Ignite, Engage, and Impact!

Students, faculty, and staff hit the road to learn about investing, innovating, and changing the world 

Daniela Cubillo in Chicago April 2016 ‌

Daniela Cubillo visited the Cloud Gate in Chicago's Millenium Park while attending the Engage International Investment Symposium



April is road-trip month for Sewanee students, faculty, and staff as they head out to conferences and retreats where they’re learning how to promote social change, build social entrepreneurship, and invest wisely for profit and to improve the world.

On April 8, six students and four faculty and staff members traveled to Raleigh, North Carolina, for a weekend of events focusing on personal growth, social change, and social entrepreneurship. Sewanee students networked and shared with colleagues from colleges and universities across the Southeast during the Ignite Retreat, where they and a group of facilitators explored how to discern their personal calling in life, how to gain the skills to solve concrete problems, or how to take a socially important venture they’re already engaged in to the next level.

 Group traveling to Sullivan Retreats in April 2016The Sewanee contingent on the way to Raleigh, N.C., for the Ignite Retreat and the Faculty Social Entrepreneurship Summit 


Carey Fellow Cole Porter, C'19, from Nashville (above, at left), came back from the Ignite Retreat enthusiastic. "The Ignite retreat was an incredible experience. Everyone there was on fire about something, and it was contagious. I went there interested in social innovation and left with a greater understanding of myself, my ideas, and my potential to change the world around me."

Porter serves as the chief marketing officer for Sewanee's Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation (ESI) Club. Other student attendees were

  • David Losson C'18, an environment and sustainability major from Dallas, Texas. David is a Carey Fellow and chief executive officer of the ESI Club.
  • German Martinez, C' 18, an economics major and business minor from Nashville. German is chief financial officer of the ESI Club.
  • Elijah Brooks-Davis, C'18, a theater major and business minor from Land O' Lakes, Florida, and ESI Club member.
  • Sharron Bockman, C'18, an international and global studies major, business minor and Bonner Leader from Chattanooga.
  • Nora Vinas, C'17, a psychology major, international and global studies minor, and Bonner Leader from Miami, Florida. Nora was also the recent winner of the Sewanee Soup crowdfunding competition.

While the students were at the Ignite Retreat, faculty and staff members joined other professional colleagues at the Faculty Social Entrepreneurship Summit, where they explored ideas for building and enhancing social entrepreneurship education experiences on their home campuses.

Economics professor Katherine Theyson, the chair of the business minor, said of the summit, "It was really helpful to take some time to think about the ways other universities are incorporating social entrepreneurship into their curricular and co-curricular offerings, and how we might be able to adapt those types of offerings for Sewanee."

Both the retreat and summit were sponsored and funded by the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Foundation. Financial support for Sewanee attendees was provided by the Babson Center for Global Commerce, the Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation Club, and the Office of Community Engagement.

Students--some Sewanee and others--at Ignite Retreat in April 2016Sewanee students at the Ignite Retreat networked with students from  other colleges and universities from the southeastern United States.


On Thursday, April 14, another cadre of Sewanee students headed to Chicago for the 2016 Engage International Investment Symposium, sponsored by the prestigious CFA Institute, a not-for-profit global organization that promotes ethical standards and professional skills for the investment community. The conference brings together students, educators, and investment professionals to hear from some of the leading figures in the investment world.

This year’s keynote speaker was Sheila Bair, president of Washington College, who chaired the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation before and during the 2008 financial crisis. In that role, Bair warned about the dangers of the housing bubble and the problem of “too big to fail” banks.

For Carey Fellow Claire Hill, C'17, this year's conference is a repeat performance. She said, "I am an active member of the Student Investment Club. I attended the conference last year and learned a lot. This year I am already stationed in Chicago for my Carey Fellow internship, so it made sense to go again." Claire is a philosophy and economics major from Fort Worth, Texas.

Other students attending the symposium were Student Investment Club members Huguette Ciza, C'17, an economics major and business minor from Chattanooga, and Daniela Cubillo, C'18, an international and global studies major and business minor from Hallandale Beach, Florida.

An anonymous Sewanee graduate donor generously provided funding for Sewanee students to attend the symposium.

Capping off the month, two Sewanee students will serve as interns at the 2016 Impact Capitalism Summit on April 26 and 27 in Chicago. The summit brings together participants from foundations, global wealth investment firms, investment advisors, fund management, government, companies, and service providers to discuss how to use the power of investment capital to change the world for the better.

The summit, which drew 300 participants last year, is among the biggest gatherings for proponents of impact investing, an investment strategy that helps investors find the best companies to invest in for both growth and socioeconomic development.

Carey Fellow Caroline Owens, C'18, one of the Sewanee interns, said she's excited about the summit. "I believe that the summit will show me some of the complexities of impact investing throughout many different asset classes. Also, having the opportunity to listen to company leaders who work with these issues every day will be extremely enriching." Caroline is an economics major from Houston, Texas. Also interning will be Charles Durkin, C'17, an economics major and business minor from New Canaan, Connecticut.

The event is sponsored by Big Path Capital. The firm’s cofounder and managing partner, Michael Whelchel, C’89, is a member of the Babson Center Advisory Board, and support for the student internships is provided by Big Path and the Babson Center for Global Commerce.

Students attending these events are selected with the expectation that they will bring back best practices, new ideas, and new contacts for various organizations and clubs, like the Student Investment Club and the Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation Club, to enhance the offerings and learning opportunities for the student groups as a whole.