Alumni Panel Discussion: “Using Business as a Force for Good” (Part of IDEA Week)


Location: Jordan Auditorium, Mendoza College of Business (View on map )

The University has gained worldwide recognition for its “Ask More of Business” challenge. This has led to the creation of many Notre-Dame affiliated businesses whose mission is to make a profit while also making the world a better place. In this session, attendees will hear from a panel of inspiring alumni entrepreneurs who are using their faith and their Notre Dame education to change the world.

Panelists include:

David Murphy – David is the assistant provost and executive director, ESTEEM Graduate Program. Prior to his return to his alma mater in November of 2011, David served as founding CEO and Chairman of the Board for Better World Books from its inception. Better World Books is a global online bookstore that harnesses the power of capitalism to bring literacy and opportunity to people around the world.

Before joining Better World Books, David worked for over twenty years in corporate finance, operations and mergers and acquisitions with firms such as International Paper Company, The First Boston Corporation, Hutchinson SA (multi-billion-dollar French subsidiary of the Total Energy Group) and Transcend Services, Inc. He also started several companies and has served as CFO, COO and CEO for both privately held and publicly traded firms in the manufacturing, health care services and technology sectors.

Evidencing a lifelong commitment to service and social impact, David has served and continues to serve on both corporate and non-profit boards and advisory groups, both domestic and internationally.

John Crowley – John Francis Crowley is an American biotechnology executive and entrepreneur and the chairman and CEO of Amicus Therapeutics. He co-founded Novazyme Pharmaceuticals with William Canfield, which was later acquired by Genzyme Corporation, and founded Orexigen Therapeutics. In 2006, he was profiled in the book The Cure: How a Father Raised $100 Million – And Bucked the Medical Establishment – In a Quest to Save His Children by Geeta Anand. In 2010, Crowley released his memoir, Chasing Miracles: The Crowley Family Journey of Strength, Hope, and Joy. Crowley and his family were the inspiration for the movie Extraordinary Measures starring Harrison Ford in 2010.

Veronica Canton – Veronica Canton is a third-year school student at Notre Dame Law Schoool. She is a challenge-fueled and solution driven professional seeking to make a positive impact in the way the legal industry serves clients.      

Veronica is a partner at Impowerus. Impowerus is a business powered by innovative ideas and a desire to help bridge the access to justice gap by connecting juvenile immigrants with attorneys performing pro bono work in immigration services.  Our concept is to offer pro bono legal aid through a secure video chat platform with the integration of a useful dashboard. Our vision is to have law firms – big and small – utilize this technology in a way that helps attorneys use their time effectively and efficiently.    

Rourke O’Brien  – Rourke O’Brien joined the La Follette School of Public Affairs as an Assistant Professor of Public Affairs in January 2016. Previously, he was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholar at Harvard University and an affiliate of the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies.

O’Brien’s research interests include taxation, household finance, and population health. Current projects explore the social determinants of subnational tax structures, household savings and credit behavior, and the interplay between health and intergenerational economic mobility. Previous projects analyzed patterns of informal financial assistance, and the impact of labor market conditions and policy context on self-reported disability.

Jan Pilarksi – Jan is the co-founder and CEO of Green Bridge Growers. An innovative social venture that grows good food with good jobs, Green Bridge Growers provides employment and hope for young adults with autism – while bringing the freshest, most wholesome food possible to your table.

Previously, she was Director of the Justice Education Program at Saint Mary’s College, where she managed interdisciplinary academic program teaching social justice theory, social analysis, leadership skills, and strategies for change at the local, national, and global levels. She holds both a Bachelors and Masters Degree from Notre Dame in Philosophy and Social Ethics.

Part of IDEA Week.