Kohler Center for Entrepreneurship

After Hours Speaker Series

When Compassion and Business Meet: The Aravind Eye Care System’s Story of Social Entrepreneurship

Pavi Mehta, Chief Storyteller, Avarind Eye Care System

Join us for the next installment of the Kohler Center for Entrepreneurship’s After Hours Speaker Series featuring Pavi Mehta of Aravind Eye Care System. Mehta will discuss Aravind's work to eliminate unnecessary blindness in India and the company's concept of letting patients choose whether to pay or not for treatment. The talk will focus not only on a unique business model but also the impact of social awareness on a for-profit business.

Tuesday, March 17
Alumni Memorial Union, Monaghan Ballroom
1442 W. Wisconsin Ave.
Milwaukee, WI.  53233
Campus map | Parking available at 16th street structure for $5

5:30-6:30 p.m.  - Networking hour (light appetizers and drinks provided)
6:30 p.m.  - Keynote speaker followed by audience Q&A

Free event, open to the public.  RSVP below to attend.

This event is co-sponsored by the Social Innovation Initiative

About Pavi Mehta
Pavithra (Pavi) Mehta  is an award-winning filmmaker, author, and the Chief Storyteller for the Aravind Eye Care System, an internationally renowned institution that works to eliminate preventable blindness in India. Her award-winning documentary and book, Infinite Vision, tell how the Aravind Eye Hospital defied conventional business logic with a socially-conscious business model, and became the largest provider of eye care on the planet. Mehta also serves on Board of Directors for the Aravind Eye Foundation and is the founder of Karma Kitchen and The Daily Good.

Established in 1976, the Aravind Eye Care System is considered one of the greatest examples of social innovation globally. Aravind was founded by Mehta’s great uncle, Dr. G. Venkataswamy, who wanted to eliminate preventable blindness in India, helping everyone from penniless farmers to the president of India. Aravind has treated more than 32 million patients and performed over 4 million surgeries since its beginning– a remarkable feat for a hospital system that lets patients choose whether to pay or not. Millions receive treatment for free, yet the organization remains self-reliant and sustainable. World-class treatments are delivered at a hundredth of what similar services cost in the rest of the world without compromising quality. Aravind proves that when compassion and business meet, it yields incredible results.

Please signup to attend.

  • Undergraduate student
  • Grad student
  • Faculty / staff
  • Alumni
  • Other / community member

Past speakers

Steven Wallace, Omanhene Cocoa Bean Company

Wallace spent the summer of 1978 in Ghana, West Africa as a high school foreign exchange student. He returned at the age of 29 to start The Omanhene Cocoa Bean Co. Omanhene is the first entity to sustain exports of gourmet chocolate made entirely in Africa. Wallace has been recognized by President Jimmy Carter and former ambassador Shirley Temple Black, among others, for this entrepreneurial accomplishment. He is featured in the recently published books, “Food Heroes” by Georgia Pellegrini and “Chocolate Nations” by Orla Ryan. Omanhene has been recognized by the United Nations Global Compact for its path-breaking business model and corporate citizenship.

John Stollenwerk

Former CEO, president and owner of Allen Edmonds Shoe Corporation

In 1980, Stollenwerk purchased the Wisconsin-based Allen Edmonds Shoe Corporation. During his time as president and CEO of Allen Edmonds, Stollenwerk showed that quality people and a quality product are integral elements in any successful business venture. During his After Hours session, Stollenwerk discusses his work at the shoe brand, as well as his commitment to keeping manufacturing in the United States. Stollenwerk has received numerous awards and honors during his career including being named a Marquette University Emeritus Trustee.

Steve Ausnit, pioneer of Ziploc

Ausnit discusses his six decades of business ventures, including the formation of Minigrip, Inc., which led to the development of the re-closable plastic bag. While retired from Minigrip, Ausnit remains an active entrepreneur, investing in various businesses around the world – he still holds 116 patents in his name and co-holds 67 more.