Since the announcement of the five finalist teams in the Rethink Supply Chains challenge in January, the teams have participated in a range of activities and events designed to help them refine and develop their original ideas.
In February, the five finalist teams (GeoPoll, Good World Solutions, IST Research, Sustainability Incubator & Trace Register, and Ulula) convened in Washington, D.C. for a Boot Camp, where they participated in expert sessions, user-testing and prototyping exercises, and discussion panels to gain insights for improving their solutions. Experts in labor trafficking, product development, and business modeling, as well as representatives of the Partnership for Freedom, provided expertise and coaching to teams to help them refine their concepts.
In addition, throughout the Finalist Accelerator, the finalists have been meeting with five industry-leading mentors to source feedback as they iterate their solutions. The Challenge mentors bring a variety of experience and skill from across the fields of labor trafficking, product development, and supply chain technology.
We are thrilled to have Erika, Stephen, David, Shawn, and Tikva as Challenge mentors. We’d like to thank them all for their continued time and commitment in helping the finalists refine their solutions!
Meet our mentors:
Erika Block, Founder & CEO, Local Orbit
Bio: Erika is the Founder and CEO of Local Orbit, the supply chain platform for people who are creating a new, connected food economy. Prior to Local Orbit, Erika co-founded and ran an entrepreneurial arts organization, producing cross-sector partnership events in the US, Great Britain and South Africa. She led the renovation of a vacant building in Detroit into a theater, gallery and barmaid worked with vendors to source local food for events. She directed and produced 15 plays. She decided to create Local Orbit as a result of interviews she did while researching a project about eating. Erika has also worked as a technology and business process consultant, focusing on strategic planning, collaboration, operational efficiency and communications strategy. Throughout her career, Erika has created collaborative environments that facilitate learning and action. She has an MFA from Columbia University and studied Interactive Technology at NYU. Erika comes from a family of fruit peddlers, meat processors restaurant owners and wholesalers. She is a PopTech Social Innovation Fellow. Other awards include Crain’s Detroit Business 40 Under 40.
Areas of Expertise: Supply Chain Technology
Stephen Lee, Director of Product Development, Caravan Studios
Bio: Stephen Lee is Director of Product Development at Caravan Studios, a division of TechSoup. Caravan Studios builds apps that help communities organize, access, and apply local resources to their most pressing problems. Stephen has worked extensively at the intersection of technology, social innovation, and entrepreneurship, and brings to Caravan Studios over 20 years experience leading teams in product design, development, and delivery. Stephen has degrees in Computer Science and Sustainable International Development.
Areas of Expertise: Product Design & Management, ICT4D, Nonprofit Management
David Lifson, Product Executive, Originate
Bio: David Lifson is a Product Executive at Originate having been a Sr. Director of Product Management at Poppin. Formerly, he was GM of Digital Product and Engineering at General Assembly. Prior to joining General Assembly, he co-founded Postling, a social media management tool for small businesses that he sold to LocalVox Media in 2012. He has also been VP of Product at Etsy, Technical Product Manager for Amazon’s Personalized Recommendations team, and started his career as a software engineer on Amazon’s Community team.
Areas of Expertise: Product Development, Social Software
Shawn MacDonald, Director of Programs and Research, Verité
Bio: Shawn MacDonald is Verité’s Director of Programs and Research. He’s responsible for a variety of research, training, consulting, multi-stakeholder dialogue, and policy advocacy programs focused on issues like forced labor, freedom of association, compliance program design, and standards-setting. He regularly leads workshops, trainings, and multi-stakeholder meetings on labor and other corporate social responsibility (CSR) issues and advises business leaders on CSR strategy and program design. His work focuses on a variety of business sectors, including seafood, electronics, agriculture, construction, apparel, and light manufacturing. Before joining Verité, Shawn was Director at the Fair Labor Association, Vice President of Ashoka: Innovators for the Public, and co-founder of the Development and Employment Policy Project. Additionally, he worked for a variety of international NGOs in Asia, Africa, and Eastern Europe. He holds a Ph.D. from George Mason University’s Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, an AB in History from Harvard University.
Areas of Expertise: Corporate Social Responsibility, Social Entrepreneurship, Labor Rights
Tikva Morowati, UX Lead of New Products, Google
Bio: Tikva is an entrepreneur, curator of stories of invention and innovation, and creator of new products. She is a UX Lead of New Products at Google, where she is leading the agile, user-centered research, design and development of early stage products for the physical world and develops strategies and insights about people and organizational processes to transform business outcomes. Prior to that she defined and designed new mobile products at Facebook and for startups through New York’s research and design shop, Charming Robot. She can be found on Twitter @tikkers.
Areas of Expertise: UX, Product Development