Marriott Alumni Magazine

Ballard Center 2015-16 Annual Report

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Page 24 of 27

Ballard Center director Todd Manwaring explains, "The Social Innovator of the Year award is our opportunity to recognize great leaders in the social innovation community. Bill and his work have influenced the philanthropic field in many ways. What a privilege that he spoke at TEDxBYU 2016 and shared his work." Somerville's unique style of grantmaking has enabled many innovators in the community to have the funds they need right when they need them, and as a result, many lives have been impacted for good. 25 In his TEDxBYU 2016 talk, "Grassroots Philanthropy: Simple Can Be Significant," Somerville inspired viewers to improve their communities in simple yet significant ways. His charm and innovative approach to awarding grants won over the audience the night of TEDxBYU, and he received a standing ovation. Sommerville was honored with the Ballard Center's 2016 Social Innovator of the Year award, which recognizes an exceptional individual who is committed to finding and participating in innovative solutions to social problems. Photos © Ballard Center Two other social innovators were featured at TEDxBYU 2016. Read more about them below. All of the presenters' talks can be viewed at Misan Rewane is a strong supporter of education, having earned her economics degree from Stanford University and her MBA from Harvard Business School. But Rewane contends that academic success is not a strong indicator of job performance. In her TEDxBYU talk, titled "Hire for What You Really Want," Rewane explains that a university degree is actually a proxy. Rewane challenges those in the audience to be more innovative in how they test people for job-related proficiencies. Rewane is the CEO of West Africa Vocational Education (WAVE), a social venture focused on helping West African youths gain industry-relevant skills and access to employment. WAVE also increases employer access to the best-suited young talent for job opportunities. Misan Rewane Alicia Gettys, director of communications and operations for the Ballard Center, introduced the talk "Comedy and Social Problems" by presenting the idea that humor is an incredible tool for empowering solutions. Dan Blake and Zach Atherton went on to explain the social venture EcoScraps. Blake is the CEO of EcoScraps and the ultimate dumpster diver, and Atherton is a master of comedy. Blake launched EcoScraps to address the fact that 40 percent of the food grown in the US ends up in the landfill. EcoScraps specializes in turning food waste into useful compost; sometimes the same retailers that provide EcoScraps with food waste buy the soils and plant foods EcoScraps creates from compost. "How do you sleep at night knowing that you make a profit off of solving a world problem?" Atherton asks. "I like to think you don't have to choose between making money and doing good," Blake says. Dan Blake Other Featured Innovators

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