Spring Speaker Series: Starting a company that makes a difference.

February 7, 2020 by Lee Erickson

Come learn from business leaders who are making local, national, and international impact.

Our Spring Speaker series, in partnership with the Center for the Business of Sustainability, features 4 mission-focused companies that were started to make a difference.

Join us, and moderator Bill Zimmerman, to learn about their journey and how you might launch a venture that makes a difference too.

We start at noon, go till 1:00 and provide a light lunch.

:: Feb 19th ::

Creating employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities.
Cynthia Pasquineli, CEO, Strawberry Fields

As the CEO of Strawberry Fields, Cynthia leads an organization dedicated to making a difference in the lives of individuals with disabilities and their families.

With unemployment reaching up to 80% for people with intellectual disabilities and mental health diagnosis, Cynthia has been working to create career opportunities for people with disabilities. Her latest endeavor is a 49-seat coffee shop that opened it’s doors in 2018 here in State College called the Good Day Cafe.


:: Mar 4th ::

Reinventing credit card fees to help local communities.
Christian Baum, Shiz Buckley, Sam Buckley, Co-founders, Giv Local

With a mission to put $1,000,000 back in to the hands of people driving positive change, Giv Local is reinventing credit card fees to give back to the local community. Merchants using Giv Local promise to donate 20% of revenue from processing fees to a local nonprofit and Giv Local works to reduce the cost of accepting and processing credit cards for their customers.

Their focus on social responsibility, transparent bookkeeping, and verified nonprofits means local businesses can make a positive impact on their community at no cost to them.


:: Mar 18th ::

Reducing bullying in schools across Pennsylvania.
Linsey Covert, CEO & Founder, TEAMology

TEAMology is working to address the ongoing problem of bullying and other anti-social issues in schools today. By leveraging characters to teach foundational skills, TEAMology’s curriculum helps to decrease disruptive behaviors and build a more positive school culture.

Over 25,000 students have used the TEAMology to improve their problem solving and conflict resolution skills and schools have seen up to a 75% reduction in behavior incidents and a 25% increase in teacher perception of student success. They are currently working on a school-to-school cloud-based collaboration platform to extend their reach


:: Apr 1st ::

How an earthquake spurred an international business based on plastic waste.
Ian Rosenberger, CEO & Founder, Thread International

A trip to Haiti, after the 2010 earthquake, inspired the birth of Thread International, a plastics-to-fabric company designed to tackle poverty and trash in developing nations and create employment opportunities for families.

Thread recycles plastic bottle waste into thread and dyes it using a zero water process. All told, they have diverted over 1.3M pounds of plastic waste from landfills and oceans and worked with brands like Ralph Lauren, Converse, and Puma.


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Interesting in meeting with someone about your idea? We'd love to hear what you're working on.