Social entrepreneur Adam Braun will address the Class of 2014 at Sonoma State University's Commencement exercises on May 10 at the campus lakes area. Braun will speak at both the 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. ceremonies.
Braun began working at hedge funds at the age of sixteen, hurtling towards a career on Wall Street, until he met a young boy begging on the streets of India and asked him what he wanted most in the world. The answer--"A pencil."
Braun eventually left a dream job at Bain & Company to launch Pencils of Promise, which In four short years, has built close to 200 schools around the world and delivered over 12 million educational hours.
In 2013, it was awarded "Education Organization of the Year" through the Empact 100 showcase held in the United Nations General Assembly Hall.
Pencils of Promise was founded using what Braun coined as a "For-Purpose" approach to blending nonprofit idealism with for-profit business principles. In 2012, he was named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 List.
Pencils of Promise has been identified as one of the world's most impactful new nonprofits by luminaries such as Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu, President Bill Clinton, Richard Branson, and Barbara Walters.
Braun graduated magna cum laude with a triple major from Brown University and has been featured at Clinton Global Initiative, Google Zeitgeist and Wired Magazine's 2012 Smart List of 50 People Changing the World.
He was selected as one of the first ten World Economic Forum Global Shapers and now speaks often on leadership, innovations in education, managing millennials, and the rise of purpose-driven lives and careers.
He is a leader in social media as well, having amassed over 300,000 personal followers. His blogs are regularly shared by thousands of readers, and his debut book, The Promise of a Pencil: How an Ordinary Person Can Create Extraordinary Change, was recently released by Simon & Schuster in March 2014 and debuted at #2 on the New York Times Best-Seller List.