Founded: Spring 2012
Lead Organizers: David Grad

Times: Sessions occur on the last Thursday of every month from 6:45 – 9:30PM in Brooklyn.

In Brooklyn, our neighbors are innovators that cross virtually all sectors from media and business, to law, public policy, the arts and more. How can we leverage our collective creativity and entrepreneurial spirit to strengthen our local community and beyond? By bringing together our talents in an effort to support one another’s ideas.

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David Grad_BrooklynDavid Grad, City Director
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David is a creative strategist, producer and consultant working with organizations to elevate their brands and develop campaigns to maximize social impact using storytelling, digital campaigning and audience engagement. He also works with individuals and team members within organizations to strengthen their leadership by coaching them to become more strategic and effective communicators. Prior to working as a consultant, David traversed his way across the spectrum of media and content creation as an actor, writer, set builder, creative director and producer. He dedicated 8 years to Viacom – first launching and overseeing on-air branding and promotion for MTV Tr3s and then directing on-air social-impact campaigns at MTV. David holds an M.S. in Strategic Communication from Columbia University, B.A.’s in Mass Communication and Theatre from Florida State University and is a husband, father and avid outdoor sports enthusiast.


jorge-fontanezJORGE FONTANEZ
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Jorge founded Marca Studio, a consultancy focused on partnership marketing strategy, stakeholder engagement and business model innovation. He currently serves in both advisory and consulting roles to a variety of organizations including for-profit social enterprise Givkwik, an employee engagement platform.Jorge has been involved with a number of nonprofit organizations committed to a range of issues related to youth, community building, and social justice. Jorge leads individual and organizational transformation work, building on his intrapreneurial work as a change agent in the private sector and as a First Mover Fellow since 2014 of The Aspen Institute, a program of the Business & Society Program. Jorge is a Afro-Latinx, queer affirming voice hailing from Philadelphia,representing the Puerto Rican diaspora in New York City.

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Shaunna is a passionate strategic marketer who helps intelligent and talented people share their ideas through compelling stories that inspire audiences to act.Whether it is helping search engine marketing professionals engage with their small business clients or forensic accountants position themselves as the thought leaders of their industry, Shaunna will find the key insight and build a unique campaign that connects with the right people at the right time. She is excited about working with House of Genius and building memorable experiences where the next generation of entrepreneurs can solve their toughest problems and reach their lofty goals.

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Alison is a 2013 graduate of the UC Berkeley, Haas School of Business. Upon graduating, she relocated to New York City to lead IPG Mediabrands in its social impact strategy, where she developed new platforms and programs to advance the company in socially responsible business practices. Currently, Alison leads her own practice, called The Brock Method, where she commits her time to small businesses and nonprofits as a thought partner, project manager and consultant on growth and development strategies. She also serves as board president for Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls, and is an avid runner and fundraiser for local and national nonprofits. Alison currently lives in Boerum Hill with her husband.

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Andrew is the principal of Brooklyn Strategic, a digital communications firm focused on integrated marketing plans, development projects and campaigns. He also leverages his over 20 years of digital communications experience as an Adjunct Professor at NYU. Before Brooklyn Strategic, Andrew was the Managing Director of Connections Media in NY with clients like Bloomberg Philanthropies,CurePC, Cablevision and NBCUniversal. Andrew joined Connections Media after four years as VP, Digital Public Affairs at Edelman in Washington, D.C. At Edelman, Andrew conceived and managed communications strategies and led a team devoted to engaging online allies, managing digital advocacy tools, and developing and maintaining social media platforms for leading public affairs and advocacy clients. Andrew enjoys reading, biking, running and teaching and makes his home in Brooklyn with his wife and their two children. Andrew holds a BA from Dartmouth College in Philosophy and English.

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Elan is a traveler, a problem-solver, and a thinker. He recently moved to NYC to launch his startup, Gideon, a mission-driven legal technology company that leverages machine learning and artificial intelligence to help lawyers modernize their legal practices, enabling them to operate at their highest quality and capacity and ensure clients get accurate and personalized care. Elan has investigated issues regarding access to justice in the civil legal system as a Watson Scholar and StartingBloc Fellow since early 2016. Before this, he worked as a Fellow on Hillary Clinton’s Presidential Campaign. He has successfully bootstrapped a buy-sell-trade automotive business, organized a cross country tour promoting sustainable fuels, traveled around the globe immersing himself in divergent communities and cultures, and volunteered with impact focused initiatives.

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Sonay Aykan is a sustainability advocate and a problem solver, linking environmental and social data with financial decisions. He works as the Associate Manager Global Sustainability at Colgate-Palmolive, overseeing the compliance processes against environmental, social and governance (ESG) related guidelines and third-party ratings, including GRI, DJSI and CDP. He also manages the establishment of innovative ESG data management systems and helps strategize for a better sustainability performance.

Previously, Sonay held a role in Sustainability Services at iCompli, creating data-driven ESG assessment, portfolio scoring and social responsibility reporting products for corporations. He continues to work in academia and the business world providing expertise in sustainability reporting, KPI development, analytics, data management and green building assessment. Believing that sustainability is a journey, Sonay’s passion is to find technology driven innovative ways to integrate sustainability data into day-to-day decision making processes of companies as well as individual consumers. Sonay has a PhD. in Urban Systems and holds a SASB FSA credential.



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14 Dekalb Ave 3rd FL
Brooklyn, NY 11201


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2017 Session Dates

June 10th
July 18th
August 22nd
September 19th
October 17th
November 21st
December 19th