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 features 30 impact makers. The enthusiasm received and connections made between the 290 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.

The online magazine, impactmania, was launched at the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) Art, Design and Architecture Museum with the Mayor of Santa Barbara, California, on February 19th, 2016.

impactmania's first interviewee was nominated as part of a team for the Nobel Peace Prize 2016.  There are infinite amounts of people who are involved in meaningful and fun projects. We’d like to share with you these thinkers and doers who drive cultural, social, and economic impact. 

Suggest Your Favorite Impact Maker, Subscribe to impactmania, See Who We Feature Next. 

If you'd like to make a difference: become a Founding Partner!

What have we accomplished so far?

Within ten months, we’ve interviewed more than 150 people in 18 countries across 5 continents, spanning various fields and different for-profit and for-purpose enterprises.

We demonstrated that the world is interconnected with change makers who need and deserve your support. Our connected community has tremendous power. As one example, we connected and brokered a strategic alliance between Universal Giving in San Francisco and Trekking for Kids in Washington D.C., to accelerate positive change in orphanages around the world. Many of our interviewees went on to be covered in the (inter-)national press and two of our interviewees went on to speak at the White House.

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, 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.

Universal Giving And Trekking For Kids’ Strategic Partnership Bridged By impactmania

impactmania launches at UC Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara Birthplace of impactmania: Women Collaborators Launch Online Magazine

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


Paksy Plackis-Cheng

Paksy is a Dutch native who has lived in the USA since 2001. Her career spans from managing marketing and business development for software companies (from start-up, IPO, M&A to mature tech companies) in 11 countries to running a symphony orchestra. Paksy was named business star by IDG magazine and has served on half a dozen boards. She is the past Board President of the Santa Barbara Symphony.

Erika Betty Carlos

Erika is a multidisciplinary writer and designer. As an undergraduate at the University of California in Santa Barbara, she's tailored her studies to encompass psychology, film, literature, and professional writing. While she's assumed roles in writing, graphic design, website development, video production, and marketing, she really just wants to tell stories in the best possible way through any available means. These days, Erika can reliably be found in a coffee shop, at home with her cat, or on the occasional camping trip.

Amy Smith

Amy Smith is a writer and editor based in Santa Barbara, California. She’s written about books, fitness, and parenting for The Santa Barbara Independent newspaper, where she is an editor and served as long-time Copy Chief. Amy also writes about Santa Barbara real estate and writes and edits copy for marketing firms and individual clients. She graduated at the top of her class from the Editing specialization of the Professional Writing Program at the University of California, Santa Barbara. A lifelong Central Coast resident, she loves creative writing, running, and music.

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.


Ricardo Gandour

Gandour is a Visiting Scholar at Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and Director at Estado Group in Brazil. Previously he was responsible for the content and journalism production of the whole group, which flagship is the 137-years-old newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo. The Brazilian media group also includes Agência Estado (Grupo Estado News Agency) and radio stations Estadão and Eldorado. Gandour is the director of the National Newspapers Association Editorial Board and member of the Global Newspaper Association Latin-American Board.

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.

Former Contributors

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 five 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 Laguna Blanca School, 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 Syke

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 Lamstei

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.