Conveners.org recognizes the transformative power that convening, when done right, has to positively change the world. We are have built a community of mission-driven conveners, accelerators, and mappers to convene and learn from each other, build the larger capacity of the field, and construct pathways to more efficiently realize change.

We build transformative platforms for organizations to meaningfully connect with each other.

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ABOUT US

With 1000+ impact-focused conferences occurring each year and the rapid launch of a new accelerator on a seemingly daily basis, the impact ecosystem is getting crowded. Opportunity costs are high, as organizations operate in silos. Information is fragmented and resources are spread thin.

Conveners.org was created to foster coordination, collaboration, and learning among impact-focused conveners, accelerators, and mappers. We are a nonprofit organization that develops programs, tools, and resources to support these communities in advancing systems-level change.

We Connect Networks

- Building communities of practice for impact-focused conveners and accelerators to engage with each other
- Facilitating strategic introductions between organizations with common missions to cultivate relationships rooted in trust
- Creating tools and opportunities to facilitate and strengthen network connections through initiatives such as stand-up calls, the Cross-Promotion Bulletin, Collective Impact Projects, and affinity groups
- Organizing co-hosted sessions for peer leaders to engage transparently with each other on convening specific topics

We Share Knowledge

- Working with industry leaders to identify existing information gaps and proactively targeting efforts to address those areas
- Building online resources for practitioners to easily access industry information and navigate the growing field
- Conducting original research and disseminating through the “State of the Ecosystem” Report
- Curating and distributing relevant industry content and sharing thought leadership via our blog, monthly newsletters, and social media channels

We Build Capacity

- Offering in-person and virtual opportunities for practitioners to develop industry specific skills
- Providing customized advisory services to organizations seeking to strengthen their internal capacity to convene, as well as design convenings that are focused on the priorities and objectives of the participants

OUR ORIGIN

Conveners.org emerged from conversations among impact convening organizers who wanted to embrace a more coordinated and collaborative approach to their work. Topher Wilkins, SaraJoy Pond, and Avary Kent launched “Convening the Conveners” in October 2013 with the idea that a common platform would allow organizations to more easily connect with each other. In 2015, Conveners.org launched a membership program for this community with the support of Sujatha Sebastian. It also formalized “Accelerating the Accelerators,” a peer learning network open to impact accelerators around the world. In 2017, we formally launched “Mapping the Mappers,” a network of impact mappers that raises awareness of global impact mapping efforts.

"There's something incredibly special going on with this organization. They're inspired champions for the profound power of mission-driven networks."

Steve HavillBoard Chair, Conscious Capitalism Bay AreaFounder & CEO, Conscia Ventures

TEAM

Avary Kent

Executive Director

Avary Kent is a serial social entrepreneur with expertise in bringing ideas to life. She is the Founding Executive Director of Conveners.org building the impact ecosystem through more effective convening, accelerators, and mapping initiatives. She is a leader in experience design to support her clients in the development of participant focused events integrating human centered design techniques that deliver outstanding feedback and results. As an on-site facilitator she has worked with politicians, academics, cyber security experts, factory owners and workers, investors, and foundation leaders. She is adept at navigating challenging conversations and supporting groups towards productive dialogue and action. She has designed and led the Convening17 initiative to identify urgent, important, and actionable next steps to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. She was also the co-founder of ImpactAlpha, The Happiness Institute, and Puzzlebox LLC. She received a BS in Genetics and Geobotanical Field Ecology from George Washington University and an MBA in Sustainable Enterprise from Dominican University.

Nayelli Gonzalez

Nayelli Gonzalez

Managing Director, Marketing & Partnerships

Nayelli is a purpose-driven collaborator with an eye for innovation and a heart grounded in shared learning and storytelling. She has led global teams and advised startups, nonprofits, small businesses and Fortune 500 companies on stakeholder engagement initiatives and sustainable brand strategies that drive social and environmental impact.

Combining a background in journalism, education, and sustainable management, Nayelli has developed curricula, designed workshops, and facilitated sessions for everyone from high school and graduate-level students to corporate teams. She’s a systems thinker who loves to learn, share knowledge and help others connect the dots—and is inspired by the power of convening as a tool for positive social impact. A trained journalist with an MBA, Nayelli also writes about social impact and sustainable business trends for a variety of publications.

She holds a certificate in big data analytics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an MBA in sustainable management from the Presidio Graduate School. She received undergraduate degrees in history and journalism from Boston University, as well as graduate degrees in history and education from the University of California, Berkeley and Stanford University, respectively.

Jeanine Becker

Director, Convening17

Jeanine connects people to build cross-sector solutions that address the greatest challenges facing the planet. She is an expert in collaborative leadership, empowering her clients to ignite their impact, align their teams, and thrive.

Jeanine is the Founder and Managing Director of the Co-Lab Leadership Group she engages a potent combination of clear frameworks, research based practices and fierce support to empower her clients to lead authentically, compassionately and creatively when it matters most – even in the midst of conflict.  After 20+ years as a mission driven leader engaged in non-profit, government, social enterprise, and corporate CSR/philanthropy; over a decade as a corporate attorney leading teams to close thousands of transactions on four continents for start ups to Fortune 100 companies; and over a decade of teaching Negotiation at Stanford and now at Berkeley – Jeanine understands the joys, challenges and choices of being a mission driven leader.

She provides training and coaching to corporations and non-profits including the World Bank, Lean Startup Productions, Safari Books Online, Upstart Bay Area, Encore.org, and Clean Tech Open. Jeanine is an international speaker and has presented at Wisdom 2.0, Wisdom 2.0 Business, Emerging Women, Leading Women in Tech, and the Global Innovation Summit. She has taught at Esalen; and has provided Collaborative Leadership training to 350 leaders in Monrovia, Liberia and faculty at Universidad de Cuenca, Ecuador.

Devon Davey

Board Development Support

Devon has 10 years of experience at high growth impact organizations, social enterprises, and foundations. Previously, Devon worked for Taproot Foundation, Global Exchange, and the International Development Exchange, and others. She has a bachelor’s degree from University of San Francisco in international studies and a master’s from Brandeis University in sustainable development.

Michael Kass

Convening Circles Consultant

Michael Kass is the founder of Center for Story and Spirit. As a facilitator, coach, speaker, and award-winning storyteller, he’s passionate about helping people, organizations and communities discover and harness the power of their stories to create change.

Michael has over 18 years of experience working on staff and in the trenches with organizations across sectors including technology, social services, health care, arts and culture, and education. As a facilitator and coach, he focuses on helping clients reconnect with the deep passion underlying their work and address the core tensions and beliefs that may be getting in the way of growth. His work with organizations focuses on facilitating culture shift through storytelling, authentic conversation, and deep listening to foster clear internal and external communication and create thriving communities.

Michael is a graduate of Rice University and Northwestern University. He is an ACC coach certified by the International Coach Federation, a certified breathwork facilitator, and has completed Medicine Wheel training with Rites of Passage Vision Quest. Michael is a mentor with the Creative Visions Foundation and serves on the Board of Directors of the Breath Center. He likes brownies perhaps a little too much.

Sarah Sterling

Operations Manager

Sarah Sterling has years of experience working with entrepreneurs and nonprofit organizations on developing effective impact metrics, program development and management, social media outreach, fundraising, and team leadership skills and training. Sarah has over 5 years of experience working with and training international organizations such as Mercy Corps, Oxfam International, SOCAP, and Agora Partnerships, as well as impact investment funds, and social entrepreneurs in Latin America in areas of organizational sustainability and impact metrics development.
She has a Master’s in Public Administration from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey where one focus of her studies was how to work with organizations to develop their strategies around fundraising and building core competencies and confidence in the leaderships/management team in grant writing – both to governmental organizations and non-profit grant agencies.

BOARD

Topher Wilkins

Board Member

Topher has been convening and connecting people for the purposes of social change for over a decade, starting with co-founding the Highland City Club, a membership community of 300 change-makers in Boulder, Colorado, to managing Dunton Hot Springs, one of North America’s top all-inclusive resorts and retreat centers, to leading the Opportunity Collaboration, a global network of 1200 nonprofit leaders, for-profit social entrepreneurs, grant-makers, impact investors, corporates and academics building sustainable solutions to poverty, and finally with creating Conveners.org, a group of over 150 fellow conveners and accelerators in the impact space.

His purpose is to convene and connect nonprofit leaders, for-profit social entrepreneurs, grant-makers, impact investors and all other agents of positive change, thereby building the ecosystem for the social sector and creating greater opportunities for international social and economic justice.

Jessica Loman

Board Member

Jessica joins the Board with a decade of experience in community organizing and social entrepreneurship. Currently she facilitates convenings for Toniic, the global action community for impact investors. With a background in building social impact initiatives and fostering cultural awareness, she is inspired to help other business leaders redefine business success beyond profit. Since 2010, Jessica has been actively supporting social entrepreneurs through organizing events, fundraising, recruiting mentors, and facilitating workshops. Alongside these activities, she directed the operations of The Future Leaders Institute and the establishment of SoBiz: Beyond Profit.

She received her MBA from Hult International Business School, and BA from University of Richmond with studies in Rhetoric & Communication, Music and Arts Management. She has lived in various parts of the UK, Mexico and Indonesia, and currently resides in Oakland, California where she also enjoys salsa dancing, training capoeira and gathering together movers for peace from around the world.

Keno Sadler

Board Member

Keno Sadler is a social entrepreneur, conference speaker, facilitator, and educator. While leading programs designed to shape the lives of young African American men through close guidance from older males, Keno began his 20 year relationship with the Echoing Green Foundation as a 1997 Fellow and Founder of the Breakthrough Atlanta program which graduated over 90% of its students into college and introduced hundreds of college students to careers in education. He is now the Vice President of Programs at the Echoing Green Foundation which provides seed-funding and support through its Fellowship program to over 750 social entrepreneurs working in more than 60 countries around the world.

Joseph Mouzon

Board Member

Joseph is currently the Director of Philanthropy and Strategic Investments at the Anita Borg Institute for Women in Computing. Serving as a key leadership team member and an active participant in making funding decisions affecting the Anita Borg Institute, his role includes focusing on all philanthropic, individual giving and strategic investments.
Most recently, Joseph was a philanthropic and business consultant. He consulted with the Tides Network CEO to improve the Business Development, Client Services and Information Technology divisions within the organization. He also provides professional leadership to African-American business owners in the San Francisco Bay Area.
As the President and CEO of GivingSphere – an eCommerce fundraising platform for charities, his accomplishments included preparing the go-to-market strategy and the product roadmap, launching the web site and developing strategic partners (e.g., Participant Media, Quincy Jones Foundation, The Renaissance Project). In Q4 2014, GivingSphere was sold to a private investment group.
As Executive Director of Nonprofit Services for Network for Good powered by Groundspring, Joseph was responsible for the overall leadership of the West coast division. He directed all sales, service and business development, operations, strategic planning, and financial management activities. He also initiated and completed the merger of Network for Good and Groundspring to form the largest nonprofit Technology Service Provider (TSP) in the U.S. – helping over 100,000 nonprofit organizations generate over $1 billion in online donations since the merger.
Joseph’s board and advisory board experience includes: The Advocacy Fund; Conveners.org; California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF); The Council on Foundations Technology Task Force; Ashoka Youth Venture; the Unified School District of San Francisco -School to Career; Craigslist Foundation; Jewish Vocational Services.
In 2008, Joseph was the recipient of the GQ Gentlemen’s Fund Pillar Award for Education for his work with youth, music and technology.
In 2006, Joseph was recognized as a Salesforce Hero for launching the Donor Management Suite – an integration of Network for Good’s online donation and Salesforce’s CRM functionality.
Joseph holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from the University of San Francisco.

T.J. Cook

Board Member

T.J. Cook is a creative, strategic innovator specializing in strategy and team management for early-stage projects. As Executive Director of ABQid, Cook helps early-stage companies with high growth potential accelerate traction through knowledge, resources, and connectivity with seed capital.

Previously as CEO of CauseLabs, a certified Benefit Corporation, Cook helped design a rapid approach to problem solving that launched more than 100 digital solutions for companies like LEGO and IDEO, while assembling an award-winning team of 15 strategists, designers, and engineers around the world to prototype and build breakthroughs.

Cook has more than 18 years’ experience on the forefront of emerging technologies and entrepreneurial strategies and uses his systems perspective to provide guidance and support to numerous early stage efforts. He sits on the board of ABQid, Conveners.org, and The Grants Collective, and advises aspiring entrepreneurs of all ages in order to help them accelerate their impact. He lives in Albuquerque with his wife, three children, and trail-running partner, a terrier mix named Lady.

SaraJoy Pond

Emeritus Board Member

SaraJoy’s investment in this space is largely selfish. Winning Brigham Young University’s Social Venture Competition in 2009 formally introduced her to the impact ecosystem and she has navigated (with varying degrees of success) the often baffling array of impact convenings and accelerators as a social entrepreneur for the past 5 years. She has facilitated evaluations, delivered training and developed curriculum (both academic and professional) on three continents, built one of the first impact-focused crowdfunding platforms with an active online community of 5,000+ donors, and is completing a dissertation on novice/expert differences in problem anticipation among social entrepreneurs aimed at uncovering key opportunities for education, training and support (ie acceleration) of those entrepreneurs.

Conveners.org is an opportunity to leverage her experience (from international needs assessment for an addiction recovery program to user experience at a data visualization startup) to help nurture the diversity, transparency, innovation and, well, impact of the impact ecosystem.

Sujatha Sebastian

Co-Founder and Former Managing Director

Sujatha’s love story with convening began in 2011 when she first attended Opportunity Collaboration. The experience impressed upon her the power of using the right conference format to bring people together.
In 2015 she co-founded Conveners.org. There she developed a membership program and peer learning network for leading social sector organizations  to build their convening capacity.  In addition, she developed an advisory services program to help foundations and nonprofits design successful convenings.

Sujatha is excited to bring her diverse background in diplomacy, economic development, strategy consulting, and philanthropy, to this new (ad)venture. She has worked in Latin America and the United States in education, microfinance, social enterprise, and network building.

She grew up in a multicultural household the daughter of a midwife and immigrant entrepreneur.  She has a BA in Peace and Conflict Studies from Bryn Mawr College and a MA in Law and Diplomacy from Tufts University.

Pamela Roussos

Emeritus Board Member

Pamela is currently the Senior Director of the Global Social Benefit Institute at the Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Santa Clara University. She has worked with and for early stage software companies as a business and marketing strategy leader, helping founders create, refine, and execute their business strategy and go-to-market plans. She has over 20 years of experience growing teams and delivering products for both large and start-up software companies, working in various managerial capacities as business unit manager, vice president of marketing, COO and CEO.

Some of the companies Pamela has worked with include: Amdahl, Pure Software, Rational Software, 555-1212.com, Consera, Zend, and AppFirst. Pamela has been a mentor for the GSBI for 5 years. She also serves on the board of Conveners.org, as well as Pact, an international NGO that benefits communities by promoting healthy lifestyles, decent livelihoods, and sustainable natural resources. Pamela also serves as board chair for Livelyhoods, an organization that creates jobs for youth in slums.

Mark Newberg

Emeritus Board Member

Mark is Director of Impact Strategies for Womble Carlyle, where he is helping launch an Impact Economy practice and develop an integrated Impact Team that is dedicated to supporting the growth of businesses and entrepreneurs in the Impact Economy.

Mark is also Managing Director of Impact Strategies for 5 Stone Green Capital, an emerging green real estate firm. At 5 Stone, Mark leads the firm’s “layered impact” strategy, incorporating impact principles into each project, in ways that support bottom-line financial returns while producing tangible external benefits. He also served as Chair of the Design Committee for the Inaugural Global Innovation Summit, a gathering of global thought leaders organized by T2 Venture Capital. Mark was previously a Senior Policy Advisor at the US Small Business Administration, where he helped lead impact investing policy efforts and the Startup America: Reducing Barriers series as part of his high-growth entrepreneurship and innovation portfolio.

Prior to his time at SBA, Mark was a post-Katrina Advisor to the New Orleans City Council, focusing on big picture policy issues in the recovery. Currently based in Washington, DC, he has written occasional opinion pieces for various outlets, including the recent Spectrum of Impact in America, and advises several high-growth, high-impact startups. Mark holds a BA from Tulane University, a JD from Tulane Law School, and was a Visiting Student at Harvard Law School.

"Conveners.org is like having your own personal cavalry. Sure, they are super strategic in shaping the role of convening in social change. That’s assumed. The really cool bonus is that they also empathically have your back."

Joy AndersonPresident & Founder, Criterion Institute