Youn Impact Scholars
Congratulations to the following students and alumni who have been named 2014 Youn Impact Scholars. Youn Impact Scholars are an elite group of the most innovative and creative Kellogg students and alumni passionate about social impact. Please click on their photos to learn more about the scholars and their impact plans.
Elissa (Elise) Densborn
Elissa Densborn is the Director of Risk Management for MPI Corporation, a growing, multi-corporate, multi-national holding company headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana. Prior to that, she worked for PwC in Chicago, providing assurance services to clients in the utility, manufacturing, logistics, and healthcare industries. She also has had public sector internships with the White House National Economic Council, the Mitch Daniels’ 2004 Gubernatorial Campaign, and the Office of the Indiana Lieutenant Governor.
Elissa is committed to serving her communities with her business acumen. She has led United Way, Junior Achievement, and Indianapolis Zoo fundraising campaigns, and, currently, supervises an underprivileged student at Providence Cristo Rey High School, teaching her skills necessary to succeed in the business world. Through involvement in Kellogg Corps, Elissa has become an adviser to Byoearth, a social impact start-up in Guatemala that creates vermicomposting systems to sustain the environment and enhance the living conditions of Guatemala’s most vulnerable populations. Elissa plans to drive Byoearth’s expansion into the United States and further its mission for international sustainable development.
Elissa graduated with honors and high distinction from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business with a Bachelors of Science in Accounting and Finance. She expects to earn her Masters of Business Administration from the Kellogg School of Management in June with concentrations in Entrepreneurship, Management, Strategy, and Marketing.
Elissa plans to use her Kellogg MBA to create positive social impact through application of her business acumen. Specifically, her efforts to internationalize Byoearth’s vermicomposting system are motivated by a desire to address inefficiencies in, and increase the security of, the global food system, to address food health and environmental challenges world-wide, and to drive sustainable socio-economic development.
Meladee L. Evans is a 2014 MBA candidate at the Kellogg School of Management. She is a graduate of Spelman College and Georgia Institute of Technology with degrees in mathematics and mechanical engineering. Prior to Kellogg, Meladee worked as an engineer for Lexmark International in the areas of product development and manufacturing systems. Though she enjoyed the challenging work in the technology space, her passion for service was also recognized within the company. She was appointed to several corporate community-outreach steering committees, through which she was given opportunities to advocate for the company’s financial support of math and science teachers in the public school system.
At Kellogg, Meladee is an executive member of the Black Management Association (BMA) and co-chair of the 2013 BMA Conference. She has participated as an executive member of the Day At Kellogg (DAK) committee and has continued to pursue social impact through participating in Kellogg’s Neighborhood Business Initiative as well as supporting Chicago inner-city mentorship programs. Meladee plans to graduate with majors in Management & Strategy, Management & Organizations, and Social Enterprise. After school, she plans to enter the education sector and use her business acumen to support the transformation of our country’s educational ecosystem, focusing particularly on helping provide equal educational opportunities for low-income and minority students.
Meladee plans to use her Kellogg MBA to understand the interconnections between educational achievement gaps and economic growth in underserved areas. After education industry experience, she plans to establish a social enterprise that provides resources to help minority communities build and sustain healthy businesses and offers support for upward mobility.
Katherine Hand started her career in the non-profit sector as a Program Associate with the Bernard F. and Alva B. Gimbel Foundation in New York City, where she oversaw all grant-making activities for the organization’s economic and workforce development, criminal justice, environment and reproductive rights funding areas. Following this, as a Development Associate for the City Parks Foundation, she raised funds to support the organization’s sports and education programs, provided free of charge in public parks in underserved NYC neighborhoods. At Kellogg, Katherine has taken every opportunity to blend a business-minded approach with social impact, having participated in the Neighborhood Business Initiative (now, Kellogg Impact Consulting), the Global Health Initiative, a venture lab position with A Better Chicago, Innovate for Impact, and more. This past summer, Katherine worked with B Lab, the pioneering non-profit behind the B Corp Certification, which exposed her to a growing community of businesses and entrepreneurs that are actively integrating stakeholder interests into their business model. Katherine believes strongly in the power of markets and the private sector, when stewarded intentionally, to truly scale impactful solutions to seemingly intractable problems. She hopes to pursue this passion in an internal CSR role or in a communications role with an impact-focused business. Katherine holds a BA from Vassar College in Urban Studies, and will graduate from the Kellogg School of Management with an MBA in Marketing, Entrepreneurship, and Management and Organizations.
Katherine plans to use her Kellogg MBA to help scale innovations, solutions and programs that intentionally focus on creating sustainable sources of opportunity for disadvantaged populations.
Akifumi (Aki) Kita
Akifumi (Aki) Kita most recently was a management consultant with BCG in Boston advising companies in a wide range of industries particularly focused on manufacturing and a volunteer consultant with business-solution-focused non-profit TechnoServe in Zambia and Malawi working on a private-public partnership funded by USAID+General Mills to improve local food manufacturing capabilities. Outside of these experiences, in the last 2 years he has also had the opportunity to work on a rural market access strategy in India, rural development program redesign in Mexico, and a job creation strategy for Afghanistan. He spent his summer with international development consulting firm Dalberg Global Development Advisors and will be returning to BCG in Boston post-graduation.
At Kellogg, Aki has been co-president of the Emerging Markets Club and on the leadership teams for Net Impact, Impact Consulting Club, and the Innovating Social Change Conference.
He graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. in Industrial and Labor Relations and is currently a dual degree MBA/Masters in Engineering Management candidate at Kellogg and McCormick School of Engineering.
Aki plans to use his Kellogg MBA to develop a local business / government strategy or an entrepreneurial concept that reduces the risk of starting a small manufacturing firm or develops scalable turnaround practices to improve underutilized manufacturing assets to create sustainable middle-class jobs in the least-developed countries.
An Electronics Engineer by education, Charag served as a primary school teacher at Teach for India and subsequently designed and implemented Corporate Sustainability projects for Bharat Petroleum, prior to Kellogg. He has also been associated with Seeds of Empowerment, a non-profit spin-off of Stanford University on educational technology projects. At Kellogg, Charag serves as an Admissions Counselor, Kellogg Student Association Club Director, the Co-President of the India Business Club and is a Board Fellow. Outside of these roles, he has also initiated a partnership between UNICEF and Kellogg and has co-authored a Marketing case study with Kellogg faculty. Charag was a UNICEF Fellow during his summer internship and worked on the team for Backpack PLUS, a project that was named one of the top ten life saving innovations in global health in 2013. He will be joining McKinsey & Company post graduation.
Charag plans to use his Kellogg MBA to facilitate partnerships between corporates and the international development sector and leverage technology to develop innovative, cost-effective solutions for pressing challenges in primary education and global health.
David Chen | Co-Founder and Principal, Equilibrium Capital Group
Dave Chen’s focus on sustainability is a result of his work in venture capital, regional economic development and energy policy. In 2007, as a visiting executive at the Meyer Memorial Trust, he developed a investing thesis on mission related investing (MRI); this tool has since been adopted by several institutions. In late 2007, he formed Equilibrium Capital Group; an investment firm focused on growth equity investment opportunities in the area of sustainability.
Previously, Dave was a general partner at OVP Venture Partners. Joining the firm in 2001, he focused on early stage tech venture investing.
Until 2002, he served on the board of HNC Software and merged it with FICO (NASDAQ:HNCS, now NYSE:FIC).
Prior to OVP, Dave founded GeoTrust (acquired by Verisign 2006) & The Ascent Group; was Vice President Marketing Mentor Graphics; was an associate at McKinsey & Co; and was an early team member in 1978-84 at Solectron.
Dave serves as:
-Board member GED, Inc. (Gerding Edlen)
-Board member Biological Capital, LLC
-Board member United Streetcar, LLC
-Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco’s Portland Branch
-Board member of the National Collegiate Inventors & Innovators Alliance (NCIIA)
-Board member of The Freshwater Trust
-Board member of B Corp/B LAB
-Advisory Board Member of the Oregon Investment Fund (OIF)
-Governor-Appointed Chairman of the Oregon Innovation Council (2005-2011)
-Chairman (2003-2009) of the Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute (ONAMI)
-Chairman (2006) of the Oregon Entrepreneurs Forum
-Faculty at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, on the topic of sustainability and finance.
Matthew Forti | Managing Director, One Acre Fund USA
Matthew Forti is the Managing Director of One Acre Fund USA, leading the organization's global support unit, including its development, communications, and measurement functions. One Acre Fund assists over 180,000 of Africa's hardest-working smallholder farm families to double their farm incomes through a comprehensive bundle of finance, farm inputs, training, and post-harvest support. Matt played an instrumental role in One Acre Fund's founding, helping to raise the seed capital to launch the organization and becoming its first Board Chair. Prior to joining One Acre Fund's staff, Matt was a Manager and Co-head of the Performance Measurement Practice at the Bridgespan Group, a social sector advisory firm. He writes extensively on the topic of performance measurement, including through a blog series for SSIR and Bridgespan.org called Measuring to Improve. Matt received an MBA with distinction from the Kellogg School of Management and graduated summa cum laude with a BA from Northwestern.
Debra Schwartz | Director, Program-related Investments, MacArthur Foundation
Debra D. Schwartz is Director of Program-related Investmemts for the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. She oversees a $300-million portfolio of innovative loans, equity investments and guarantees designed to advance the Foundation's philanthropic work in the US and abroad. Before joining MacArthur in 1995, she was chief financial officer for a Chicago-based child welfare agency and an investment banker at John Nuveen & Co. specializing in municipal and health care finance.
An expert on affordable housing, community and economic development, social enterprise and philanthropy, Debra originated and taught a University of Chicago undergraduate course, "The Business of Nonprofits and the Evolving Social Sector," from 2009-2012.She also has guest taught classes at graduate schools of business, law and policy at Yale, Harvard, Stanford, Northwestern, University of Chicago, and Oxford.
She is a past presidential appointee to the United States Treasury Department Community Development Advisory Board and a founder of the Mission Investors Exchange. She holds a Master's in finance and nonprofit management from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and received her Bachelor's in History, summa cum laude, from Yale.