We are excited to announce the Beck Visiting Social Innovators for the 2018-19 academic year. Through the generosity of Marla and Barry Beck, SICI invites accomplished practitioners on campus to share their experience with our community, stimulate important dialogue on pressing topics, and support students as they advance social innovation projects. Tapping into their global experience as innovators, investors, and advisors, Beck Visiting Social Innovators will partake in public events through SICI, including skill-building workshops and candid roundtable conversations, coach student social innovators, and provide office hours with Harvard students to share expertise. Opportunities will be announced on our SICI Events page and SICI newsletter throughout the year.

From social movement building to business development, the Beck Visiting Social Innovators represent a diverse set of pathways and experiences that illuminate what it means to be a social innovator and agent of change. Read below to learn more about the Beck Visiting Social Innovators coming to campus this year.


Carol Caruso is an innovative leader with 20 years global business development, inclusive finance and digital technology experience. In 2017, she served jointly as a Hauser Leader-in-Residence at the Center for Public Leadership and with SICI, where she continues to provide coaching and expertise to student social innovators as a Beck Visiting Social Innovator. Currently the CEO and Co-Founder of Bloom Impact, a social impact, Fintech startup, Carol has extensive experience and passion in driving social impact, innovation and inclusive finance through the use of innovative technology such as mobile apps/payments, online platforms, biometrics, remittances and agent networks. She has worked on a wide variety of digital inclusive finance initiatives and collaborated with partners such as leading Telcos (Safaricom, Airtel, MTN, Tigo), Fintech vendors, payment companies (Visa, Mastercard), Central Banks, Social Impact investors and private companies. Carol has held prior positions as SVP Digital Channels & Tech at Accion International, Managing Director of Triple Jump Advisory Services – a Dutch responsible investment manager, Financial Inclusion Expert at Kiva and EMEA Director at Broadvision. Carol brings a unique combination of experience from having worked in Europe, US, Africa, Asia, and LATAM within both private and public sectors. She is a board member and advisor for several social impact startups in Africa and the US and a mentor and judge for the UC Berkeley BigIdeas startup competition and MIT’s Inclusive Innovation Challenge and $100K Entrepreneurship Competition.


Cheryl L. Dorsey is a pioneer in the social entrepreneurship movement, and the President of Echoing Green, a global organization seeding and unleashing next-generation talent to solve the world’s biggest problems.

Prior to leading this social impact organization, Cheryl was a social entrepreneur herself and received an Echoing Green Fellowship in 1992 to help launch The Family Van, a community-based mobile health unit in Boston. She became the first Echoing Green Fellow to head the social venture fund in 2002. An accomplished leader and entrepreneur, she has served in two presidential administrations as a White House Fellow and Special Assistant to the U.S. Secretary of Labor (1997-98); Special Assistant to the Director of the Women’s Bureau of the U.S. Labor Department (1998-99); and Vice Chair for the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships (2009-16). Cheryl serves on several boards including the SEED Foundation, The Bridgespan Group, and, previously, the Harvard Board of Overseers. She has a medical degree from Harvard Medical School and her Master’s in Public Policy from Harvard Kennedy School and received her Bachelor’s degree in History and Science magna cum laude with highest honors from Harvard-Radcliffe Colleges. Cheryl has received numerous awards for her commitment to public service, including the Pfizer Roerig History of Medicine Award, the Robert Kennedy Distinguished Public Service Award, the Manuel C. Carballo Memorial Prize, and Middlebury College Center for Social Entrepreneurship’s Vision Award. She was also featured as one “America’s Best Leaders” by US News & World Report and the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard Kennedy School in 2009, as one of The Nonprofit Times’ “Power and Influence Top 50” in 2010 and 2011, and was named as one of “America’s Top 25 Philanthropy Speakers” by the Business of Giving in 2016.


Nick Ehrmann is the Founder and past President of Blue Engine, a pioneering nonprofit that harnesses the power of teamwork to improve educational outcomes for young people. Founded in 2009, Blue Engine recruits, trains, and supports diverse teams of college graduates to reduce student-instructor ratios and help students prepare for success in higher education. Blue Engine has deployed $20M+ in public and private funding to serve over 8,000 students and 250 teachers in New York City public schools, building a results-driven model backed by leading impact funders including the Robin Hood Foundation, the Carnegie Foundation, the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, and New Schools Venture Fund. Blue Engine’s approach has been covered by The New York Times, Forbes, Time, the Today Show, Chalkbeat, Education Week, and CNN. The recipient of many honors, Ehrmann was recognized by President Clinton at the 5th Annual Clinton Global Initiative in the fall of 2009. He was named an Echoing Green Fellow in 2010, a Draper Richards Kaplan Fellow in 2011, and received the Manhattan Institute’s Richard Cornuelle Award for Social Entrepreneurship in 2014. During the 2017-18 academic year, Ehrmann joined Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government as a joint Visiting Social Innovator (VSI) at the Social Innovation and Change Initiative and Visiting Hauser Leader at the Center for Public Leadership. He continues to serve as a Beck VSI at SICI. Born and raised in Indianapolis, IN, Ehrmann attended North Central High School, where he was inducted into the NCHS Alumni Hall of Fame in 2016. He lives in New York City with his wife, Annie, their three sons, and two (1 year-old) twins.


Claude Grunitzky is the founder of TRACE and TRUE Africa, a media tech platform championing young African voices all over the world. In November 2016, TRUE Africa was funded by Google’s Digital News Initiative. In February 2003, Grunitzky and two business partners completed a multimillion- dollar financing deal led by Goldman Sachs Group. As a result, the TRACE brand is now being leveraged globally across various television, event and interactive platforms. TRACE, which now reaches an audience of more than 200 million people across 150 countries, was successfully sold to a French investor group in July 2010. Grunitzky was raised between Lomé, Togo; Washington, DC; Paris and London. Growing up, Grunitzky, who speaks six languages and carries three passports, was exposed to many different cultures. These foreign interactions shaped his transcultural philosophy and informed the creative energy of his media ventures. A graduate of London University and MIT, Grunitzky is also the President and a board member at the Watermill Center, a laboratory of inspiration and performance, founded by theater and visual artist Robert Wilson, which provides a unique environment for a global community of emerging and established artists and thinkers to gather and explore new ideas together. Grunitzky is also board member at MASS MoCA, a museum in Massachusetts which is one of the world’s liveliest centers for making and enjoying today’s most evocative art, and at Humanity in Action, a foundation that works internationally to build global leadership, defend democracy, protect minorities and improve human rights. As chairman of TRUE, Grunitzky has helped to shape integrated marketing campaigns for global brands including Absolut Vodka, Hilton Hotels, Infiniti, Levi’s, Mercedes-Benz, Moët & Chandon, Natura, Nissan, Puma and Sprite. The recipient of many distinctions, Grunitzky is an MIT Sloan Fellow and a French American Foundation Young Leader, and was named a finalist for the Ernst & Young ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ award in 2007. In 2017, he served as a Hauser Visiting Leader at the Center for Public Leadership and Visiting Social Innovator with SICI, where he continues to provide coaching and expertise to student social innovators.


Palak Shah is a social entrepreneur, a leader in the social movement for workers’ rights in the new economy, and a speaker and thought leader on the future of work. She serves as Social Innovations Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA), the nation’s leading organization working for the power, respect, and fair labor standards for the 2.5 million nannies, housekeepers and elderly caregivers in the U.S. In this role, she leads NDWA’s national strategy on raising market norms and standards, partnering with the private sector, and building scalable and sustainable business ventures. Palak also founded Fair Care Labs, the innovations arm of NDWA, which experiments with how technology can improve job access and job quality for domestic workers. Specifically, Fair Care Labs partners with Silicon Valley companies and builds its own worker-centric technology to ensure an equitable future for workers as labor markets shift online. Palak’s career spans the private, public, and nonprofit sectors. Most recently, she led strategy and implementation of the Affordable Care Act at Wellmont Health System, an eight hospital health care system serving coal country in Tennessee and Virginia.. She also was a member of Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick’s Administration budget team and subsequently served as the Commonwealth’s Deputy Director of Performance Management. Palak has worked as a management consultant at Accenture Strategy, trained as a community organizer in Los Angeles, and co-founded the international public health non-profit Visions Worldwide.Palak received a dual degree in Political Science and Broadcast Journalism from Northwestern University and a Masters in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School. Palak is a sought-after media commentator on the future of work and labor issues in the new economy, and has spoken at TEDx, NPR Boston’s IdeaLab and Personal Democracy Forum about the future of work and the importance of partnerships between social movements and the private sector.

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