"Entrepreneurs find a way to make things work, no matter the obstacles. That's a great lesson for us all, especially now," says Christopher Gergen, who brings a variety of perspectives to the field of social innovation and entrepreneurship. In addition to holding a professorship at Duke, he serves as the executive director of Bull City Forward and also co-authored Life Entrepreneurs: Ordinary People Creating Extraordinary Lives. Listen to Gergen in a discussion of how being an entrepreneur is about proving that the impossible is plausible.
Christopher Gergen is a founding partner of New Mountain Ventures, an entrepreneurial leadership development company, and co-author of Life Entrepreneurs: Ordinary People Creating Extraordinary Lives. Additionally, Christopher is a visiting lecturer and Director of the Entrepreneurial Leadership Initiative at Duke University within the Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy's Hart Leadership Program.
Christopher is the co-founder and chairman of SMARTHINKING, the leading online tutoring provider in the United States -- serving over 200,000 students from more than 1,000 universities, colleges, and high schools. Other entrepreneurial ventures include starting a coffeehouse/bar dedicated to promoting the arts and music in Santiago, Chile and helping to launch the "Entrepreneur Corps" -- a national service initiative sponsored by AmeriCorps*VISTA that placed 400 full-time business volunteers for a year of service in over 90 non-profit organizations across the country. Previously, Christopher started LEAD!, a non-profit 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 professional experience includes serving as Vice President of New Market Development for K12 Inc. and Chief Operating Officer and Vice President of Business Development and Strategy 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 in Washington, D.C.
Voluntary, organized efforts intended for socially useful purposes. Philanthropic groups existed in the ancient civilizations of the Middle East, Greece, and Rome: an endowment supported Plato's Academy (c. 387 BC) for some 900 years; the Islamic waqf (religious endowment) dates to the 7th century AD; and the medieval Christian church administered trusts for benevolent purposes. Merchants in 17th- and 18th-century western Europe founded organizations for worthy causes. Starting in the late 19th century, large personal fortunes led to the creation of private foundations that bequeathed gifts totaling millions and then billions in support of the arts, education, medical research, public policy, social services, environmental causes, and other special interests. SeeAndrew Carnegie; B'nai B'rith; Bill Gates; George Peabody; Rockefeller Foundation; Straus family.