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March event recap:

Technology for Social Good Panel

Net Impact Chicago’s March event was held at Catalyst Ranch with technology leaders across the Chicago-land area.  The panel 

consisted of: Danny Scott (Cara), Cameron Croft (All A-Board Alliance and asenda), Caleb Catalano (Slalom Consulting and UofC Urban Education Institute) and Lizzy Engele (LinkedIn)

Much of the conversation was centered around the role of technology and case studies of how it has directly helped people carry out social good.  Many companies ranging from for-profits, and non-profits understand that technology can bring value to o rganizations small and large. Below are a few of our key takeaways from the event:

  • Cameron spoke about how technology is accelerating at an exponential rate and that everyone needs to develop skills or face the fear of falling behind.  The fear that non-profits are falling behind worried our panelists as if without non-profits being properly equipped with the tools to change and develop people, they might be replaced by other organizations.  Technology education and leader development, therefore, is a key component in pushing towards social good.

  • Caleb took a more of a hard technology stance and believes that automation is a great accelerator and a big game changer in how it can make people’s life a lot easier.  In a time where there is a widening gap between public and private sectors, places that might be falling behind the technology curve could quickly adopt robotics automation to achieve acceleration and close the gap.  Educating people on how to use the latest technology could be the game changer for these organizations and society.
  • Lizzy emphasized that “one can not forget the human element to running an organization”.  Taking a more people focused view of the world getting people together creates ideas.  Great practical ideas to help others need to be done collaboratively.  Once you find a group of people who are passionate about an idea or business, tell you idea to everyone you meet in life or online.  Sharing your personal successes and at times, your failures, can motivate others to be inspired and give back to society.
  • Danny Scott ended the night with saying that everyone should “use their super power for good… think about your super power and think of ways to connect it with others for good”.  Technology is going through an area where the price point is falling and the “good” kind of tech disruption impacting more and more people.  The hope should be to find out what you are passions are and to leverage as many tools to make your life easier.  As technology evolves, we should evolve with it in order to progress society.

A huge thank you to our panelists, Catalyst Ranch, and NIC leadership team member Ben Hwang for moderating this fantastic event! Contact us via with suggestions, questions, or offers to volunteer, host, sponsor, or speak.  

About our Panelists:

Danny Scott (Cara) - Since 2012, Danny has worked closely with local non-Profit Cara Chicago, an organization dedicated to shifting the trajectory of joblessness (and many of the issues surrounding it) in Chicago. Both in his role as the Associate Board President and as a broader advocate of Cara, Danny has been able to bring additional insight, perspective, and resources to Cara, most recently fostering a connection between his employer, Slalom, directly to the work and mission Cara looks to accomplish.

Cameron Croft (All A-Board Alliance and asenda) - Cameron Croft is an active social entrepreneur who believes technology is a powerful force for good. He is the founder of and president of the All A-Board Alliance, where he promotes nonprofit service as essential to developing future leaders. A natural connector and lifelong learner, Croft's experience in engineering, finance, and education has helped companies like Eventbrite, SoFi, Shiftgig, and Youtopia launch and expand into new markets.

Caleb Catalano (Slalom Consulting and University of Chicago's Urban Education Institute) - Caleb is a passionate analytics thought leader focused on bringing new technology to market in creative and interesting ways. He continues to look for opportunities to partner with non-profit and educational entities to help increase analytics capability and capacity. He is currently a Solution Architect in Slalom Consulting's Data & Analytics Practice.

Lizzy Engele (LinkedIn) - Lizzy is an activist, creative, and life-long learner in the corporate and social impact communities. She is the co-founder and executive director of MakerGirl, a 501c3 that has educated over 3,000 girls in STEM, and she uses her nonprofit knowledge at LinkedIn as a Nonprofit Account Executive. She is a member of Park Community Church where she serves in the children's ministry, and she also enjoys staying active and baking. Her passion for technology stems from how she's witnessed its capability to bring people together for economic opportunity as well as building and supporting visionary companies.

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