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Spring 2021 Speakers For Tulane’s Social Venture Accelerator

Spring 2021 Speakers for Tulane’s Social Venture Accelerator

This year’s Changemaker Institute (CI) welcomed an incredible array of changemakers and entrepreneurs who offered their unique perspective on social entrepreneurship and skillsets needed to start and launch a business with impact. The structure of each workshop varied and speakers covered a wide range of topics including design research, business model canvassing/lean prototyping, choosing a business entity classification, funding your venture, branding/marketing, building an advisory board, and pitching.

On Mondays and on Saturdays in the spring, innovators and experts working in the New Orleans community and beyond came to speak about their experience, providing both group and 1:1 to help ventures further develop their ideas. These experts guided students who worked tirelessly in the evenings and on weekends to propel their idea for social change into a viable and sustainable social enterprise.

We are grateful for the contributions of following dynamic speakers for the 2021 Changemaker Institute cohort.

Dr. Lesley Ann-Noel

Lesley Ann-Noel, Ph.D is an Assistant Professor in the College of Design at North Carolina State University. When she presented for CI, she was serving as the Director for Design Thinking for Social Impact and a Professor of Practice at the Taylor Center. In her professional practice, she draws on the fields of design, anthropology, business and education to create product development and business strategy with stakeholders. Noel focuses on developing design curriculum for non-traditional audiences and promoting the work of designers outside of Europe and North America.
As a speaker for CI, Dr. Ann-Noel shared her expertise on Design Research and Prototyping.
To work with Lesley, email

Constance “Connie” Jackson

Constance “Connie” Jackson is an Advisor and Consumer Goods Specialist at trepwise. Before working for trepwise, Ms. Jackson was the managing director of Jax Global consulting Ltd, a company that helps global brands recognize the unique qualities of their customers with deep-dive demographic and customer insight analyses. As an Accomplished, results-oriented business strategist with significant experience in the development and implementation of integrated branding and retail strategies, Ms. Jackson brought her Experience to CI in order to educate the cohort on the importance and methods of Building an Advisory Board.
To work with Connie, 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

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

Miranda Williamson and the Watson Institute Team

Miranda Williamson is the Director of Search at the Watson Institute, an institute built on the belief that to solve the toughest challenges facing the world, we must equip the next generation with the necessary tools, network, mindset, and courage to unleash a lifetime of impact. As a speaker for CI, Ms. Williamson brought her extensive experience in venture development to teach the best practices in funding a venture. Miranda’s session also featured four alumni from the Watson Institute, Andrés Solórzano, Robert Wathua, Cecile Matabaro, and Ted Muthoka, who shared their personal experience funding their venture.
To work with Miranda, 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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