Strengthen Your Community in Minnesota

ChangeX is a platform of proven innovations from across the world. Our mission is to build community wellbeing by unleashing the potential of changemakers everywhere.

Our Team

Based in Minneapolis and Dublin, Ireland we are a small team of entrepreneurs passionate about scaling proven social innovations and making change easy.

  • Paul O'Hara Founder/CEO

    Before starting ChangeX, Paul was director of Ashoka in Europe, who have invested over $50M building the field of social entrepreneurship, backing 400 social innovators across the continent. Paul is also founder of Change Nation, a successful platform that accelerates the spread of proven solutions to societies’ challenges by building local demand. A business graduate, he previously worked at Unilever and Cadbury.

  • Niamh McKenna Head of Impact

    A graduate of NUI Galway, Niamh spent four years consulting in the Financial Services department of PwC Dublin before completing a Masters in International Management in Trinity College Dublin, specializing in social entrepreneurship. Niamh spent a year working with Social Entrepreneurs Ireland before joining ChangeX as the first full time team member in January 2014.

  • Sean Hanly CTO

    Sean Hanly is CEO of Ticketsolve and co-founder of Exoftware and Ticketsolve Ltd. Sean is an industry-leading expert in maximising Agile processes for profit with over a decade of senior management experience in software companies. He leads the product team at Ticketsolve as well as managing key client relationships. With his direction, Ticketsolve is continuously breaking new ground in ticketing that delivers significant benefits to its clients. Prior to Exoftware and Ticketsolve, Sean has also managed software teams at companies such as Allied Irish Bank, American Management Systems and Jeffries and Co.

  • Daniel Paul Developer

    Daniel is an entrepreneur passionate about all things web & tech. He has been building websites since he was a teenager and is looking back on over 6 years experience building products and services as a full stack developer. He last worked on and his own startup Idea Starter, Ireland's multiuniversity student entrepreneurial community.

  • Niall O'Hara Growth Lead

    Before joining ChangeX Niall founded Yomojo, a digital communications agency focused on building online communities to empower offline citizen participation. Over the last 18 months he has worked on mobilising public support and involvement in Galway’s successful bid to become the European Capital of Culture 2020. Niall completed a degree in Civil Engineering and a Masters in Structural Engineering before deciding to focus his skills on social impact through growth hacking and community building.

  • Katie Smith Operations Lead

    Before joining ChangeX Katie worked with the Mary Robinson Foundation - Climate Justice on securing global justice for people vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Previously she spent two years with Web Summit, focussing on partner relations and event management at global tech conferences. Katie holds a degree in Neuroscience and a Masters in Leadership for Sustainable Development.

  • Jen Aspengren Minnesota Director

    Before joining ChangeX, Jen worked with Ashoka's United States team where, most recently, she did search and selection for Ashoka Fellows and staff. She is passionate about empowering people to be changemakers throughout their lives, and supporting those on the changemaking path. A graduate of the Humphrey Institute of the University of Minnesota, Jen holds a Masters of Public Policy. She also serves as the board chair for Alia, an organization focused on transforming the U.S. foster care system.

  • Brendan Dunford Offline Communities

    Brendan founded the Burren Life Project, an initiative that places farmers at the creative center of developing and delivering key conservation actions. In 2001, he completed a doctorate on the impact of farming on the heritage of the Burren and is co-founder of landscape charity, Burren Beo Trust. He is an Ashoka Fellow and has extensive experience, knowledge and networks in the Burren region.

  • Julia Hildebrand Head of Community

    Julia has a background in journalism. Before joining ChangeX she was Social Media Manager at Germany’s international broadcaster Deutsche Welle. She led several projects aiming to engage audiences through social media. Julia is passionate about community building, storytelling, user-centered design and everything DIY.

  • Robson Mafra Developer

    Robson is a software engineer and technology enthusiast. He has ten years of experience helping companies and startups to build their dreams. He believes that education has the power to change the world and supports Deaf education in Sign Language at Surdo para Surdo.

  • Advisors and Investors

    • Hamse
      Hamse Warfa

      Hamse is a social entrepreneur and the founder and Principal of TAYO Consulting Group LLC, a professional services firm comprised of cross-sector experts with broad and deep experience in human development and poverty solutions. Hamse is connected to local, national and global networks of human development professionals, thought-leaders and policy experts.

    • Dana
      Dana Mortenson

      Dana has dedicated her professional life to educating and engaging youth in community and world affairs, to close the global competence gap in American education. Her deep belief in the transformative power of global education to contribute to peace, justice and equity on a global scale led her to co-found World Savvy in 2002. She has since led the organization through extensive growth and expansion –reaching more than 405,000 students and nearly 3,000 educators from three offices nationwide.

    • Vayong
      Vayong Moua

      Vayong Moua is a Senior Advocacy and Health Equity Principal at the Center for Prevention at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota. He has also held positions at the American Cancer Society and Achieve! Minneapolis. He has worked with Minneapolis Public Schools as a Story Teller working with the program to Preserve Culture Through Story Telling.

    • Toni
      Commissioner Toni Carter

      Prior to her election to the Ramsey County Board of Commissioners, Toni Carter served as a member and chair of the Saint Paul Board of Education. Active in community building for over 30 years, Commissioner Carter has served on numerous community boards, including the Saint Paul Planning Commission, the Metropolitan Area Library Service Agency (MELSA), ARTS-Us, the Walker West Music Academy, the West Side Community Health Center, the Saint Paul YWCA, the Jeremiah Program, Hallie Q. Brown Community Center, and Community Action Programs of Ramsey and Washington Counties.

    • Karabi
      Karabi Acharya

      Karabi is a Director at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. She directs the Foundation’s strategies for global learning as it identifies best practices in other countries, including poorer or less-developed ones, and adapting them to improve the social determinants of health in communities in the United States. Previously, Acharya was global director for Ashoka, a network of social entrepreneurs worldwide, with nearly 3,000 fellows in 70 countries putting their system-changing ideas into practice on a global scale.

    • Scott
      Scott Burns

      Scott was CEO of St. Paul-based GovDelivery for 17 years and has recently moved into the role of senior adviser. GovDelivery is the only communications platform built exclusively for the public section. He co-founded GovDelivery in a St. Paul basement in 2000 and has been an active mentor and investor in the Twin Cities startup community ever since. Scott recently joined the Minnesota Philanthropy Partners board of directors.

    • Michael
      Michael Gorman

      Michael is a founding Managing Director of Split Rock Partners and focuses on investments in software and internet services companies. Prior to founding Split Rock Partners, Michael was Managing General Partner of St. Paul Venture Capital, which he joined in 1995 and focused on software and internet services investments. He is an active supporter of the Minnesota entrepreneurial community, and works closely with organizations providing guidance to emerging companies. He is also a Working Team Member of The Itasca Project, an employer-led civic alliance focused on regional competitiveness and quality of life.

    How ChangeX works

    ChangeX is a platform of proven ideas for anyone who wants to strengthen their community. ChangeX allows you to discover proven ideas and provides all the information and support you need to get these ideas up and running in your local community. We make it easy for you!

    Discover proven ideas

    ChangeX provides you with everything you need to know to improve your community, whatever your passion: Health, education, inclusion, the environment. Discover proven social innovations you can bring to your local area and find out all you need to know to become an expert in each of them. We provide a step-by-step-guide on how to get started, connect you with other ideas in your area and we're always here to support you and answer any questions you have. You can find more support, inspiration and resources for your community work on our Blog.

    Start the ideas you love

    We help you to start any of the proven innovations from the ChangeX network and we'll make sure you won't be left alone doing it.
    We guide you through the process, connect you with a "change buddy", someone who has set up the same idea before, and provide you with a mini-website that allows you to build your team, create events and will soon provide fundraising functionality and more. With ChangeX, a whole network of people who care about their community stand by your side.

    Connect with others

    Sign up to ChangeX to connect with other changemakers or to join existing initiatives in your area. Whether you're an experienced community leader or a newbie, let's make improving our communities shared experience.
    By connecting and learning from each other we can all have a bigger impact. On you can promote your own project, follow ideas, get in touch with anyone who has started one of the ideas before, and bring people together in your community to make great things happen.

    Our story

    ChangeX began in Dublin, Ireland when Paul O’Hara, Founder of ChangeX decided he would like to tackle some of the social challenges in his local community. Through his work with Ashoka, a global network of social entrepreneurs, he knew that many of the solutions to society’s greatest challenges exist but the difficulty lies in scaling these solutions to communities across the world. ChangeX allows you to discover proven ideas and provides all the information and support you need to get these ideas up and running in your local community.

    Supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Global Ideas Fund at CAF America, Minnesota is our first U.S. expansion location. It’s our hope that ChangeX can be a catalyst for community-led efforts across the state contributing toward a culture of health and community wellbeing.

    You can read about the impact of our first year in Minnesota in this Impact Case Study

    Some of our partners

    • A&L Goodbody
    • Allison Partners
    • Google
    • McKinsey
    • Morrison Foerster
    • CAF
    • RWJ
    • OMP
    • Publicis
    • WebSummit
    • bigOmedia
    • mgpartners