, and Marketing.

As a Philosophy major, I continuously sought opportunities to connect the ideas I was studying in the classroom to the outside world. When I came across health inequalities, I found a tangible way to discuss social justice and inequality. As I began to search for ways improve health outcomes for the most marginalized populations, I saw markets as a sustainable avenue to bring choice and dignity to those who often depended on charity. Through the Turner Family Center for Social Ventures, I am able to explore how I can combine my global health experience with my MBA to drive access to high-quality, affordable healthcare.

 

TFC intentionally builds relationships with businesses who are motivated to use their resources as a catalyst for the alleviation of poverty. Our partners in the local community, throughout the nation, and around the world help us increase our reach and change the status quo.

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