U.S. Consulate Toronto and Ashoka Canada marked the Global Entrepreneurship Week by holding a discussion on North American scaling and growth in partnership on November 18, 2014. The event featured two special guests: Vicki S. Heyman, wife of the U.S. Ambassador to Canada, and Thania Panopoulos, an entrepreneur and consultant and a member of SVP Chicago.
The special guests talked about their leadership, networks, experience mobilizing people and capital to support social innovation and initiated an interesting and open discussion between the participants of the roundtable. In a discussion facilitated by Tonya Surman, a Global Ashoka Fellow and a current CEO of the Centre for Social Innovation, social entrepreneurs discussed how to facilitate scaling their practices south of the border.
About Vicki Heyman
Vicki has 25 years of broad, integrated experience in philanthropy and fundraising leadership, complementing her involvement with a variety of political, health, education, and arts-based community projects.
Vicki has served as the President of Kaplan Simons Family Foundation for 7 years. She was an active member of the 2008 and 2012 Obama for America National Finance Committees. In 2011-2012, Vicki was a Co-Chair of the Illinois Finance Committee for the Obama for America campaign.
Extremely dedicated to worthy causes that benefit Chicago, Vicki is on the foundation board of the Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and a member of the Facing History and Ourselves Chicago Advisory Board. Vicki is an active advisor for EMBARC, the nation’s only teacher-led organization that achieves student academic success through systematic, long-term social and cultural exposure. Vicki participates in and supports two private-public partnerships in Chicago, the Chicago Ideas Week Co-op Board and the 606 Leadership Council.
Vicki began her career at Bankers Trust Company where she worked in foreign currency sales and trading. She graduated with a BA in 1979 from Vanderbilt University and an MBA in 1980 from Vanderbilt’s Owen Graduate School of Management.
Having fun with family and friends is the greatest joy for Vicki; she and her husband Bruce have three fantastic kids and two beautiful granddaughters.
About Thania Panopoulos
Thania Panopoulos is principal of The Perissos Group, a business development consulting firm that helps entrepreneurs, leadership teams and investors build innovative and successful ventures. Prior to forming The Perissos Group, Thania was a Managing Director at Sandbox Industries, a venture firm and business incubator. Thania has extensive experience in general management, marketing, operations, and consumer finance. Thania was a co-founder of Buzz Divine, an integrated marketing communications firm, launched the e-Commerce business for HSBC’s consumer and mortgage lending division and led significant growth in GE Capital’s consumer finance portfolio.
Thania is the founder of Friends of Hogar Rafael Ayau, a social enterprise dedicated to providing a home, educational, and employment opportunities for abandoned children in Guatemala. She is a co-founder of Social Venture Partners Chicago, a venture philanthropy fund and she is a Director of the Illinois Education Foundation, an organization that provides community college scholarships and support services to low-income, high potential students. Thania received her BA from Boston College and her MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management.
More photos from this event are in our Flickr gallery.