This Week’s “Navigating the Unknown” Features Four Cutting-Edge Social Entrepreneurs

The Sullivan Foundation’s “Navigating the Unknown” webinar series returns this week with four cutting-edge social entrepreneurs in the fields of digital media, professional training and education. Guests this week are Romain Vakilitabar of Pathos Labs and Justin Simpkins of WYRD on Wednesday, April 22, and Victor Saad of Experience Institute and Monica Tinyo of Hudson Lab School and Prehype on Friday, April 24.

Hosted by Spud Marshall, the Sullivan Foundation’s director of student engagement, the webinars will be streamed on Instagram Live at 12 p.m. (ET), Wednesday, April 22, and 5 p.m. (ET) on Friday, April 24. Here’s more information about this week’s guests:

Romain Vakilitabar

12 p.m. (ET), Wednesday, April 22
Romain Vakilitabar, Pathos Lab

Romain Vakilitabar is founder and chief artist of Pathos Labs, a nonprofit laboratory that works to increase compassion and mutual understanding by leveraging entertainment, media and technology – including virtual reality (VR) – to create narratives that change deeply ingrained biases and beliefs. “We believe that implicit bias is born when there isn’t necessarily the room or platform for people of different identities to engage with one another,” Vakilitabar explained in a promotional video for Pathos Labs. “And so with VR, we’re focused on creating a point of exposure to the different identities that exist beyond your relatively small and enclosed echo chamber.”



Justin Simpkins

Justin Simpkins, WYRD
Justin Simpkins and his team at WYRD (pronounced “weird”) are building a new category of culture by modernizing the many pathways to civic engagement. According to its website, WYRD “is built on the belief that in order to solve our world’s biggest challenges, we need to organize and direct a paid workforce to fully carry out the most impactful solutions.” Working with a network of experts, freelancers and producers who want to use their skills to improve the world, WYRD helps brands “take ownership over solving challenges like never before” and allows consumers to work with their favorite brands to address issues in their communities. “WYRD breaks down our biggest challenges into bite-sized milestones, allowing for progress to seem attainable,” the website states.



Victor Saad

5 p.m. (ET), Friday, April 24
Victor Saad, Experience Institute

Named to Forbes 30 Under 30 list in the field of education in 2015, Victor Saad founded Experience Institute (EI) as a place where college students and career professionals could learn and grow through short-term, real-world experiences. According to its website, EI “works with institutions and companies to help define experience-based learning paths at various seasons of life and work.” During the COVID-19 crisis, EI has offered workshops and coaching to help teams and managers make the switch to remote work, including instruction in using the phone, video and other digital communication tools effectively. EI also developed the “What’s Worth Doing” deck of cards “for life’s big (and small) decisions.”


Monica Tinyo

Monica Tinyo, Hudson Lab School and Prehype
Monica Tinyo is a digital fabrication and maker specialist for Hudson Lab School in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York. As a designer with a masters degree from the Parson School of Art and Design, she “aimed to make products and services that help facilitate experience-based learning for all ages.” She has worked as the Tinkering Teacher at Camp Hudson, providing kids with the tools “to be ambitious through planning, collaboration and hands-on testing.” Hudson Lab School is a personalized, project-based K-8 school in New York that “integrates collaborative, interdisciplinary, project-based learning and thoughtful self-reflection with the academic fortitude of a classical liberal arts education,” according to its website. Hudson Lab School’s 26-acre campus allows a combination of indoor and outdoor classroom approaches. Tinyo is also the entrepreneur-in-residence at Prehype, a New York collective of entrepreneurial people who help each other build new ventures.


Four Amazing Social Innovators Headline “Navigating the Unknown” Webinars on April 15 and April 17

The Sullivan Foundation’s “Navigating the Unknown” webinar series features four leading social innovators this week—Jarren Small of Reading With a Rapper and Gabrielle Deculus of Business Rules for Women on Wednesday, April 15, and d’Arcy Lunn of A Spoonful of Change and Ronan “Chalky” Mac Domhnaill of Cred on Friday, April 17.

Hosted by Spud Marshall, the Sullivan Foundation’s director of student engagement, the webinars will be streamed on Instagram Live at 12 p.m. (ET), Wednesday, April 15, and 5 p.m. (ET) on Friday, April 17. Here’s more information about this week’s guests:

photo of Jarren Small, founder of Reading With a Rapper

Jarren Small

12 p.m. (ET) Wednesday, April 15
Jarren Small, Reading With a Rapper
Small is the cofounder of an innovative educational curriculum called Reading with a Rapper (RWAR), an interactive learning program that uses relatable, innovative tools and metrics to teach English Language Arts (ELA) skills to students in grades 4-12. RWAR helps students hone their reading and writing skills through a series of activities and exercises built around rap songs with socially conscious lyrics, video content and technology. Students learn how to relate real-world concepts expressed in rap music to literature and writing. As an added bonus, the kids get to meet and learn from up-and-coming hip-hop artists as well as established hitmakers like Meek Mill.

Gabrielle Deculus

Gabrielle Deculus, Business Rules for Women
With more than a decade of experience in nonprofit and for-profit branding, marketing, public relations, fundraising, development and social media engagement, Deculus founded Business Rules for Women, a burgeoning media platform for emerging entrepreneurs, in 2015. Business Rules for Women reaches over 1 million women each month through online content created for women in business. Deculus celebrated the company’s fifth anniversary this year with its first-ever virtual business conference held April 3-5. The conference’s panel discussions focused on a variety of topics, including building multiple revenue streams; monetizing social media; starting and scaling a business; the influence of women of color in business; and optimizing business systems processes and strategies.

d’Arcy Lunn

5 p.m. (ET), Friday, April 17
d’Arcy Lunn, Teaspoons of Change

A native of Australia, d’Arcy Lunn started his career as an educator teaching in a remote Aboriginal school in the country’s outback. He founded Teaspoons of Change to demonstrate that even small personal choices, decisions or actions can have a positive impact on people and the planet. He has given hundreds of presentations and workshops on the subject and worked on the ground in development with UNICEF in South Sudan, Uganda, Pakistan and other countries. His other projects include Happy, simply, a sustainable lifestyle model and education project and Polio Points, an award and reward system helping to end polio.

Ronan “Chalky” Mac Domhnaill

Ronan “Chalky” Mac Domhnaill, Cred
As founder and CEO of Cred Solutions and Cred Global, Domhnaill wants to inspire people around the world to make behavioral change stick and to take 3 billion actions by 2030 to support the United Nations’ Global Goals for Sustainable Development. Cred offers a personal development app that breaks down high-level competencies into specific “action checklists” that can be repeated on a daily basis, allowing users to track their developmental progress. Cred Global’s live webinars feature discussions with changemakers like d’Arcy Lunn of Teaspoons of Change; Danielle Chiel, founder and CEO of Knit One Change One (KOCO); and Mick Hase, founder of seventeenX and Sip4Sip. Cred Global also offers the “I Am Still Learning” podcast and the Cred.15 series of 15-minute webinars that help social innovators start and end their days. Cred’s tribe are described as changemakers age 18-75, including founders, entrepreneurs and social impact activists and other leaders of change.

“Navigating the Unknown” Moves to Instagram Live With Alexis J. Taylor and Arshiya Kherani

The next installment of the Sullivan Foundation’s webinar series, “Navigating the Unknown,” features a pioneer in activewear for Muslim women and a passionate advocate for entrepreneurship who has been recognized by the U.S. State Department and the World Economic Forum.

In a change of venue, this webinar, which takes place at 12 p.m. (ET), Wednesday, April 8, will be streamed exclusively on Instagram Live. Arshiya Kherani of Sukoon Active and Alexis J. Taylor of the Global Entrepreneurship Network will join Spud Marshall, the Sullivan Foundation’s director of student engagement, for a discussion on the power of social entrepreneurship.

All webinars are recorded and can be viewed at any time at

Here’s more information about Wednesday’s guests:

Arshiya Kherani

Arshiya Kherani: The founder and CEO of Sukoon Active and a past facilitator and mentor at the Sullivan Foundation’s Ignite Retreat, Kherani designs activewear “for real women whose activewear needs aren’t being met by the current market.” Specifically, Sukoon Active offers activewear, including hijabs, for Muslim women who care about fitness and exercise. Although other brands offer hijabs designed for exercise, Sukoon is the only one founded by a Muslim woman. Launched with a Kickstarter campaign that raised $10,000 in its first nine days, Sukoon offers garments featuring sustainable, odor-blocking merino wool with eco-friendly mesh accents for maximum comfort and ventilation. As a social enterprise, Sukoon donates a percentage of its proceeds to the Zaatari Taekwondo Academy, a nonprofit in Jordan that teaches martial arts to Syrian refugee children. Kherani and her brand have been featured in Forbes, the Huffington Post and Allure, to name a few media outlets.

Alexis J. Taylor

Alexis J. Taylor: Taylor is director for global engagement at the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) and a past Ignite Retreat facilitator and mentor. In her role with GEN, she advocates for ecosystem builders and “all those who empower the world’s doers, makers and dreamers,” according to the GEN website. The Global Entrepreneurship Network operates a platform of projects and programs in 170 countries aimed at making it easier for anyone, anywhere, to start and scale a business. Taylor is the former CEO of Austin, Texas-based 3 Day Startup, a global entrepreneurship education program, which she helped scale to more than 500 programs and expanded to Australia, Southern Africa and the Middle East. Taylor has been recognized by the U.S. State Department and the World Economic Forum as a leader in empowering people and communities through entrepreneurship.

“Navigating the Unknown”: Ajax Jackson, Tessa Zimmerman Discuss Social Innovation in the Age of the Coronavirus

Social innovators Tessa Zimmerman of ASSET Education and Ajax Jackson of Magnolia Yoga Studio will be the next guests on the Sullivan Foundation’s new live-streamed webinar series, “Navigating the Unknown.” Zimmerman and Jackson will speak with Spud Marshall, the Sullivan Foundation’s director of student engagement, from 5-6 p.m. (ET), Friday, March 27. The webinar will be hosted on Zoom and streamed on Facebook Live.

Details for joining the call can be found on the Sullivan Foundation’s Facebook Event Page.  You can join the Zoom call at at the appropriate time.

The Sullivan Foundation launched the “Navigating the Unknown” series in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The series addresses the challenges faced by social entrepreneurs, innovators and nonprofits as they guide their communities and clientele through the health crisis. Each call features two social entrepreneurs or innovators from the Sullivan Foundation’s Speakers Bureau, who share how they are responding to the pandemic in their communities and through their work. They also discuss the challenges they’ve faced and the challenges they’ve overcome as social innovators and changemakers.

photo of Tess Zimmerman, founder of ASSET Education

Tessa Zimmerman, founder of ASSET Education

Tessa Zimmerman, who suffered extreme anxiety in the classroom as a youth, founded ASSET Education in 2016. ASSET equips teachers with a curriculum of concrete tools to help their students reduce stress and build resilience. Composed of three modules—Mindfulness, Positive Psychology and Positive Self-Talk—the program ensures that all students walk away by the end of the academic year with at least one new stress-reducing tool that works for them.

Ajax Jackson (pictured at top) founded Magnolia Yoga Studio as New Orleans’ first black-owned yoga studio. The studio’s mission is to support growth, healing and empowerment through the art and science of hot yoga and community. Jackson works with her clients to develop and strengthen life skills such as courage, patience and intuition through yoga.

The first webinar in the “Navigating the Unknown” series was held on Wednesday, March 25. It featured Tony Weaver, Jr., founder of Weird Enough Productions, and Jasmine Babers, founder of Love Girls Magazine.

Featured entrepreneurs and schedules for upcoming webinars are listed below. Many of the guests were scheduled to speak or lead workshops at the Sullivan Foundation’s Spring 2020 Ignite Retreat—a twice-yearly event for college students with a passion for social entrepreneurship and community service—until the event had to be canceled due to the rapid spread of the coronavirus.

Through the “Navigating the Unknown” webinar series, college students, faculty/staff members and other members of the social enterprise sector will have the opportunity to connect with and learn from these leading social innovators. No previous affiliation with the Sullivan Foundation or its programming is required to view or participate in the call.

All webinars will be recorded and uploaded to the Sullivan Foundation’s website at for later reference.

Additional dates and speakers will be announced over the next few weeks, Marshall said. The schedule thus far is as follows:

Fri, March 27, from 5-6 p.m. ET
Tessa Zimmerman of ASSET 
Ajax Jackson of Magnolia Yoga

Wed, April 1, from 12-1 p.m. ET
Josh Nadzam of On the Move Art Studio
Abhinav Khanal of Bean Voyage

Fri, April 3, from 5-6 p.m. ET
Reagan Pugh of Assemble
Dustin Betz of Founders Institute