Thursday, October 7

Digital Philanthropy Week – Day 4

Join us for this Digital Philanthropy Week session with Paul Donovan, Chief Economist, UBS Global Wealth Management, Keivan Stassun, Director, Frist Center for Autism and Innovation at Vanderbilt University and Kurt Schöffer, Group CEO, auticon.


Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL)

MEL can be a virtuous cycle of activity that runs throughout your philanthropy and benefits all your future goals. By constantly adapting and improving what you do, you can increase the impact you achieve through your philanthropy and get results more quickly.

Over the next decade, upwards of 35% of our clients and employees are going to be considered “neuroatypical’ and this population segment is rapidly growing. Fully addressing this with innovation and technology will be key to making an economic difference to both autistic talent and to many modern challenges that would benefit from a different perspective. Our speakers will also explore the importance of maximizing philanthropic partnerships through monitoring and evaluation to take program efforts to scale. 

Paul Donovan

Chief Economist, UBS Global Wealth Management

I am the Chief Economist of UBS Global Wealth Management. I believe passionately that economics is something everyone can and should understand. We all make economic decisions all of the time. The problem is that economists tend to wrap economics in jargon and equations. We do not need to do that. It is my job to help people realize what they probably already know – by developing and explaining the UBS economic view in a clear way. To do this, I publish research (most of which you can find here), make short videos, and appear in various print and broadcast media.

I tend to think of myself as a political economist, not a mathematical economist. I get very excited about lots of things in economics. Diversity, inflation, education, trade, inequality, sustainability and social change are some of the topics I am very enthusiastic about (to the point of writing books about them).

I joined UBS back in 1992 as an intern economist working in our investment bank. Decades later, I am still working as an economist at UBS. That probably says something about me, being an economist, working for UBS, or all three. As Chief Economist I sit on the Global Investment Committee. I am a UBS Opinion Leader, a member of UBS Pride, and (no doubt to the astonishment of my former art teacher at school) a member of the UBS Art Board. I am also part of the UBS Nobel Perspectives program, and a supporter of the UBS Women in Economics program.

I have an MA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Oxford University and an MSc in Financial Economics from the University of London. I am also an Honorary Fellow of St Anne’s College, Oxford and sit on their investment committee and development board. In my spare time, I am an amateur heavyweight boxer (prepared to defend my forecasts in the ring), a keen if very definitely amateur skier and a small scale farmer with apples, pears, and sheep.

Kurt Schöffer

Group CEO, auticon

Kurt Schöffer is the CEO of auticon, an IT & compliance consulting business exclusively employing autistic adults as IT consultants. He was one of auticon’s first investors and has been appointed CEO in 2013 to grow and expand the social enterprise. He is convinced that neurodiverse teams make a huge difference. Although building up a social enterprise is a major challenge he is intrigued by the idea of social projects in corporate environments, true to the motto: Donating money helps once; investments, active cooperation and knowledge transfer do it sustainably.

As an international entrepreneur Kurt possesses broad experience in global leadership in the areas of IT, energy and media: After completing his degree in business administration in Regensburg and starting out in controlling, he spent most of his career in leading positions in the computing industry, e.g. as CEO within an international Value Added Distributor for Enterprise Computing Solutions. He and his wife live near Munich, Germany. They have three adult children.

Keivan G. Stassun

Professor of Astrophysics and Director, Frist Center for Autism & Innovation, Vanderbilt University

Keivan G. Stassun, Ph.D. is the Stevenson Professor of Physics & Astronomy and Professor of Computer Science and Director, Frist Center for Autism & Innovation at Vanderbilt University.

Keivan Stassun is an astrophysicist whose research on stars and exoplanets has been published more than 400 times in academic journals. He also holds two patents – for a data visualization platform and an asteroid mining system – both invented with a team of neurodiverse students. The parent of an autistic teenager, and with the generous endowment support of the Frist family, in 2018 Stassun launched the Frist Center for Autism & Innovation at Vanderbilt, focused on engineering technologies and transforming workplaces, in support of and inspired by neurodiversity.

The Frist Center brings engineers, business scholars, and disabilities researchers together with experts in neuroscience and education to understand, maximize, and promote neurodiverse talent. From a strengths-based – as opposed to deficit-based – understanding of autism and neurodiversity, the Center sees opportunities for innovation in technology and in workplace practices. Primary areas of focus for the Frist Center’s work include: inventing and commercializing new technologies that enable autistic and other neurodiverse people to gain employment, succeed at work, and achieve their full potential; studying and understanding neurodiverse capabilities, and inventing and commercializing algorithms and systems that are inspired by those capabilities; developing policies, tools, trainings, and workplace practices that recognize and enlist neurodiverse people and talents in the workforce; demonstrating, documenting, and disseminating a community-based approach—including employers, self-advocates, researchers, policy makers, agencies, and organizations—to simultaneously enhance the bottom line for business and the quality of life for autistic individuals.