Luísa Bernardes

Currently I’m part of the technical financing team for Portugal Social Innovation, which is a public initiative of the European Commission (EC) in partnership with the Portuguese Government, which has mobilized 150 million euros, from structural funds, to develop a social investment market to support initiatives of social innovation and entrepreneurship. Portugal is pioneer in Europe, regarding the creation and implementation of social financing instruments and has already a pool of approved projects where the focus on social impact is very strong.

My interest in joining the Advisory Board is natural as I’ve been working closely in this area. As the Academy will be the first European, fully online management training programme focusing exclusively on social innovation I can see the strong links with my academic knowledge and practice over the last years.

In fact, for about 18 years, I’ve been part of Enterprise Europe Network (, providing tailor-made advice in innovation management, access to new markets and sources of funding, acting also as key account manager for companies funded by the SME Instrument of the European Program Horizon 2020.

I’m a Mentor in Copernicus Accelerator, which is an initiative funded by the EC that provides a customised business development scheme for the winners and finalists of each Copernicus Masters Challenge, supporting from idea conception into real commercial ventures.

I’ve received dedicated training in areas related with innovation management, creativity and business idea, intellectual property and technology transfer, value proposition, market studies, business plan, strategy and marketing, communication and negotiation.

I’m attending the MBA “Managing Impact Business” focused in areas of such as innovation and competitiveness, performance management and impact measurement, business models and sustainability, negotiation, investment valuation and treasury management.

As the Social Innovation Academy will target the managers of companies, NGOs/civil society organisations and intermediaries and social entrepreneurs willing to learn how to set up and run social innovation initiatives to solve the most pressing societal challenges I believe that I can add value to this major goal.

Fergal Byrne

My background is as a journalist and business writer. Following an MBA from INSEAD, I worked in investment banking in London, before focussing on business journalism. I wrote for many years for the FT, primarily about entrepreneurship, and later the Economist Intelligence Unit. My work is now focussed largely on sustainability and social innovation.

I currently host of a number of social innovation and sustainability podcasts including Inspiring Social Entrepreneurs and Financing Social Entrepreneurs-where leading figures from the world of social innovation share their experience and insights, and a variety of impact investors and financiers talk about how they support social innovation; I also host a popular sustainability podcast The Sustainability Agenda, and will shortly launch a podcast based on Paul Hawken’s bestselling book, Drawdown.

SOCIA is an important initiative to help develop and train social entrepreneurs and innovators within the EU. Training is vitally important. Social innovators face all the challenges that traditional entrepreneurs face –but additionally have to deal with distinct challenges including difficult operating conditions, poor infrastructure, underdeveloped markets, acute funding shortages. I am very much looking forward to supporting what I believe will be an important social innovation educational initiative.

Gary Fawdrey

I currently work for Nesta, the UK’s innovation foundation, within their Challenge Prize Centre. I co-ordinate an international consortium delivering the European Social Innovation Competition on behalf of the European Commission. This is a yearly competition with a changing theme, offering three winners €50,000 each, as well as providing mentoring and training to 30 semi finalists. The competition aims to support and encourage social innovation across Europe.

Prior to this, I worked in the youth social action sector, first for Generation Change and then vInspired. In these roles I supported young people to volunteer in their communities in meaningful ways. I sit on the board of the youth and community development charity Hackney Quest, and founded the social impact career directory and mentoring scheme Progressive Careers. I hold an MA in Public Administration and Public Policy from the University of York.

I want to support the work of the Social Innovation Academy as I am passionate about breaking down the walls around social impact work and increasing the popularity of social innovation. I think the academy will play a fantastic role in making social innovation training accessible, which will in turn increase the number of effective social innovators, which is an exciting prospect!

Jose Antonio Morales

The first years of my entrepreneurial career were focused on information technologies as an opportunity for the development of small businesses. I worked in Lima with Microsoft Peru and in Ljubljana with Microsoft Slovenia precisely to support business people in their efforts to make technology work for them. Throughout those years I learned that leadership is not about authority, it is a dedication to the deliberate development of people.

A second phase of my career started in the year 2012. After two years living and working in New York for a management consulting firm, I decided to return to Slovenia and let technology aside in order for me to create a new path. Since then I started many initiatives and among them Fear & Fail Global and Aurora Coworking. Both initiatives are focused on the importance of community building, entrepreneurship as a force for human growth and the role of fear as a source of resistance and limitations for individuals and collectives. Six years of experience talking, mentoring, coaching persons from more than 10 countries has been a powerful experience and I wish this to go on!

I’m starting as a culture consultant for innovative companies that deliberately care about their employees. I’m a mentor for ABC Accelerator Slovenia and also actively participate as speaker, facilitator and trainer for conferences and events.

I see the Social Innovation Academy as a great opportunity to increase the impact of my work. Social Innovation is getting momentum and the only way we can transform a trend into effective change is by cooperating. I see the world shifting paradigms and building up a new fundament for the businesses of the future, it is a a shift from cultures of scarcity and fear to one of responsibility and freedom. the The Social Innovation Academy makes the path for the new social innovators effective.



Tuukka Toivonen

Tuukka Toivonen is an expert on creativity in entrepreneurship, social innovation and collaborative organisations. He holds a PhD from the University of Oxford and currently works as a Senior Lecturer in Social & Economic Innovation at the UCL Institute for Global Prosperity. Tuukka’s empirical creativity research has been funded by the ESRC, the Skoll Foundation, think tanks such as Sitra as well as several university funds.

Key questions Tuukka’s collaborative research seeks to address include: How are the idea journeys of digital entrepreneurs shaped by (affective) moments of collective creativity with peers, mentors and others? What determines who has ‘creative influence’ on the ideas of creators operating in fluid, networked contexts? How are team-level attitudes and other characteristics related to how creative teams benefit from social innovation labs, competitions and accelerator programmes? How do socially transformative innovations take shape, and can they be ‘produced’ or catalysed by strategic initiatives? Tuukka is also planning new research projects into long-term processes whereby human and machine creativity intertwine and co-shape an emerging creative product.

Having taught diverse professionals at several global top universities in the UK and Japan, Tuukka strives to maintain a constant, inspired dialogue between research and practice. He engages in a variety of exciting projects that seek to shape the future of our economies and our approaches to innovation, creativity, entrepreneurial work, technology and organisations.

SOCIA is precisely the kind of project needed in the world today and I am especially pleased to join its Advisory Board. By making social innovation know-how more accessible and relevant to managers and executives, SOCIA paves the way for transformative change right across key sectors of the economy and society more broadly. As such, I hope it continues to positively shape our social innovation landscape well into the next decade and beyond.

Carolina Parisi

Carolina Parisi is a lawyer and is currently Senior Legal Counsel, Associate Company Secretary and Compliance Officer at ArcelorMittal S.A. in Luxembourg, the world’s largest steel producer.

She is also the Founding Curator of the Luxembourg City Hub of Global Shapers and Country Chair of Global Dignity Luxembourg.

She has a multi-cult profile having also worked on a green field project in India and lectured Commercial and Tax Law in Brazil.

She is passionate about education and social causes. In Brazil, she is one of the founders and member of the non-governmental organisation AME (“Minas Action for Education”) – which educates vulnerable groups and promotes informed and responsible citizenship later incorporated into the Federal Industry Confederation of Minas Gerais social program – SESI.

In Luxembourg she is the co-founder of Bitbank – a blockchain advisory startup, a board member of SOCIA – a project co-funded by the Erasmus+ Program of the European Union – aiming to put in place the first European, fully online management training program focusing exclusively on social innovation, and the VP for strategic partnerships at Avantgarde Analytics – a Data Science AI and algorithm campaigning. Carolina holds a BA in Law, a M.Sc. in Tax Law from the University of Minas Gerais (Brazil) and an Executive MBA from the European School of Business (Germany).

Would you like to join the Advisory Board? Send us an inquiry and we will get back to you within 5 working days.

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