Here is how we go for good, together.

Join leaders from the business, nonprofit and academic worlds for a day of no-excuses action, interaction and collaboration focused on social innovation and entrepreneurship. Learn best practices from organizations that are changing the way business and goodness intersect and hear from nonprofits leading the way at this ‘unconference’ that won’t leave you bored behind a table.

We’ll talk about making moves, making connections and making a difference. Ready…set…see you there.

Your Focus

What happens when the business world and social sector come together for lasting impact.

Your Speakers

Seth Godin.

Photo: Jill Greenberg

Seth Godin (keynote speaker)

Best-selling author of Tribes, Purple Cow, Linchpin, Meatball Sundae and more.

J.P. and Ulla Bak

Founders, Bak USA

Plus numerous mission-driven organizations and leaders. 

– See the full list in the Learning Tracks section of the agenda below.

You Will:

  • Develop skills to be a better leader
  • Cultivate ideas to do well by doing good
  • Make connections for today and tomorrow
  • Learn best practices from the business world and the social sector
  • Meet nonprofits leading the way
  • Listen to ideas at a nonprofit pitch competition immediately following the conference


Go deep into an area of social innovation that aligns with your interests and passions.

First, select one of eight themes for the morning learning track session. There, along with other participants with similar interests, you will hear about exciting work being done by local organizations led by socially innovative leaders. As part of this session, you will learn about an important organizational challenge that requires an innovative solution.

At the keynote session, Seth Godin will inspire action and offer a range of ideas to help you solve the challenge from your morning session by teaching you how to build a successful movement for change.

In an afternoon innovation sprint, you and the others in your learning track will put those ideas to work by identifying creative solutions.

In your final session, you’ll use the Reciprocity Ring methodology to learn processes and tools to help build a network that takes social innovation forward.


Time Event
7:30 a.m. Registration and Recreation
8 a.m. Breakfast
8:45 a.m. Welcome
Molly Anderson, CLOE Executive Director
9 a.m. Setting the Stage for Social Innovation
Paul Tesluk, PhD, Dean, UB School of Management
Nancy Smyth, PhD, Dean, UB School of Social Work
10 a.m. The Bak USA Story
J.P. and Ulla Bak, Co-Founders, Bak USA
Following the catastrophic earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010, the Bak family established a tablet computer manufacturing facility in Port-au-Prince to help rebuild a sustainable infrastructure by teaching valuable skills to the community, creating jobs and producing affordable devices for otherwise underprivileged schools and businesses. Then they recreated that business model right here in Buffalo.
10:45 a.m. Break
11 a.m.

Learning Tracks - Part One
(Attend one)


Addressing the Critical Issue of Global Poverty and Injustice
Prince Oduro, Executive Director
African Rights Initiative International (Ghana)


How Empowering ‘Necessity Entrepreneurs’ Achieves the American Dream
Benjamin Bissell, Executive Director
Westminster Economic Development Initiative Inc.


Our Water, Our Future: Leading a Community Renaissance through Environmental Initiatives
Jill Jedlicka, Executive Director
Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper


72 Million Reasons Why It Will Take a Village to Serve Our Aging Community
Sasha Yerkovich, Executive Director
Canopy of Neighbors


Blind Ambition Initiative: Showing Businesses How They Can Do Well While Also Doing Good
Tammy Owen, President and CEO
Olmsted Center for Sight


Coffee Cup Impact: A Model for Contributing to the Social, Environmental and Economic Well-Being of People
Warren E. Emblidge Jr., Chairman
McCullagh Coffee Roasters


Pursuing Innovation Through Merger
Howard K. Hitzel, PsyD, President
Lake Shore Behavioral Health Inc.


Hope Works: Leading Individual and Agency Self-Sustainability
Marlies A. Wesolowski, Executive Director
Lt. Col. Matt Urban Human Services Center of WNY

Noon Lunch and Social Impact Fair
1 p.m.

A Rare Interactive Opportunity with Seth Godin

Godin has authored 18 best-selling books that have been translated into more than 35 languages. He writes about the post-industrial revolution, the way ideas spread, marketing, quitting, leadership and changing everything. You might be familiar with his books Tribes, Linchpin, The Dip and Purple Cow. His newest book, What to Do When It’s Your Turn is already a best-seller.

2:15 p.m. Learning Tracks - Part Two - Innovation Sprints
Develop creative solutions to key challenges facing the organization you learned about in the morning session — then present those solutions to organizational leadership.
3:15 p.m. Break
3:30 p.m.

Learning Tracks - Part Three - Pay It Forward
Prasad Balkundi, PhD, Chair and Associate Professor of Organization and Human Resources, UB School of Management

The reciprocity ring is an exercise that enables the principle of ‘pay it forward.’ Witness in real time the power and potential of social networking, find solutions to issues while contributing to others, and build trust as you learn about and help one another.

5 p.m. Wrap Up
5 p.m. Hors d'Oeuvres, Cocktail Event (cash bar) and Recreational Activities

Post-Conference Event

6 p.m.

Next Generation United Pitch 10

Listen to pitches from ten grassroots organizations and millennial-led nonprofits that are transforming communities across Western New York — and have your say in who wins $10,000 in grants from Next Generation United. The organization that receives the most votes will earn a grant of $5,000, while second and third place will each receive $2,500 to implement their idea or expand their program. Attend and listen for free, or for $20 you can cast a vote for your favorite idea and enjoy a drink and hors d'oeuvres.


Get uncomfortable by getting comfortable. Go business casual or wear jeans and a t-shirt from your organization or a favorite nonprofit to enjoy all the activities Buffalo RiverWorks has to offer.  

Hosted by the UB School of Management’s Center for Leadership and Organizational Effectiveness (CLOE), in collaboration with the UB School of Social Work and Blackstone LaunchPad at UB.

Presenting Sponsors

UB School of Management Alumni Association logo.

Special Thanks

  • Partnership for the Public Good
  • Next Generation United, an initiative of United Way of Buffalo and Erie County