Forrest Firm 2018 Social Impact Challenge: Meet the Judges

Earlier this month, we announced the start of our third annual Social Impact Challenge (formerly known as the Non-Profit Challenge), a showcase for non-profits, faith-based organizations, and mission-driven businesses in North Carolina. This year’s challenge is for social entrepreneurs and community groups looking to get started, as well as those who want to take their organizations to the next level of impact.

We will accept submissions on our website until September 14. A select team of friends of the firm have volunteered to serve as judges for the challenge, and they will choose five winners (one from each of the five markets where we operate—Western NC, Charlotte, Triad, Triangle, NC Coast), as well as one grand prize winner. All winners will receive a package of services delivered pro bono by attorneys from the Forrest Firm, as well as one or more professional services offered by challenge partners Walk West (marketing), RevBoss (lead generation), Cloudwyze (technology),  Proposa (digital proposals), Creative Allies (branding), Pinnacle Financial Partners (banking), and Stancil (accounting).

Let’s meet this year’s Social Impact Challenge judges:

Jesica Averhart

Ms. Averhart is the Executive Director of Leadership Triangle, a Durham-based non-profit organization established in 1992 to provide leadership training while promoting regionalism across the separate communities of the Triangle (Durham, Wake, Orange and Chatham).  Prior to working with Leadership Triangle, she was the Director of Corporate Partnerships for the American Underground, serving over 250 early-stage technology companies. Jesica serves on boards of directors for multiple non-profits, including Prevent Child Abuse NC, Youth Villages, Durham YMCA and the Friends of the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University.

Keith Pigues

Mr. Pigues is the founder and President of strategic marketing consultancy Luminas Strategy, based in Research Triangle Park. He is a former senior executive and chief marketing officer at multiple Fortune 500 companies. In addition to his professional work, Keith has served in academia as a tenured, full professor of management, business school dean, and university senior administrative officer.  He currently serves on and chairs multiple boards, assisting growth companies and non-profit organizations accelerate profitable and sustainable growth, while guiding organizations to accomplish their mission and realize their vision.

Harvey Schmitt

Harvey Schmitt is an economic development consultant and the founder of Schmitt Consulting, based in Raleigh. He is President Emeritus of the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, where he served nearly 22 years as President and CEO.  During his career, he also led chambers of commerce in Tampa, Greenville, South Carolina, Jacksonville, and Dubuque, Iowa. Harvey is a current board member of Paragon Bank.

Janet Ward Black

Janet Ward Black is the founder and Managing Partner of Greensboro-based Ward Black Law,  one of the largest woman-owned law firms in the state. The firm focuses on litigation, veterans disability, divorce and family law, and other matters. She is a member of the North Carolina Bar Association and the C12 Group, a leadership development organization for Christian business owners.

Fay Horwitt

Fay Horwitt is the founder and Chief Visionary Officer for Rheos Human Capital, a Winston-Salem-based firm that designs entrepreneurial education. In addition, she serves as Executive Director of HUSTLE Winston-Salem, entrepreneurship hub for women, people of color, and underserved communities. Fay is the former Program Director of Venture Café, an organization that supports innovation in the Triad. She also founded innovateHER, an initiative centered on creating, equipping, and supporting local women entrepreneurs.

Garrett Tichy

Garrett Tichy is the founder and owner of Hygge Coworking, a fast-growing hub for Charlotte-area entrepreneurs with three Queen City locations. A developer by training, he also launched a software company, smpl, in 2017. The company’s software provides solutions, including member management, billing, and marketing, for coworking environments like Hygge.

Josh Dorfman

Josh Dorfman is the CEO of the Collider, a hub for climate entrepreneurship in Asheville. He has served in multiple roles as a catalyst in Asheville’s startup ecosystem, as Director of Entrepreneurship at Venture Asheville, Managing Director of angel investment group Asheville Angels, and on the board of directors at Mountain BizWorks.

Natalie Haskins English

Natalie Haskins English is the President and CEO of the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce. Prior to joining the Wilmington Chamber, she served on the executive leadership team of the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, as Chief Public Policy Officer and Senior Vice President of Public Policy.