Careers in Social Innovation

Social innovators are diverse and dynamic. They create change from within established organizations as intrapreneurs, through their own organizations as entrepreneurs and everywhere in between. Read on to see how and where social innovators are shaping a better world.  

Where Social Innovators Work

Organizations Focusing on Social Change

  • Foundations
  • Government Agencies
  • Grassroots Organizations
  • Impact Investing Firms

Organizations Creating Economic, Social and Environmental Value

  • Social Enterprises
  • B-Corps
  • Hybrid Businesses

Corporate Departments Giving Back to Society

  • Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Sustainable Development
  • Community Engagement
  • Environmental Sustainability 

Local, State and National Governments

  • Public-Private Partnerships
  • Departments and Programs Serving the Public
  • Policy Offices

What Social Innovators Do 

Eric Caldwell City of San Diego Economic Development Director

Erik Caldwell

Why is Erik Caldwell a social innovator?

Erik leads change by developing strategies for supporting and retaining businesses that contribute positively to the local economy and create social value in the San Diego community.

In March of 2015, Erik Caldwell was appointed Director of the City of San Diego’s newly created Economic Development Department; with the goal of strengthening communities by establishing strategic partnerships that cultivate a sustainable and dynamic economy. Erik leads change by identifying and developing innovative ways to achieve community revitalization and promote economic opportunity among San Diego’s diverse populations. Erik and his team have supported the growth of industry clusters in areas such as cleantech, cybersecurity, defense, life science, and maritime. Over the last two years, he has defined strategies for supporting and retaining businesses that contribute positively to the local economy and create social value in the community. The Department has established collaborations with Tijuana to gather data and identify vital civic issues impacting citizens along the region. The learning from this partnership has allowed the team to develop initiatives allowing for more business opportunities on both sides of the border.

Reginald Jones

Why is Reginald Jones a social innovator?

Reginald and his team implement programs that increase access to education, support people in finding fruitful career opportunities, develop community leaders and celebrate diversity through arts and culture.

Reginald joined the Jacobs Center in 2012 to oversee the greater mission and goals of an organization dedicated to nurturing innovations that expand the prosperity and wellbeing of less advantaged communities. As a social innovator, Reginald works hand in hand with community members to recognize areas where communities can improve by implementing initiatives with scalable impact.

Reginald Jones on a TEDx flyer that reads "TEDx San Diego, x= independently organized TED event" and at the bottom of the image reads "Reginald Jones, President & CEO of the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation"

President & CEO of Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation

Angela Titus Chief Strategist for CauseWay

Angela Titus

Why is Angela Titus a social innovator?

Angela works with Fortune 500 companies to build charitable strategies, bring inclusive and innovative thinking to product marketing, and reposition brands for bigger social and economic impact.

Angela, Chief Strategist for CauseWay, has always had a desire to combine her business expertise and personal passion to make a positive impact on the lives of others. She believes business can be a powerful force for positive social change. Her vision is to get more companies to simultaneously create social and economic value. She has had a successful corporate career that includes brand management and product development for Gillette, Right Guard, and Office Depot. And she has also been involved in the social sector working with organizations such as the Girl Scouts, United Way and the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation.


Phil Graves 

Why is Phil Graves a social innovator?

Phil works to prove that business–and investments–can be engines for positive change.

Tin Shed Ventures is Patagonia’s corporate venture capital fund, which invests in start-ups offering solutions to the environmental crisis. In Phil’s view, the “…end game is to fund the next generation of responsible business owners.”  Every day, Phil determines which socially responsible business models and entrepreneurs should receive financial capital—placing environmental and social returns on equal footing with financial returns. The eco-innovations funded are integrated into Patagonia’s supply chain and bring a startup mentality to the organization. Outside of work Phil enjoys surfing, skiing, and exploring wild places with his wife and three young daughters.

Phil Graves Managing Director at Tin Shed
Jason (Jay) Buys Co-founder of Visceral

Jason (Jay) Buys

Why is Jay Buys a social innovator?

Jason co-founded a company designed to increase the impact of nonprofits and business with social value through the implementation of technology.

Jay first touched a computer in grade school and was immediately hooked. While his parents didn’t fully understand this obsession, they were wildly supportive and bought a Commodore 64 for the home. Jay began programming at age eight and his love for coding defined his path through high school, college and into the workplace. Jay and his partner Matthew Billingsley founded Visceral. Visceral’s model demonstrates that being a consulting business that adds social value works in a competitive environment. After co-founding Visceral he continues to use his skills to benefit organizations that are working hard to make the world a better place. He is a founding member of the San Diego Leadership Alliance, a member of Conscious Capitalism San Diego, and co-author of the book “Repurpose: Be Good At What You Do & Do Something Good”.