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Leading Global Business Executives Address UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals

NFTE convenes industry panel exploring how young innovators and entrepreneurs can bring about meaningful change in the world

Published 11-25-19

Submitted by Moody's Corporation

Moderator Mark Zandi of Moody's Analytics with panelists Christiani Franck of EY, Corneil Montgomery of Bank of the West, Kelly Joscelyne of Mastercard, Dustin Ling of Citi, and Julie Vennewitz-Pierce of PayPal at the NFTE World Series of Innovation celeb

Hosted by NFTE (Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship), executives from six leading companies participated in a panel discussion yesterday evening at The Millennium Hilton at One UN Plaza. The event kicked off NFTE’s annual celebration of Global Entrepreneurship Week and recognized participants in NFTE’s World Series of Innovation, a global competition that challenges young people to develop innovative ideas to advance the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).

Presented by Citi Foundation and Moody’s Corporation, with support from EY, PayPal, Mastercard, Bank of the West, and Intuit Education, last night’s industry panel explored the role of entrepreneurial problem-solving in addressing the most serious issues facing humanity.

Moderator Mark Zandi, Chief Economist of Moody’s Analytics, led a discussion among panelists including:

  • Dustin Ling, Director, Global Public Sector Coverage, Citi Banking, Capital Markets & Advisory

  • Kelly Joscelyne, Chief Talent Officer, Mastercard

  • Christiani Franck, Director, Diversity and Inclusion Leader, Transaction Advisory Services, EY

  • Julie Vennewitz-Pierce, Director, PayPal Gives

  • Dr. Corneil Montgomery, Head of Community Impact, Corporate Social Responsibility Group, Bank of the West

NFTE’s World Series of Innovation is an online global innovation challenge series that invites young people to use design thinking and entrepreneurial problem solving to address pressing challenges – such as advancing the UN SDGs.

“As we look at the issues facing our nation and world today, it becomes clear that it’s more important than ever to bring young people into the conversation. We developed the World Series of Innovation as a way to focus youth innovation on impact entrepreneurism,” said Dr. J.D. LaRock, NFTE’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “This gathering of leading industry voices provides guidance to young entrepreneurs who are committed to making a difference through their innovative ideas. We’re grateful to the companies who support the World Series of Innovation and applaud their commitment to developing the entrepreneurial mindset of the next generation. The young entrepreneurs inspired by a World Series of Innovation challenge today will be the leaders developing solutions that change the world tomorrow.”

The panel provided a platform to explore global issues like gender discrimination, poverty, and limited education. The panelists fielded questions about ways the entrepreneurial landscape can address these problems by creating greater economic opportunity and better access to limited resources among those who lack representation and formal networks.

“Young people are an inspirational source of innovation for developing solutions to the global challenges we face today,” said Citi’s Dustin Ling, who spoke on the panel. “Citi and the Citi Foundation are proud to support NFTE’s World Series of Innovation and empower young people by elevating and investing in new ideas and solutions.”

“Moody’s is committed to empowering people with financial knowledge, activating an environmentally sustainable future, and helping young people reach their potential, which is why our partnership with NFTE is a natural fit,” said Gus Harris, Executive Director of Moody’s Analytics. “Beyond the sponsorship, Moody’s employees volunteer as judges, coaches, and guest speakers, which enables us to observe the creativity, energy, and potential of the students firsthand.”

“There is a significant disparity between the resources currently allocated to advancing the SDGs and what’s truly necessary to achieve them – the financing gap is $2.5 trillion per year,” said Mark Zandi of Moody's. “Through our support of the World Series of Innovation, we are contributing to broader collective efforts by helping to prepare our leaders of tomorrow with the right skills and mindsets to approach these critical issues.”

NFTE launched a new set of nine World Series of Innovation challenges this fall. They include:

The competition is open to young people ages 13-24, who are invited to submit innovative ideas for tackling global issues such as advancing the SDGs. There's an opportunity to win cash prizes and gain publicity for their ideas. The deadline for entries in the current challenge series is December 16. Winners will be announced in the spring.

To learn more about the competition, visit

About NFTE

NFTE (Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship) is the leading educational nonprofit focused on teaching startup skills and activating the entrepreneurial mindset in young people from under-resourced communities. Research shows the entrepreneurial mindset—a set of skills including initiative, self-reliance, adaptability, creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, communication, and collaboration—leads to lifelong success. Empowered by the entrepreneurial mindset and equipped with the business and academic skills NFTE teaches, program alumni are prepared to thrive. NFTE works with schools and community partners across the U.S. through its nationwide network of program offices. Alliances with global youth development organizations bring NFTE programs to additional students internationally. NFTE reaches more than 100,000 young people annually and has served well over a million students since its founding. Learn more at

About Citi Foundation

The Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress and improve the lives of people in low-income communities around the world. We invest in efforts that increase financial inclusion, catalyze job opportunities for youth, and reimagine approaches to building economically vibrant cities. The Citi Foundation's “More than Philanthropy” approach leverages the enormous expertise of Citi and its people to fulfill our mission and drive thought leadership and innovation. For more information, visit

About Moody’s Corporation

Moody's is an essential component of the global capital markets, providing credit ratings, research, tools and analysis that contribute to transparent and integrated financial markets. Moody’s Corporation (NYSE:MCO) is the parent company of Moody's Investors Service, which provides credit ratings and research covering debt instruments and securities, and Moody's Analytics, which offers leading-edge software, advisory services and research for credit and economic analysis and financial risk management. The corporation, which reported revenue of $4.4 billion in 2018, employs approximately 10,900 people worldwide and maintains a presence in 44 countries. Further information is available at


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