TFC Social Ventures Summit
November 11, 2023
Director of Fundraising, WeFunder
Read works to democratize angel investing and access to capital by allowing customers and community members to invest alongside traditional investors. Before joining WeFunder, he worked on the founding teams of several social impact organizations after nearly a decade in the Middle East, researching and advising governments and nonprofits on communications strategy around economic development and international relations issues. He completed an MBA from Vanderbilt’s Owen School of Management in 2022 and holds an MA in Religion in contemporary Society from King’s College London.
Corporate Legal Counsel, Syntax
Violaine Panasci (“V”) is Corporate Legal Counsel at Syntax, a global company that provides comprehensive technology solutions to businesses of all sizes. Before joining Syntax, V practiced law at Rockridge, a B Corp intellectual property and technology law firm. She focused her practice on the intellectual property, data privacy, regulatory compliance, and technology aspects of corporate transactions. She also served as the lead of her firm’s privacy and data security practice group as a Certified Information Privacy Professional/United States (CIPP/US). Beyond transactional law, V has particular expertise in counseling various companies and investors around B Corp certification and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) reporting. Violaine holds a Juris Doctorate (JD) degree from the University of Ottawa and an LL.M. in environmental law from Pace University’s Elisabeth Haub School of Law. She is a member of the Social Enterprise Alliance and the French American Chamber of Commerce of Tennessee.
Steven E. Shaw
Community Engagement Director, Verizon
Steven Shaw is the Community Engagement Director at Verizon, responsible for partnerships and programs in digital inclusion and economic mobility, with a focus on tech and small business entrepreneurship. He co-founded TechRise with P33 Chicago, which supports diverse tech founders. Previously, he served as Deputy Chief of Staff to Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle, worked at Civic Consulting Alliance, and held roles at the IL Dept of Human Services and Deloitte Consulting. Steven is on the boards of The People’s Music School and Social Responsibility Chicago and is a Life Member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. He holds a BA in Economics from Morehouse College and an MPA from the Harvard Kennedy School with a focus on nonprofits and social enterprise.
Collaborative Humanities Postdoctoral Fellow, Vanderbilt University
Helen Makhdoumian co-organizes the Global Humanities seminar and is affiliated with the Department of English. Before Vanderbilt, she held postdoctoral positions at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She earned her PhD in English from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Makhdoumian specializes in literary studies, with a focus on the legacies of collective violence in the Middle East and North America. Her work explores how Indigenous North American, Anglophone Armenian, and Anglophone Arab literatures contribute to the study of trauma and memory. She has received numerous grants and honors, including the American Comparative Literature Association’s Charles Bernheimer Award for the Best Dissertation in 2022. Her articles on migration and memory have been published in journals like Modern Fiction Studies, the Journal of the Society for Armenian Studies, and The Oxford History of the Novel in English, vol. 8.
Executive Director, Avasant Foundation
Chitra Rajeshwari has 25+ years of experience in Management and Business Development and is currently the Executive Director at the Avasant Foundation. The foundation’s mission is to empower young women and men by providing them with opportunities in education, employment, and entrepreneurship in the digital economy. Chitra has worked with governments, international organizations like the World Bank and USAID, and Fortune 500 corporations. The Avasant Foundation was recognized by the Clinton Global Initiative for its Youth Empowerment initiatives in Jamaica and Haiti in 2015 and 2016. Chitra received the Stevie Award in 2018 and the Red Ladder Award for Women in Business in 2020. She was honored as an Unstoppable Woman in 2022 and is a contributing member of the Leadership team at the Center for Social Impact within IAOP. Under her leadership, the Avasant Foundation has consistently influenced youth employment over the last eight years.
Marketing Coordinator, Data Science Institute
Miguel Nunez is a first-generation Latino from Miami, Florida. He just graduated this past May from the Owen Graduate School of Management with a focus on marketing. Before Vanderbilt, Miguel got his undergraduate degree in marketing at Florida International University (FIU). During his internships in tech and entertainment, Miguel realized his passion for these fields. After graduating, he joined the Data Science Institute at Vanderbilt, also known as DSI, as their marketing coordinator. The DSI is a trans-institutional, and interdisciplinary research institution with a primary focus on the advancements in AI and Data Science. At the DSI, Miguel manages all marketing activities, from digital platforms to events and communications, for both the Research and the master’s program. His role also gives him a front-row seat to fast-paced developments in AI. When the TFC Summit announced its theme as “Impact Through Tech,” Miguel was eager to join because of his strong interest in how AI can make tasks more efficient, allowing for more “impactful” work. In his off time, Miguel enjoys spending time with family, going to the beach, and rock climbing.
Doctor Candidate from GuateLab, Vanderbilt University
Miguel Cuj, of Indigenous Guatemalan heritage, holds a Nutrition degree from San Carlos University with support from the Maya Educational Foundation scholarship program. He also earned a Master’s in Latin American Studies and anthropology and a certificate in Global Health from Vanderbilt University and is currently a doctoral candidate in Anthropology. Miguel’s research focuses on Maya K’iche’ community organization in Guatemala. Through immersive ethnographic fieldwork, Miguel has come to recognize the intricate ways of community organization beyond food aspects to innovative ways of organizing themselves. He has received support from organizations like the Wenner-Gren Foundation, the HASTAC program, the James Lawson Institute, and the Center for Digital Humanities at Vanderbilt University. Since 2021, he has led GuateLab, a student initiative fostering humanities dialogues, backed by various Vanderbilt University centers.
Director, Chestnut Impact Real Estate
Courtney Watson brings a broad perspective and diverse background from over 25 years of working in technology, consulting, and private equity. She finds great purpose and joy in engaging at the intersection of innovation, community, and entrepreneurship. Based in Chattanooga, Courtney is a Director at Chestnut Impact Real Estate, a platform powered by Chestnut Funds, to invest in community-aligned commercial real estate projects that yield social and financial returns. Courtney is also a Partner with Chattanooga Renaissance Fund, a venture capital group in the Southeast. Through her leadership on The Enterprise Center’s executive board, she supports its mission to unite people, organizations, and technology to build an advanced and inclusive future for the Chattanooga community. She also appreciates engaging with Vanderbilt graduate students as a Turner Family Center for Social Ventures advisory board member. Courtney received her B.S. from The University of Virginia and her MBA from Vanderbilt University. Courtney and her husband have three children and enjoy taking in the natural beauty of Chattanooga.
Curriculum Director, Arus Academy
David Chak of Malaysia is the curriculum director for Arus Academy, a social enterprise he co-founded. ArusAcademy provides high-impact educational interventions to create a long-lasting systemic impact in the Malaysian education ecosystem. Previously, he worked as a high school teacher in one of the nation’s lowest-performing schools under the Teach for Malaysia program. Additionally, he was a columnist at Malaysia’s largest Mandarin-language publication and a textbook writer. A recipient of the prestigious Malaysia Public Service Department scholarship, Mr. Chak completed his bachelor’s degree in psychology at McGill University in Canada. He also holds a postgraduate diploma in education from the Northern University of Malaysia. In addition to his university credentials, Mr. Chak participated in the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative, where he was placed in a Chicago charter school network specializing in underserved communities in southern Chicago. He was also selected to participate in the Acumen Fellowship, a distinguished leadership development program to cultivate leaders to address social injustice in selected countries worldwide. Mr. Chak’s time at Vanderbilt will be devoted to studying how STEM and media literacy education are conducted in the US education system. Moreover, he hopes to better understand the role of charter schools as catalysts for educational innovation in underserved populations. Building upon Arus Academy’s impact on over 120,000
students and 70,000 teachers, Mr. Chak aspires for his fellowship experience to enable him to magnify his organization’s impact.
Senior Data Scientist, the Data Science Institute (DSI)
Charreau Bell, Ph.D. is the Senior Data Scientist at the Data Science Institute (DSI) at Vanderbilt University and the Faculty Director of the Undergraduate Data Science Minor. In her current role as a data scientist, she leads several data science projects across a spectrum of disciplines using machine learning and deep learning. In her 4 years at the DSI, Dr. Bell has engaged with students and faculty in data science projects in areas including law, history, archaeology, sustainability, social goods, and education. She is a consultant for researchers and industry organizations to help form, plan, evaluate, and reach data-driven academic or business objectives.
Before joining the DSI, she earned her Doctorate, Master’s, and bachelor’s degrees in engineering from Vanderbilt University. Her Ph.D. focused on creating new algorithms for understanding the resting state behavior of the brain using functional brain imaging technology. She also taught computer science courses at Tennessee State University as an adjunct professor and interned with NASA implementing machine learning and other optimization algorithms for robotic systems and instrument sensorization.
James Edward Murray
CEO and co-founder, Therify
James Edward Murray is the CEO and co-founder of Therify, a mental health technology startup funded by Jumpstart Nova, Y Combinator, and Softbank’s Open Opportunity Fund. Therify’s main objective is to tackle the global mental health crisis by providing a convenient platform for individuals to match with in-network therapists, ensuring they receive high-quality and affordable care.
James is passionate about improving access to mental healthcare, stemming from his struggles with grief, loss, and anxiety. Before founding Therify, he began his career in financial services at Morgan Stanley and later worked at Facebook and Instagram, where he was responsible for managing strategic partnerships with top media companies and news organizations in the US.
James received his MBA from Vanderbilt’s Owen Graduate School of Management and BA from Howard University, a historically Black college in Washington, DC. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees at the Pingree School – an independent day school for grades 9 to 12 in Massachusetts – and resides in Brooklyn, NY with his partner, Chandler.
Founder and CEO, TIKI
Mike Audi is a prominent figure in the tech and data industry, renowned for his expertise in creating consumer data products and his contributions to discussions on data ownership, data privacy, and data economics.
As the Founder and CEO of TIKI (mytiki.com), he and his team established a revolutionary data network that facilitates the fair, transparent, and legal exchange of consumer data. Through mytiki.com, millions of individuals now assert data ownership and receive compensation, powering industries like AI, finance, and martech.
Mike’s dedication to data innovation is complemented by his significant technical contributions to the field. Before founding mytiki.com, he co-founded Blustream Corporation serving as its CTO for nearly six years. At Blustream, the company leads the way in using consumer data to redefine post-sale customer experiences, achieving remarkable results in customer satisfaction, retention, sales conversion rates, and revenue.
Based in Nashville and hailing from upstate New York, Mike’s committed to driving net-positive advancements in consumer data.
From musician to climate entrepreneur, Nick embodies his generation’s commitment to making meaningful, positive change. He is the founder of Viro, an award-winning startup inspiring individuals, communities, and businesses to embrace sustainability and take action against climate change. Viro empowers organizations of all sizes to engage their employees in meaningful sustainability efforts, fostering a workplace culture of environmental impact and corporate responsibility.
Before starting Viro, Nick toured internationally as a bass guitarist for multiple Grammy Award-winning artists, performing at notable venues such as Coachella, Bonnaroo, and Good Morning America. Witnessing the devastating effects of urban pollution and poor air quality across the globe led Nick to address critical environmental challenges by facilitating climate action on a scale. He holds a strong belief that individual action grows into collective action, leading to systemic change.
He is a member of the United Nations Association representing Sustainable Development Goal 13 Climate Action, mentors at Vanderbilt University’s Climate Innovation Accelerator, and is a founding fellow of Climatebase. He holds a bachelor’s in music performance from the University of Mary Hardin Baylor and Nick’s upcoming book, Corporate Sustainability: Empowering Impact is the Future of Work, will be available in March 2024.
We are so excited to see you at the Summit! Summit tickets can be purchased here.