Timothy Draper: DFJ Capital Founder

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My Native Admission Statement: I am a hardworker with a mission to spread entrepreneurship and venture capital around the world. Since I have succeeded to some degree. I have a mission to decentralize the world to where borders become meaningless.

Industry opportunities and challenges?:

Yes. Crowdfunding, tokenization, and transparency are changing things. The business is becoming more automated and the money is getting to be more direct to the entrepreneur. I imagine a time when a VC raises money in Bitcoin, they invest in Bitcoin, and the startups pay their employees and suppliers in bitcoin, and the relationship with the LP is through a smart contract. In effect, our business could take place without a lawyer on either side, an accountant, a transfer agent, a custodian, an escrow agent, a bookkeeper, or any of the bureaucracies who regulate all of this.

Career advice to those in your industry?:

Meet 4 new people a day and ask them what they do for a living. You will have a much better understanding of the world, and be far less frustrated when things aren’t working the way you want them to.

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Ann Garnier: Lisa Health Founder & CEO

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My Native Admission Statement: Ann Garnier, founder and CEO of Lisa Health, is a seasoned healthcare leader, helping to create, launch, and scale innovative tech companies and products that have improved patient outcomes and access to care. At Lisa Health, Ann leads the team to enhance the well-being of midlife women. She is passionate about women’s health and advancing research beyond pregnancy and fertility to reduce the serious and costly health risks that women face as they age and help them celebrate the start of something great. Her entire career has been spent in healthcare as an entrepreneur/executive/advisor to venture-backed companies in femtech and healthcare technology and services. Helping to improve patient outcomes and the patient experience through technology isenormously rewarding. Waking up every day with the intention of improving people’s well-being is a good way to spend your life.

Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?:

My inspiration came through my own menopause transition. I was one of those eighty-five percent of women who were struggling with symptoms. Like most women, I went to my doctor to understand what I could do to make the symptoms go away or at least be less impactful. And, like most women, the experience was very disappointing. The only solution she had to offer me was hormone therapy, which I am not opposed to, but I prefer holistic solutions whenever possible. Most physicians are not trained in lifestyle medicine and are too busy to spend time with women to review the options. As someone who has created many healthcare products for complex and chronic conditions, I knew there had to be a way to manage my symptoms using lifestyle interventions. After extensive research into the scientific literature, I started experimenting with different lifestyle changes and after a few weeks noticed that my symptoms either disappeared or were significantly reduced. Then, the lightbulb went off, and I decided to create a modern science-based digital app for menopause and midlife health. Our north star is to make midlife women visible, eliminate the shame and silence around menopause, and help every midlife woman get the well-being she deserves.

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Stefanie Barboza: Barboza Method Founder

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My Native Admission Statement: The Barboza Method is a full body, no impact workout all done on the floor—no machines, no weights, it’s you fighting gravity and your own body weight. The studio is in Hollywood, and it is designed with mirrors on the ceiling so when you lay on a yoga mat you can see yourself, so you can keep your body in proper alignment and proper form. I use epic music which will sound familiar because they come from movie and tv and video game scores—music that makes you think and keeps you motivated to keep your head in the game. I think I’m a good problem solver. You never know what you’re gonna get and I always think of a solution and keep moving forward. I care a lot. Whenever I do anything I put my all into it.

Any emerging industry trends?

Everything is going app. Online. I don’t like that because as a teacher my job is not just what you do, but how you do it. The job of a teacher is to make sure you do the thing you’re supposed to be doing correctly. If you do it incorrectly, you will get injured. My goal as a teacher is to get you out of the house so we can do the class together, meet the people in class with you, and have the one-on-one support and be part of a team and a community.  Also I think functional fitness and isometric workouts are coming back. I think there was a trend recently about more intense, body builder-type workout classes—and now we’ve shifted back to the basics, the— “I just need to be healthy and live an active life”—which my class, which is about posture and alignment, exemplifies.

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David Bancroft: Acre Restaurant Executive Chef/Partner

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My Native Admission Statement: A San Antonio, Texas native with permanent roots in Auburn, AL, Bancroft is a self-taught chef, farmer, and forager committed to showcasing sustainable ingredients and local harvests. In August 2013, Bancroft and his wife opened Acre restaurant in Auburn, AL. The seasonally-influenced menu reinterprets the rich heritage of Alabama cuisine and celebrates sustainable ingredients sourced from the on-site gardens & local bounty of the surrounding community. In November 2018, Bancroft opened his second restaurant concept, Bow & Arrow, an interpretation of a South Texas smokehouse juxtaposed with the communal and casual dining approach of an Alabama potluck. Bancroft is a 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation’s “Best Chef: South” award and winner of Food Network’s “Iron Chef Showdown” competition in 2017.

Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the business? 

I have so many vivid memories of my Grandpa Kennedy out on his south Alabama farm. His life was the embodiment of farm to table, sustainability, and most of all, survival. He utilized every single inch of land to his advantage. Acre is my continuation of his life and his legacy. Acre is set on one full working acre of land and is wrapped in an edible landscape, from peaches and plums to watermelon patches and corn fields.

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Lane Moore: Bestselling author, award-winning stand-up comedian, writer, actor, and musician

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My Native Admission Statement: When I was a little kid, I told everyone I wanted to be “an actor and comedian and writer and musician and director” and people told me to pick one. I have not, I will not, I do not. I do them all and I do them well and I’m so proud I did right by little kid me. Creator of comedy show Tinder Live. Author of How To be Alone: If You Want To And Even If You Don’t. Frontperson in the band It Was Romance.

Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?  

All of my projects really focus on my lifelong want to make art that really connects people and makes them feel happier and lighter and less alone, less weird or less “other” because that’s the only kind of art I’ve ever loved and to be able to make that as well is the best. Tinder Live was born out of an extreme frustration with modern dating, dating apps, and shitty hookup culture. Every Tinder Live show is so cathartic for people, not only because it’s totally improvised, so anything can happen, but also because it’s so so funny, which is its own huge release, and because so many people are frustrated by online dating and feel like the last person on earth who wants something great. Even if you’ve been married a long time you remember how awful dating was, so it’s this great combination of improv comedy, laughing til you’re crying, and realizing you’re not alone because lots of people are coming across the exact same weirdos online that you are. How To Be Alone came about because I had never seen myself reflected truly in books before. Most people’s stories of hardship included their family being so supportive, or them getting married and that fixing everything, and neither is true for me. I wanted to write a book that talked about not having the perfect, or any, family, and going through life without any safe support systems or love or fallback plan or place to turn, because I hadn’t seen that talked about before. And I took a leap of faith that there were other people who were desperate to know they weren’t the only ones who were facing that, and I found out I was right. We’re out there.

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Conchita Cruz: Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project (ASAP) Co-Director & Co-Founder

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My Native Admission Statement: I am a relentless advocate. When presented with a problem, I see it as a challenge to come up with a creative solution. My goal is to use the power that comes along with my U.S. citizenship and my education to fight for the rights of refugees and immigrants.

How did you get into the industry?:

I am the daughter of a formerly undocumented Guatemalan immigrant, and a Cuban asylum seeker who came to the United States as an unaccompanied minor. From a young age, immigration issues were all around me as family members and friends struggled with whether to get on a raft to flee Cuba, or travel to the Mexico-U.S. border to cross the Rio Grande in search of a better life. That experience led me to the immigrants’ rights movement, where I worked as an organizer, interpreter, and on one occasion as a Spanish-language radio personality in South Carolina. I thought I could make a difference in government, and worked at both the federal and state level to advance immigrants’ rights issues. But after it became clear that large scale reform of our immigration system was many years away, I decided to go to law school to work on cases one at a time, help families navigate our broken immigration system, and change the law through the courts.

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David Alain Bloch: Legartis CEO & Co-founder

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My Native Admission Statement: I am the CEO and Co-founder of Legartis with the objective to make legal work faster, easier and more efficient. Being an Attorney at Law, I sensed the potential of an AI-powered contract intelligence software to alleviate and speed up repetitive legal work and allow lawyers to focus on what matters. I have gained experience as a lawyer in South Korea as well as in Switzerland and saw many different angles of legal challenges in my attorney work for various clients. As I am also an entrepreneur at heart, I co-founded a think tank on foreign policy in 2009, and currently am a member of its board. In the past 5 years, I have additionally highlighted my pioneering spirit and inventive talent as a Global Shaper and curator of the Zurich Hub, an initiative by the World Economic Forum. With Legartis, me and my team have been stirring up the legal tech startup scene since 2017.

Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?:

In my former work as a lawyer, I often had to browse through extensive dossiers to find specific pieces of information. Repeatedly, the search turned out to be tedious and highly time-consuming. I often questioned myself whether there was no better way to perform this kind of task. When I was contacted by an accelerator in Switzerland, I knew what I had to do. After a deep market research and finding the right partners, the foundation stone for Legartis was laid.

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Greg Thomas: 375 Park Associates Managing Director

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My Native Admission Statement: What do I do? I’m a plumber – in a metaphysical sense. I help clients solve their challenges in their portfolios. This ranges to everything from providing valuation opinions on current or planned assets, performing due diligence on targeted acquisitions, linking clients with much-needed customers or capital, and helping formulate and execute strategies to win big in the market.

Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?:

I spend a lot of time in Asia, up to 10-months per year. When we started 375 Park Associates, we started with a simple question. ‘What does Asia need?’ The answer, at least for us, was access to better healthcare, energy security, and water security. This could be achieved by connecting disruptive technology companies in the U.S. and Europe with customers and capital from Asia. My future desire for 375 Park Associates? Actually, I just like solving problems. Be it helping a client to value a dynamic investment portfolio, to formulating a winning strategy. The satisfaction of solving problems for my clients (for a charge of course) and riding my bike in every country I go to is about as good as it gets.

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Jim Hornthal: Parallel entrepreneur, angel investor, philanthropist, & entrepreneurship educator

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My Native Admission Statement: I grew up in a suburb of Chicago in a room covered in black-light posters. In addition to classic images of Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, and The Beatles, there was a poster with a quote that was originally said by George Bernard Shaw, but popularized later by Robert Kennedy, which became my life motto;

‘Some men see things as they are and say, why?

I dream things that never were and say, why not?’

My motivation has always been about innovation and has guided my personal, professional and political life since I was a child. It fueled my entrepreneurial tendencies, even at an early age, where I was constantly creating new ventures in my grammar school, high school, and college. Creating uncommon things and helping others to fulfill their inspiration drives me daily. I fall in love with individuals with a passion for what they do, and as an active angel investor, I have supported scores of entrepreneurs and artists in pursuit of their dreams.”

Biggest Success?:

Creating new channels for communication between business leaders across known areas of conflict. The Peace Action Network within YPO (Young Presidents Organization) has helped cultivate constructive dialog, hundreds of collaborative investments, and helped create millions of new jobs in the Middle East.

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Dan Gardner: Code and Theory Co-Founder

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My Native Admission Statement: I am first and foremost a husband and father of 5. (Ages 10,8,6,5 &3). I am second, the founder and CEO of a 500 person company called Code and Theory. Between the 2, which consumes most of my time, I appreciate the chaos and challenges that is my life. With that said, my personal interests for my very limited extra time in my life include anything that has a competitive spirit or creative perspective.

How did you get into the industry?:

I went to school at University at Buffalo for Computer Art and did a lot of experimental artwork and design through programming. During school I interned and worked for some various boutique agencies which all exploded during the dot com bubble and upon graduating had a short stint at a traditional agency.  Having the polarity of those experiences gave me the inspiration to start my own company with a culture and skill set focused on the use of digital capabilities to help grow businesses. When we started Code and Theory, from its early conception, part of our culture was always pushing the boundaries. What fueled our success in those early days was based on my interest of how to use creativity and technology to make experiences better.  We went from a small apartment in the Lower East Side to our current headquarters on the 62nd floor of the World Trade Center, with additional offices in San Francisco, London, LA, Atlanta, and Manila. Our company and those offices are still rooted in the DNA and culture of how we try and solve problems.

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Laila Mintas: Bet.Works Chairwoman of the Strategic Advisory Board

Laila Mintas Highlights

Laila Mintas Highlights

My Native Admission Statement: My work has always been my hobby – I love the intersection of sports and technology, including the sports betting, digital sports and fan engagement sector. My focus is on the use of emerging technologies and developments and how those are changing sports, society and the consumer behavior while simultaneously creating new revenue streams. I have worked in this capacity on an international level in different executive positions. I am recognized as an international expert in my space and was awarded last year for my personal achievements with the Leaders in Sports U 40 Award, the SBJ Game Changers Award and the International Award for Women in the Gaming Industry – Inspiration of the Year and named one of 25 executives to watch in 2019 by the Global Gaming Business magazine.

Biggest Success?:

Difficult to say – I always try to be successful with everything I am doing. I am incredibly honored to have received three awards last year for my personal achievements in the industry – the Leaders in Sports U 40 Award, the SBJ Game Changers Award and the International Award for Women in the Gaming Industry – Inspiration of the Year. Nevertheless, I hope the biggest success is still laying ahead of me!

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Laura Citron: London & Partners CEO

Laura Citron Highlights

Laura Citron Highlights

My Native Admission Statement: I’ve heard an old Jewish saying that says: “It is not your duty to complete the work, but nor are you free to desist from starting it.” I think that’s great, as just because you can’t fix something that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. Promoting a city like London can feel like an infinite task, so this is comforting! I’m very interested in the blurring of professional and personal lives, and what that means for the way people – especially millennials – have a relationship with London. That’s especially important for us, as London & Partners works with tourists, students, talent and entrepreneurs – often the same people having different relationships with the city over their lifetimes. We know that young people are motivated not only by money and career status, but also by making a difference, a sense of purpose, balance and wellbeing. London isn’t just a great place to grow a business or career – it’s also a fantastic place to pursue your passions and meet like-minded people from around the world – whether you are here for a week or ten years.

How do you motivate others?:

Luckily for me, everyone I work with absolutely loves London – so that’s motivating! Many of us, like me, are Londoners born and bred, but many are not. I think that mirrors one of the city’s greatest strengths: being a Londoner is not a birthright – it’s about belonging – anyone can be a Londoner. Other than that, I try to create an environment where everyone can bring their whole selves to work. I have a 1-year old daughter and I try to be honest about the challenges of being a working parent. I hope it makes it OK for everyone to admit they have a life outside the office.

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Peter Noble Darrow: Entrepreneur & Author, "Wise Millennial: A Field Guide to Thriving in Modern Life"

Peter Noble Darrow Highlights

Peter Noble Darrow Highlights

My Native Admission Statement: My goal is to empower and inspire other young people to find their true inner happiness, and live more authentic, meaningful lives. In my book “Wise Millennial: A Field Guide to Thriving in Modern Life” (self-help/memoir, 2019), I discuss the importance of detaching ourselves from the messed up values we downloaded from society and our parents, and developing a healthy, strong ‘sense of self’.

Your most difficult moment?

Writing a book (and being an entrepreneur generally) is a tedious process, filled with many unknowns. No one is there to do it for you; you have to provide your own answers to your own questions by being extremely resourceful. For me, writing was a very emotionally draining process. Many of the stories I tell (such as the day I lost my father) require re-hashing old memories and reliving them, in order to most accurately describe them to the reader. It’s exhausting.

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James Michael Sama: Speaker | Author | Coach

James Michael Sama Highlights

James Michael Sama Highlights

My Native Admission Statement: My mission is to help people develop a deeper understanding of themselves and others from a fundamental human level, and then use this knowledge to create more fulfilling lives and relationships. After accumulating nearly 40 million readers and having thousands of conversations over the years with people of all walks of life, I strongly believe we need to focus more on creating who we want to be (and be with) and then build a life around those goals.

How did you get into the industry?

In 2013 I began writing my blog as a way to reach more people than my personal Facebook page. I didn’t know anything about blogging and really was only active on Facebook as a social network. As I started writing about personal development, dating, and relationships, my articles would get shared frequently and generate a few thousand views per day. Approximately 5 months after I started writing, one of the articles (10 Ways to Know You’re Dating a True Gentleman) starting picking up steam and was viewed over 1.5 million times in a single day. After that, I knew I had to figure out why this happened and create more momentum behind it. I started receiving phone calls from interviews and being quoted in the media. Since then, I have spent most of my time researching human relationships and psychology, and have written over 800 articles revolving around the topic. This has lead to a variety of media and live event appearances across the country, which, coupled with private coaching, have become my full time venture.

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Colin Cowie: Event Designer & Producer

Colin Cowie Highlights

Colin Cowie Highlights

My Native Admission Statement: I like to live my best life possible. I am a curious soul who strives to get 70 seconds out of every minute. There is so much to do still, and despite a blessed story I feel like I am just getting started with so many exciting, fun and new projects ahead of me. I am always on the hunt for adventure, and I approach every endeavor with creativity and enthusiasm.

How did you get into the industry?:

I emigrated here from South Africa at age 23, with an omnipresent tan, a well-cut suit, big dreams and $400 in my pocket. I started a small catering company and a client was the president of Playboy. Within three years of arriving I designed, planned and produced the most famous bachelor’s wedding…Hugh Hefner. The rest is history.

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Kamil Bajda-Pawlikowski: Starburst Data Co-Founder & CTO

Kamil Bajda-Pawlikowski Highlights

Kamil Bajda-Pawlikowski Highlights

My Native Admission Statement: I have patience and perseverance, but also flexibility. My aspirations are to make both my company and our customers successful. and to find more time to read books and spend more time outdoors. At Starburst, we incubated our enterprise support offering for Presto while at Teradata. When we first got involved in early 2015, the Presto community was relatively small. No traditional enterprise adoption existed due to the lack of both security integrations and ease-of-use. Plus, not everyone wants to do-it-yourself without any support since running any software at large scale and in production is a serious responsibility. Starburst Data built on its initial customer base and rapidly accelerated product development and adoption across a large number of companies in a variety of industries.

What's next for the Business in the near future?:

We are investing in a major way in the cloud offerings that we introduced after forming Starburst Data. While on-premises deployments are still frequent, we are seeing a lot of activity across major cloud providers, like AWS, Azure, and the Google Cloud Platform. Also, Kubernetes is gaining significant adoption in both private and public clouds.

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Kendra Scott: Founder, Kendra Scott

Kendra Scott Highlights

Kendra Scott Highlights

My Native Admission Statement: I am a loving mom, a driven entrepreneur, and a passionate designer who believes the truest form of success is giving back in a meaningful way. My goal in life is to spread the message that we all have the power to leave this world better than we found it. It is our responsibility to use the talents we’re given to do good.

How did you get into the industry?

I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit, and I couldn’t ignore the potential of the white space I was noticing in the industry for quality designs made with genuine stones, at a price any woman could afford. So I set out to design my own. I took a few jewelry making and wire wrapping classes, sought out the most beautiful stones I could find, and created the designs I knew women like me had been searching for. Then, I took my box of handmade designs door to door around Austin (with my newborn son on my hip) hoping that someone would give me a chance. I always joke that I don’t know if the stores felt sorry for me or just loved the jewelry. But the truth is, that personal contact made all the difference. By meeting with these stores face-to-face, they understood that I was a real person, creating high-quality and attainable jewelry that I was passionate about. 

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Sonia Elhaj: Modern Womanhood Coach

Sonia Elhaj Highlights

Sonia Elhaj Highlights

My Native Admission Statement: I am Sonia Elhaj, your Certified Modern Womanhood Coach. I guide you, today’s modern woman in becoming strong, happy, peaceful and successful, ALSO, on the inside.

I support YOU – today’s “modern” woman in freeing yourself from the daily poison of your internal & external conversations that keep you from happiness in love, marriage and your personal relationships.

From Feminist to FEMININE.

Biggest Success?:

My biggest success to date is: belief and trust.

Success to me is about reaching that place of abundance and bliss where I do not worry about where love or money come from. It is about radical acceptance of every single thing that happens as part of my manifestation, including the failures, the surprises and the unexpected outcomes on the way. Success is 20% about taking aligned action and 80% about full belief in the order of the universe, full trust in the process and allowing life to unfold. To me it is about letting go of the idea that success is difficult, limited to certain people or something hard to achieve. It is never about working hard; it is about letting go and freeing myself of old beliefs, expectations and attachment! Ultimate success for us as female leaders is about self-acceptance, self-forgiveness and being unapologetically aware of our worth. It is about not needing competitiveness or comparison – about eradicating obligation, guilt, sacrifice, ‘servanthood’ and co-dependency from our relationships. In other words, a woman’s success is about recruiting our ‘healthy’ structured masculine activator energy to take action and make things happen within the creative and chaotic flow, freedom and trust of the powerful feminine.

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Michael Ventura: Sub Rosa Founder & CEO

Michael Ventura Highlights

Michael Ventura Highlights

My Native Admission Statement: I believe in the power of empathy as a transformative skill allowing for the development of self-awareness, deep understanding, and enriched connections between each other and the surrounding world. I’ve run a strategy and design practice for over a decade, which is focused solely on this sort of work (wearesubrosa.com). I am a practitioner of indigenous and eastern medicine (corvusmedicine.com) treating 15 people a week in a private practice with the goal of helping them explore, learn, and grow their own ability to heal themselves. I’ve taught courses on empathy at Princeton University and The U.S. Military Academy at West Point. I’ve also worked with the Obama Administration and the United Nations on integrating empathy into systems-thinking solutions for indigenous communities both in the U.S. and abroad. This is my life’s work and I’m proud to be of service to a topic as meaningful as empathy.

Career advice to those in your industry?:

Get on with it. People have so much trepidation about doing something. They’re worried they’re going to fail or embarrass themselves. Well, guess what? You’re right. It’s bound to happen, but that means you’re living. You’re taking chances. You’re pushing yourself. No one gets it right all of the time. It’s those who dare to take the risk and do something scary that actually push their limits and grow.

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Joel Berg: Hunger Free America CEO

Joel Berg Highlights

Joel Berg Highlights

My Native Admission Statement: I simple can’t tolerate that the United States – the wealthiest nation in the history of the world – allows 40 million Americans, including 12 million children, to struggle against hunger. That reality offends me to my core. That’s why I have dedicated most of my adult life to building the movement to end hunger in America. I seek to achieve that historic, but achievable, goal – or die trying!

Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?:

I’ve proposed innovative HOPE (Health, Opportunity, and Personal Empowerment) accounts and action plans. HOPE accounts would combine improved technology, streamlined case management, and coordinated access to multiple federal, state, city, and nonprofit programs that already exist. The accounts would enable families to use any smart device or computer to learn about the public and philanthropic programs for which they are eligible—including aid to improve health, nutrition, job training and placement, housing, income, etc.—and then apply for all of these programs at once from the convenience of their device, drastically reducing the opportunity costs of low-income Americans seeking social services. Such accounts would also be able to include any private savings that people are able to accrue. The proposal includes the option of allowing low-income families to partner more in depth with government and nonprofit organizations by voluntarily agreeing to long-term HOPE action plans that will provide more aid and then specify exactly how all parties will work together to help the families earn, learn, and save better to ensure greater economic opportunity.

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