4 Social Impact Leaders to Meet this Summer

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Zoe Schlag



Our biggest challenges also represent some of our biggest opportunities.
— Zoe Schlag

Zoe is the Managing Director at Techstars Impact Accelerator, where she supports entrepreneurs who are building new technologies to solve social and environmental problems. She believes any social entrepreneur can and should scale their business in order to scale their impact.

Before joining Techstars, Zoe founded UnLtd USA where she backed Austin’s most promising entrepreneurs tackling pressing social and environmental challenges with seed funding and ongoing venture support. Her entrepreneurial spirit has taken her from India to Argentina in an effort to support other entrepreneurs in their journey. Zoe is an Aspen Ideas Scholar, a World Economic Forum Global Shaper, and holds a BA in International Relations from Tufts University. Listen to Zoe share her experience starting Techstars Impact on the Change the Rules podcast here, and follow Zoe on Twitter at @zoeschlag.


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Sam Eder



We’re passionate about urban agriculture because making it sustainable has a ripple effect.
— Sam Eder

Sam is one of three co-founders at Big Wheelbarrow, a platform that makes it faster and easier for buyers to work with small independent growers, regardless of their size. A changemaker at heart, Sam has been able to make an impact in the Austin’s urban agriculture and ‘eat local’ movement by fighting to ensure small farmers don’t die out. He built his company, Big Wheelbarrow, to make it easier to exchange inventory data between farmers and restaurants so farmers can keep farming without the hassle of constantly updating and communicating their yields. super-simple for farms.

Even before Big Wheelbarrow was founded, Sam was committed to supporting local farmers. In 2015, he was one of over 2,000 local Austinites that signed an ordinance to save farming landmarks like Springdale Farm. Sam believes that being more closely connected to where our food comes from changes the way we live and eat for the better, while also giving our small farmers a chance to sustain themselves as a business. Follow Sam on Twitter at @sameder

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Dennis Cavner




Dennis embodies a strong philanthropic spirit that inspires others to serve.
— Office of the Texas Governor

Dennis is a long-time Austin entrepreneur and community activist who has been at the forefront of Austin’s philanthropic community since the beginning. In 1999, he helped create a Founder’s Circle of individuals who pledged $9 million of venture capital to create what is now known as LIVESTRONG. He is also an advisory council member of UT’s RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service, board member of Social Venture Partners International, and recipient of the 2016 Governor’s Lone Star Achievement Award that honors his dedication to building community across Texas. Dennis received his BBA and JD from the University of Texas.



Kelly Ballard



My career has always been a focus on education, whether that meant supporting kids or adults, students or employees, entrepreneurs or rural communities.
— Kelly Ballard

Kelly is the Director of Youth Entrepreneurship at Notley and cofounder of Student INC, the creator of the nation’s first K-12 entrepreneurial education pathway model. As the newest member of Notley, Kelly is on a mission to catalyze a robust youth entrepreneurship ecosystem in Austin. Her work is focused on filling entrepreneurial education gaps for Austin-area kids and more effectively connect businesses and entrepreneurs to students at scale. “Entrepreneurial learning has the capability to turn the tide on the future career success and prosperity of children from low-income families, unlocking new economic advantages and leveling the playing field,” said Kelly.

Kelly received her B.S.J. and B.A. in Public Relations and Spanish from Ohio University. She also received her M.A. in Advertising and Nonprofit Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. She serves on 7 organizations ranging from member to chair to founding board member. Kelly was the recipient of the Community Excellence Award in 2013, Profiles in Power Rising Star Award in 2014, and Profiles in Power finalist in 2015. Follow Kelly on Twitter at @KellyinATX.