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Life Entrepreneures


Christopher GergenChristopher Gergen is CEO of Forward Impact. This work includes launching community-based strategies to develop and scale high-impact entrepreneurs including Bull City Forward in Durham, NC, Queen City Forward in Charlotte, NC, Moore Forward in Moore County, NC, HQ Raleigh, and Think House – all of which Christopher helped to start. Forward Impact also helps schools, universities, and communities develop transformational entrepreneurial leadership experiences with partners such as the Center for Creative Leadership, where Christopher is Innovator in Residence. Forward Impact also consults with state and national clients including helping launch and scale the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Foundation's Social Entrepreneurship Initiative, the Aspen Institute's Center for Urban Innovation, and the NC Charter School Accelerator. This work complements Christopher's role as a social entrepreneurship fellow and adjunct faculty member with Duke University's Innovation & Entrepreneurship initiative.

Christopher is co-author of the nationally acclaimed book Life Entrepreneurs: Ordinary People Creating Extraordinary Lives and co-authors a bi-weekly column on social innovation for the Raleigh News & Observer and the Charlotte Observer titled "Doing Better at Doing Good." Christopher is a 2013 Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute and serves on several local, state, and national boards.

In 1999, Christopher co-founded SMARTHINKING that became the leading online tutoring provider in the United States before being acquired by Pearson Education in 2011. Other ventures include starting Cafe Nunoa — a coffeehouse/bar in Santiago, Chile when he was 24 and "Entrepreneur Corps" — an AmeriCorps*VISTA initiative that placed 400 full-time business volunteers for a year of service in over 90 non-profits. Previously, Christopher started LEAD!, a leadership, entrepreneurship, and service program for Gonzaga College high school students in Washington, D.C. and is a founding board member of the E.L. Haynes Public Charter School also in D.C. Further experience includes serving as Vice President of New Market Development for K12 Inc. and Chief Operating Officer for New American Schools. Christopher received a Bachelor of Arts with honors from Duke University, a Master's Degree in Public Policy from the George Washington University, and his M.B.A. from Georgetown University. He lives with his wife and two children. Twitter: @cgergen

Gregg VanourekGregg Vanourek conducts training and speaking engagements worldwide on the topics of entrepreneurship, leadership, and personal development. He has given keynote addresses and facilitated workshops in North America, Europe, and Asia.

Vanourek is coauthor of three influential books: Triple Crown Leadership: Building Excellent, Ethical, and Enduring Organizations (2013 International Book Awards winner, business: general), Life Entrepreneurs: Ordinary People Creating Extraordinary Lives (Jossey-Bass), and Charter Schools in Action: Renewing Public Education (Princeton University Press). He has written several book chapters and numerous articles for leading journals and media outlets. His writing has been featured in or reviewed by Fast Company, Harvard Business Blogs, New York Times, BusinessWeek, U.S. News & World Report, Leader to Leader, Publishers Weekly, Entrepreneur, etc.

Vanourek teaches master's and executive courses at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship, and Stockholm Business school. Previously, he taught at Euromed School of Management (now called KEDGE Business School), University of Denver, and Colorado Mountain College.

Vanourek served as Senior Vice President of School Development for K12 during its startup years. While at K12, the division he led launched a number of innovative virtual schools all over the U.S., helping the company become the market leader. Previously, Vanourek co-founded New Mountain Ventures, helped to launch the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation as its Vice President for Programs, and served as research fellow at the Hudson Institute.

He is a graduate of the Yale School of Management (M.B.A.), London School of Economics and Political Science (M.Sc.), and Claremont McKenna College (B.A., magna cum laude). He serves on the board of the Vail Leadership Institute and advises entrepreneurs, leaders, and students. A native of California and former resident of Colorado (among many other places), Vanourek lives in Sweden with his wife and two daughters. Twitter: @gvanourek