Alan Harlam is the Director of Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship at Brown’s Swearer Center for Public Service. Through this role, he has developed programs to support students who are learning about social innovation, launching their own ventures, and crafting lives and careers that fulfill Brown’s mission to “serve the community, the nation, and the world.”
Harlam founded Brown’s Social Innovation Initiative (SII) along with a group of visionary students in 2007, which now reaches hundreds of students and alumni each year. He developed a course on social entrepreneurship that introduces students to the transformative impact that social entrepreneurs have in society, as well as the Social Innovation Fellowship, which has supported more than 120 students with the funding, skill development, mentoring and peer community to build a social venture. Harlam spearheaded the application and acceptance of Brown University as an Ashoka U Changemaker Campus. He has also served as a key designer of campus-wide initiatives at Brown such as TRI-Lab, a social innovation platform for teaching, research, and impact that brings students, faculty, and community leaders together to study a critical social issue and develop new solutions; and the Program in Engaged Scholarship, which recognizes students who design their studies to fully integrate their learning inside and outside their classroom.
Harlam’s work as a social entrepreneur is informed by 20 years as a consultant, turnaround manager, and community volunteer. Before coming to Brown, he consulted to Amos House to launch More Than a Meal, a catering micro-business that provides employment training and opportunity to individuals rebuilding their lives as they return to their community after being incarcerated or sustain their recovery from addiction and other difficulties. Harlam currently serves on the boards of City Year Rhode Island and Social Enterprise Greenhouse.