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A Growing Network for Good

Kellogg’s Youn Impact Scholars program celebrates a decade of inspiring social change.

Portrait of Nicole Cuervo
Springrose founder Nicole Cuervo is among the 2023 Youn Impact Scholars.Image: Paul Jung ’22 MBA, MS

Winter 2024

Imagine the energetic feeling of dozens of innovators gathered in a room, exchanging ideas and advice, brainstorming with one another, and sharing their experience with students and faculty. Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management makes this vision a reality. 

Michael Monteleone

Since its launch in 2014, Kellogg’s Youn Impact Scholars program has recognized, supported and convened 100 talented creators from Northwestern and beyond, helping them tap into an exceptional global network of leaders, all working toward effecting change in social and environmental areas that matter most. 

Each year the program selects five “Emerging Changemakers” and five “Impact Leaders” who demonstrate meaningful past accomplishments as well as promising potential and vision. Although awardees have diverse interests — from education to environmental sustainability — they share a passion for using their business skills to make the world a better place. 

Among the 2023 honorees are young entrepreneurs such as Nicole Cuervo ’22 MBA, MS, who founded Springrose, a startup that seeks to improve the quality of life for women with limited mobility. The business has developed adaptive intimate apparel that women can put on painlessly and independently. 

“I want to increase awareness and information about disabilities the need for inclusive design within the general population,” Cuervo says. 

“My family and I wanted to support likeminded, socially conscious changemakers.” — Keech Combe Shetty

Seasoned professionals such as Michael Monteleone ’12 JD, MBA also comprise the 2023 cohort. In his role as economic growth division chief for Asia at the U.S. Agency for International Development, Monteleone leads the design and management of innovative development projects focused on agriculture, trade and other areas. 

“I’m a big believer in inclusive economic development being the key to bringing people out of extreme poverty,” Monteleone says. “For that to happen, it not only requires effective government policymaking but also private sector innovation and support from civil society organizations.” 

The Impact Scholars program is named for Andrew Youn ’06 MBA, ’19 H, founder of the One Acre Fund, which provides smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa with resources to grow crops and support their families. Youn’s Kellogg classmate, Matt Forti ’00, ’06 MBA, serves as managing director of the nonprofit. The scholars program was endowed by a generous gift from the Combe family, longtime benefactors of Kellogg. 

“Andrew Youn and Matt Forti are arguably the most successful graduates of our class and two of the most successful social entrepreneurs of our generation,” says Keech Combe Shetty ’99, ’06 MBA, who attended Kellogg with Youn and Forti and is the daughter of University Trustee Chris Combe ’70. “My family and I wanted to support like-minded, socially conscious changemakers to create the next generation of Andrews and Matts.” 

The next convening of scholars is scheduled for spring 2024. 

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