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Spring 2020 Speakers For Tulane’s Social Venture Accelerator

Spring 2020 Speakers for Tulane’s Social Venture Accelerator

A core component of Taylor’s social venture accelerator, the Changemaker Institute (CI)  is inviting key community leaders and social entrepreneurs in New Orleans to lead workshops to help students build out their ideas. These experts help guide the students as they work tirelessly in the evenings and on weekends to propel their idea for social change into a viable and sustainable social enterprise.

On Wednesdays and on six Saturdays in the spring, these innovators and experts working in the New Orleans community and beyond come to speak about their experience and workshop topics such as business model canvassing and funding models while providing group and 1:1 support with ventures to further develop their ideas. The structure of each workshop varies based upon how the social entrepreneur wants to work with each venture.  Speakers cover a range of topics pertaining to business model development, including: Design Research, Business Model Canvassing/Lean Prototyping, Business Entity Classifications, Prototyping and Pivoting, Social Impact Assessment, Non-profit fundraising, Branding/Marketing, Building an Advisory Board, and Pitching.

These speakers have been changemakers throughout their lives and careers, consistently at the forefront of systemic issues such as food injustice and accessibility, the prison industrial complex, education, and human rights campaigns.

We are grateful for the contributions of following dynamic speakers for the 2020 Changemaker Institute cohort.

Leroy Divinity smiling wearing a dark jacket and white shirt.

Leroy Divinity, Jr.

Leroy Divinity, Jr. is the President and founder of the Paraclete Consulting Group Inc. Divinity introduced logic models to CI students, helping students think through and begin to map out the social impact they hope to create. Later in the program, Divinity returned to help students iterate their logic models and begin to build out a social impact measurement plan. A leader in organizational development and strategic planning, Divinity has assisted nonprofits of various sizes in developing strategic plans, accessing funds through grant writing, assessing organizational structure, and evaluating programs. Mr. Divinity previously served as Director of Programs for the Mirabeau Family Learning Center and played a major role in its development from a startup nonprofit. To work with Leroy, email

Nora Ellertsen smiling wearing a gray shirt in front of pink flowers.

Nora Ellertsen

Nora Ellertsen is the Founder and CEO of The Funding Seed, a New Orleans-based company that helps organizations learn how to raise money for their nonprofits. Presenting on Non-Profit Fundraising 101, Ellersten shared her expertise on cultivating donor relationships and finding and applying for local and national foundation and government grants. Ellersten has worked with over 80 nonprofit agencies to help them develop the resources they need to thrive. As a fundraising practitioner, Ellertsen has raised money for environmental, human rights, and civil liberties causes through grassroots fundraising, major donor development, fundraising events, grant-writing, and other fundraising activities. To work with Nora, email

Breanna Harvey smiling wearing a striped shirt.

Breanna Harvey

Breanna Harvey is the Outreach and Communications Manager at 4.0 Schools, an early-stage education incubator that utilizes a human-centered process to help grow ideas in communities for impact. Harvey’s session introduced CI students to brand voice and marketing. Through a series of break out sessions, she guided participants in honing in on their user/target audience, prioritizing communication platforms, defining their call to action, and creating initial communication content. Prior to her work with 4.0, she led community relations and marketing for workforce development boards in Florida’s Big Bend area.  To work with Breanna, email

Malliron Hodge smiling wearing a red scarf.

Malliron Hodge

Malliron Hodge is the Founder of Malliron Hodge Education Innovation Consulting LLC and Program Development Manager for Digital Promise, an organization that works to improve learning opportunities for all by pushing for equitable access to technology. Hodge introduced CI students to the Lean Canvas Model, helping students map out core components of their venture and revealing assumptions about their business model. Prior to joining Digital Promise, Malliron served as the New Orleans Community Manager at 4.0 Schools, where she worked to support New Orleans community members who were interested in taking their education idea to the next level. To work with Malliron, email

Kelly Orians smiling wearing a black shirt in front of a wooden wall.

Kelly Orians

Kelly Orians is the Co-Director of The First 72+, an organization that works to stop the cycle of incarceration by fostering independence and self-sustainability through education, stable and secure housing & employment, health care, and community engagement. Bringing her legal expertise to CI, Orians guided students through the ins and outs of choosing the correct legal structure for their business. Orians is an Echoing Green Fellow and previously worked for the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana in New Orleans, Louisiana managing a statewide advocacy campaign to end the practice of sentencing juveniles to life without the possibility of parole JLWOP. To work with Kelly, email

Blake Stanfill smiling and wearing a purple bowtie.

Blake Stanfill

Blake J. Stanfill is the Director of Growth at trepwise, a growth consulting firm that powers organizations to maximize their potential. Stanfill joined CI to guide students through the importance and power of building a board for their organization. Stanfill has broad experience at the intersection of the public and private sector—boasting a career in economic development, education and financial risk management, as well as entrepreneurial strategy and analysis. Before working for trepwise, Blake co-founded a start-up known as LendStand, which provides working capital solutions to underserved businesses working on public contracts. He also worked for education management at the Louisiana Department of Education and the Orleans Parish School Board, was a Mayoral Fellow with the City of New Orleans, and worked as a credit risk analyst. To work with Blake, email

Rafe Steinhauer, M.Ed./M.B.A., Tulane Visiting Assistant Professor of Design Thinking, smiles while holding a marker near a table.

Rafe Steinhauer

Rafe Steinhauer, M.Ed/M.B.A. is a Visiting Professor of Design Thinking at the Taylor Center. Rafe taught CI students how to conduct design research and synthesize their learning to define core design principles for their venture. Rafe also introduced the power of prototyping and helped students think of small ways they could begin to prototype and test their ideas. Before Steinhauer came to Tulane, he was a Lecturer at Princeton University, teaching classes on Creativity, Innovation, and Design. At Princeton, he started the Tiger Challenge program, in which teams of students, advisers, and community partners worked on multi-year design thinking for social innovation projects such as tackling lead poisoning in Trenton, localizing the food system in Princeton, NJ, increasing access to care in Philadelphia, improving college matriculation and graduation rates of public school alumni in New York City, and increasing Princeton University’s percentage of contracts with minority and women-owned businesses. To work with Rafe, email

Desiree Young smiling and wearing a gray shirt.

Desiree Young

Désirée H. Young, M.B.A. is the founder and CEO of VentureWalk Business Partners, LLC, a New Orleans-based small business and entrepreneur development company. She brings 20 years of experience in project management, marketing strategy and business development to the small business and entrepreneurial community. As a speaker for CI, Young used her vast skill set to provide knowledge to the cohort on how to effectively share the story of their venture and create a 5-minute pitch and slide deck for our culminating event, the Taylor Student Showcase. A sought-after blogger, speaker and trainer Désirée has been dubbed the Marketing Maven by BlackMBA Magazine and featured for her management advice in blogs and publications including Home Business and Black Enterprise magazines. Young is a business pitch and presentation coach for Capital One Bank’s Getting Down to Business Program and a faculty member of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses initiative for both the New Orleans and Babson College sites. From her marketing training and coaching programs like RoadM.A.P. to Marketing Success(TM) and Business GPS Action Circle to her 3-Stage Marketing System, Young’s dedication to educating business owners has guided her career. To work with Desiree, email

About the Changemaker Institute

Participants in the 6-month Changemaker Institute deepen their understanding of the social issue their venture tackles, gain social entrepreneurship and business development skills, and work as a cohort to iterate their idea and build a sustainable business model. CI participants are either working to create their own social impact venture (such as a non-profit, program, student-run organization, or business) OR are focused on building a new and innovative capacity within an existing organization.

Interested in learning more about our speaker or potentially leading a CI workshop to support our budding social entrepreneurs? Contact Julia Lang at to learn more.

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