TFC Social Ventures Summit

February 18-19, 2021

Schedule | Speakers

Keynote Speaker: Becca Stevens

Becca Stevens is an author, speaker, Episcopal priest, justice entrepreneur, and founder and president of Thistle Farms (Nashville, Tennessee), a community of women survivors of trafficking, prostitution and addiction. Thistle Farms provides a holistic two-year residential program, justice enterprises that employ survivors, and an education and outreach program that includes a national network of 50 sister communities. The Global Market of Thistle Farms helps employ more than 1,800 women worldwide.

Becca is a graduate of the University of the South and Vanderbilt Divinity School. She has been conferred three honorary doctorates and named a 2011 White House “Champion of Change” as well as a 2016 CNN Top Ten Hero. Becca has been honored as Humanitarian of the Year by the Small Business Council of America as well as the TJ Martell Foundation, and has been inducted into the Tennessee Women’s Hall of Fame. She has been featured in The New York Times, ABC World News, NPR, CNN and other national press.

Becca experienced the death of her father and subsequent child abuse at a young age, and as an adult she longed to create a sanctuary for survivors. In 1997, five women who had experienced trafficking, violence, and addiction were the first to enter the Magdalene residential program (now one of several Thistle Farms programs). Twenty years later, women continue to heal as they are provided with two years of free housing, medical care, therapy, and education. Residents and graduates earn income through one of four justice enterprises. Thistle Farms’ expanding line of home and body products generates millions of dollars in revenue for survivors around the globe.

Becca is the author of ten books, including her latest: Love Heals (Thomas Nelson, 2017). Becca regularly keynotes at national events, business gatherings, and worship services as well as at universities and colleges across the country. She is an international voice for the growing global movement for women’s freedom and a fervently hopeful and loving champion of the marginalized.

Becca Stevens and her husband, Grammy-winning songwriter Marcus Hummon, live in Nashville with their three sons.

Becca will be speaking at the TFC’s 6th Annual Social Ventures Summit on Thursday, February 18th. Follow the link above to learn more and register!


Pre-Summit Coffee Cupping Event

Registration restricted to members of the Vanderbilt University Community. On February 17th, join us for a virtual coffee cupping – in partnership with The Well Coffeehouse – through which you’ll learn about the rich sensory characteristics of coffee, including taste, aroma, mouth feel, and more. During the tasting, a coffee professional will guide you through a cupping in the comfort of your own home or office. You’ll be introduced to different coffee growing regions and you’ll discover how growing practices and processing methods alter the flavor profile of the coffee in your morning cup. Upon registration, you’ll be sent follow-up information about how to check-out the cupping equipment you’ll need for the event. This equipment will be checked out to you on a temporary basis and will remain property of the Coffee Equity Lab.

SESSION ONE: Justice | Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion


Globalist, Brand Strategist, Communications Specialist, Author, Speaker, Ibis Communications

“First and foremost, I am a storyteller for social change and a facilitator for open dialogue that  elevates human value. Culturally inclusive communication helps to build bridges, spark  relationships and encourage collaboration that inspires transformative change that improves  the lives and wellbeing of all of us. My mission is to be that change.” 

MaryAnne Howland is a communications specialist and serves a portfolio of clients in pursuit of  transformation from corporate social responsibility to corporate social significance. Through  her global network, she uses movement platforms to fan the mission of justice equity, diversity,  inclusion (JEDI) and sustainability. They include her own enterprises, Ibis Communications,  Global Diversity Leadership Exchange, and THIS!, a new fashion line for people with different  bodies.

MaryAnne is also co-founder of the J.E.D.I Collaborative, an initiative for justice, equity,  diversity and inclusion in the natural products industry. She has served on many local and  national community boards, and currently serves as chair of the board of the American  Sustainable Business Institute and chairs their Racial and Equity Working Group. She serves on  the advisory board for American Promise and the global advisory council for Cornerstone  Capital Group.

SESSION ONE: Coffee Track: The Journey to Racial Equity in Coffee


PhD Candidate, Vanderbilt University

Kelley-Frances Fenelon is a PhD candidate in Vanderbilt’s Community Research and Action program and a content creator and consultant on moral professional leadership and organizational social impact. Her research explores how more equitable, inclusive, and just communities are created when people and organizations leverage their power and resources for change, and her work focuses on equipping individuals and organizations to do just that. Her current projects include a qualitative study of a business-based social movement for LGBTQ inclusion and a quantitative analysis of the contexts and characteristics driving Fortune 500 adoption of environmental, social, and governance reporting and LGBTQ-affirming policies. Her consulting work prioritizes discerning organizational purpose and values and identifying and expanding positive social impact. Kelley-Frances holds an M.S. and M.T.S from Vanderbilt University and a B.A from Princeton University.


Executive Lead, Sustenance Coffee

Brett Struwe is the executive lead for Sustenance Coffee, a small coffee collective entity in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area jointly owned by Berry Coffee Company and Rustica Bakery & Cafe.  He also provides managerial services to the coffee industry through his consultancy, Sustenance Coffee LLC. His coffee journey began in 1993 during a backpacking trip through Europe that led him to a 24-year tenure with Caribou Coffee Company, beginning as a barista and culminating in running the coffee department and operations. He holds an MBA from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management, and lives in Minneapolis with his wife, three children, and do.


Founder & Chief Empowerment Officer, Utake Coffee

Mbula Musau is the Founder and Chief Empowerment Officer of Utake Coffee Limited, a certified SCA Premier Teaching Campus in Kenya, Africa . She is a Q Grader Instructor and Authorised SCA Trainer (AST).  She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Specialty Coffee Association, SCA, and the Coffee Coalition of Racial Equity, CCRE. 

Her company, Utake Coffee Limited is also an African green and roasted coffee retailing and exporting company. As a Coffee Corps Volunteer for over a decade, she is focused on the sustainability of the specialty coffee sector through empowerment, coffee education, gender equity advocacy, coffee trade and fair recognition of efforts for Africa as an important coffee producing region. This has been through identifying and promoting the best coffees from Africa, thus raising the profile and earnings of exemplary producers, as well as advocating for equitable participation and representation of African talent in global coffee forums and events. 

Since spearheading the formation of the International Women in Coffee Alliance (IWCA) chapters in Africa, she continues to serve as a Chapter Mentor and facilitator.


Chief People Officer, Bellwether Coffee

Levi Booser (they/them) is the Chief People Officer for Bellwether Coffee in Berkeley. At Bellwether, Levi helps to foster a strong empathetic culture between operations and the people that perform them. Levi is part of the Education Committee at the CCRE.


Founder and Board Member, Coffee Coalition for Racial Equity

Phyllis Johnson is the co-founder and president of social enterprise BD Imports, a green coffee import company.  Founder and Board Chair for the Coffee Coalition for Racial Equity and an award-winning author, her commitment was inspired by her early childhood experiences in which she spent long, hot summer days working alongside her family in the cotton fields of rural Arkansas. Phyllis attributes those early days with not only teaching her the value of hard work but helping her to build an understanding and empathy for hardworking coffee farmers. Because of her life experiences, Phyllis brings new ideas to coffee conversations around inclusion, while offering her unapologetic, honest, and heartfelt perspectives based on her two decades in the coffee industry.

Phyllis’s work in social responsibility has won her numerous awards, including Responsible Business of the Year and Diverse Supplier of the Year.  She is also the recipient of the prestigious Harvard Kennedy School 2015 Barbara Jordan Award for Women’s Leadership and the Sprugie Award for Best Coffee Magazine/Book.

Phyllis has written several articles highlighting inequities in the coffee trade. She is an advocate for what she believes works and adding more diverse voices to the conversation. Phyllis lives in Georgia with her husband and they have three adult children.



President and CEO, ECOS®

As President and CEO, Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks leads the strategy and production of environmentally-friendly cleaning products at ECOS.

She oversees four geographically diverse facilities across the U.S. as well as a European manufacturing platform. She has been widely recognized for her highly effective leadership at ECOS and her influential voice in the green movement, corporate social responsibility, and sustainable manufacturing.

Vlahakis-Hanks has led ECOS to become a Climate Positive company as well as the first company in the world to achieve the sustainability trifecta of carbon neutrality, water neutrality, and TRUE Platinum Zero Waste certification. Her sustainable business practices have made ECOS a model for green business in the U.S. ECOS is a primary manufacturer that has received many awards for its innovations in safer green chemistry, including the U.S. EPA’s Safer Choice Partner of the Year four times.

As an African American woman and the daughter of a Greek immigrant, Vlahakis-Hanks has made environmental and social justice a cornerstone of ECOS’s mission.

SESSION TWO: COFFEE TRACK - Digital Media & Emerging Tech

OLE MOLVIG – Moderator

Assistant Professor Communications of Science and Technology, Vanderbilt University

Assistant Professor Physics; Assistant Director Vanderbilt Institute for Digital Learning Curator, Garland Historical Scientific Instruments Collection

Professor Molvig is a historian of the modern sciences and technology who joins Vanderbilt following four years on the faculty at Yale. He completed his B.S. degrees at the University of Wisconsin in Physics, Astronomy, and History of Science, and did his graduate work at Princeton University where he examined the creation of and responses to Albert Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity for his Ph.D. in History. 

Professor Molvig explores how science, technology and society interact.  How did Einstein, and his theories, become seen as revolutionary?  How has, and how will, digital innovations like artificial intelligence impact society?  How does magic become technology?  These are the types of questions he explores, researches, and teaches.  Professor Molvig’s other interests include virtual reality, autonomous vehicles, gaming, the history of astronomy, precision instrumentation, physics in WWI, popular science, and modern European intellectual and cultural history. 


Agricultural Scientist, Co-Founder, Del Fuego Project

Dr. Taya Brown is an agricultural scientist focused on smallholder coffee production systems. She was the Program Director for the Center for Coffee Research and Education at Texas A&M University for several years, where she identified the need for science-based study and education along the full coffee supply chain. As Co-Founder of the Del Fuego Project, Taya designs and implements participatory research, from studies on profitability to soil fertility and plant nutrition, all co-directed by the smallholder producers she works for. She is dedicated to reducing the distance between coffee consumers and producers and is heavily involved in designing educational materials applicable to both of these ends of the supply chain.


Art Director, Co-Founder of Del Fuego Project

Devon is a freelance Art Director who works at the intersection of art, science, and technology. Starting with a technical background in developing B2B solutions and team management with Apple, Devon founded Wave3 to focus on multi-sector collaborations that bring together keyboard jockeys to Sci-Comm nerds. As Co-Founder of Del Fuego Project working in Guatemala, Devon develops community-driven media frameworks to build capacity and foster understanding between stakeholders in the coffee supply chain.

SESSION THREE: Responsible Innovation


Head of Content & Partnerships for Responsible Innovation, Google

Reena is Google’s Head of Content & Partnerships for Responsible Innovation. She oversees a team that creates internal and external resources and partnerships that enable and empower people with empathetic, optimistic, and principled approaches to the research and development of AI and other advanced technologies. A former business journalist, product owner, and creative lead, Reena is devoted to equitable product and software design and values-driven company cultures.



Social Innovation Lead, The Wond’ry, Vanderbilt University

Hanes Motsinger currently leads the Social Innovation Practice at the Wond’ry, Vanderbilt University’s on-campus center for innovation, and is the Co-Founder of the new Coffee Equity Lab at the Wond’ry. 

She is one of four co-creators of the Specialty Coffee Association’s Coffee Sustainability program, a professional educational curriculum that equips coffee professionals with the knowledge they need to help build a more sustainable industry. Hanes has over a decade of experience in the non-profit sector and has worked to defend H2A/H2B guestworker rights, advance the role private landowners play in conservation in the Middle Rio Grande Valley of New Mexico, and create documentaries that advance social and environmental justice in North Carolina. She holds an M.A degree in the Anthropology of Development and Social Transformation from Sussex University in England, a M.S. in Geography and Environmental Studies from the University of New Mexico, and a Certificate in Documentary Arts from the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. In her free time, Hanes can be found knee deep in her garden, playing the clawhammer banjo, cooking, or visiting the farmlands of her hometown in North Carolina. 


Interim Senior Vice President, Center for Sustainable Lands and Waters, Conservation International

Bambi Semroc is Interim SVP of the Center for Sustainable Lands and Waters at Conservation International. The Center brings together key elements of sustainable production, water, incentives, and sustainability in priority landscapes and seascapes. She leads the Sustainable Coffee Challenge, a sector-wide effort to make coffee the world’s first sustainable agricultural product. Ms. Semroc has been at Conservation International for more than 15 years, always focusing on sustainable agriculture. She engages leading retailers and consumer goods companies on sustainable agriculture programs designed to maintain critical natural capital, mitigate climate change, and increase the resiliency of farmers to shocks while maintaining productivity. Semroc works to ensure that these companies have the information and tools necessary to integrate natural capital and ecosystem service considerations into decision-making processes. Throughout this time, she has worked in collaboration with companies such as Starbucks Coffee Company, Walmart, McDonald’s, Nestle, and The Coca-Cola Company. Prior to Conservation International, Ms. Semroc worked as a Peace Corps Volunteer in northern Togo. She holds a master’s degree in International Development from American University and a bachelor’s degree in English and French from Indiana University.

CAREER PANEL: Careers in Social Impact


Founding Director, Turner Family Center for Social Ventures, Vanderbilt University

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 a B.A. from Dartmouth College and an MBA from Vanderbilt University.


Partner, Holthouse, Carlin & Van Trigt

Karina Hamilton is a partner at Holthouse, Carlin & Van Trigt (HCVT) in Irvine, CA. She is a highly experienced professional with over 30 years of legal and non-profit experience. Karina graduated from Stanford University, holds a JD from Boalt Hall School of Law at UC Berkeley, practiced corporate law at Allen Matkins, and served as corporate counsel for Pioneer Electronics. Before joining HCVT, Karina was the Director of Students Affairs Scholarship and Special Projects at the University of California, Irvine. Active in the community, Karina is one of the founders of Sage Hill School, an independent high school in Orange County. She also serves on the boards of the TGR Foundation that provides innovative after-school programming and college scholarships for thousands of talented first-generation students; and the El Sol Academy Foundation that supports an innovative K-8 public charter school in Santa Ana, CA.


Senior Counsel, Executive Search, Campbell & Company

Marian Alexander DeBerry has more than 35 years of professional experience, including over 20 years in executive search. While she has conducted searches in the public, private and nonprofit sectors, her work is particularly focused on conducting searches for the senior leadership of mission-driven institutions and organizations. Her work is most rewarding when she experiences the magic of the “perfect” match.

Prior to joining Campbell & Company, Marian was vice president with two retained executive search firms and an independent executive search consultant. In addition to her executive search work, Marian has experience in the nonprofit sector as an education administrator and in the corporate sector in commercial banking and treasury. She served the Bank of Boston and Continental Bank for several years, developing investment portfolio strategies and trading recommendations and managing short-term liability positions. At the Bank of Boston, she served as recruiting team leader for the Wharton (University of Pennsylvania) and Fuqua (Duke University) Schools of Business. Marian began her career with an advocacy organization for female offenders and served as executive director of a university-based educational achievement program for first-generation secondary school students.

Marian holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Sociology from Duke University and a Master of Business Administration from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. She also studied at the London Business School. She is a frequent speaker on career development in nonprofit organizations.


Deputy Director, Impact Hub Houston

Michelle Avalos is the Deputy Director of Impact Hub Houston, which is a part of one of the world’s largest networks focused on building entrepreneurial communities for impact at scale. Michelle has worked as an analyst and a co-founder before her current role. She has found her niche in promoting economic growth in an impactful way. She will share her experiences, passions and frustrations with a social impact career.

CAREER PANEL - Coffee Track: Careers in Coffee Pathways


Robert Penn Warren Center, Vanderbilt University

Elizabeth Meadows is the Associate Director of Vanderbilt’s Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities, Senior Lecturer in English, and the Faculty Head of House at East House on The Ingram Commons. At the Warren Center, Meadows develops programs that connect humanities scholarship to real-world issues, focusing on undergraduate co-curricular programs, community engagement and public scholarship, and collaborative and interdisciplinary teaching. Meadows is a literary scholar whose work examines death and disease in Victorian literature and culture. Meadows has published in Dickens Studies Annual, The Oxford Companion to Victorian Literary Culture and has collaboratively guest edited a special issue of Victorian Review.


Director of Coffee, Royal Coffee & VP of Coffee Coalition for Racial Equity

Candice Madison has worked in specialty coffee for over a decade, as an accomplished barista, roaster, and trainer. She is a Q Arabica Instructor for the Coffee Quality Institute, an Authorized Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) Trainer, a teacher on SCA certified campuses, as well as at the annual SCA Event, World of Coffee and Coffee Roasters Guild Retreat. A past World Coffee Events Head Judge, Candice is currently the Director of Roasting at The Crown: Royal Coffee Lab and Tasting Room. She oversees production roasting for the Tasting Room, as well as contributing to the Crown Jewel program, and hosting original and SCA roasting education. She is also a published writer on a range of topics concerning specialty coffee. 

Candice focuses on working with those who look to ensure quality in specialty coffee throughout the supply chain. Most important to her work is supporting sustainable livelihoods for farmers, producers, and all of those along the value chain, with recognition of the invaluable role that women and people of color play throughout. Previously a member of several SCA committees, including the Equity Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, Candice is the Vice President of the Coffee Coalition for Racial Equity (CCRE). Her vocation is the unceasing quest for the highest quality of coffee and the constant, sustainable improvement in the quality of the lives of those who produce it.


Founder and Owner, Cocoa Cinnamon, Little Waves Roastery

Areli Barrera de Grodski is a co-owner of Little Waves Coffee Roaster and Cocoa Cinnamon in Durham, NC. Areli’s journey in coffee started 11 years ago in the Great Smokey Mountains of North Carolina. This start put into perspective the power that coffee provides to create space for, and support, local and global communities. Drawing from her lived experience of the immigrant hustle, passion for coffee and community, Areli and her husband, Leon, grew Cocoa Cinnamon from a bike to a three-location coffee shop and now a roastery. Areli oversees the roastery where she prides herself in running a predominantly women and non-binary team whose mission is to share beautiful coffees that hit the mark for a wide spectrum of coffee enthusiasts, while supporting small communities and women producers from all over the globe. “Our goal is to have a net positive impact through our purchasing patterns, how we treat and pay our employees, how we treat our earth and how we give back to our communities.”

Areli is an Executive Board Member of the Coffee Coalition for Racial Equity, a Board member of Made in Durham, and a Board Advisor to The Chain CollaborativeAreli enjoys making rooted connections throughout the coffee supply chain and when she’s not doing coffee things she’s DJing or dancing to the sounds of the DJ collective she founded, Mamis & the Papis.


Owner, PJ’s Coffee Dallas

Vanderbilt Alumnus Brittany Simmons Willis (B.A. ’10) is an accomplished Fortune 500 professional, having successfully developed and managed corporate retail accounts valued at more than $300 million for over a decade. In addition to her corporate career, Brittany is also the franchise owner of PJ’s Coffee of New Orleans located in North Dallas. A New Orleans native and twenty-year PJ’s Coffee patron, Brittany knew that her passion for coffee and desire to entire into business for herself would be best paired with the PJ’s Coffee brand. Brittany is Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) certified in Coffee Sensory, Roasting, Brewing, & Barista Skills. 

During her time at Vanderbilt, Brittany was initiated into the Mu Rho Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and also founded and served as the first president of the Vanderbilt undergraduate chapter of the National Black MBA Association.


Director of Communications, Cafe Imports

For the past 20 years, Ever Meister has had a professional double life as a coffee person and a journalist, and she has managed to do both simultaneously for most of that time. In the coffee-focused aspect of her career, she’s been a barista, cafe manager, co-director of coffee, a wholesale-account manager, educator, green-coffee salesperson, and marketing and communications specialist. She’s written for both trade and mainstream publications, and is the author of New York City Coffee: A Caffeinated History (2017). She is currently the editorial manager and director of education for Cafe Imports, as well as a freelance writer, editor, and podcaster focusing primarily on coffee.


Volcafe Way Manager, Volcafe

Carlos Ortiz is a coffee passionate, intrapreneur and co-founder of the Volcafe Way (Volcafe´s sustainable sourcing strategy). Carlos graduated as an Agronomist from EARTH University and later furthered his education by completing a masters in Agribusiness. With this unique skillset, Carlos has dedicated his professional career to help coffee growers become entrepreneurs and achieve Sustainable Profitability. Carlos joined Volcafe in 2008 as a Field Technician and has since developed a prolific and successful career by working in 3 different coffee origins before taking on the challenge of co-founding and managing the Volcafe Way Program. With the implementation of the Program, Carlos has had the opportunity to interact with coffee families from 10 different countries around the world, giving him a special understanding of supply chain risks and vulnerabilities around the globe.



President & CEO, LEARN Charter Schools

Gregory A. White has been the President and Chief Executive Officer for LEARN Charter Schools located in Chicago, Illinois, from 2008 to present. Mr. White is leading an entrepreneurial effort to grow this nationally-recognized network of high performing elementary schools from ten, serving 4,200 students, to sixteen schools, serving 8,000 students. Prior to LEARN, Mr. White worked for The Chicago Community Trust (Vice President of Strategy & Operations), Chicago Venture Partners, L.P. (Co-founder & Partner), Salomon Brothers (Bond Salesman), Continental Bank (Real Estate Lender), The Rouse Company (Research Analyst) and the Enterprise Foundation (Assistant Field Officer). Mr. White also served on the board of directors of Learn Charter School Network, Lakefront Supportive Housing Christ the King High School, and the Chicago Transit Authority Citizens Advisory Board. Mr. White earned a Masters of Business Administration from Harvard Business School and graduated with honors from Brown University.


Founder & CEO, Possip

Shani Dowell is Founder & CEO of Possip, a platform that simplifies feedback between parents, schools and districts. Shani has had a formative career in education reform and innovating the system. Before Shani created Possip, she served as an Executive Director for Teacher Pathways, a Senior Vice President for Teach for America, a Trailblazer for KIPP and a middle school math teacher. Shani brings her expertise in education to speak with us on how the social impact sector can make a difference in education.



Co-Founder & Senior Managing Director, pfc Social Impact Advisors 

Co-founder and senior managing director of pfc Social Impact Advisors, llc, John has over 35 years of experience in advancing the social and environmental impacts of philanthropy and social investors—foundations, individual donors, and the social change non-profits they serve. He has managed non-profit advocacy organizations, directed an environmentally-focused foundation, and advised over 100 foundations’ strategic planning, grant making, and evaluation on sustainability-related issues including climate change, sustainable agriculture and community-based food systems, marine fisheries and ecosystems, and forestry. For the past decade, John has worked at the nexus of philanthropy and private capital focused on social impact. Supporting community ownership, engagement, and community-useful impact data and measures; using public and private policies to scale social impact; and engaging investors to align their charity and investing are key areas of interest. Holding an MPH from the University of Michigan, John has published on public policy advocacy evaluation and wicked problems. He chairs the Davidson County Solid Waste Region Board, is a board member of Social Value US, and serves on the American Evaluation Association’s Social Impact Measures work group and Nashville’s Sustainability Advisory Committee.

We are so excited to see you at the Summit!