Emily Lamb

Emily manages the Changemaker Campus network, a collective of post-secondary institutions dedicated to making changemaking a norm in higher education.

Announcing #Exchange2018 Keynote Speakers


We are proud to officially announce the keynote speakers of the 2018 Ashoka U Exchange. This year the keynote stage will feature 11 visionary social innovators, all from a variety of fields, but all with deep ties to social impact in action across society.

“What makes the Exchange so important is that it’s not an academic conference as usual. If we want to change higher education, we can’t talk about it in the same ways,” said Beeta Ansari, Ashoka U COO & Director of the Exchange.

“Our keynotes reflect that ambition. Each year we look across Ashoka’s global network for leaders who speak to our minds and hearts, not just as educators, but as humans who seek to create a better world.”

Scroll down to learn more about these extraordinary innovators and their cutting-edge work in the field of changemaking.

Ready to see them in person? Register for the Exchange by March 15th.


#Exchange2018 keynotes


April 5th: New Leadership in an “Everyone a Changemaker World ”

We are in a transition from an old model of operating (the industrial paradigm) to a new model of operating (the changemaker paradigm). We are in a fundamentally new strategic landscape, which has implications for absolutely everyone in society, whether you are an educator, higher ed administrator, business leader or parent. Join Ashoka’s founder, Bill Drayton, and others, as they articulate how you can set your institution up for success in this new operating framework, and what it looks like to lead, educate, and parent in this new environment.

Bill Drayton
Founder & CEO of Ashoka

Bill Drayton founded Ashoka in 1981. Today Ashoka ranks in the top five of the world’s NGO’s by NGO Advisor. Bill has too many awards to name, including a declaration from Bill Clinton that he would not rest until the founder of Ashoka received the Nobel Peace Prize. Bill will be speaking to Ashoka’s vision of a world where Everyone is A Changemaker. See this article in the NY Times for more.

Aneel Chima, PhD
Associate Director of the Division of Health & Human Performance; Head of Wellness Education, the Initiative for Human Flourishing, & the Stanford Leadership Institute at Stanford University School of Medicine

Dr. Aneel Chima goes deeper than the logistics and programmatic structures of changemaking to get to the core of what it means to flourish as a human being in this day and age. At Stanford, he is helping to shape the emerging science of well-being and educating the next generation of thought leaders.  Through his work, he effects change both on an organization level and individual level delving into how we can successfully navigate the ever-evolving and complex world that we live in.

Wray Irwin
Head of Employability and Engagement, and Change Leader at University of Northampton

Wray Irwin is an outstanding institutional innovator, with a deep understanding of how to help build an ecosystem on campus that supports changemaking. As Head of Employability and Engagement at the University of Northampton in the UK, he seeks to make sure that the university’s core values are met and exemplified beyond campus as students (many of whom are refugees and first-generation students) enter their careers as changemakers.

Janet Moore, PhD
Professor of Professional Practice, Simon Fraser University; & Co-Founder, CitySudio

Janet Moore is the embodiment of a changemaker educator. Her work helps redefine what a faculty member can accomplish and the impact they can have on their institution, their city, and the world. Janet is the co-founder of CityStudio – an innovation hub where city staff, students, and community co-create experimental projects to make Vancouver a better city. City Studio was recognized in the 2014 Ashoka U Innovation Awards and the model has now been replicated in many other cities.   

Pamela Gillies
Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Glasgow Caledonian University

Pamela Gillies is a true interdisciplinary leader with experience from institutions such as Harvard and the World Health Organization and expertise in topics including education and public health. In her role as Vice-Chancellor, she has built Glasgow Caledonian University into a “University of the Common Good”.  Under her leadership, the institution has become well recognized for its work in Scotland and around the world.

Mary Watson
Executive Dean of the Schools of Public Engagement at The New School

In her role as an Executive Dean at the New School in New York City, Mary Watson has helped support the New School to become a leader in social innovation and community collaboration. She has successfully worked across the institution to change the academic program as well as the institution’s culture and operations. She serves in a variety of leadership roles worldwide helping to reimagine management, sustainability, and innovation education.

Vishnu Swaminathan
Vice President of Global Partnerships & Strategy at Ashoka

As Vice President of Global Partnerships & Strategy at Ashoka, Vishnu plays a critical role in translating the Ashoka vision into reality.  He is also the founder of the Indian Housing Federation, which helps create affordable housing in India via collaboration between for-profit and non-profit partners.


#Exchange2018 Keynotes


April 6th: Is Empathy Dead? The Building Blocks of a Healthier Democracy

With conversations on campuses, public stages, and throughout the country about the fraying of our social fabric, the difficult work of rebuilding trust in each other and our institutions lies ahead. How do we rebuild around visions of a better future for the good of all? Sometimes we need to get back to basics. Hear from four Ashoka Fellows building solutions to segregated cities, divisive issues, and youth resilience, and see how they weave new strategies into age-old practices of listening, gathering, and breaking bread.

Imran Khan
Co-Founder and CEO of Embarc; Ashoka Fellow

Imran Khan is the CEO and Co-Founder of Embarc, a Chicago-based organization that drives student success through the transformative power of social and cultural exposure, awakening students to the possibilities of their potential by dissolving the borders of the city and in their minds. Understanding that laws, policies and infrastructure have historically been designed to keep the low-income community from attaining a better quality of life, Imran has identified how to increase the intrinsic motivation and skills of inner-city youth to counter these structures. By facilitating sustained interaction between the youth, the city and its citizens, Imran proves that experiential development has as crucial a role to play as cognitive development in the educational setting.

Casey Woods
Founder and Executive Director of Arms with Ethics; Ashoka Fellow

The gun debate in the US is polarizing, divisive and often unproductive. Arms with Ethics was born when Casey Woods saw a path for gun violence prevention work to become a bridge across those divides, rather than a wedge that helps create them. Arms with Ethics focuses on common ground projects that bring together police, gun owners, gun dealers, and researchers on initiatives to reduce the illegal flow and unsafe use of guns, as well as build trust, consensus, and leadership on larger gun violence solutions.

Sarah Hemminger
Founder and CEO of Thread; Ashoka Fellow

Many high school students are lacking the educational, emotional, personal, or professional support that is vital for continuing on a path to success. And in many cases, one mentor is not adequate to provide all of these needs, it requires a fabric of support. Sarah Hemminger founded Thread with this philosophy in mind. Working out of Baltimore, Thread provides low-income students with a team of mentors to help them see and reach their potential.

Fagan Harris
Founder and CEO of Baltimore Corps; Ashoka Fellow

Cycles of poverty happen when innovation is lacking and there is not a steady stream of talent to keep a city vibrant and successful. In industrial cities like Baltimore, this steady stream has run dry due to a myriad of social, racial, and economic challenges. Fagan Harris took this complex problem and implemented an innovative solution with Baltimore Corps. Baltimore Corps uses the fellowship to build equitable talent pipelines into Baltimore’s leadership with the goal of creating a generation of leaders whose identities and experiences align with the communities they serve.


See these keynote speakers live in Boston April 5-7th at the Ashoka U Exchange. Registration is open until March 15th.  If you can’t join us sign up to our email list to get #Exchange2018 highlights in your inbox.