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Social Impact Summit: ‘Human Impact … Change One Life’

March 29, 2016
Katie Hilborn

Katie Hilborn

Individuals impacting the social space once again headline this year’s Social Impact Summit at NIU.

This year’s theme is “Human Impact … Change One Life.” The summit takes place Friday, April 8, at the NIU Barsema and Alumni Visitors Center.

Katie Hilborn, founder and director of Global Orphan Prevention, will deliver the keynote presentation. Hilborn’s international nonprofit organization seeks to eradicate child trafficking in Nepal, as well as to keep mothers and children together through social entrepreneurship.

Tickets cost $5 for NIU students and $20 for all others.For NIU College of Business students, this event is Business Passport-approved.

Registration closes Friday, April 1.

NIU’s Social Impact Summit is hosted by the NIU student organization Collegiate Association of Unreasonable Social Entrepreneurs (CAUSE), with sponsorship from Product Development Technologies.

The goal of the event is three-fold:

  • to educate all attendees on social entrepreneurialism;
  • to inspire them to increase their societal and environmental impacts; and
  • to create a forum where individuals who are passionate about changing the world can network.

Panel discussions and workshops with leaders in social entrepreneurship continue to be a mainstay of NIU’s Social Impact Summit.

cause-logoAlso returning is the Pitch for a CAUSE competition, where a panel of expert investors and social entrepreneurs evaluate the ideas generated by the top 5 contenders, as they pitch their proposals for a business that makes a positive social or environmental impact. At stake is a $1,500 grand prize and a chance to improve upon the idea or to start to bring that idea to life.

Rounding out the “Human Impact … Change One Life” theme is Hilborn, who grew up in St. Charles, Ill., and spent most of her adult life in the Colorado ski town of Breckenridge. Living in a seasonal environment afforded Hilborn opportunity to travel outside of the country during the off-seasons. During her world travels, which began immediately after she graduated from university in 2006, Hilborn intentionally incorporated a volunteer project in with her trips.

Now 27 countries and six continents later, Hilborn has seen first-hand how the developing world lives and has made it her mission to change what she has seen.


8:30 to 9:15 a.m. Coffee and pastries with opening remarks from CAUSE
9:15 to 10 a.m. Keynote speaker Katie Hilborn
10:05 to 10:45 a.m. Breakout Sessions 1
10:50 to 11:30 a.m. Breakout Session 2
11:30 to noon. Lunch and Networking
12:00 to 1:15 p.m. Pitch With a CAUSE competition
Closing Remarks from CAUSE

Global Orphan Prevention logoBREAK OUT SESSION DETAILS

Impact Investing Panel

  • Somya Munjal, Chief Youth Servant at Youthful Savings
  • Eric Wasowicz, Investor and Adviser with Channel Clarity LLC
  • Joe Parisi, co-founder of Guard Lama
  • Greg Lernihan, co-founder of Convergint Technologies

Working In Developing Countries

  • Katie Hilborn, founder and director of Global Orphan Prevention
  • Rich Johnson, co-founder and CEO of Spark Ventures
  • Kurt Thurmaier, professor and researcher at Northern Illinois University
  • Nancy Economou, founder and president of Watts of Love


  • Moira Hardek, President and CEO of Galvanize Labs, Inc
  • Abby Ross, co-founder and COO of ThinkCERCA
  • Mark Schwartz, CEO at PDT

For more information on NIU’s Social Impact Summit or NIU CAUSE in general, email [email protected].