Rotary Minute: Christopher Gergen

ChristopherGergenMinuteWebChristopher Gergen, who we may know best as the creator of the Durham Rotary Innovation Fellows Program, provided a Rotary Minute today the ticked through many other initiatives he has been involved in, many with a similar theme often described as social entrepreneurship.

As an Innovation and Entrepreneurship Fellow himself at Duke, Christopher is also the CEO of Forward Impact a program to unleash the impact of the potential next generation of entrepreneurial leaders.

This work includes launching community-based strategies to develop and scale high-impact entrepreneurs including Bull City Forward in Durham, NC, Queen City Forward in Charlotte, NC, Moore Forward in Moore County, NC, HQ Raleigh, and Think House – an entrepreneurial living community in Raleigh.

Forward Impact also helps schools, universities, and communities develop transformational entrepreneurial leadership experiences with partners such as the Center for Creative Leadership, where Christopher is Innovator in Residence.

Forward Impact also consults with state and national clients including helping launch and scale the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Foundation’s Social Entrepreneurship Initiative, Carolina CAN, and the NC Charter School Accelerator.

Christopher is co-author of the nationally acclaimed book Life Entrepreneurs: Ordinary People Creating Extraordinary Lives and co-authors a bi-weekly column on social innovation for the Raleigh News & Observer and the Charlotte Observer titled “Doing Better at Doing Good.”

Christopher was recently selected as a 2013 Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute and serves on several local, state, and national boards including the NC Museum of Natural Science’s Citizen Science Council, Duke’s Nasher Art Museum, and the National Center on Entrepreneurship & Innovation.

In 1999, Christopher co-founded SMARTHINKING that became the leading online tutoring provider in the United States before being acquired by Pearson Education in 2011. Other ventures include starting a coffeehouse/bar in Santiago, Chile and “Entrepreneur Corps”—an AmeriCorps*VISTA initiative that placed 400 full-time business volunteers for a year of service in over 90 non-profits.

Previously, Christopher started LEAD!, a 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 experience includes serving as Vice President of New Market Development for K12 Inc. and Chief Operating Officer 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.

Christopher is a third generation Durhamite.  His grandparents moved to Durham in 1936 when his grandfather became the chair of Duke’s Math Department, a position he held until his retirement thirty years later. His dad spent the first three years of his life on Monmouth Ave where Rotarian Barker French now lives and graduated from Durham High in 1959.

Christopher grew up in Washington, DC but came to Duke as an undergrad. He returned again to Durham six years ago with his family and now lives in Trinity Park where his kids go to Watts Montessori.

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