Elevating Impact 2018 Speakers

Elevating Impact Summit speakers are leading social entrepreneurs, policy shapers, and industry experts. In 2018, they consider how thinking in opposites has unearthed new ideas, how unlikely partnerships have resulted in greater impact, and what it means to create positive social and environmental change in a climate of opposition. 

Brendon Bassett
Brendon Bassett is the Director of Innovation & Strategic Development at Metropolitan Family Service, where he looks for ways to generate new opportunities to amplify social impact through creative partnership and innovation. Whether developing new services or enhancing existing ones, a focus on equity and impact guides his work to advance the MFS mission of moving people beyond the limitation of poverty, inequity and social isolation. Brendon comes from 15 years of experience in the social service sector, where he worked in mentoring, youth development, early childhood education, after school programming and healthcare.
Gwen Conner 
Gwen Conner has spent 25 years positioning teams to create new approaches to improve health and ultimately, people’s experience in life. At Providence Health and Services, the third largest not-for-profit health system in the U.S., Gwen leads the institution’s first business accelerator. The business accelerator includes initiatives like the Providence Innovation Fellowship Program, which has developed a network of 50 internal champions to identify challenging problems, ignite solutions, and share ingenuity, knowledge, and skills. The program was profiled in Hospitals & Health Networks Magazine and was a runner-up in the Core77 Design Education Initiative awards.

Ridhi D'Cruz
Ridhi D'Cruz is one of the co-Executive Directors of City Repair. As an intercontinental cross-pollinator, sociocultural anthropologist and permaculture educator,, Ridhi participates, facilitates and supports initiatives in the areas of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Placemaking, Capacity Building, Houseless Advocacy, Native American Allyship, Cultural Sustainability and Social Permaculture. She is also a passionate herbalist, urban wildcrafter, natural building and participatory technology enthusiast, animal lover and urban permaculture homesteader.



Carol Dahl
As Executive Director of The Lemelson Foundation, Dr. Carol Dahl inspires and enables the next generation of inventors and invention-based enterprises. The Foundation promotes economic growth and addresses critical challenges in the U.S. and in developing countries by focusing on Impact Inventing, and creation of products and businesses that are financially self-sustaining. Previously, Dahl worked for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the University of Pittsburgh. She received a bachelor's degree from the University of Iowa and master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Wisconsin.
Joy Alise Davis
A Cincinnati native, and graduate of Miami University with a Bachelors of Arts in Political Science and Parsons The New School for Design with a Master of Arts in Theories of Urban Practice, Joy Alise Davis is the founder of Design+ Culture Lab, a research-driven, urban-social enterprise that works in the intersection between identity and place. She currently serves as the Executive Director of the Portland African American Leadership Forum (PAALF) where she works to help our Black community imagine the alternatives we deserve and build our political participation and leadership to achieve those alternatives.

Justine Haigh
Justine Haigh, President/Director of FIDGETECH, and Director of the Doctor of Business Administration Program at George Fox University, develops technology-based programs for young adults on the autism spectrum. Combining her personal experience raising an autistic son, with a Ph.D. in Consumer Behavior, an M.A. in Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and a B.Sc. (Hons) in Behavioral Sciences, Justine helps young adults on the autism spectrum address obstacles and boundaries in various stages of their personal and professional development.

Mary Li 
Li is the Director of the Multnomah Idea Lab (MIL).  The MIL, part of the Multnomah Department of County Human Services, is charged with seeking policy and innovation within the human services and government sectors.  The MIL seeks to positively change community conditions resulting from poverty and racism by practicing human-centered design, seeking out critical thinking and research, and conducting applied research tests in the real world.

Mauricio Lim Miller
Mauricio Lim Miller is a leading social entrepreneur on a mission to support and accelerate low-income families’ own efforts to improve their social and economic mobility. A first-generation immigrant, Mauricio’s personal history, along with 22 years working on neighborhood design with former Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown, shaped his vision for change, and the organization he founded, the Family Independence Initiative. In recognition of Mauricio’s new ideas, and the measurable impact of his work, Mauricio was awarded a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, an Ashoka Fellowship, an Encore Award, and was appointed by President Obama to the White House Council for Community Solutions.

Tyrone Poole
Tyrone Poole, Founder of OneApp, didn’t develop his concept in a sleek Silicon Valley incubator. He developed it in a Portland homeless shelter, as a resident. While there, Tyrone worked as a housing advocate for the shelter, helping to find low income and homeless families places to live. Noticing that application fees of up to $50, along with the uncertainty of applying for housing was paralyzing, Tyrone created a platform through which someone could submit a single transparent application. He grew the idea into OneApp, a for-profit social venture that is now funded in large part by The Portland Housing Bureau.

Corey Pressman
Corey is a strategist, anthropologist, and futurist. As Vice President of Adaptive Strategies at Fiction, he works with clients large and small to help them envision and enact human-centered innovation and nurture a vital organizational culture. Corey is also a fellow of Arizona State University’s Center for Science and the Imagination, where he runs innovation workshops and develops and teaches courses on prototyping and ideation.

Walter Robinson
A Willamette University graduate, Walter Robinson II has dedicated his life to public service. He has been the Engagement and Program Specialist with Joint Office of Homeless Services, a constituent relations liaison and policy adviser for Multnomah County Commissioner Jules Bailey, and served as the County Liaison for Black Male Achievement (BMA). He currently manages and facilitates the BMA Summer Youth Experience, serves on several boards, and is Chair of the City Club of Portland Friday Forum Committee.

John Warner
AAAS-Lemelson Invention Ambassador John Warner founded the Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry to develop green chemistry technologies, and Beyond Benign, a non-profit dedicated to sustainability and green chemistry education. John has published nearly 300 patents, papers and books, and applied green chemistry principles in the fields of pharmaceuticals, personal care, solar energy, construction, and paving materials. In recognition for his field-shaping work, John received The Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Mentoring, and later the Perkin Medal. He has been named as one of the most influential people impacting the global chemical industries, and one of the “25 Visionaries Changing the World.”

Jeana Woolley
Jeana Woolley works with a wide range of stakeholders to effectively gather and synthesize meaningful input to inform development processes for public policy, plans and initiatives. In 1991, Ms Woolley founded JM Woolley & Associates, and grew her practice to help produce plans and strategies for public policies, community development, and revitalization initiatives. Ms. Woolley has also completed major development projects along the N.E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd corridor, and has contributed extensive community involvement and board services from the State Board of Education to the Black Investment Corporation for Economic Progress.