Meeting/Event Information

MIT Enterprise Forum Texas occasionally posts outside events of interest to our members on our full calendar.

Social Entrepreneurship, student afternoon program at Bauer Business School

September 18, 2013
1:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Events Center at UCBB, Bauer College of Business, University of Houston
4800 Calhoun Road
Houston, TX 77024

Student afternoon Program on Social Entrepreneurship

Meet Leading Visionaries from

the World of Social Entrepreneurship

Learn How Social Entrepreneurship

Allows Business Professionals to Change Lives

In the same way that business entrepreneurs disrupt incumbent industries and introduce large scale change, social entrepreneurs similarly identify and solve social problems (often in the fields of health, poverty, environment, education, and welfare) creating innovative, transformational solutions that can be applied at a local, regional, national or global scale. 

We are privileged to have NRG Energy sponsor an outstanding panel of front line social entrepreneurs, each an Ashoka Fellow, who have been recognized by the United Nations, the President of the United States, the Clinton Global Initiative and the US State Department. Two of our panelists are ranked in the top 30 Social Entrepreneurs worldwide by Forbes. Join the MIT Enterprise Forum and the Texas Young Professionals to hear real life stories from this exceptional, world renowned panel. It could change your life and the lives of many others! 

Michael Zakaras, Senior Program Manager Ashoka US
Rafael Alvarez
, Founder and CEO Genesys Works
Katherine Lucey, Founder and CEO Solar Sister
Jill Vialet, Founder and CEO Playworks
Hans Hickler, Founder and CEO Ellipsis Advisors LLC

1:00 PM - 3:00 PM,  Wednesday, September 18, 2013   

Events Center, UCBB, Room 330, Bauer School of Business, University of Houston
4800 Calhoun,
Houston, TX  77024

Free to those who register
Those who register will receive a name tag

For more information contact Dale Wilkins  (713) 839-0808 ,


Complete Program compliments of the Bauer School of Business



Foundation Sponsor

This program is brought to you with the generous sponsorship of NRG Energy

NRG Logo


in association with Houston PBS Channel 8

Channel 8 logo


Supporting Organizations

UH Small Business Development Center Network logo Bauer College of Business logo



About the Speakers


Zakaras photoMichael Zakaras, Senior Program Manager, Ashoka US

Michael Zakaras is a senior program manager for Ashoka's Fellowship selection process in the United States. He has previously worked for Ashoka in Ireland and Central Europe, and has participated on selection panels for social entrepreneurs across the globe, from Montreal to Warsaw to Istanbul. Michael has a particular interest in food and agriculture policy, and leads Ashoka's U.S.-based search in this arena.


Michael grew up in Brussels, has worked in the California wine industry, and holds a Master's in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Alvarez photoRafael Alvarez, Founder and CEO, Genesys Works

Named by Forbes Magazine as one of the world’s top 30 social entrepreneurs, Rafael Alvarez is founder and CEO of Genesys Works. Established in 2002, Genesys Works is a non-profit corporation that changes the trajectory of life for underprivileged high school students, from one destined to a lifetime of low wage, dead-end jobs to one in which they will fully participate in the economic mainstream. It accomplishes this by training and employing students to work in meaningful internships at major corporations during their senior year in high school so they can discover that they can indeed enter and succeed in the corporate world.

Under Rafael’s guidance and vision, Genesys Works has grown from serving just 10 students in Houston in 2002, to serving over 800 students in Houston, St. Paul, Minneapolis and Chicago, in 2012. In 2013 it will begin operations in San Francisco. Genesys Works’ compounded annual growth rate over the last 8 years is over 50 percent.

For his work in starting and leading Genesys Works, in 2012 Rafael was awarded the Entrepreneurial Leadership Award from Texas A&M University, his alma mater. He became an Ashoka Fellow in 2006 and in 2009 Genesys Works was recognized by President Obama at the launch of the White House Office of Social Innovation.

Prior to starting Genesys Works, Rafael worked for eleven years at Compaq Computer Corporation (now HP) as a corporate strategist and in other engineering management positions. Rafael decided to leave his corporate career to start Genesys Works exactly one week after the terrorist attacks of September 11.

Rafael holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Texas A&M University and a M.S. in Engineering Management from The University of Houston. He resides in Houston with his wife and their three daughters.

Lucey photo Lucey, Founder and CEO, Solar Sister

Katherine Lucey is Founder and CEO of Solar Sister, an award winning social enterprise eradicating energy poverty through the power of women’s enterprise. Prior to Solar Sister, Katherine enjoyed a successful 20-year career on Wall Street specializing in structured finance. She has been honored for her work with Solar Sister by the United Nations, the Clinton Global Initiative, and the US State Department.

Katherine is an Ashoka Fellow, a Draper Richards Kaplan Entrepreneur and a graduate of Santa Clara University’s Global Social Business Incubator. She holds a Bachelor's of Journalism from University of Georgia, and an MBA from Georgia State University. When not traveling to Africa to manage Solar Sister's growth in Uganda, Tanzania and Nigeria, Katherine resides in Rhode Island with her husband, their five children and one puppy.   

Vialet photo Vialet, Founder and CEO of Playworks

Jill Vialet is Founder and CEO of Playworks, a national nonprofit that provides play and physical activity to schools around the country through direct and training service. She was the recipient of a 2013 Irvine Award, is an Ashoka fellow, and was recently named to the Forbes Magazine Impact 30 as one of the 30 leading social entrepreneurs worldwide.



Hickler photo Hickler, Founder and CEO of Ellipsis Advisors LLC

Hans is the founder and CEO of Ellipsis Advisors LLC, providing C-Level advisory services and executive coaching. In the last 12 years Hans has served as CEO of three multinational corporations.

Hans brings with him more than 25 years of experience in the transportation, express and logistics industry, having started his career in the ocean transportation business. Prior to starting his own business, Hans was Chief Executive of Asia Pacific for Agility Logistics, where his responsibilities spanned more than 20 countries and over 7,000 employees and where he served on Agility Logistics’ Global Management Board. He also served as DHL’s CEO for Global Customer Solutions, leading the development and sales of customer solutions across DHL Supply Chain, Warehousing & Distribution, Forwarding and Express Business Units. Prior to that role, Hans was CEO of DHL Express USA, and CEO of APL Logistics and served on the Global boards of both organizations. 

Hans studied at Brown University in the United States. He has lived and worked in Europe, the United States, Latin America, Asia and the Middle East. He is known for his leadership skills in building effective cross-cultural teams and for achieving significant growth and profitability.

He is a recognized leader in the Logistics and Transportation industry, has sat on various industry Boards, and led his organizations to numerous industry awards and recognition.  In 2009, Hans received the prestigious Executive of the Year award by the Strategic Account Management Association.

He is actively involved in the field of social entrepreneurship.  In his work with Ashoka, Hans supports and advises social entrepreneurs worldwide and is involved in significant work being done to promote understanding of the importance of empathy in business. He leverages that experience to give his clients perspectives on embedding concepts of social profit and shared value into their business planning. It also allows him to provide guidance and coaching on the important element of work/family balance.

Hans is a member of the Young Presidents Organization and the Ashoka Support Network.

Annual sponsors 2013-07-29

Supporting organizations


Event Contact: Dale Wilkins (
Contact Phone: (713) 839-0808


$0.00 General Admission - free ticket

$0.00 MITEF Member - free ticket