Venture hosts social impact event


Evan Hamilton ’07 responds to a question posed by Speaker Event Lead Sophia Rascoff ’23. Hamilton was one of four panelists at the event hosted by entrepreneurship program HW Venture. Credit: Sandra Koretz/Chronicle

Sandra Koretz

HW Venture hosted a Social Impact Panel with four speakers working in the community service and entrepreneurship fields Nov. 17. All of the speakers spoke about their work helping others in their surrounding communities and about what inspired them to get involved.

Four speakers attended HW Venture’s Social Impact Panel.

Katlyn Grasso spoke about her organization, GenHERation, a foundation dedicated to empowering and connecting young women with opportunities in business. GenHERation boasts 300,000 members worldwide, according to their website. Some of their featured partners include Netflix, Adobe, Nordstrom and other notable companies.

Taylor Adams ’02 founded The Meaning Foundation, an organization that seeks to break down discrimination in the workplace for people who were formerly incarcerated.

“We partner with several companies and human source organizations and source individuals for outside employment with our partner employers,” Adams said.

Mike McGinley (Walker ’22), spoke about his experience volunteering at the Alexandria House, an organization that provides housing for women and their children. McGinley said the large number of homeless women and children in Los Angeles who suffer from food insecurity inspired him to volunteer.

The Alexandria House has been in operation for around 24 years and has helped approximately 200 families and single women. About 92% of families assisted by the organization remain in permanent housing.

Evan Hamilton ’07 is currently in the process of receiving his MBA at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management. He is the founder and CEO of Pangea MFG, a platform connecting hardware startups with manufacturers in the Southern California region. His company works to empower existing companies with available resources and help others find the supplies they need to accelerate prototypes into production.

Students who attended the event said the panelists were inspiring.

Speaker Event Lead Sophia Rascoff ’23 said she was primarily moved by the speakers’ commitments to get more involved in their communities.

“The most interesting part of the [Social Impact Panel] for me was hearing what inspired each of the [speakers] to get into the field and hearing about the impact that all of them have had on the lives of others,” Rascoff said.

Venture participant Amaan Furniturewala ’21 said he was inspired by speaker Alec Katz ’19. Katz founded Soles4Good, an organization that collects shoes and donates them to communities in Senegal and El Salvador that are in need.

“All the speakers have created [an] immense positive impact through entrepreneurship,” Furniturewala said in a text message. “They are role models that I look up to and hope to emulate. I was particularly happy to hear Alec Katz HW ’19 speak. He co-founded Soles4Good with and helped spearhead HW’s social impact initiatives during his time on campus. It felt like we’d come full circle!”