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Meet Melinda

On this special episode of The Innov8social Podcast, we feature an interview with Melinda Epler. She is the Founder & CEO of Change Catalyst, an online platform for women social changemakers. She is also the co-founder and co-organizer of the Tech Inclusion Conference, to explore and promote diversity in the tech industry.

Change Catalyst includes an incubator, impact accelerator, and peer to peer investment platform. Set to launch its online programs and programs ahead, Change Catalyst has a big vision of the potential of supporting diverse women changemakers at all stages of their social entrepreneurship journey.

The first ever Tech Inclusion Conference is taking place in San Francisco on September 11 and 12th. Innov8social will be there covering the event. See below for a special discount for readers!


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More About Melinda Epler

More About Tech Inclusion Conference

  • Website:
  • Value proposition: “Exploring innovative solutions to tech diversity and inclusion.”
  • Dates: September 11 & 12, 2015
  • Register: use code “innov8social” for 20% discount
  • USA Today article: “Is Tech Industry Making Progress on Diversity?”
  • SFGate article: “Twitter Becomes Second tech Company to Publicize Diversity Goals”

More About Change Catalyst

  • Website:
  • Value proposition: Accelerator and investment platform for women changemakers, entrepreneurs, and investors.
  • Seedling Incubator: free, interactive platform for first-time social entrepreneurs
  • Impact Accelerator: online accelerator featuring mentors, peer networks, impact measurement, personal coaching, and access to investors
  • Investment Platform: connecting high-growth social entrepreneurs to women who want to invest



Meet Ryan

This episode of The Innov8social Podcast, features an interview with Ryan Honeyman, author of the “B Corp Handbook”, speaker, and CEO of Honeyman Sustainability Consulting.

Ryan wrote and published The B Corp Handbook: How to Use Business as a Force for Good in 2014. It is the first commercially-published book on B Corporations. The B Corp Handbook explains what B Corps are, why they are important, and how companies can use the power of business to make money and make a difference.

The book is a user guide of sorts to the world of B Corps. It starts with a history of the certification and legal structure movement, provides benefits of being a B corp, and walks through various requirements of the B Impact Assessment, the step-by-step survey and “audit” tool employed by B Lab to measure a company’s social impact.  Especially useful are the various examples, profiles, and case studies of social entrepreneurs and B Corp-certified companies throughout the book.

Ryan’s firm, Honeyman Sustainability Consulting, has worked with companies including Ben & Jerry’s, Method, Plum Organics, Klean Kanteen, and Nutiva to become Certified B Corporations, recertify, and maximize the value of their certification. And yup, his firm is a B Corp too.


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More About Ryan

More About “The B Corp Handbook”

  • Website:
  • Value proposition: “The book makes the business case for improving your social and environmental performance, and offers a step-by-step “quick start guide” on how your company can join [the B Corp movement].”
  • Purchase (paperback and audiobook) versions

More About Honeyman Consulting

  • Website:
  • Value proposition: “Our mission is to help all companies harness the power of business to create positive social and environmental change.”

Meet Nicolas

This episode of The Innov8social Podcast features Nicolas Hazard, one of the foremost global social innovators, whose roots are in France, but whose impact is resoundingly global.

Nicolas is President of Le Comptoir de l’Innovation (CDI) which supports social enterprises throughout the world via an impact investing fund and an international network of incubators. He also leads CALSO, a non-profit organization based in California, which focuses on workforce development.

Nicolas serves as Vice-Chairman of GROUPE SOS, Europe’s largest social enterprise, which has over 12K employees and a turnover of $1B.
The story of Groupe SOS is a notable one for global social impact, and one that is not nearly well-known enough. In this interview, we dive into Nicolas’ own story, and particularly, the work, history, and reach of Groupe SOS in France, Europe, and globally.

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More About Nicolas

More About Groupe SOS

  • Website:
  • Value proposition: “Basing its actions on the fight against different forms of social exclusion, GROUPE SOS has diversified its activities over the years and is able today to provide solutions for people at all levels in society, and especially those with few or no resources.”
  • Background: “With its 12,000 employees and 350 structures, GROUPE SOS is one of Europe’s foremost social and societal undertakings. For 30 years now, GROUPE SOS has been putting economic efficiency at the service of the interests of the general public. In so doing, it provides responses to the issues of today’s society by developing innovative solutions in its five main fields of activity. The actions undertaken by GROUPE SOS influence the lives of over a million people every year.”
  • Key Areas of Engagement – Youth, Employment, Social Inclusion (Solidarity), Health, and Seniors.

More About CALSO

  • Website:
  • Value proposition: “CALSO is a California-based social enterprise that aims to preserve the environment and to break major barriers disadvantaged people face on their journeys to success.”


Meet Danielle

On this week’s episode of The Innov8social Podcast we have Danielle Harlan, who is the Founder & CEO of the Center for Advancing Leadership and Human Potential based in San Jose. Danielle has a doctorate in political science and Masters in Education from Stanford University. She served as Chief of Operations at the Carnegie Foundation and has also been an instructor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and has guest lectured at the University’s Institute of Design, i.e. Danielle is an alumnus of Teach for America and has taught internationally in Brazil, China, Costa Rica, and South Africa.

In 2015, she gave a TEDx talk on the topic of “Reimagining Leadership for the 21st Century”. She discusses the concept of the “new alphas” — a new framework for leadership for changemaker “daring to lead differently”. It is an update on the traditional alpha model that focuses on achievement and high performance, but doesn’t account for fulfillment, long-term well-being, and impact.

Through her research, observation, and interviews of  “new alpha” leaders she notes that they are especially committed to personal excellence, building positive relationships, and valuing character and ethics. You can learn more about her theory of the new alphas in her TEDx talk below.

Danielle’s work at the Center for Advancing Leadership and Human Potential centers around cultivating leadership at an individual and also working with groups to develop organizational leadership goals and practices.

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More About Danielle

More About The Center for Advancing Leadership and Human Potential

  • Website:
  • Focus: “We believe that excellent people are the foundation for effective leadership. Guided by this belief, we provide personal and professional development and training to advance individual and organizational performance.”

Danielle’s TEDx Talk

Meet Eric Mangin

This episode of The Innov8social Podcast, features Éric A. A. Mangin, Founder & CEO at U2GUIDE. U2Guide founded in 2014 in Span and which dubs itself as the most ethical travel website. In 2015 it was named one of the TOP 5 Travel Websites by TravelDor in 2015, alongside AirBnB, and TripAdvisor.
Eric was born in France and is world traveler and has spent over a decade traveling through Europe, Africa, and. He spent much of that time working with nonprofits and international organizations on projects related to sustainable development, cross-culture collaborations, and humanitarian aid efforts.


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 More About Éric

More About U2Guide

  • Website:
  • Value proposition: U2Guide is a peer-to-peer company travel guide company that connects travelers with tour guides, professionals, and activity instructors globally to create unique, customized travel experiences. It reserves the opportunity to dedicate 50% of its profits to nonprofits to fund cultural, environmental and humanitarian efforts in visited country.

Meet Neil

This episode of The Innov8social Podcast features Dr. Neil Patel, a social entrepreneur with a doctorate in Computer Science, who grew up in northern California and then relocated to India in 2010 where he launched and is scaling an innovative impact venture, called

Neil Patel

Neil Patel

Awaaz.De connects mobile voice-based technology with a social platform to provide low-cost, voice messages that can be shared with hundreds or thousands of people. Neil has described it as a “voice twitter”.
Awaaz.De originally focused on working with small farmers in rural Gujarat, a state in the central India, to enable the sharing of best farming practices and agricultural information.
The company’ has scaled and grown, won a number of awards, has facilitated over 4M calls to 400K people, is now in 6 countries, 9 languages and is constantly finding new applications for their technology.Neil received a Bachelors in Computer Science from UC Berkeley before pursuing his Ph.D at Stanford University. His doctoral thesis focus was designing voice-based virtual communities which led to the co-founding of Awaaz.De, along with his Ph.D advisor and UC Berkeley Professor, Dr. Tapan Parikh.

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More About Neil

More About Awaaz.De

  • Website:
  • Value proposition: “We provide content to our partners and users in their local language to communicate with important stakeholders and beneficiaries for a variety of purposes and goals. Our clients include businesses, rural communities, schools, NGOs and many more.”
  • Awaaz.De Streams – group voice messaging for everyone
  • Awaaz.De Surveys – enabling rich data collection via phone survey surveys
  • Awaaz.De Voice Forums – moderated voice message “chat rooms”

Meet Brandon

Brandon Smith

Brandon Smith

This episode of The Innov8social Podcast features Los Angeles-based Brandon Smith, a dedicated serial social entrepreneur.

Brandon leads the Child and Family Guidance Center’s social enterprise development efforts toward diversifying the agency’s revenue streams. He also recently served as President of Net Impact Los Angeles Professional Chapter.

And, Brandon is working on a number of impact initiatives. One such social innovation is CauseDate– a dating platform for the sustainably conscious.Brandon also co-founded — a database of nearly 6500 impact organizations, and  is working with student organization Oxypreneurship at his alma mater–Occidental College– to help establish a student scholarship for social entrepreneurship
I met Brandon at a Net Impact conference a few years back and have enjoyed connecting over social media and learning more about his expansive view of impact from the articles and content he shares.

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adapted from IndiaWest

adapted from IndiaWest

Meet Preeti Vissa

This episode of The Innov8social Podcast, features a conversation with Preeti Vissa, Chief Operating Officer of the Greenlining Institute — and a good friend.

For over 20 years Greenlining Institute has been empowering communities of color and other disadvantaged groups through economic and leadership development.

Prior to her current role, Preeti served as Director of the Economic Equity team, where she led Greenlining’s efforts to ensure that the country’s largest financial institutions serve the needs of diverse communities.

Preeti graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles and has a Master’s in Social Work from Columbia University.

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More About Preeti

More About The Greenlining Institute

  • Website:
  • Vision: “The Greenlining Institute envisions a nation where race is never a barrier to economic opportunity and communities of color thrive. Because people of color will be the majority of our population by 2044, America will prosper only if communities of color prosper.”
  • Key Issues
  • Take Action!

Fellowship Programs at The Greenlining Institute

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Meet Kelsey

What does it take to make a passion and idea into something more? Founder and Executive Director, Kelsey Suemnicht, is learning first-hand.  She recently launched a bold initiative, The Foreign Policy Project, to empower and inform girls to pursue paths in international relations and policy.

Kelsey SuemnichtWhen she reached out via social media and explained her work and vision, we connected on our experiences working and interning with the U.S. State Department. In the process of doing an interview for the website, she also outlined the problem she sees with the lack of engagement of women in foreign policy careers, and her long-time desire to address the need and build a network and community to support and foster girls to engage in the space.

Kelsey is a Master of Public Diplomacy graduate of the USC Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism. She is currently the co-founder of the Young Professionals in Foreign Policy San Francisco hub and has worked for the U.S. State Department, Foreign Policy Magazine, World Affairs Council, the USC Center on Public Diplomacy, ICANN, and The Leadership Program.
She is innovating in a well-established space by finding unique ways to bring new voices to the conversation. Just as any early social innovator, she is building and learning as she goes. It was exciting to discuss both her own path and mission, the need for resources, her vision for the new venture, and how logistically she sees it progressing (i.e. legal structures, growth, etc.).

We caught up before Kelsey’s 3 month trip to Southeast Asia where she hopes to meet and interview thinkers and doers with a background in international relations in addition to exploring and experiencing the region.

Learn More About The Foreign Policy Project

You can find out more at and follow Kelsey’s adventures on Twitter .