consulting + coaching
We help you, your team and organization ignite, recalibrate and/or accelerate your changemaking journey. We can offer you and your team truly unique perspectives, insights, capabilities and resources as a result of our own truly unique changemaking journey. We have 20+ years of proven experience and expertise that you can leverage to achieve your aspirations. Reach out to us. We can engage in any number of ways.
SOCIAL INNOVATION DESIGN SUPPORT
STRATEGIC CONSULTING + ADVISORY
TEAM PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
CURRICULUM + RESOURCE DESIGN
WORKSHOP DESIGN + LEADERSHIP
Social EntrepreneurU founder Greg Van Kirk leads the changemaker consulting and coaching engagements. He is a former Ashoka Leadership Group Member, is a two-time Ashoka Globalizer Fellow and World Economic Forum "Social Entrepreneur of the Year for 2012 (Latin America)." Greg is the principal designer of the award-winning MicroConsignment Model, now being applied globally.
Over the course of 20 years he’s founded, led and/or consulted for dozens organizations, teams and communities in the US, Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Paraguay, Suriname, Brazil, Haiti, The Dominican Republic, Bosnia Herzegovina, Serbia, Egypt, Senegal, The Gambia, Guinea, South Africa, India and Thailand.
Greg has designed social entrepreneurial experiences, taught courses and led workshops for thousands of students and professionals. He also contributes time as “Social Entrepreneur in Residence” at universities and has taught social entrepreneurship at Columbia University, NYU, Miami University and University of Wisconsin. He is a senior advisor for the Miami University Institute for Entrepreneurship.
Greg began working in rural small business development as a Guatemala Peace Corps volunteer in 2001. He worked in investment banking for five years before arriving in Guatemala. Two deals he led at UBS during this time won "Deal of the Year" honors from Structured Finance International magazine.
HIGHLIGHTED CLIENTS + PROJECTS
WE THRIVE IN COMPLEXITY
Since 2003 Greg Van Kirk and his team have served/serve as a social entrepreneurship and innovation consultants for a broad variety of organizations. This includes corporate foundations such as Levi Strauss Foundation and Visa Foundation. This also includes leading companies such as Warby Parker and Deloitte. Greg's led consulting engagements for multi-lateral institutions including USAID, Chemonics, Inter American Development Bank and IFC. He's helped design strategies for a vast variety of non profit organizations such as Solutions Journalism Network, VisionSpring, Soros Foundation, Church World Service, Water For People and Fundacion Paraguaya. And through Social Entrepreneur Corps, Greg's led engagements with Duke University, University of Notre Dame, and Franklin & Marshall College, amongst many others.
The client projects and deliverables themselves have been no less diverse. Following is a list of some of the "How might we..." questions Greg and the team have sought to answer for consulting clients.
PLEASE DO CONTACT US IF YOU'RE INTERESTED IN EXPLORING AN ENGAGEMENT.
HOW MIGHT WE...
Design a global worker well-being strategy to create a greater sense of ownership and achieve catalytic impact for companies and communities throughout the supply chain
Create a means whereby US corporate employees can engage with and support grassroots non profits in Guatemala, Nicaragua and The Dominican Republic
Create an entrepreneurial ecosystem in Bosnia and Herzegovina to inspire displaced populations to return to their communities
Design a means whereby marginalized populations in Jordan can gain access to hearing aids for the first time
Scale impact for a vision program throughout Latin America by partnering with local NGO's
Create community impact leveraging a soccer field and the contributions of university students in a township in South Africa
Redesign health workshops in factories in Egypt to help leaders better prioritize where to support employees
Assess the impact of a greenhouse project in Serbia
Design a micro franchising strategy for outboard boat engines in Suriname
Identify the replicable best practices from a micro finance initiative in Senegal and The Gambia
Create a social enterprise in Haiti to address economic, health and energy issues
Help leadership prioritize community impact strategies in a community in rural Mexico
READ WHAT OUR AMAZING CLIENTS AND COLLABORATORS HAVE TO SAY...
“The team approaches their work with professionalism, broad-spectrum skill sets and a tenacious work ethic. Their deep grassroots expertise coupled with business experience and willingness ‘to get their hands dirty’ is unique and hard to come by.”
- Neil Blumenthal, Co Founder + Co CEO - Warby Parker
"Greg has be an invaluable thought partner for over 15 years. He was instrumental in helping VisionSpring gain traction in the marketplace in Central America. He is innovative, a great communicator and teacher, and someone who has a deep commitment to using business practices and principles to improve the world. I look forward to our continued collaboration."
- Jordan Kassalow, Co founder of EYElliance, Founder of VisionSpring
"I've known and worked with Greg for over 10 years and have always considered him to be that rare combination of thought leader and consummate practitioner."
- Jack McGourty, Ph.D., Director, Community and Global Entrepreneurship, Founder, Venture For All® - Columbia Business School
"Greg is an exceptional visionary thinker, creator and collaborator with a deep drive and passion for nurturing positive social change. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Greg for over 7 years in various settings around the world. He is a highly flexible facilitator and problem-solver who empowers groups to identify sustainable solutions. Greg has a gift for taking complicated systems and breaking them into more approachable parts that groups can work to address without feeling overwhelmed. His dedication to social justice, equity and poverty alleviation are palpable and his passion is contagious. One of Greg’s most important attributes is his sincere humility and genuine curiosity. He approaches every engagement with the same openness to learn and listen, whether he is conversing with a shy young woman working in an apparel factory or a proud factory owner. He makes everyone feel valued and respected. Greg’s ongoing contributions to the Levi Strauss Foundation’s efforts to improve the health and well-being of apparel workers are critical and we continue to benefit from his unique perspectives."
- Kimberly Ascoli Almeida, Director of Worker Well-being @ Levi Strauss Foundation
"Greg is the go-to person when it comes to anything related to social entrepreneurship and innovation. He not only created a program that changed the entire trajectory of my career (Social Entrepreneur Corps), but he also has continued to be a mentor when I have navigated where to go next. His patience and deep expertise enables him to be an outstanding consultant. I would recommend Greg for any project you begin with him; I feel lucky to have him as a mentor and a friend."
- Colleen Sheehy, Manager - Accenture Global Social Innovation Program
"Greg is an exceptional teacher, working with students on venture creation and social entrepreneurship. He is highly skilled in designing creative and engaging curriculum and goes above and beyond to provide a meaningful and memorable experience for his students. As a colleague, Greg consistently offers innovative ideas, feedback, and advice on effective ways of teaching venture creation to students—I have learned so much from Greg!"
- Sarah Beston, Instructor @Venture For All® - Columbia Business School
"Greg is the rare combination of a thought and action leader. We worked alongside one another as our students participated in the Social Entrepreneur Corps program. He is intelligent, caring, and collegial, and truly believes in the power of social entrepreneurship to change the world."
- Sara Herald, Director of Venture Development at University of Maryland - Robert H. Smith School of Business
"Greg is one of the most skilled facilitators and practitioners I have had the pleasure to work with across my career. When it comes to creating mindset shifts and helping professionals put empathy into action to unlock innovation, Greg is second to none! He is sought after for the impact he helps teams to create and because he is a true asset to any team that he chooses to join. Greg is a true delight to work with."
- Annie O'Connor, Strategist, Facilitator, Speaker. Collaborating to create robust, adaptable, and inclusive organizations and communities
"It's hard to describe how much I have learned from Greg over the years--from being extremely thoughtful on how to frame challenges to preserving a deep curiosity that inevitably leads to innovation. Every meeting with Greg is an opportunity to think about a challenge through a different lens and broaden/deepen impact. Greg does this with tremendous humility and by empowering everyone around him. His ability to create a collaborative environment means he magnifies impact wherever he goes. I am so lucky to have the opportunity to work with and learn from Greg."
- Tamar Benzaken Koosed, President of Manaus Consulting
“Greg's combined expertise in business and years of experience in social entrepreneurship around the globe give him a unique understanding about the drivers of social innovation. He has a remarkable ability to distill key strategic insights that explain success and communicate them in ways that are both accessible and inspiring."
- David Bornstein, Co Founder- SJN, Author “How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas”, NY Times “Fixes” Co Creator and columnist
"Greg is one of the most insightful people in the social innovation space. Greg has forgotten more about social innovation than I will ever know - and I study it for a living! He has a keen understanding of not only how to develop entrepreneurial solutions with people but also how to implement them on-the-ground in the most challenging of environments. Of all the partners with whom I've ever worked, none has been more focused on creating solutions of mutual value. He combines the intellect and experience of a world-class consultant with the heart and empathy of a life-changing teacher. Simply put, there is none better!"
- Brett Smith, Cintas Endowed Professor of Entrepreneurship at Miami University, Founder- Center for Social Entrepreneurship
"I've had the pleasure of learning from Greg over the years beginning in Guatemala as a participant of Social Entrepreneur Corps. What I experienced then fundamentally changed the way I think about scaling impact. He has an extremely unique expertise in facilitating and teaching others how to analyze a problem, distill the primary needs and solve for them through a social impact lens. I feel fortunate to continue to turn to Greg for mentorship and guidance in my time at larger tech companies that are trying to scale while doing-good in the world. Greg has caused a ripple effect of impact through all those he teaches. Grateful!"
- Molly Babbington, Global Partnerships at AirBnb
"Greg's teaching style was unlike most opportunities I've learned through. He created a collaborative, inclusive, and supportive space for our small group to learn and grow together. There were no wrong answers, just opportunities for deeper understanding. He is committed to creating a network of like minded individuals to connect and learn and support each other in social impact endeavors."
- Bethany Leech, International Programs Coordinator at National Peace Corps Association
"Greg is a deeply valued colleague and friend. He’s someone you want on your team—whether formally or informally. He brings invaluable knowledge and insight, extensive experience, and a deep sense of empathy and connection"
- Bruce Manciagli, Director, Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship @ Florida State University
"I was lucky enough to participate in Greg’s “Design Your Social Innovation” course. Greg is an expert in all things social entrepreneurship and his passion for the topic is infectious. He is engaging during class and carefully explains concepts. Quickly after meeting Greg, you will see how much he is willing to go out of his way to offer help."
- Gina Larson, Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Kosovo)
"Greg has the unusual ability to combine high level strategic thinking with on the ground logistical prowess. We partnered in building programs together for nearly twelve years and the quality of the experiences for our students was always top-notch. He is truly an original leader in this field."
- Eric Mlyn, Assistant Vice Provost for Civic Engagement at Duke University; Peter Lange Executive Director of DukeEngage
"Greg thinks big about the small acts that lead to system change. In all of his work, Greg inspires empathy, optimism, and passion. I have learned a lot just watching Greg go! He inspires me!"
- Eileen McNeely, Executive Director Harvard SHINE(Sustainability and Health Initiative for NetPositive Enterprise) Harvard T.H. Chan School
SELECT PRESS + AWARDS FOR OUR WORK
WE'VE LEARNED THROUGH DOING.
WE CAN HELP YOU BECAUSE WE'VE BEEN THERE OURSELVES. MANY TIMES.
Greg Van Kirk has led the design of social innovations that have helped to generate over $10 million of economic impact and created jobs for over 1,000 people. This includes designing and implementing models to get healthcare, energy and agricultural solutions to communities for the first time. This includes creating eco tourism, education and community banking innovations in some of the most challenging and resource constriained environments in the world. Along the way, Greg created experiential learning opportunities for over 3,000 people in 7 different countries working with everyone from high school students to Northwestern University to Deloitte and Warby Parker. Last but certainly not least, we're fortunate to have built long-standing relationships with amazing people and organizations in countries from Guatemala to Haiti that have empowered us to work together to create change.
We've summarized below some of the select press and awards for this work.
Article: When Microcredit Won't Do
Greg Van Kirk: Selected 2010 + 2014
2014 Community Parter of the Year
Greg Van Kirk: Selected 2012
Greg Van Kirk: Fellow 2008
Innovation Award Winner
Winner: Leveraging Business for Social Change
Chapter: Using MicroConsignment to Open a Door to Economic Inclusion
Irish Impact: Community Partner of the Year