Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) convened its fourth annual UN Global Goals Conversation yesterday. The event, presented by Citi Foundation and Ernst & Young LLP (EY US), brought together a diverse audience of academics, business innovators, philanthropic leaders and emerging social entrepreneurs to explore topics at the intersection of entrepreneurship and sustainable development – from climate action to inequality.

Moderated by journalist Jon Hilsenrath of The Wall Street Journal, this year’s panel discussion focused on the role social entrepreneurs play in driving innovation and accelerating progress on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). Panelists included:

  • Tony Frazier, Executive Vice President of Global Field Operations, Maxar Technologies, Inc.
  • Ela Gokcigdem, Climate Activist; Social Entrepreneur; Babson College Presidential Scholar
  • Amy Malcolm, Founder, The Creative Thinking Project; Oceania Ambassador, World Creativity and Innovation Week; Strategic Relations Manager, Office of the Vice-Chancellor, University of Auckland
  • Alysia Steinmann, Partner, Financial Services Assurance, Ernst & Young LLP (EY-US)
  • Ron J. Williams, Senior Vice President and Head of Program Strategy, D10X, Global Consumer Bank, Citi Ventures

“As more and more young people around the world take an interest in the UN Global Goals, we’re seeing a new wave of social entrepreneurship,” said Dr. J.D. LaRock, President and CEO of NFTE. “We see this firsthand with NFTE students. Ela Gokcigdem is a terrific example. She developed an innovative product and launched a successful business while she was a NFTE student in a high school entrepreneurship class. Now she’s applying her entrepreneurial mindset to issues she is passionate about, such as climate action and environmental justice. This emerging generation of social entrepreneurs and innovators is poised to change the world.”

NFTE’s UN Global Goals Conversation is a program of the World Series of Innovation, an online competition that invites young people to propose innovative ideas to tackle difficult challenges and advance the UN SDGs. The current season of WSI features seven SDG-aligned innovation challenges sponsored by Bank of the West, Citi Foundation, EY-US, Mary Kay, Maxar, PIMCO, and Saint-Gobain. Learn more about the challenges at

The Global Goals Conversation and the World Series of Innovation are produced as part of NFTE’s commitment to Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW), an international initiative that introduces young people to entrepreneurship.

Photos and biographies of the Global Goals Conversation panelists are available on request.

Watch recorded event