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:
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, 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.
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, 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.