Panel: Sports Making a Difference in the World: A Social Entrepreneurial Approach

November 15, 2010
5:00 - 7:00pm
101 Churchill Hall, Northeastern University, 360 Huntington Avenue, Boston MA

Sport is a powerful platform and educational tool that is rapidly expanding as a vehicle for social entrepreneurs seeking to tackle some of the world’s most urgent social issues.  Today, over 400 organizations across the United States are recognized as “Sports Based Youth Development Programs” and there are over 12,000 registered members on the Sport for Development online community.  Sport is a universal language with vast financial resources ($120 TRILLION globally) and unparalleled media attention; its potential to serve as a vehicle for positive social transformation is therefore immense.

But how do we properly harness this potential?  The main focus of our discussion will be how we take great ideas for using sport to change the world and turn those ideas into sustainable businesses and organizations that have lasting impact and value.  Just as with any social change work, the most effective social entrepreneurs are those who are able to couple their passion and the excitement of their sector, with well-tested and sustainable business models. Our panelists represent a diverse pool of individuals working within this space, from nonprofit directors, to educators and consultants, who will discuss the abundant opportunities within the sport and social entrepreneurship field and how we can enhance the impact and capacity of this exciting sector:

Mark Crandall, is the Founder and Executive Director of Hoops 4 Hopes, a global not-for-profit organization that has supported youth development throughout southern Africa for more than 15 years.  H4H currently engages over 10,000 youth in basketball and life skills programming and partners with more than 150 schools, children’s shelters, and community groups in Zimbabwe and South Africa to encourage more children to get off the streets and participate. Mark started his basketball career in the 1970’s under the tutorage of NY State’s most winning coach, and was captain of his high school basketball and soccer teams.  Mark was selected as a Rotary Exchange student in 1984 and spent his junior year of high school in Zimbabwe. He received a BA in Sociology from the University of Vermont and went to the School for International Training in Melbourne, Australia. Mark has worked at the American International School, Bangkok and co-founded the East Hampton Sports Camp in Long Island and Camp JoJo/ Sports Camp in Harare, Zimbabwe.  He played for the Celtics, Raiders, and Dolphins in the Zimbabwean and South African basketball leagues.  This global experience led him to start Hoops 4 Hope in 1995, providing sports, fun, education, life skills, and opportunity for young people. He and his wife Sue de Lara live between Cape Town, South Africa and Long Island, New York with their two daughters, Zola and Inez.

Cynthia Drayton divides her time between the Projects Management Team and her passion of building the sport for social change global community at Ashoka’s Changemakers. Changemakers is a community of action where social innovators from around the world collaborate on solutions. A lifelong involvement in both grassroots and elite sports, she has witnessed time and again the transformative power of sport as a tool for social change.  Cynthia strives to one day see a Sport for Social Change global and sustainable community start to take root-the place to gather for innovators, fans and enthusiasts to share best practices and connect to the investment community.  She is a US Figure Skating National Judge and recently judged the 2008 US National Figure Skating Championships. An avid hiker, she’s climbed all 46 peaks over 4000 feet in the Adirondacks . Cynthia received a BA in Political Science and French from Mount Holyoke College and a MA in Communications from New York University.

Max Fripp, Playworks Metro Boston’s Executive Director, brings 11 years experience working with schools to develop and deliver innovative learning opportunities to impact students’ leadership and academic development. Playworks is a national nonprofit organization that supports learning by providing safe, healthy and inclusive play and physical activity to schools at recess and throughout the entire school day.  Prior to taking on his current role at the helm of Playworks’ Boston office, Max spent four years at Citizen Schools where he focused on national growth and partnership development. Max is deeply committed to using play to transform individuals, groups and communities.  Most recently, Max was a participant in the 2010 Social Innovation Forum, an initiative of Root Cause, a national leader in social impact research and consulting.  Through a rigorous selection process involving social issue experts, philanthropists, and leading practitioners, Playworks was selected as an innovative, results-oriented nonprofit poised for growth and increased social impact.  Max participated in an intensive year of executive coaching and consulting aimed at further developing Playworks as an impactful, scalable, and marketable social solution.

Meghan O. Mahoney, Director of Programs at Northeastern University’s Sport in Society, has 5 years of experience in the sport and social change sector, though she has a lifetime of experience in sport and social change work.  Meghan is responsible for providing vision, leadership, and direction to all aspects of Sport in Society’s training, outreach, education and consulting programs.  Specifically, she provides oversight and management of the programs’ progress against goals, quality, integration, evaluation, staffing and participates in the strategic growth and development of the organization.

Prior to taking on her current role, Meghan served as Manager of Operations and Strategic Communications and was responsible for ensuring productive and efficient internal operations, as well as expansion of Sport in Society’s advocacy efforts.  Meghan first joined Sport in Society in 2006 as an Americorps*VISTA; as a VISTA member she was responsible for building programmatic capacity through research and marketing. Prior to joining Sport in Society, Meghan carried out a year of international research as a Thomas J. Watson Fellow.  Meghan’s independent research project, “Life Without Title IX: The International Development of Women’s Ice Hockey,” was an in-depth study of the transnational female sporting experience in Denmark, South Africa, and New Zealand.  Meghan is a 2005 graduate of the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA, where she majored in English with minors in Philosophy and Creative Writing.  During her four years on the varsity ice hockey team, she was a three-time ECAC All Star, an ECAC All-Rookie All Star, a three-time All-American Academic All Star, and was named to the 2005 ESPN the Magazine Academic All-District I Team. Meghan is pursuing an MBA at Northeastern University.

Dr. William Tiga Tita, Northeastern University, teaches in the College of Business, and is a visiting faculty member at Stellenbosch University in South Africa. Dr. Tita has been Program Manager and Chief Technical Advisor in the Private Sector Development Program of the U.N. Development Program and founder of IOCS-African Informatics, S.A., a Cameroonian software engineering firm and software reseller. He serves on several high-tech company boards. Tita has been recognized by the International Development Agencies, notably the World Bank, as a pioneer and expert in distance learning and eCommerce. He is also a Kent Fellow on Social Ethics from University of Southern California where he completed his post-doctoral studies. Tita’s re- search interests are in exploring the role of the Web in trade development and education and training, in general, for the emerging economies. Other primary teaching and research interests are professional ethics, e-commerce, entrepreneur- ship, social entrepreneurship, and strategy in the global economy.

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