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). Serendipitously, she ended up also co-founding a nonprofit helping older orphans find permanent homes, showing Vicky that you don’t have to be a social worker to help orphaned children. 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, sustainable 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. Vicky is determined to shift the mindset that entrepreneurship is only for “business-minded people”; she firmly believes that an entrepreneurial mindset embodies critical skills are applicable in all areas of life. 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.
Outside of Youth CITIES, Vicky runs a program that teaches Chinese as a second-language to very young kids — leveraging the natural curiosity of children, and the inquiry-based/hands-on learning from STEM experiments. She started this program when her older son rejected traditional classroom-style learning in Chinese school. In addition, Vicky is also a member for Beacon Angels, a Boston-based angel group that makes investments in the $100,000 to $300,000 range in small fast-growing companies.
Vicky’s love for children, entrepreneurship, and education is evident in her extracurricular activities:
- Board of The Foster Kids of the Merrimack Valley
- Steering Committee for Boston’s National Adoption Day
- Board of Future Boston Alliance
- Board/Treasurer of Leading Cities
- Mentor of entrepreneurship for MIT’s Venture Mentoring Services
- Founding Board of Trustees for pending new charter school focused on social entrepreneurship through project-based learning
- Technovation mentor and advisor for Phillips Academy
- Advisor/coach for Student Entrepreneurship Club at Winchester High
- Advisor to various schools, across the spectrum, on incorporating entrepreneurship and innovation education, classroom-to-industry linkage, and makerspace integration
- Member of Advisory Council, Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership at Gordon College
- Advisor to danger!awesome, an out-of-the-box open-access studio, makerspace and learning center
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”, the 2004 Boston Business Journal’s “40 Under 40”, and 2015 WomenUp.
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, is an avid dancer, loves coaching Little Leagues, and is a lifelong Red Sox fan. A person she’d love to meet is Jim Abbott, and her favorite flavor ice cream is pistachio (especially Brighams). She resides in Andover with her husband, 2 young boys, and 2 dogs.
Evan is a Northeastern University student majoring in Industrial Engineering. His first experience with the startup world was through Splashscore, an emerging company in Boston that focuses on social media marketing. (Yes, mini-hack facilitator, March-to-May Bootcamp mentor, and one of the brilliant minds behind the Skunkworks online tools being developed, is part of Splashscore!) Evan worked as a part-time Brand Relationship Manager, generating leads and helping to shape the current sales department.
Previous to Splashscore, Evan was his fraternity’s community service chair, a position that exposed him to the non-profits and directly showcased what could be accomplished with minimal individual effort as part of widespread community participation. With his lead, his fraternity raised close to $100,000 in 2013 for a variety of charity’s, setting both Northeastern and national records. They were also awarded the Most Outstanding Single Philanthropy event for the inaugural Military Heroes 5K, which Evan also organized. Evan’s desire to be involved in the field of social entrepreneurship was solidified after speaking with Vicky Wu Davis, and becoming involved with Youth Cities. Evan currently works at John Hancock as a business analyst co-op, a student position offered to those enrolled at Northeastern.
Web Administration Support Volunteer
Hao is a tech entrepreneur passionate about sustainability. He’s currently Director of Web Services at Apitronics. When not being an active member of the Boston startup community or volunteering at local nonprofits, Hao is at home in Wilmington hanging with his two kids, wife, and inlaws and burning the midnight candle learning about food systems, behavior change, and permaculture.