GRADUCon 2019 - Careers in Social Enterprise Panel


You’ve heard that money makes the world go round. Can it make the world work better- by helping innovate with our biggest social challenges? Have you wanted to build a career of meaning and purpose, but felt limited by corporate giants and non-profits? What if the answers lay somewhere in between? As co-founders and participants in the Booth School’s Social New Venture Challenge, we are excited to be embarking on our own journey from grad school at UChicago into the world of Social Enterprise. Join us as we chart new waters and find the answers together from a diverse and dynamic panel.


Trista Li, Founder and CEO, Kitchenet (MPP 2018, MBA 2018)

Zhipeng “Trista” Li is the Founder and CEO of KitcheNet, an award-winning social enterprise that eradiates food deserts by delivering vibrant, exotic and impactful fresh fruits to offices. Prior to starting KitcheNet, Trista has opened a union kitchen and launched a meal kit service to support the effort of making fresh and healthy food more accessible in the underserved community. Her love for the work originated through her experience launching a microfinance market in Chicago with A Shanghainese native, a globalist at heart, and a taco enthusiast.

David Dewane, President, Mouse Book Club (MA Rice University Architecture)

David is an architect, publisher, journalist, and educator. He is an entrepreneur and the co-founder and president of Mouse Books. He maintains an ongoing commitment to design theory and regularly publishes essays and interviews. Recent topics include Anticipatory Design, World Population and Human Values, Spaces of Hyper-Creativity, and Leadership and Creativity.

Leah Shapiro, Co-Founder and CEO, Debate it Forward (AB Comparative Human Development 2018)

Leah Shapiro is a University of Chicago alum (BA ’19) who co-founded a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization during her third year of college: Debate it Forward (DIF). DIF is a rapidly growing startup that teaches core discourse skills to underserved populations–two years ago, DIF was serving 20 kids a week. Today, DIF serves 400 kids a week with 25 staff members.

Toni Maraviglia, Director of Virtual Learning & Community, Teach For All

Toni leads on Teach For All’s virtual learning strategy, which prioritizes scaling learning communities across our 50-country network through digital tools. Prior to Teach For All, Toni was on the founding team and Director at, the corporate philanthropy of Uptake. Toni co-founded and led a pan-African edtech company called Eneza Education, which currently reaches over 5 Million students, and co-founded a community development program in Kenya called WISERBridge. Toni is a Teach For America alumna, Echoing Green Fellow, Unreasonable Institute Fellow, Bluhm-Helfand Social Innovation Fellow and mentor for Uncharted.


Laurence Warner (MA Computational Social Science 2020)

Laurence is the experimenter. Active in music and theatre, he put his creative passions on hold in London to embark on an adventure into the world of data science. While working with a startup in the mountains of Colorado, he had a moment of epiphany. He had allowed his gadgets to make him lose his connection with himself. This motivated him to embrace the old philosophy of digital minimalism and develop the new idea of ‘texperiments’ across a range of software. His current passion is for helping millennials master their tech and create more meaningful human interactions- best embodied in the First Week Flip Phone challenge.

Abhishek Pandit (MA Computational Social Science 2020)

Abhishek is the communicator.  Fluent in a dozen languages, he can connect with 3 billion people in their mother tongues. No surprise that he became fascinated with the psychology of how we connect with ourselves and others. During his days as a development economist in India and Africa, he learnt to leverage mobile phones and social media to engage with youth for financial inclusion and education programmes. Ever since, he’s been excited to explore how technology, psychology and language can be harnessed in the human quest for happiness. He bumped into Laurence at a UChicago event, got talking about First Week Flip Phone, and the rest is history.