Private Solutions to Public Problems: The Changing Nature of Capitalism and the Role of Business in Creating Social Value

Binta Niambi Brown, M-RCBG Senior Fellow

This study group will explore the question:  How are market capitalists and business executives addressing public problems in their business models?  It will explore the degree to which market capitalism can serve as a viable alternative for addressing difficult social and public problems in the absence of working public institutions.  Each session will feature a business executive who is addressing public problems in powerful and unusual ways. 

Schedule and guests
(additional sessions may be added)

Tuesday, October 14
11:45-1:00, Bell Hall (5th Floor Belfer). Lunch will be provided
Soraya Darabi, co-founder of Zady.com

Tuesday, October 28
11:45-1:00, Hauser Conference Room (B-L-4).  Lunch will be provided
Kat Cole, President of Cinnabon

For information, please contact jennifer_nash@harvard.edu.

Binta Niambi Brown is a corporate lawyer who advises early stage technology, media and entertainment companies, a startup advisor, human rights advocate, nascent angel investor, and bass player. After working for a technology start-up, she worked exclusively on technology and internet IPOs and transactions as an Associate at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP.  She also advised (and advises)  senior management and corporate boards of media, technology, telecom, and entertainment companies on corporate governance matters and special situations, and was most recently a Partner in Kirkland & Ellis LLP, before leaving to become an M-RCBG Senior Fellow.  In addition, Brown continues to advise several different early-stage, pre-seed technology companies (on a strictly pro bono basis). Brown has also informally advised Hillary Clinton, Andrew Cuomo, and members of the Obama Administration on a variety of policy matters. She has guest lectured at Dartmouth College, Carnegie Mellon University, and the University of Muenster (in Muenster, Germany). Brown has been recognized as one of the Root's 100 Most Influential African-Americans, Fortune Magazine's 40 under 40 business leaders, Crain's New York 40 under 40, and by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader. She has been featured in Real Simple magazine on mentorship, the Washington Post, the New York Times, FastCompany.com, on CNN, and an Intelligence Squared debate featured on National Public Radio (her side won).  She is a member of the Board of Directors of Technical Career Institutes, Inc., (a for-profit company), is a member of the Board of Advisors of the education technology company 2U, Inc., a Trustee of each of Barnard College, the American Theatre Wing, and New York City Parks Foundation, and on the Board of Directors of Human Rights First.  She is a member of the New York Philharmonic Education Committee, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Clinton Global Initiative.  She is an Advisor to Apploud, Inc., and the African Technology Foundation.  Her research interests at M-RCBG include the changing nature of market capitalism, barriers to emerging business models, and the intersection of business and human rights. Her faculty sponsor is Dick Cavanagh, Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy.

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M-RCBG Senior Fellow Binta Niambi Brown