Social Entrepreneurism: The New Face of American Innovation
, Founder and Chief Shoe Giver of TOMS
October 20, 2016 / 3pm | UMFA-Dumke Auditorium 

How do you turn ideas into great businesses? And how do you create businesses that people love, and love to talk about? In this keynote, serial entrepreneur Blake Mycoskie shares his secrets for starting, growing, and sustaining new businesses. Before TOMS, Mycoskie ran a successful national campus laundry service, sold a media company to Clear Channel, and ran an online driving school featuring hybrid cars. Where did each idea come from, and what is the common thread connecting their success?

With infectious enthusiasm, hard-won lessons, and a generous sense of encouragement, Mycoskie lets you in on the proven tactics he's used to become one of the new faces of American entrepreneurism.

Event is free and open to the public. Limited seating - seating is first come, first served.


TOMS' humble beginnings happened unintentionally: While traveling in Argentina in 2006, Blake witnessed the hardships faced by children growing up without shoes. His solution to the problem was simple, yet revolutionary: to create a for-profit business that was sustainable and not reliant on donations. Blake's vision soon turned into the One for One business model - providing the powerful foundation for TOMS.

Over the course of its first five years, TOMS provided millions of new shoes to children through humanitarian organizations. But Blake recognized other vital needs during his travels and saw that One for One could be applied to more than shoes. In 2011, he developed TOMS Eyewear, helping restore sight to a person in need with every pair purchased. As he learned more about international development, Blake saw the opportunity to address two vital needs in underserved communities; jobs and clean water. In 2014, Blake launched TOMS Roasting Co., a direct-trade, premium coffee line that helps provide clean water to communities in need.

To date, TOMS Shoes has given over 35 million pairs of new shoes to children in need since 2006. TOMS Eyewear has helped to restore sight to over 250,000 people in need since its launch in 2011.

With TOMS Roasting Company, every bag of coffee purchased will provide 140 liters of clean water to someone in need. 

In the fall of 2011, Blake released his first book, Start Something That Matters, offering his own story of inspiration and the power of incorporating giving into business. The book became a New York Times best-seller. More importantly, it is Blake's hope that Start Something That Matters inspires others to turn their passion and dreams into a reality.

Blake is an avid reader and traveler. He is passionate about inspiring young people to help make a better tomorrow, encouraging them to include giving in everything they do. His hope is to see a future full of social-minded businesses and consumers.

Blake's unique approach to business has awarded him with numerous accolades. In 2009, Blake received the Secretary of State's 2009 Award of Corporate Excellence (ACE). At the Clinton Global Initiative University plenary session, former President Clinton introduced Blake to the audience as "one of the most interesting entrepreneurs (I've) ever met."

People featured Blake in its "Heroes Among Us" section, and TOMS Shoes was featured in the Bill Gates Time article "How to Fix Capitalism." In 2011, Blake was named on Fortune's "40 Under 40" list, recognizing him as one of the top young businessmen in the world. USA Today also named him one of the five best communicators in the world earlier this year.

For more information about this event, please contact Beth Tracy at 801-581-7989 or

Launched in 2007, the World Leaders Lecture Forum brings to Utah individuals of international stature and global impact whose influence shapes world events. The series serves as a catalyst for discussion of global concerns with both immediate and long-term consequences and enables students and the general public to become socially, politically, and intellectually focused on events beyond America's borders. Past lecturers include human rights activist John Prendergast, former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell, Nobel Peace Prize Laureates Mohamed ElBaradei and Shirin Ebadi, former Doctors Without Borders President James Orbinski, former Columbian President C├ęsar Gaviria, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, former Secretary General NATO and former Danish Prime Minsiter Anders Fogh Rasmussen.


Last Updated: 8/26/16