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Young Alumni Entrepreneurs Paving Their Own Path

Friday, November 22

5:00 - 6:00pm

1789 Venture Lab, 173 1/2 E. Franklin Street


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Callie Brauel


When Callie went to study abroad in Ghana while a UNC student, she did not expect to be running an international non-profit organization a few years later.


A Ban Against Neglect works to solve two problems with one united solution. Every day, over 40 tons of plastic waste is thrown into the streets of Accra, Ghana. Every night, over 30,000 children fall asleep on those same streets. ABAN works with the street girls of Accra to help them learn a trade, make a living, and secure a future and in the process recycles plastic wastes transforming the city into a healthier environment for all.


ABAN has been featured on the Herald Sun, WCHL Radio 1360,, the Daily Tar Heel, was chosen as Redress Raleigh 2012's Charity, and has appeared on TEDx.  Callie received the Outstanding Young Alumni Award from UNC-Chapel Hill's Kenan-Flagler Business School for her leadership, career accomplishments and commitment to the University.


Nick Thomas

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Nick is a UNC Alumnus and filmmaker from Durham, North Carolina. He is the founder of Filmlab, a production company that tells stories and creates compelling experiences using video, design, and motion.


Filmlab's short-form documentaries and commercials help brands transform their stories into powerful, shareable and thought-provoking content.


Nick is most passionate about helping entrepreneurs and changemakers explain what they do and why their brand, non-profit, or project matters. The work of Filmlab can help clients acquire new customers, wake-up its old customers, establish new partnerships, raise money, and bring brand equity to new heights. 


Before Filmlab, Nick was a freelance filmmaker, designer, and digital media consultant. He has been featured on


Marissa Heyl


Marissa is a UNC Alumna who was inspired by her experience studying abroad in India and her interaction with local artisans to bring their work to the western market, and in the process, better their standards of living.


She is the founder of Symbology Clothing, an ethical fashion label that uses handmade cloth and traditional block prints from artisan groups in India. Marissa decided to source from these groups in order to preserve the traditional art forms and make them more marketable to mainstream fashion markets, meanwhile empowering women with income-generating opportunities. Symbology clothing fuses artisan textiles with fashion forward designs to bring authentic apparel to the boutique market and connecting women across the globe. 


She has appeared on TEDx and has been featured on the News and Observer and Daily Tar Heel.



Will McInerney

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Will is an award-winning spoken word poet, a published author, and a youth educator who has taught from his hometown of Chael Hill, NC to the Palestinian West Bank. He is one of the co-founders and the Executive Director of Sacrificial Poets, a non-profit organization that serves over 8,000 youth annually providing diverse, engaging, and powerful creative outlets for youth from all backgrounds. Utilizing an innovative arts education curriculum, it helps youth develop creative writing, public speaking, emotional literacy and civic engagement skills. The organization facilitates writing and performance workshops throughout the state and hosts regular youth poetry events.


Every year, six youth selected by Sacrificial Poets compete in the Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam Festival featured on HBO. Graduates of the program have taught and performed at venues across the nation including the Sundance Film Festival. Will and other members of his team also created the Poetic Portraits of a Revolution Project in Egypt and Tunisia, documenting the revolutions sweeping the countries. 


Sacrificial Poets has been featured on Independent Weekly, Carrboro Citizen, and the Daily Tar Heel, and appeared at TEDxUNC. Their audio diaries regularly air on National Public Radio.


Moderated by:

Mathilde Verdier


Mathilde is the Program Coordinator of UNC-Chapel Hill's Social Innovation Initiative and coordinates Global Entrepreneurship Week at UNC.


She is a UNC alumna who spent close to four years abroad in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where she was a Business Development Consultant for Digital Opportunity Trust, an internationally lauded social enterprise that raises employment and income levels of youth through entrepreneurial, technology, and life skills development. She was also involved in helping to establish Ethiopia's first tech innovation hub in its early stages of formation with program partners. Prior to joining these initiatives, she helped design programs to provide emergency relief to refugees in Ethiopia and coordinated services for the protection of urban refugees with the International Rescue Committee and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.


Mathilde has a strong interest in social innovation, youth leadership development, and tripple bottom line business development to achieve poverty reduction and address social inequities.

Global Entrepreneurship Week at UNC. All Rights Reserved. Questions or Comments? Contact the GEW Coordinator