HW Venture hosts Social Impact Event


CEO of Clear Health Advisors Byrdie Lifson-Pompan and CEO of SRO Consultants Mike McGinley shared how they established successful companies and fielded questions from the audience at the HW Venture Social Impact Event Oct. 7. Credit: Katharine Steers/Chronicle

Katharine Steers

HW Venture, an organization dedicated to teaching members entrepreneurship skills, hosted a Social Impact Event on Oct. 7 in Ahmanson Lecture Hall.

HW Venture Leaders Leila Dall’Olmo ’20, Kylie Azizzadeh ’21, Amaan Furniturewala ’21, and Gregory Damelin ’22 invited several entrepreneurs to educate attendees on how to put together their business proposals for the upcoming Social Impact Fellowship application. The event provides an opportunity for the community to obtain the resources necessary to develop and execute business ideas, Damelin said.

Notable entrepreneurs share advice

Azizzadeh ’21 kicked off the event by introducing the panelists, including Lauren Juzang ’20, Furniturewala, Parent Byrdie Lifson-Pompan (Noah Pompan ’14, Simon Pompan ’18) P ’14, P ’18 and Parent Mike McGinley (Walker McGinley ’22).

Furniturewala won the Social Impact Fellowship two years ago after developing the company Soles4Good, which provides gently used shoes for impoverished children in Senegal.

“I saw the reminder email for the fellowship the night before the application was due, and that’s when I made my entire application,” Furniturewala said. “It was a great opportunity for me to do something but I had no idea what. Getting out of your comfort zone and just doing something is super valuable in my opinion.”

CEO of SRO Consultants, Co-Founder of Citizenet and a Board Member of Napster McGinley, spoke of his entrepreneurial journey and how various experiences led him to pursue differing business ventures.

“[Head of Upper School Laura Ross], in her speech at the beginning of the year, said four things,” McGinley said. “Good food, good exercise, good friends and good sleep. Those were the four things. I will add one other really good thing to that: good outside experiences. Get outside the box and experience other things. Now is the best time to do that.”

Alumni inspire students to establish their own businesses

Co-Founder and CEO of Clear Health Advisors Pompan shared her inspiration for her company with students.

“I was horribly misdiagnosed and in a five year period, I lost both my parents and my 50-year-old brother, also a Harvard School alum,” Pompan said, “I realized that it didn’t matter who you are or where you lived or whether you had money or you didn’t. We’re all victims of the same bad medicine. I felt I had to do something. There wasn’t anyone out there that was helping to guide people to identify the most appropriate specialists.”

HW Venture provided snacks after the event allowing for attendees to brainstorm their proposals to apply for the chance to win up to $12,000 and a variety of resources to assist with students’ business ideas.