Our Story

The Social Innovations Lab is an outgrowth of the popular Social Innovations Journal founded by Tine Hansen-Turton and Nicholas Torres.  Given the success of the Social Innovations Journal, social sector leaders encouraged us to create a Social Innovations Institute & Lab to give social innovators and entrepreneurs the tools and knowledge to launch and scale their ideas.

Team and Advisors


Nicholas Torres, M.Ed. has 20+ years of experience in executive management and social enterprise. He built and led one of the largest and nationally recognized human services organizations, founded/governed/managed two charter schools, founded a nonprofit focused on scaling high impact social enterprises, (i.e. school based health centers and high school/college access and completion pipelines) and founded a social sector innovative thinking management consulting organization.  Currently, he is a Co-Founder/CEO of Social Innovations Partners which publishes the Social Innovations Journal and manages the Social Innovations Institute & Lab.  He believes SOCIAL INNOVATORS AND ENTREPRENEURS will be the catalyst to increasing social impact and improving the world within we all live.  For this reason, he dedicates himself to giving social innovators and entrepreneurs the tools and knowledge to become sharper, smarter, and better versions of themselves.

Tine Hansen-Turton, MGA,JD, FCPP, FAAN is a social entrepreneur and successful policy advocate who has started several national and global social and public innovations in the health and human services sector, including the successful retail clinic industry and nurse-led care model. She has positioned nurse practitioners as primary care providers globally and is known for her success in directing the policy strategy for the consumer-driven retail clinics and nurse-led care. Tine Hansen-Turton serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of Woods Services, a national non-profit leading the nation in care and policy for our Nation’s most vulnerable and exceptional people.

Nate A. Bronstein: M.S.Ed., M.S.S.P., M.P.A.  earned his Masters in Education, Public Administration and the Science of Social Policy respectively, from the University of Pennsylvania. Nate has extensive experience as a consultant on state-wide policy initiatives as well as political campaign strategy and management.  He has spent the last three years working as both the Co-Founder and CEO of one DC-based startup and one Philadelphia-based startup working to solve inefficiencies in how people connect, organize and manage their resources.  Nate has extensive experience in the social good startup space having successfully launched a startup and consulted on several others, as well as having actively participated in 19 different accelerators and incubators.  Nate has written for the chronicle of social change and is currently serving on the board of Philadelphia’s oldest and largest music school.  He is a Philadelphia native and has a long history of youth civic engagement having become a Truman Finalist, the campaign manager of a political campaign and the student body president of American University in 2011.


David Castro a graduate of Haverford College (1983) and the University of Pennsylvania Law School (1986). In 1993, following a successful career both in private practice and as a Philadelphia prosecutor, David was awarded a Kellogg Foundation National Leadership Program Fellowship. As a Kellogg Fellow he studied community leadership and its relation to improving quality of life. Based upon this work, working with his mentor and colleague Lynne Abraham, in 1995 David founded I-LEAD, Inc., a school for community leadership development that has served several thousand emerging leaders across Pennsylvania through its affiliation with Pennsylvania Weed and Seed, and its development of an accredited Associate Degree program in Leadership. David is also one of the founders of I-LEAD Charter School, a high school that combines leadership development with academic remediation serving at-risk high school age youth in the economically challenged city of Reading, Pennsylvania. In 2002, in recognition of David‘s work on behalf of Pennsylvania communities, he was awarded an Eisenhower Fellowship, which he used to study leadership and its impact on economic and community development in Turkey. In 2009, in recognition of David‘s work in community leadership and education, he was named an Ashoka Fellow by the Ashoka Global Funds for Social Change. David is a teacher at heart, frequently consulted as a speaker, serving on panel discussions and contributing regularly via blogs and articles posted through the Ashoka network, the Kellogg Leadership Alliance and the Philadelphia Social Innovations Journal. David is the author of Genership: Beyond Leadership Toward Liberating the Creative Soul.

Christopher Cresswell is owner and manager of New Enterprise Ventures. Christopher has over 22 years of health care experience building health care companies, new business models, strategic partnerships and joint ventures across many of health care’s disciplines. The company is comprised of a global network of over 85 industry experts and professionals. Each client engagement is matched to the most appropriate New Enterprise Venture’s business executive or team of executives with specialized skills, relationships and expertise.

Peter Hotz is a seasoned entrepreneur, business leader, investor and mentor who thrives on supporting emerging health care businesses to achieve their potential. He has exceptional broad-based knowledge in the health care field, with distinctive experience in digital health, urgent care and retail medicine, integrated delivery systems, workplace health & wellness, ambulatory care practice management, pharmacy services, fitness & wellness, workers’ compensation, specialty managed care and international health care. He has comprehensive P&L and organizational leadership skills and background in business development and implementation, acquisition-driven and organic growth, corporate culture and human capital development and strategic and operational leadership in organizations ranging from startups to over $600 million in revenues. Peter has a progressive history of driving results, mentoring leaders and board-level interaction in organizations ranging from start-ups to large public companies, including extensive involvement with PE/VC firms. Peter’s specialties include Business Development & Sales Management, Financial Advisory Services [M&A representation, Due Diligence, Business Plan Preparation], Interim & Turnaround Management, Strategic & Operational Consulting, and Executive Recruitment.

Heather Falck is manager of the Independence Blue Cross Foundation where she develops, leads, coordinates, and engages in activities that support and promote the goals, mission, and strategic direction of the IBC Foundation. She manages $6 million in annual grant funding through IBC Foundation programs and initiatives that advance caring for the region’s most vulnerable, enhance health care delivery, and build healthy communities.

Kevin Leigh is Senior Director at BNY Mellon Wealth Management, which is one of the nation’s top 10 wealth managers. Combining the strengths of a global financial leader with the care and commitment of a small firm, Kevin and his team draw upon leadership in all wealth management disciplines, offering an extensive range of resources that are customized to serve the unique needs of each client. Kevin is a Certified Exit Planning Advisor and international financial-services executive with 24 years of industry experience. Starting with capitalizing emerging growth companies to working with entrepreneurs, business owners and professionals on inorganic and organic growth strategies to realizing the value created in the sale of their business. At BNY Mellon Kevin helps those same successful people ponder what to do next and stay entrepreneurial while preserving the wealth they have created for themselves, their families and generations to come.

Gavin Kerr is president and CEO of Inglis. He is a seasoned executive and values-based leader with demonstrated strategic insight and expertise in building high-performance teams. He is deeply committed to enhancing the independence of people with disabilities. Gavin has held executive leadership positions at Mercy Health System, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Keystone Mercy Health Plan, AssetTRADE.com, University of Pennsylvania Health System, PepsiCo and MONY Financial Services. His strong commitment to volunteerism and social equity began with his Peace Corps service in 1979. He is co-founder of Ryan’s Case for Smiles, serves on the education committee for St. John’s Presbyterian Church and leads the Masters Development Program for Whitemarsh Boat Club. Gavin is also on the editorial board of the Philadelphia Social Innovations Journal and is a Fellow of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. His previous volunteer board associations include Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, the Bone Tumor Foundation, the Center for Adapted Sports and the Finance Committee of the PA Pediatric Palliative and Hospice Care Task Force.

Mike Pearson, is the President of Union Packaging, which he founded in 1999 with the goal of bringing jobs and greater economic opportunities to the greater Philadelphia region. A true entrepreneur, Mike left Westvaco as a promising junior executive to strike out on his own. Identifying the need in the QSR Market for a quality Minority Supplier, Mike established Providence Packaging, the company that would lead to Union Packaging. Now the sole owner of U.P., Mike is leading the company forward, writing the next chapter of what has already been an exciting story. Career highlights include being an Army Airborne Ranger; Member of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce; Committee Member of the United Way; and Member of the prestigious Committee of Seventy. He has special certifications from Wharton Business School; Kellogg Business School; Six Sigma; and Lean Manufacturing.

Joseph Pyle, MA, is the President of the Thomas J. Scattergood Behavioral Health Foundation. Mr. Pyle has more than 20 years of experience in behavioral health, serving eight years as a CEO at various institutions including MeadowWood Behavioral Health System, Northwestern Institute of Psychiatry, Malvern Institute, and Friends Hospital. Mr. Pyle joined Friends Hospital in 1999, and has served as part of the Hospital’s executive team since that time. In 2004, he was named interim Chief Executive Officer; during his tenure, he worked with the Board of Managers to seek, evaluate, and select a joint venture partner that would preserve both the Hospital’s patient care operations and continue the Board’s nearly 200-year old mission. After the Board selected a partner, Mr. Pyle oversaw the legal transaction and guided the Hospital staff and community through the change process which culminated in June 2005. At the conclusion of the transaction, he was named Interim Executive Director of the Thomas Scattergood Behavioral Health Foundation, which was created from a portion of the assets of the conversion of Friends Hospital to a joint venture. As of September 2006, he was appointed President of the Foundation. Prior to his administrative positions, Mr. Pyle held various clinical positions including Clinical Director of Adolescent Services at MeadowWood Hospital and psycho-educational specialist at Philadelphia Child Guidance Clinic. He also held special education teaching positions in the Pennsauken, New Jersey and Montgomery County Intermediate Unit school systems. Mr. Pyle sits on several nonprofit Boards: the Advisory Board for the Philadelphia Chapter of Outward Bound, the Board of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society and as a member of the Flower Show Executive Committee, as well as the Board of the Family Planning Council. He also served on the Boards of the National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems and the Delaware Valley Health Care Council. A graduate of LaSalle University, Mr. Pyle holds a Master’s Degree from Glassboro State College in School Psychology. He lives in Chester County with his wife and their two sons.

James (Jim) Rowley founded Lincoln Benefits Group (LBG) in 1987 and served as its Chief Executive. He specializes in comprehensive planning, management and administration of employee benefit programs as well as consulting services for retirement programs while acting as advocate for both the employer and the employee. LBG’s core competency is the design and administration of 403(b) plans, ERISA and non-ERISA. Based in the Philadelphia area, LBG was a provider of employee benefit programs for various employer groups in the Greater Philadelphia area. LBG’s primary marketplace was community-based and nonprofit organizations, as well as many colleges, universities and hospitals. In 2008, LBG was acquired by NFP, an international employee benefit and financial service firm headquartered in Manhattan. Jim serves as a Managing Partner for NFP. Prior to founding LBG, Jim was Executive Director of the Office of Employment & Training for Philadelphia, supervising many initiatives, like the Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment program. He also served as a consultant with the University of Pennsylvania School of Behavioral & Management Sciences. Jim is a Past President of the National TSA Association, the trade association for nonprofit retirement programs. In addition to serving on the Board of the Mercy Volunteer Corp & Hope Partnership for Education, Jim has served on the Boards of the Greater Philadelphia Urban Affairs Coalition’s Education Children and Youth Committee and the TAIG Foundation. Jim leads National Financial Partner’s (NFP) national 403(b) practice. Jim has earned the Accredited Investment Fiduciary Auditor™ (AIFA™) professional designation, awarded by the Center for Fiduciary Studies, which is associated with the University of Pittsburgh, and certifies him to conduct investment fiduciary audits and/or reviews. He holds a BA from LaSalle University and holds securities registrations as a Registered Principal through NFP Securities, Inc. Jim is married with six daughters, one son and 10 grandchildren.

Sandy Festa Ryan RN, MSN, CPNP, FCPP,FAANP, FAAN is Vice President, Walmart Care Clinics, leading efforts to support Walmart’s mission to deliver quality health care at an everyday low price, and responsible for all aspects of the clinic business. A strategic senior health care executive with more than 25 years of health care and leadership experience in various settings. Prior to Joining Walmart, Sandy served as the Chief Clinical Officer for CareCam Health Systems, a digital health company focused on using innovative mobile technology to drive decreased health care costs and improved clinical outcomes, where she was responsible for all clinical aspects in the development and design of a systems platform to meet the needs of patients, providers and health care systems. Sandy was one of six founding officers of pioneering retail health clinic operator Take Care Health Systems, which was acquired by Walgreens in 2007, where she maintained operational and clinical leadership of over 400 convenient care clinics nationally. At Walgreens she played an integral role in the development and implementation of integrated technology, quality assurance programs, and evidenced-based guidelines to create a consistent and unprecedented patient-focused experience for those who sought treatment. Sandy served as the first chief nurse practitioner officer of the convenient care industry. Sandy is a highly decorated Air Force officer recognized for her leadership. Her accolades include: recipient of the Nancy Sharp Cutting Edge Award by the American College of Nurse Practitioners; first NP inducted as Fellow of Philadelphia College of Physicians; Fellow of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners; Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing; 2011 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Executive Nurse Fellow Alumnus; Convenient Care industry recipient of the Loretta Ford Award. Sandy earned a B.S.N. from Niagara University, and an M.S.N. from Arizona State University.

Frank Shaffer, EdD, RN, Faan, began his nursing career as the first male graduate from the Mercer Hospital School of Nursing. Today, he is the chief executive officer (CEO) of The Commission of Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) International, expanding and diversifying their scope of services and influencing healthcare on a global level. Along the way, Frank’s career has been filled with unique experiences, all guided and influenced by his passion for learning (learning for himself and helping others learn), collaboration at all levels (one to one, between organizations, and between health-care professions), building relationships, and moving nursing forward in all practice settings.

Anne Callan is the Chief Operating Officer of the Public Health Fund, a public charity that is an affiliate and support organization of PHMC. Anne has helped create the vision and infrastructure for the fund over the past five years. ODL and the Public Health Fund intersect in an approach to invest in resources that increases PHMC’s impact internally and externally. Anne is also the Managing Director of Organizational Development and Learning (ODL), Anne oversees internal workforce development, academic partnerships with universities for master’s level programs, cultural initiatives and the worksite wellness programming at PHMC. To realize ODL’s vision of developing PHMC’s diverse and talented workforce, Anne manages a range of activities, including live trainings, learning and networking programs, oversight for PHMC U and all-staff initiatives like the annual United Way campaign.  Anne received a B.A. in English from Georgetown University and a Master’s in Public Health from Drexel University.

Laura Kind McKenna, Patricia Kind Foundation.  Laura was trained as a family nurse practitioner with a bachelor of science degree in nursing from American University and a master’s degree in nursing from the University of Pennsylvania, Laura Kind McKenna has long been committed to improving the health of her community. She served for twelve years as a nurse practitioner and director of student health at La Salle University. Then in 1998, with four children at home, she was presented with the unique opportunity to run the operations of The Patricia Kind Family Foundation—her family’s foundation, recently established with a gift from the estates of her grandparents, Hedwig and Arnold Louis van Ameringen, and named for her mother. She stepped down as the Managing Trustee in 2016.

Steve Tremitiere is Founder and CEO of GrayHare Ventures.  Steve has 30 years of experience in strategic business development across a wide range of industries with focus on health and technology and has extensive background working with startups and new business initiatives.  Steve worked closely with Disney, FedEx, Delta, Southwest Airlines and others to pioneer early mobile technology innovations.  Steve is the co-founder of Roberto’s Kids, a non profit providing sporting good to kids in the United States and Latin America, and serves on board for socially conscious organizations, including WISER, a nonprofit school based in Kenya which holistically improves health, education, and economic outcomes for girls, particularly those orphaned by AIDS; SEEDS Together, a microfinance NGO in West Africa; and Everyone On, a national nonprofit committed to providing high-speed internet access to underserved populations