A Conversation With Noah Isserman
Noah Isserman led both his school’s soccer team and its award-winning high school newspaper with great distinction, fueling his interest in learning and storytelling. This experience further developed his desire for lifelong growth.
He joined Gates Cambridge seeking an intellectual community that appreciates innovative, purposeful student-led thinking. His research focuses on ways to finance civil society as well as exploring social innovation’s future.
Early Life and Education
Noah is the founder and chief architect of GPS Advisory, an organization which facilitates large projects with social goals in mind. Additionally, he teaches entrepreneurship courses on social innovation at University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana.
Isserman hails from Morgantown, West Virginia and attended college in Berkeley and Cambridge. His passion lies with exploring the relationships between individuals and purposeful communities which has informed his professional career.
He was directly involved with conceptualising and designing of the $48m multidisciplinary Siebel Center for Design – one of the world’s largest student-oriented design centres – as well as serving on its core working groups for Chicago’s Discover Partners Institute and Illinois Automated and Connected Track, the latter intended to revitalize rural communities surrounding a former US Air Force base.
Noah Isserman has founded, led or collaborated on multi-million dollar initiatives focused on student enterprise and innovation. Additionally, he has written books and published numerous articles about civil society. Additionally, he currently holds the title of Assistant Professor in both Business Administration and Social Work at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
At high school, he captained both soccer team and editor-in-chief of an award winning newspaper, an experience which profoundly shaped his views on collaboration and teamwork which have since become central components of his professional journey.
Noah developed a passion for storytelling, leading him to believe that successful startups require strong narratives. Noah also took an interest in venture philanthropy; in fact, his PhD research at Cambridge focused on this field.
Achievement and Honors
Noah is an accomplished entrepreneur, having founded and sold two successful businesses – WholeData LLC (acquired by the Upjohn Institute) and MAStorage Inc. He has provided strategy or advisory work for numerous startups, corporations, nonprofits and government agencies on their mission and messaging – typically at board level.
As a high school student, he captained his soccer team and served as editor-in-chief of an award-winning school newspaper. With his vast interests, Amherst College proved an ideal destination; here he created his own major – cognitive neuroscience – to satisfy these interests while studying the relationship between psychology, economics and legal jurisprudence.
He earned a degree with distinction and completed the University Honors Program, becoming part of its official record and appearing on transcripts and diplomas.
Noah is driven by his love of solving “fascinating, purposeful puzzles”, which serves as the cornerstone of his philosophy of social enterprise. It drives both his work with iVenture and Illinois Social Innovation initiative at University of Illinois as well as research into third sector organizations – specifically how these structures may fund planetary defense against asteroids.
His PhD thesis, awarded the Rudney Prize by ARNOVA, focused on how venture philanthropy can encourage new ideas by interviewing numerous CEOs and leaders of social enterprises aided by venture philanthropy funding.
Noah is an active entrepreneur, co-founding two profitable businesses which generate social and commercial value. Additionally, he has conducted strategy or advisory work for over 50 organizations, usually at board level.
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