Elevating Impact 2019



Speakers, performers, and interactive experiences to celebrate entrepreneurship and innovation for positive social, environmental, and economic impact. 

Attendees enjoy talks on the main stage, a pitch fest for local social entrepreneurs, exhibits and activities on the mezzanine levels, and breakfast, lunch, and an afternoon reception in the Armory’s main lobby.

The event is produced by PSU’s Impact Entrepreneurs program in The School of Business. PSU is a designated Ashoka U Changemaker Campus, and is recognized internationally for its social innovation and entrepreneurship programs.


About Elevating Impact: launched in 2013, 5 Pitch Fest finalists, 500 attendees, 1 Impact Award winner, 20 speakers, 10 community organizations exhibiting


"I found the pitch contest inspiring over and over again because each organization that presented was in it for worthy causes with deep potential, making them intrinsically, locally, and globally rewarding. I felt elevated. Even more, I met people and organizations at the Summit who are now playing important roles in the evolution of my fledgling business — my social enterprise bank, multiple departments at PSU, a co-working space, and more." – Erin Fish, CEO, Wanderwell

2019 Elevating Impact Summit Playlist 

Featured Sessions

Dr. Almodovar, who hails from the town of Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, is a Neurosurgeon, Inventor and entrepreneur. He splits his time between his practice in neurosurgical oncology and R&D for ErgoSuture, a Multifunctional suturing platform for open, minimally invasive & robot-assisted surgeries. Dr. Almodovar’s creativity, passion and resilience has led to an expansive patent portfolio and is an Invention Ambassadors with The Lemelson Foundation - a program designed to showcase the human face of inventors in order to inspire, inform and influence thought leaders and global community.


Keynote speaker Fagan Harris


Fagan Harris is the President and CEO of Baltimore Corps, an organization that enlists talented people in public service and social entrepreneurship in Baltimore City. For his work in social entrepreneurship, Harris was recognized, among others, as a Visionary by Baltimore Magazine (2018), in the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s ‘40 Under 40’ (2016), and in Forbes Magazine’s ‘30 Under 30’ (2015). Harris also has received numerous awards, including fellowships from Ashoka, Echoing Green, and The Aspen Institute.


Keynote speaker Stephen Friend

Chairman, President and co-founder of 4YouandMe, Dr. Friend is a visiting Professor of Connected Medicine at Oxford University and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Sage Bionetworks where he was co-founder and President. He previously has held positions at Apple Inc., was Senior Vice President at Merck, and Co Inc., founded and led Rosetta Inpharmatics, and was an Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School.

He explores fundamental issues around how to make individual symptom predictions and how to return agency to individuals so they might navigate their own paths between health and disease.  

Daniela Papi-Thornton is an educator whose work focuses on systems-led social interventions. Daniela was a Lecturer at Yale School of Management this fall where she taught a course on systems-led leadership. Previously she was a Lecturer at Watson Institute and was the Deputy Director at Oxford Saïd Business School’s Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, where she continues to consult. At Oxford she launched educational programming designed to help incorporate systems thinking into social entrepreneurship education.

 Daniela’s work in education design builds upon six years of emerging market entrepreneurial experience in Cambodia, running a hybrid social enterprise. She co-authored a book, Learning Service, focused on shifting mindsets and practices related to volunteer travel. Her 2018 Ashoka U Big Idea Talk and her TEDx talk on Reclaiming Social Entrepreneurship highlight some of her more recent thinking.

Meet More Speakers

Our Venue: The Armory

The discovery framework is back!

Explore the creative practice behind social innovation. Experience the places where ideas are born, and consider how to nurture a vital culture in your community, organization, or movement, with Emcee Corey Pressman.


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