Episode 69: Interview with Jordan Kassalow, founder of VisionSpring

Jordan Kassalow is founder of VisionSpring, a US social enterprise whose mission is to expand affordable access to eyewear, everywhere. To date, VisionSpring has distributed over 3.5 million eyeglasses to their target customers, who typically earns below $4 per day. They estimate their total economic impact to be over $756 million.

 kassalow picThe World Health Organization estimates that more than 600 million people could have their vision restored with access to eyeglasses. With the goal of increasing impact, Jordan recently set up EYElliance–a multi-stakeholder initiative to radically scale provision of eyeglasses to people with refractive error who do not have access to eyeglasses.


Episode 68: Interview with Christian Seelos, co-author of the newly published Innovation and Scaling for Impact: How Effective Social Enterprises Do It

31085081885_c8db8fbf3e_oChristian is a scholar of social innovation –he is the Leo Tindemans Chair for Business Model Innovation at KU Leuven — a visiting scholar at the Stanford University Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society and an academic visitor at the Said Business School, University of Oxford. Christian, together with Johanna Mair are co-authors of the recently published Innovation and Scaling for Impact: How Effective Social Enterprises Do It.

Episode 67: Interview with Willy Oppenheim, founder of Omprakash Foundation, a US-based international non-profit

Willy Oppenheim is an educator, a researcher, and the founder of Omprakash a social enterprise working to make international volunteering more ethical and impactful. Willy founded Omprakash (www.omprakash.org) in 2004 with the goal of creating a platform to connect volunteers with social impact opportunities around the world.  Omprakash is a free online platform that connects grassroots health, education, and environmental organizations in over 30 countries with a global audience of volunteers, donors, and classrooms that can learn from and support their work. 

wjo_head_photo3Willy studied anthropology and religion as an undergraduate and went on to earn his doctorate in Education from Oxford University. He continues to lead Omprakash and its newest initiative, Omprakash EdGE, which is an online training and mentorship program intended to help university students enrich their international learning and impact. 

Episode 66: Interview with Dr Marc Ventresca, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford

Geneva Centre for Security Policy and Naval Postgraduate School course on "Global Challenges: Leadership and Cooperation in Complex Environments"Marc is on faculty at the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford and a Fellow of Wolfson College.  His research and teaching focus on innovation, institutions and infrastructure, with particular empirical projects at the intersection of organizational strategy and economic sociology in nascent markets.  Current work explores early moments approaches in markets for UK impact investment, ecosystems services in Amazon Peru, climate change adaption, and Cascadia ‘conscious capitalism’. Marc has a distinctive, ‘organisation-rich’view on the role of social entrepreneurs as system builders, creating and strengthening nascent markets, where institutional rules and conventions have not yet settled ambiguity.

Marc is involved with initiatives at Oxford and elsewhere. He is Academic Lead for ‘Ideas to Impact’ (I2I) initiative, a collaboration with the Oxford Sciences and Engineering Division in support of innovation and enterprise.  He is founding convenor of the research seminar series ‘Strategies, Institutions and Practices at Saïd’.  Marc also acts as an advisor to several technology and social innovation start-ups founded by recent Oxford alumni including Pivotus Ventures and Global Thinkers Forum.  He serves in advisory roles for UK Participatory City and for the Banff Centre #AltNow entrepreneurial initiatives to address economic inequality in Canada.

In this interview, Marc shares his views on the role of social entrepreneurs as system builders, working to overcome various kinds of inertia and to mobilize and combine resources across broad social expanses. Marc highlights the importance of  social change in systems terms and the work of social innovators in the idiom of systems change.

Episode 65: Interview with Jeffrey Hollender, co-founder of Seventh Generation and Hollender Sustainable Brands

Jeffrey Hollender is a social entrepreneur, author and activist. After a wide ranging entrepreneurial career, Jeffrey co-founded Seventh Generation and built it over 25 years into a leading natural product company recognised for its authenticity, transparency, and progressive business practices. Jeffrey recently co-founded Hollender Sustainable Brands, which sells Sustain hollender-picNatural sexual wellness products; he is CEO and Chief Inspired Protagonist. Jeffrey is Co-Chair of the Board of Directors of Greenpeace USA and has also served on the board of Verite, a leading labor rights organization, as well as Health Care Without Harm, and Practically Green. He has written six books including The Responsibility Revolution: How the Next Generation of Businesses Will Win.