Businesses across central Massachusetts are doing well by doing good. Join us on February 6, 2018 to learn how organizations are creating social innovation: new products, services and approaches to social challenges. We’ll explore how to manage a social for-profit business, share with you examples of the social business community in Worcester and discuss how we may better develop partnerships combining business principles with social objectives to transform the lives of people for greater good.
The event will take place at the new Colleen C. Barrett Center for Global Innovation and Entrepreneurship at 80 William Street, Worcester, MA - which houses the Yunus Social Business Centre at Becker College.
The event will feature:
Debra Pallatto-Fontaine, Ph.D.
Debra is the Executive Director for Global Initiatives and the Yunus Social Business Centre at Becker College in Worcester, Massachusetts. She is responsible for all global projects, globalizing the curriculum, planning and leading service learning trips for students and managing the Center for Global Citizenship. She also directs the Yunus Social Business Centre @ Becker College, the first-ever Yunus Centre in the country. She also coordinates and teaches in the Women’s Emergent Leadership Institute. Debra has been working at Becker for 21 years.
Prior to these two leadership positions, Debra taught courses in teacher education, psychology, and global studies while coordinating global citizenship programming. She developed a minor, concentration, and a B.A. in Global Citizenship, the only such degree in the U.S.
Debra developed a partnership with the Be Like Brit Orphanage in Grand Goave, Haiti, where she leads student trips annually. In addition, as director of training, she travels to Haiti quarterly offering professional development to day and evening staff at the orphanage, coordinating long-term volunteers, and teaching social entrepreneurship.
She regularly presents at professional conferences, most recently at the AIEA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. (February 2017) and the Social Business Academia Conference in Paris (November 2016 and November 2017).
Dee grew up in the US Virgin Islands, specifically on the beautiful island of St. John, where he and his family are deeply rooted in the community and promote learning, growing and sharing one’s talents with others. Dee Wells is the Chief Storyteller & Kickstorian at OSD, a multi-media and brand marketing company that works with clients in the athletic footwear industry such as Adidas, Converse, Nike, New Balance and Reebok, to name a few.
In 2011, Dee co-founded Future Focus Media Co-op & Youth Training Institute, a photography and film production company that produces videos for clients such as UMASS, Main South CDC, and the Environmental Justice League of Rhode Island while teaching youth video production skills along with life skills.
Dee offers workshops on the power of social media, storytelling and how to market yourself using platforms such as YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat, to name a few.
Through the SOLEcial Studies workshops he introduces youth to the athletic footwear industry and specifically to the various careers that exist in the field. The athletic footwear industry has an estimated value of $74.7 billion dollars (valued in 2011), with projections to increase to $84.4 billion dollars by 2019.
Dee strongly believes and lives by the phrase, “We’re all storytellers, and no one tells your story better than…YOU!”
Matt is a worker owner of Future Focus Media Co-op and the co-director of Worcester Roots, a grassroots co-op development and youth leadership organization that focuses on urban worker cooperatives with a social justice lens. Matt's work includes helping start the Toxic Soil Busters, Future Focus Media Co-op, Greenvitalize Urban Growers and the Worcester Co-op Academy. Matt is passionate about social and environmental justice organizing, worker cooperatives and supporting youth to become agents of change. He is also co-founder of Stone Soup Community Center, which houses 14 grassroots organizations and co-ops in Worcester. Using documentary film as a tool for connecting social movements worldwide, Matt is fluent in English, Spanish, Portuguese and French and has collaborated on film projects with groups in Argentina, Brazil and Worcester, MA. He is originally from Western, Massachusetts and holds a BA in International Development and Social Change from Clark University.
Michael Alden is VP of Business Development for Ascentria Care Alliance. Ascentria has several social enterprises, including Language Bank, which trains and employs refugees and other new Americans as professional language interpreters. Language Bank was recognized by Classy in 2017 as one of the world’s top 100 most innovative social enterprises. Michael recently worked as a manager in the restructuring practice of Grant Thornton LLP in New York City, and previously worked at Ernst & Young LLP in Boston. He graduated from the University of Massachusetts, and has an MS from the University of Virginia as well as an MBA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler Business School. He is a member of the Worcester Economic Club, and is a Certified Insolvency and Restructuring Advisor (CIRA). Michael also completed a social innovation certificate program at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.
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