As I’ve traveled the world, launched countless ventures, and had the privilege to join alongside many friends on their journeys, I’ve been struck by one ever-present constant. Within every person I’ve encountered, there is a spark - a unique ember that catches flame when the conditions are right – when one’s greatest gifts meets the world’s greatest needs.
But for many, they are asleep and unaware of this magnificent spark within them. My ember burns brightest when awakening and unleashing those spark moments for others. It is through fanning a simple ember that I come most alive.
And this discovery has lead me to the work I do today. I am an avid connector, relentless optimist, big believer in the power of good people and serial entrepreneur in the social innovation field. Above all, I am driven by the potential to make a positive impact in the world by touching individuals on an authentic level.
The majority of my time is spent as the Chief Catalyst for the co.space, an international network of homes for changemakers that launched in State College, PA. Through Barefoot Consulting, I also facilitate and coach emerging social entrepreneurs and millennials and work with communities, universities and foundations around the country to build flourishing innovation ecosystems. In 2010, I co-founded New Leaf, a nonprofit social innovation incubator in State College, PA that currently serves as the central innovation hub to bridge the town and gown.
I’ve had a chance to partake in the future of higher education by receiving my Master’s degree in Strategic Sustainability Leadership from Sweden and currently reside in central PA (although I have a tendency to wander). And it’s been said I have an obsessive addiction to fog machines – I won’t deny that.
CO-FOUNDER, CEO AND CHIEF CATALYST
The co.space is a global network of homes for changemakers. We take driven students and experienced young professionals and place them all together under one roof. We then give them one goal: to go and make the world a better place.
Launched out of State College, PA, the home is designed to inspire radical creativity and innovation and build a nurturing support network for individuals seeking to create good in the world. We believe that surrounding yourself by a passionate tribe of dreamers and doers is the most important first step for creating positive, radical change in the world.
For more information, visit www.thecospace.com
CO-FOUNDER, PAST EXEC DIRECTOR AND CHAIR
New Leaf is the central hub for innovation and entrepreneurship in State College. Home to mission driven entrepreneurs, passionate community organizers, engaged businesses, motivated students, and determined local government, New Leaf is designed to catalyze collaboration for good.
The organization has a central co-working and shared space open to the public and members. Out of this space, numerous events and programming take place to launch ideas and connect individuals with the resources they need in the community.
For more information, visit www.newleafinitiative.org
FOUNDER AND OWNER
I offer strategic consulting and creative facilitation services to organizations interested in transformative learning, empowering social entrepreneurs, and creating innovation ecosystems. Learn more here.
DESIGNER AND OPPORTUNITY-FINDER
As someone who loves connecting, I decided to build a website that lists amazing opportunities and experiences for others to get involved with and further their changemaking journey - from alternative education to fellowships and competitions. Learn more here.
FOUNDER AND LEAD BOUNCE EXPERT
I bet a friend that I could make money off buying 12 giant inflatable balls. Currently, he is still winning the bet, but in the process I've launched a company that facilitates bubble ball soccer tournaments and games for groups. Learn more here.
CREATOR AND DESIGNER
This is an overarching framework illustrating the stepping stones an individual takes on their path to become a changemaker. The site is designed to inform people of the possible things they will encounter and give them examples. Learn more here.
DESIGNER AND PROJECT INITIATOR
The Changemaker in Residence program is designed to turn struggling small towns into creative sandboxes for millennials who want to get their hands dirty in the social innovation space. We provide free housing and mentorship for a full year. More info here.
RV CHAUFFEUR AND PROJECT COORDINATOR
In 2013, I co-lead a cross-country roadtrip to uncover and document the future of education. We interviewed dozens of thought leaders - from Seth Godin to kindergarden teachers - and are compiling the footage into short films. More info at our Facebook page.
FACILITATOR AND COACH
I have designed and delivered over a dozen retreats to help young people uncover their passions and think like a social innovator. I utilize elements of Design Thinking, Art of Hosting, and Work on Purpose and work largely with the Sullivan Foundation.
SOCIAL CHANGE DIRECTOR
In 2010, I designed a talent management agency that would leverage the influence of the modeling, music and acting worlds to create positive change in the world. This company failed (pretty spectacularly) and taught some wonderful lessons.
BEHAVIOR CHANGE RESEARCHER AND COMMUNICATOR
As a culmination to my Master's thesis research, I launched Engaging Action to help communicators better leverage behavior change strategies in their communications work to accelerate the adoption of sustainable behaviors. We presented our work at MIT in 2010.
SCOUT AND PROJECT INITIATOR
While traveling to Haiti, I had the chance to meet some talented musicians living in the tent camps. Although the project failed, a few of us tried to create an initiative that would support these musicians and their craft by creating a video to tell their story.
PROJECT CREATOR AND CONVERSATIONALIST
In 2010, I backpacked throughout Europe and hosted conversations around sustainability with strangers on the curbs. The goal was to uncover what the common lay person understands about sustainability and to tell a different story. View the blog here.
You can find my latest musings on Medium (it’s a pretty slick publishing platform). I write as authentically as I can about the latest frustrations, excitements and discoveries involved with running startups, pursuing your passion, and building community.
It’s messy, but good.
If you’re interested in reading some of my older work from before co.space days, check out the vault with all my older blog posts.
I also curate a tumblr page that pulls together inspirational videos and spoken word poetry, including some of my own work. Check it out at Visual Poets.