features thinkers and doers who drive cultural, social and economic impact.

“Light a candle instead of cursing the darkness.” - Anna Eleanor Roosevelt

impactmania started as the book Impact X by Paksy Plackis-Cheng, which featured 30 impact makers. The enthusiasm received and connections made between the 300 participants at the Impact X book launch inspired the project impactmania as a way to continue to explore what makes impact and share these insights with a broader audience.

From a U.S. presidential award winner, nine-time Grammy award winner, Nobel Peace Prize nominee, ambassador, and artists, impactmania is an ongoing repository of interviews with some of the most innovative and dynamic global thinkers and doers today.

This online publication, launched in February 2016 at the Art, Design & Architecture Museum, University of California, Santa Barbara, features video and transcribed interviews with more than 250 people who drive global cultural, social, and economic impact.

With such a wealth of information in its archive, impactmania is an important purveyor of ideas that affects our cultural lens, addresses societal issues, and rethinks our economy globally. One of impactmania's video stories was featured at the United Nations (UN) Global Compact Conference 2017 and is also included on the United Nations Foundation (UNF) Every Woman Every Child's website. A number of impactmania interviewees and their projects have gone on to be featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Business Insider, Wired, and other notable publications after being covered in the online publication.

Additionally, impactmania has become a source cited by Harvard Business School, University of Southern California (USC), San Francisco State University (SFSU), and the U.S. Consulate. Recently, impactmania formed a partnership with Newton Paiva University in Brazil, where students receive credits by working on research and media projects with impactmania.

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What have we accomplished so far?

Within 18 months, we’ve interviewed more than 250 people across 5 continents, spanning various fields and different for-profit and for-purpose enterprises.

- The first impactmania interviewee went on to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize 2016.

- impactmania video story The Future of Business is Responsible was featured at the United Nations Global Compact Conference 2017.

- impactmania's video story The Future of Business is Responsible is also available on view at the United Nations Foundation's website as part of the Every Woman Every Child initiative.

- We connected two organizations that announced a strategic partnership.

- impactmania interviewees have gone on to speak at the White House.

- We have connected women in robotics.

- Women have secured (paid) projects through our connections.

- impactmania interviewees have gone on to be covered in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Wired, Business Insider.

- The U.S. Consulate in Lahore, Pakistan featured one of impactmania's interview on social media.

- Futurist, global speaker, and author Jody Turner selects impactmania for publication of parts of her upcoming book Living in the Creative Zone.

- impactmania has been cited as a source in several publications: Harvard Business School, The Berliner Philharmoniker’s Digital Forte; Doner D/Construct, Xtrapreneurship; Discussion Guide from UNC Journeys in Film & USC Rossier School of Education.

impactmania interviewees have included:
U.S. Presidential Award winner, Nobel Peace Prize Nominee 2016, Academy Award (Oscar) and Emmy producer editor, Emmy award winner, Grammy award winner, MacArthur Fellow (Genius Award), Two-time World Champion boxer, Star Wars’ First Trumpet, Two of the 200 women venture capitalists in the U.S., TV Director, Artist in Residence at SETI Institute, Treasurer of the City and County of San Francisco, Congressional Candidates, One of the world’s 500 Parfumeur Créateurs, Van Gogh Museum, Berlin Philharmonic, adidas, Google, PepsiCo, an Ambassador, and many social entrepreneurs, sidepreneurs, and mompreneurs.

What’s coming up next?

In 2017, we will continue featuring people who drive social, cultural, and economic impact and will be adding themes critical for a more thoughtful and inclusive society. 

You will meet 101 Women of Impact: founders, CEOs, and movement makers across various fields. Because You Can't Be What You Can't See.

We hope that you’ll continue to make impact with us as we move forward, whether that’s by reading our articles, reaching out to collaborate, or becoming a Founding Partner.


Newton Paiva University and impactmania's Announce a Partnership to Uncover Impact Makers in Brazil

United Nations (UN) Foundation Features impactmania's video story!

Universal Giving and Trekking For Kids’ Strategic Partnership Bridged by impactmania

impactmania launches at UC Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara Birthplace of impactmania's: Women Collaborators Launch Online Magazine

Californian Change Makers at Impact Makers X Event — Impact X Book Launch


Paksy Plackis-Cheng

Paksy (born in The Netherlands), founder of impactmania, has lived in the USA since 2001. As a marketing & business development executive — from startup, IPO, M&A to mature tech companies, she has worked in a dozen countries. She has served on half a dozen boards, including two seasons as the Board President of the Santa Barbara Symphony. Paksy directed and co-produced a video story for impactmania that was featured at the United Nations (2017). She graduated from the Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Erika Betty Carlos

Erika is a writer and multimedia designer. Her interests lie at the intersection of documentary, design, and technology. You can find her work at erikabettycarlos.com. These days, she can reliably be found in a coffee shop, at home with her cat, or on the occasional camping trip.

Kristina Van Dyke

Kristina Van Dyke is a writer, scholar and curator with a strong interest in the digital humanities. She was formerly Director of the Pulitzer Arts Foundation and prior to that, Curator for Collections and Research at the Menil Collection. She received her MA from Williams College and PhD in African Art History from Harvard University where she wrote her dissertation on the concept of objects in oral cultures.

Ricardo Gandour

Ricardo Gandour is the Journalism Director at CBN, a nationwide radio network belonging to the Globo Group in Brazil. Previously responsible for journalism at Estado Group, which flagship is the 138-years-old newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo. Gandour is an associate professor at ESPM, member at the Doctoral program at São Paulo University, member of the board of Wan-Ifra Latin America, and member of the board of Instituto Palavra Aberta. He is also a Visiting Scholar at the Columbia Journalism School, New York NY.

Jody Turner

Jody Turner, Culture of Future, is an insight strategist and writer with a foundation in design. For the past 16 years Turner has advised over 200 brands on project initiatives small, large, local and global in scope. Her brand strategy specialty includes igniting new directions. A writer of blog content for Fast Company, she also writes for Shareable, GOOD and Stanford Social Innovation Review. To date her favorite work has been with TrendWatching, IDEO, Starbucks, Nike, Google, Apple, etc.


Elyse A. Gonzales

Elyse A. Gonzales is Assistant Director and Curator of Exhibitions at the Art, Design & Architecture Museum, UC Santa Barbara. While at the Museum she has curated numerous collection exhibitions and organized several group shows including The Schoolhouse and the Bus: Mobility, Pedagogy and Engagement; Two Projects by Pablo Helguera and Suzanne Lacy / Pilar Riaño-Alcalá (September 2017); The Stumbling Present: Ruins in Contemporary Art (2012); Starting Here: A Selection of Distinguished Artists from UCSB (2014); Peake/Picasso (2013); and Shana Lutker, Anna Sew Hoy, and Brenna Youngblood: CB08, the California Biennial (2008). She also initiated an Artist-in-Residence exhibition program, and has commissioned artists to create new works in the Museum’s galleries. In 2017 she was named fellow in the Center for Curatorial Leadership Program and is currently a Santa Barbara County Arts Commissioner for District 1. Prior to working at the AD&A Museum, Gonzales was Assistant Curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania and Special Projects Assistant at the Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, MA. Gonzales received an MA from Williams College and a BA from the University of New Mexico.

Chelsea Catania

Chelsea Catania is a PhD candidate in the Materials Department at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her interdisciplinary research pulls from the fields of microbiology, electrochemistry, and materials science with the goal of synthetically modifying bacterial membranes for bioenergy applications. She’s passionate about science communication and the promotion of diversity in science. While not in lab, she volunteers at local K-12 science nights and studies technology management and entrepreneurship.

Leah Kuritzky

Leah Kuritzky is a PhD candidate in the Materials Department at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her studies focus on engineering electronic materials used for energy efficient lighting technologies including blue, violet and green LEDs and lasers. In addition to her laboratory work, she enjoys teaching and mentoring, and she places a high value on communication skills targeted toward both scientific and non-technical audiences.

Melissa Walker

Melissa Walker brings years of experience as Noozhawk’s iSociety columnist, and is a contributing writer, photographer and videographer, covering local nonprofits and the education community. A graduate of UC Santa Barbara, Melissa has worked with Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation, News Channel 3 KEYT, and was appointed to the Santa Barbara County Commission for Women by Santa Barbara County First District Supervisor Salud Carbajal. Melissa began her career working for The Presidio Trust in San Francisco, where she helped create the first sustainable national park while developing a passion for writing with articles for The Presidio Post.

Chad Sykes

Chad Sykes is a student at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, where he is studying Sociology and Economics & Business. He has studied as far as Northern Europe and as local as the Center for Social Entrepreneurship in downtown Santa Barbara. Chad is an avid writer of racial and ethnic relations, sports, and how to use business for social good. He graduates in the Spring, and welcomes advice for “what to do after college".

Victoria Herbert

Victoria Herbert is an interior design student at Parsons, The New School for Design. Previously a fashion writer and stylist, she has a degree from Central St Martin’s in Fashion Communication, going on to work for Tank magazine in London, as well as contributing to The Independent’s New Review, Grazia, Danish fashion magazine, Dansk, and The Guardian Monthly. She also designs her own homeware line, Bird & Wolfe. Her designs have been featured in Elle Decoration, House & Garden and The Evening Standard’s ES magazine.

Ida Storm

Ida Storm graduated Cum Laude from UCLA in June 2015, with a major in Geography/Environmental Studies and minors in Global Studies, GIS and Technologies, and Scandinavian Studies. While completing her bachelor's degree and minors, she competed for the track team and earned seven All-American honors in the hammer and weight throw combined and continues to compete and train at a high level. Currently, in addition to her work in California with a research team at UCLA led by Professor Timothy Tangherlini, she is also studying online for a Master in GIS through Lund’s University in Sweden, where she is from.

Joanna Lamstein

Joanna Lamstein is a Sexuality Studies MA student at San Francisco State University. She primarily studies how sexuality is represented and explored through popular culture and cyberspace. In addition to her studies, she works as a research assistant on a project about egg donation with Dr. Diane Tober at UCSF. She plans to begin applying to PhD programs this upcoming fall to pursue a career in academia.

Cliff Lundberg

Cliff Lundberg is vice president for external relations at Westmont College. Lundberg holds an MBA and a professional designation in contract management from UCLA and a BA in economics and business from Westmont. He was a member of Westmont’s board of trustees from 1993-2002. Lundberg was previously CEO of General Offshore Corporation, a multinational telecommunications and data network company that was the world’s largest shallow water installer of fiber optic cables in the 1990’s, playing a critical role in the installation of many of today’s transoceanic Internet backbone cables. Lundberg serves as the Chairman of Sports Outreach. He has been supporting impactmania since inception.

Sebastian Schumacher

Sebastian Schumacher grew up in Germany and the United States. A freelance writer, editor and curator in Berlin; Schumacher is a regular contributor to various publications and consultant to art and design projects. From working with the renowned art platform e-flux to organizing the relaunch of Germany's iconic design magazine, Uncube. He is deeply connected with all things art and culture in Berlin. Sebastian Schumacher has a degree in art history and philosophy from the Freie Universität, a research university located in Berlin, and one of the most prominent universities in Germany.

Ilse Westerik

Ilse Westerik, Dutch native, is a foodie with a passion for brand building. Her extensive experience and expertise lies in Marketing Strategy and Campaign & Brand Management for the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) industry. The last 15 years Ilse managed marketing for premium brands such as Durex, Haagen-Dazs, and La Vache Qui Rit in Europe. Ilse is currently expanding her passion for psychology with the Post-Baccalaureate Program at Berkeley Extension, California. Her inquisitive and creative mind is always searching for new ideas to connect with the ever-changing consumer landscape.

Nastacia Schmoll

Nastacia graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2014. Since then she has worked as an educator with the Armed Services YMCA and the Peace Corps in Kosovo. She loves learning about different cultures, languages, and literatures and is specifically interested in the different ways people tell stories as a way to bear witness and process and share personal and collective experiences.