Dr. Lisa R. Fournier – Lenoir-Rhyne University

Assistant Professor of Business and Entrepreneurship

“You make me think!” is a common statement I hear from learners. I believe people have many of their own answers locked up inside of them. As a facilitator, my job is to help learners find those answers by guiding them to form their own questions and to seek their own answers. My teaching philosophy is a blend between the Socratic method and collaborative learning in both the classroom and online platforms.

I have over 25 years of experience in community-based businesses and emerging-growth companies across a variety of industries. My role in these start-ups was to implement (proof-of-concept stage)–forming the business and co-creating scalable solutions with customers, suppliers, investors, and development teams.

In 2009, I had a significant life-changing event when I became the caregiver of my parents. Reflection on this event and my years of start-up experience led me to explore how business can use profit for social and environmental good (social entrepreneurship). I am an early advocate of the benefit corporation (B-Corp) entity structure, and published one of the first books on Benefit Corporations: “The Barnabas Effect: Starting a Benefit Corporation to Renew Your Community.”

As a champion who believes in blending academic insights with practical experience, I wasn’t satisfied simply writing about benefit corporations, I had to start one. In 2013, I founded Norfolk Fair Trade Company (NFTCO), a benefit corporation designed to spark the inner confidence people need to start their own businesses. I ventured into designing, developing, and delivering a mentor-based, social entrepreneurship program for new entrepreneurs.

Today, I am designing and delivering experiential, immersive learning for universities and programs in entrepreneurship and innovation.

My Sessions

Panel 1: B Corps & Baking Impact in the DNA of Your Company

How does a CEO bake impact and mission into the DNA of a company so it is not superficial? One way is the B Corp certification. Hear from these panelists on their journey on becoming a “B” and how it helps them in attracting talent, capital and customers.