Nazarian Social Innovator Series

Students have a chance to engage in dialogue with social innovation leaders through the ESG Initiative’s Nazarian Social Innovator program.

Nazarian Social Innovators share their career experience and dedication to social impact with students at Penn in a number of ways, including speaker events, workshops, lunch and learns, and one-on-one coaching sessions.

These esteemed guests provide an exceptional learning opportunity for students interested in pursuing careers with an emphasis on social impact, ESG, and corporate responsibility. Sign up for our student mailing list to be alerted about this year’s program and events.


Who is an innovator?

Nazarian Social Innovators are inspiring figures—social entrepreneurs, employees of corporations who integrate social impact into their corporate strategy, or representatives of non-profit organizations who have a passion for applying business-based solutions to solve economic and social challenges in communities around the globe.

These guests provide an exceptional learning opportunity for students interested in pursuing careers with an emphasis on social impact and responsibility; likewise, it is an honor to be recognized and invited to this esteemed program.

Visiting Innovators:

  • Have an extensive background and proven experience in social entrepreneurship and innovation
  • Share a deep desire to connect with the Wharton/Penn social impact community and explore opportunities to contribute to this work
  • Have a strong affinity towards working with students through mentorship and one-on-one meetings
  • Are available to visit the Wharton School in Philadelphia, PA

What is the history of the program?

In August 2014, the Wharton School announced a gift to establish the Angella and David Nazarian Social Innovator in Residence Program Fund.

“We are grateful for the Nazarian family’s generosity, which speaks to their commitment to increasing the visibility of social impact,” said former Wharton Dean Geoffrey Garrett. “Their gift will expand our partnerships with community leaders and help us prepare students to go forth and improve the world.”

The fund supported the launch of this program which fosters meaningful interactions between current students and prominent social visionaries.

“This wonderful gift from the Nazarians will add a new dimension to the learning opportunities we provide to students,” said Katherine Klein, former vice dean of the Wharton Social Impact Initiative and Edward H. Bowman Professor of Management. “We look forward to bringing in Nazarian Social Innovators in Residence, who have made waves in their communities and will inspire students to visualize and actualize their professional goals of making a positive impact in the world.”

David Nazarian, founder and CEO of Nimes Capital, LLC, and Angella Nazarian, author and Co-Founder of WOMEN A.R.E., are proud parents of a Wharton undergraduate.

“Angella and I are thrilled by the opportunity to help Wharton establish a Social Innovator in Residence Program,” says David Nazarian. “The next generation of global leaders understands better than any before the role business can have in creating a strong and lasting social impact in the world. Wharton students will benefit from the collective wisdom and practical knowledge of Nazarian Social Innovators for years to come.”

Nazarian Innovators in Residence will visit the Wharton School once per year. The first three guests were Diana Ayton-Shenker, Liesel Pritzker Simmons, and Derek Handley.

What is the structure of the program?

The program typically contains one or more of the following components:

  • Time on location with the ESG Initiative.
  • Individual/group office hours by appointment, where students can learn more about the visitor’s work, share their own interests, and ask specific questions about the social entrepreneurship and innovation landscape, including feedback on their own ideas.
  • Presentations or workshops on the visiting innovator’s areas of expertise, open to the Wharton/Penn community.
  • Meetings with ESG Initiative staff as well as introductions to relevant Wharton/Penn organizations and student groups, when appropriate, including the Leadership Office, the Small Business Development Center, the MBA Career Management Office, and student groups such as the Wharton Social Impact Club, Wharton Social Venture Fund, Social Impact Consulting Group, and Social Impact Advisory Board.
  • Guest appearances on the Dollars and Change podcast and other media opportunities such as interviews with Knowledge at Wharton.

Questions?  Email us.