Vicky Wu Davis
Youth CITIES Founder and Executive Director
An “accounting major-turned entrepreneur in the videogame industry who considered becoming a social worker to work with orphans”, Vicky Wu Davis is the Founder and Executive Director of Youth CITIES.
Vicky grew up hearing people say that work is called “work” because it’s…well…WORK (not play)…and that its primary purpose is to provide a paycheck. As a result, she chose Accounting as a major so that she could land a stable job post-college with a good 401k program. In her 20’s however, Vicky fell in love with entrepreneurship. Wanting to make Boston her home, Vicky pushed her interest to help international orphans onto the backburner, deeming that as part of some post-retirement plans. She proceeded to start a company in the videogame industry in 2000 (she passed her CEO baton in 2010). Seredipitously, she ended up also co-founding a nonprofit helping older orphans find permanent homes, showing Vicky that there’s room for a “business/operations person” to help orphaned children too. This offbeat path introduced her to the notion that one’s passion, skill set, and philanthropic interests can intersect…and that there’s room for different personalities, interests, and abilities to make an impact in this world. In fact, sustainabile value creation benefits from diversity of all sorts. As a result, Vicky created Youth CITIES to introduce teens to the concept of entrepreneurship and innovation, and to leverage that in ways to improve the fabric of society. Her desire is to reach as many teens as possible…and as many different types of teens as possible…challenging them to think critically, and inspiring them to act innovatively.
In addition to Youth CITIES, Vicky remains an industry practitioner in the thick of it all. She is builidng a learning ecoystem for early education that combines technology, gamification techniques, and live classroom learning in the areas of STEM and second-language learning (inspired by her older son). Vicky also serves as Director of Screening for Beacon Angels, a Boston-based angel group that makes investments in the $100,000 to $300,000 range in small fast-growing companies. She sits on the Cambridge Finance Committee, the Board of the Foster Kids of the Merrimack Valley, as well as the Board of Future Boston Alliance, and has been a mentor of entrepreneurship for MIT’s Venture Mentor Services for 10 years. Vicky has been recognized numerous times in the area of entrepreneurship, such as Red Herring’s cover story “Young Moguls: 20 Outstanding Entrepreneurs Under 35”, the Kauffman Foundation for “Entrepreneurs Giving Back”, and the 2004 Boston Business Journal’s “40 Under 40”.
Before discovering her interest in entrepreneurship, Vicky held responsibilities in financial analysis, operations, sales, process engineering, and project management for software development for a variety of small businesses and large corporations. Vicky has been volunteering at her church’s 3-7 year old program for over a decade, has recently re-kindled her passion for dancing, and is a lifelong Red Sox fan. She resides in Andover with her husband, 2 young boys, and 3 dogs.
Project Director on the startup team
Mark Kampert joined Youth CITIES in November 2012, volunteering to assist with the Monthly Mini-Hack program. Since that time, his interest and commitment to the organization has grown into a position as Project Director on the startup team.
Previously, Mark spent a year with the Boston-based nonprofit, Edvance Foundation, helping the newly formed organization develop a business plan and implementation strategy. From 2006-2009, Mark served as a US Peace Corps Volunteer in Namibia. He was recognized for his success as a teacher and project manager in the rural village of Andara and invited to extend his stay to serve as Educational Officer for Continuous Professional Development at Namibia’s National Institute for Educational Development. In this role, he helped lead the design of a national program for novice teacher mentoring and induction and, also, devised the five-year implementation plan for mentor teacher training.
Mark is the founder of Computers for Kavango, a nonprofit fund that established twelve computer labs and trained out-of-school youth across the Kavango Region of Namibia. He graduated from Bucknell University with bachelor’s degrees in Mathematics and Classics. In 2011, Mark was awarded a Peace Corps Fellowship to pursue an MBA at Duquesne University, where he was honored by faculty with the Donahue Graduate School of Business Living Our Values award and elected by classmates as student commencement speaker.
Carolyn S. Morrill
Youth CITIES Operations Manager
Cary Morrill is a Vice President with Cook Associates Executive Search. Located in the firm’s Boston office, Cary conducts and executes searches for multinational corporations as well as the venture capital community.
With more than 20 years of retained executive search experience, Cary has successfully completed assignments in the U.S., Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America. She serves clients across a diverse range of industries with a particular focus in life sciences, technology and digital media where she has facilitated the success of many early-stage companies by helping them to attract and retain top talent.
Prior to joining Cook Associates, Cary was Managing Partner of Barrack Hill Partners, a boutique, retained executive search and human resources consulting firm she co-founded in 2001. Her earlier search career includes senior positions with both multinational and boutique executive search firms, including Christian and Timbers (now CT Partners), OakBridge (a global search firm based in Tokyo, Japan), Executive Alliance and Chestnut Hill Partners.
She entered the search profession following a successful career in industry, serving as a Senior Consultant in Arthur D. Little’s information systems strategy practice and Software Industry Market Analyst with IDC. Cary earlier sold software for Distribution Management Systems.
In addition to her work with YouthCITIES, Cary currently is a mentor with MIT’s Venture Mentoring Service and Babson’s Center for Women’s Leadership Program. She also serves as a subject matter expert for Illinois Biotech (iBIO) in its PROPEL program for early-stage companies.
Cary is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin and holds an MA from Columbia University.
Youth CITIES intern, Phillips Academy senior
Gladys was a sophomore in high school when she participated in Youth CITIES. She was very active in her community and looking to make a bigger impact as a youth activist. She was encouraged to sign up for Youth CITIES to figure out how she could do that. Gladys won the $1500 prize to launch her venture idea…she was surprised at how often money was needed to accomplish things! She knew nothing about business before she started the program, but now spends her time talking about budgest, expanding her venture staff, and serving as an advisor to her peers. She has won multiple awards and continued to expand her network as a result of Youth CITIES. Now a senior in high school, she is training other high school kids to continue running her venture when she leaves for college this fall.
Elaine was a senior in high school when she participated in Youth CITIES. Intrigued by business and entrepreneurship, she felt right at home grasping business concepts. Throughout the program, she was challenged to incorporate ways her business idea could also address an issue that was close to her heart. Elaine was a semi-finalist in the competition. She is now a freshman at Bentley University. She is still planning on refining her venture idea and is determined to launch it one day. She has continued to maintain contact with the Youth CITIES network, and is a spokesperson for the Youth CITIES program.
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