Speaker Bios

Mira AzarmMira Azarm, Academy of Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Mira Azarm is the founder of GoodJinn, where she serves as creative instigator, social designer, and inventive educator. Mira consults with organizations dedicated to creating — or invigorating — an internal culture biased toward innovation. Mira also holds the job titles of Design Thinking facilitator at the University of Maryland's Academy for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, faculty member in the combined MA/MBA in Design Leadership program at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), and Design Coach in the LaunchPad initiative at The World Bank. In all of her roles, she’s known for developing and prototyping interdisciplinary, experiential coursework, and bringing social design methodologies, design thinking, and the creative process to undergraduate and graduate students, teachers, and global financial experts, to name a few.

BeckmanChristine Beckman, Associate Professor, Robert H. Smith School of Business & Director, Center for Social Value Creation

Dr. Christine Beckman is an associate professor in the Management and Organization department of the Robert H. Smith School of Business. She joined the Center for Social Value Creation in Fall, 2014 as the Academic Director to help transition the center to it's next phase of growth, connect the center with current research on social innovation and coordinate the Center's curricular programming. Professor Beckman's research has been published in such academic journals as Administrative Science Quarterly, Organization Science, Academy of Management Journal, American Sociological Review, and Journal of Business Venturing. She currently serves as the elected Past Division Chair of the Organization and Management Theory division of the Academy of Management and is on the editorial board of Administrative Science Quarterly, Organization Science, and Academy of Management Journal. Her first faculty position was at University of California, Irvine, where she was most recently the Director of The Don Beall Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Co-Director of the Center for Organizational Research.

Anurag BeharAnurag Behar, Chief Sustainability Officer, Wipro Ltd.

Anurag Behar is the Chief Sustainability Officer of Wipro Limited, CEO for Azim premji foundation & Vice Chancellor, Azim Premji University, which runs institutions and programs in India for improving school education and in related fields of human development. His years in business have given him an insider’s view in to both the possibilities and limits of markets. As the CEO of Wipro Infrastructure Engineering, he led the business from being No. 20 in the world to being the No. 1 in 5 years. The business has operations in Europe, India, Brazil and China. He led Wipro’s investments in two strategic diversifications - in the Clean Energy and Water sectors. Earlier he has been responsible for multiple functions of Wipro including Brand, Quality and Innovation. He has also worked with GE Medical Systems, including being part of the team that built the leadership position of Wipro GE Healthcare in South Asia. For the past few years he has also been engaged with environmental and ecological issues, and has led the social and ecological initiatives of Wipro Ltd for the past eleven years. He continues to provide oversight to this work as the Chief Sustainability Officer of Wipro.

EspinosaLuis F. Espinosa, Senior Investment Analyst, Accion

Luis is a Senior Investment Analyst at Accion International, where he contributes with the analysis and execution of equity investments for Accion's Gateway Fund LLC, a mission-driven private equity fund investing in growth-stage microfinance institutions in emerging markets. Prior to Accion, he worked as a Consultant at the Division of Financial Infrastructure and Financial Inclusion of The World Bank. Luis holds an MBA from the University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business (Class of 2014).

HillDaniel Hill, President and Co-Founder, Green Impact Campaign

Daniel Hill is the co-founder and president of Green Impact Campaign (GIC), a nonprofit focused on reducing the environmental impact of small businesses on the planet while better equipping the next generation of climate leaders. Daniel has a professional background in energy management, sustainability strategy development, and occupant engagement program design in the built environment. Prior to Green Impact Campaign, he was a sustainability consultant at several DC-based consulting firms, providing energy and sustainability management for international real estate developers, local and national government entities, and privately owned businesses. He was named the 2015 Rising Star of Energy Efficiency Award Winner by the Alliance to Save Energy and is a 2014 Echoing Green Climate Fellow. Daniel received a BS in Integrated Science and Technology and a MBA from James Madison University.

Priya MehraPriya Mehra, Vice President, Institute for Sustainable Investing, Morgan Stanley

Priya Mehra is Vice President in Morgan Stanley’s Institute for Sustainable Investing. The Institute is dedicated to accelerating the adoption of sustainable investing, which seeks to deliver both competitive financial returns and positive environmental and social impact. In this role, Priya develops thought leadership and manages the firm’s five-year sustainability strategy. Previously, Priya served as Policy Advisor in the UN Office of the Secretary-General. There she co-authored the Secretary-General's proposal for a new Partnership Facility; designed strategic political communications for the UN Climate Summit; and led on non-communicable diseases, vaccines and other health priorities under the Every Woman Every Child movement. Priya completed her Master's in Public Health at Johns Hopkins as a Sommer Scholar. Prior to Hopkins, Priya evaluated anti-sex trafficking programs in India, served as a research assistant in Senator Ted Kennedy's HELP Committee and directed a health outreach organization in Pittsburgh through AmeriCorps.

Ian MoritzIan Moritz, Academy of Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Ian Moritz has worked as a Business Development Intern for Surprise Ride, a Washington, DC-based startup company that appeared on Shark Tank. In this role, Ian helped create monthly product themes and launch an in-house fulfillment center. Ian also has interned for American Express in New York City developing the long-range plan for the global lending business unit. Over the last year Ian created and launched PrideShorts, a unique clothing product targeted at University of Maryland students. On campus he works for the Academy for Innovation and Entrepreneurship as an Innovation Coach and is the chair of the Athletic Department Student Advisory Council.

Dale Nirvani PfeiferDale Nirvani Pfeifer, Founder and CEO, GoodWorld

Dale Nirvani Pfeifer is changing the way we connect online by making social giving simple. Her company, GoodWorld, is fueling a generosity movement on social media by making it possible to give instantly to causes with just a hashtag: #donate. GoodWorld officially launched its beta product in October 2014 and was named one of World’s Most Innovative Companies by Fast Company in 2016. Prior to going to the United States, Dale ran Victoria University's Center for the Study of Leadership in New Zealand and engaged in a number of international, award-winning research collaborations. She has advised numerous organizations across the United States and New Zealand, such as the Rockefeller Foundation, helping them understand their purpose and delivering cutting-edge programs and communications strategies.

SampsonRachelle Sampson, Professor, Robert H. Smith School of Business

Rachelle Sampson has been a professor at the University of Maryland's Smith School of Business for over 10 years, in the Logistics, Business & Public Policy Department. With a background in law and economics, Rachelle examines how firm ownership structures affect performance, both financially and environmentally, in her research. She teaches graduate level coursework on managerial economics and the economics of sustainable business, PhD classes on organizational economics as well as an upcoming undergraduate course on startups for sustainability solutions. She is an active participant in several activities related to expanding the sustainability curriculum at the University of Maryland, most recently serving as a faculty mentor and facilitator on the Chesapeake Project, an initiative to infuse sustainability throughout the undergraduate curriculum. Prior to receiving her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, Prof. Sampson lived in Australia for 10 years. During this time, she received her law degree and was admitted as a barrister in New South Wales. Rachelle also held several legal and consulting positions during this time, including time at Ernst and Young advising firms on optimal expansion strategies for South East Asia.

Liz SesslerLiz Sessler, Client Advocate, ImpactUs

Liz is responsible for client experience, business development, marketing, and field-building for ImpactUs. At Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. she helped develop and launch ImpactUs during her tenure as a Director of Innovation. Liz started her career in impact investing at Calvert Social Investment Foundation, where she was a member of the marketing team for Calvert Foundation’s Community Investment Note. Liz currently co-chairs the US Social Investment Forum’s Community Investing Working Group and is a volunteer photographer for several DC-based nonprofits. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Public Policy Analysis from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and has studied economics and music in Southeast Asia.

ShanKushaan Shan, Founder and Executive Director, Social Rise

Kushaan Shah is an IBM Consultant and Founder of Social Rise, a non-profit organization focused on empowering marginalized communities to learn social media and virtual marketing through workshops and digital inclusion advocacy. Kushaan is a StartingBloc Fellow and an advocate for social entrepreneurship, digital equity, and innovation in the social technology space. A University of Maryland Smith School Graduate, Kushaan was an active member of Net Impact and the Social Innovation Fellows Program, big inspirations for his interests. Aside from being a published blogger and TedX Speaker, Kushaan enjoys rooting for his hometown Boston sports teams, watching re-runs of the Office, and a solid burrito. Follow him @kushaanshah.

Valerie SherryValerie Sherry, Academy of Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Valerie Sherry is a designer, strategist, and social innovator working at the intersection of community engagement, architecture and design. Valerie believes design and critical thinking are mechanisms that can tackle complex problems and catalyze positive social change. She is passionate about working with students, faculty, administrators, and industry professionals to embed creative problem solving in curriculums and everyday design. From designing spaces for learning, and creative interaction in Mumbai to leading design workshops with local municipalities, schools and businesses, she has a long history of engagement with communities and igniting others with the confidence and agency to participate in the design process. Her UMD master’s thesis, “Creating Common Ground: Architecture for Tactical Learning and Creative Convergence” tackles challenges affecting the future of workplace and educational environments as well as issues of resiliency, innovation and urban design in high populous city centers. She works in different capacities including as Design Thinking Facilitator with UMD’s Academy for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, as University Innovation Fellow with Stanford’s d.school, as Founder of Maryland Design Impact Lab, as Certified Passive House Consultant, and a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional.


Brad Turner-Little, Director of Strategy, Goodwill Industries International

Brad Turner-Little is the director of strategy for Goodwill Industries International. In his second stint with Goodwill®, Turner-Little leads the organization’s strategic engagement initiatives by developing collaborations with public and private partners, proactive visioning, strategic leadership, and technical support for 164 local Goodwill organizations across the United States and Canada. Before serving in this role, Turner-Little was the assistant vice president of government relations for Easter Seals Office of Public Affairs in Washington, DC, where he represented Easter Seals’ interests in workforce development policy issues as well as veterans’ issues and public policy development related to nonprofit operations, governance and charitable giving incentives. Prior to that, he worked for Goodwill as a national workforce consultant as well as in its public policy unit where he focused on policy areas related to the employment of people with disabilities. Turner-Little began his career as a job developer for Goodwill Industries of Northwest North Carolina in Winston-Salem. He is a graduate of Wake Forest University and has a Masters of Divinity degree from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY.

Cope WillisCope Willis, Manager, Sustainable Business Solutions, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP

A Director in PwC’s US Sustainable Business Solutions practice since 2010, Cope helps clients identify sustainability issues material to their businesses, evaluate the value at stake, and develop strategies to address their sustainability risks and opportunities. Cope has over ten years of experience advising clients in financial services, consumer goods, real estate and public sectors. Cope's sustainability expertise includes strategy development and implementation, environmental risk management, supply chain, and sustainability data collection and reporting. A LEED Accredited Professional, Cope received a Doctorate in Earth Science from the University of California Santa Cruz and a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Science from the University of Virginia.

Ann YangAnn Yang, Cofounder, MISFIT Juicery 

Ann Yang is the co-founder of MISFIT Juicery and sometimes writes about herself in the third person. MISFIT is a social enterprise that takes fruits and vegetables that are the wrong size, shape or color to be commercially sold and turns them into cold-pressed juice. She started the business as a college student at Georgetown University with her best friend Phil Wong. A year later, MISFIT can now be found in 47 wholesale accounts in the DC area. MISFIT has been featured in The Washington Post, Inc. Magazine, Seventeen Magazine and Eating Well. MISFIT has also created partnerships with Baldor Specialty Foods, National Geographic, DC Central Kitchen and Jubilee Jobs. She is a Gates Millennium Scholar and calls Boulder, Colorado her hometown. She really loves people, the outdoors and good conversation. She is notorious for asking strangers if she can pet their dog.