Simone N. Sneed, B.A.’04

Social Entrepreneur Extraordinaire

By Carol Olechowski

Simone N. Sneed, B.A.’04

Simone N. Sneed has a unique job title: social entrepreneur.

“A social entrepreneur pursues innovative solutions to the pressing social challenges of our time, such as poverty, environmental sustainability, educational inequity, by leveraging enterprise,” explained Sneed, 29.

“The concept was coined in 1994 and rooted in a corporate-sustainability framework. Most social entrepreneurs focus on the triple bottom line: people, planet, profit. We want to combine the best of the traditional non-profit sector with the business acumen of the corporate sector.” 
After completing her studies in sociology at UAlbany, Sneed “spent the first ten years of my career as a strategist and business-development specialist. I’ve worked with several non-profits and have raised more than $15 million for marginalized communities.”

Sneed shares her professional expertise with others through Advice For A Brilliant Life (, created as a Times Union blog in 2006 when she recognized that there was no online advice for young professionals wanting to “move forward in our careers and our lives.” Nearly eight years later, “my writing and my audience have both evolved,” she observed. 

“The goal of ABL is to provide socially conscious executives and entrepreneurs tools to do good, be well and make money,” added Sneed. Her average reader is “a 30-to-45-year-old professional who likely works in the corporate sector, but is dedicated to a cause and looking for information about how to live in a more sustainable way, lead authentically, or fund a social venture as a founder or board member.”

ABL also affords its editor-in-chief “a place to post the content I write about social innovation, leadership and philanthropy for various websites, such as CNN, The Huffington Post, Cosmopolitan Latina and Stanford Social Innovation Review.” In the past year, “I’ve upgraded the site and have started to bring in additional writers,” she noted. 

At 16, Sneed enrolled at UAlbany, envisioning a transfer to Cornell University and a career in orthopedic surgery. “However, at UAlbany, I found a home where I was able to develop a great social network; I was active on campus and enjoyed intellectual freedom. Through the women’s-studies department, I was introduced to Holding Our Own [HOO], a local women’s foundation. I later became a member of its board, continuing in that role until I moved to New York City in 2009. The time I spent with HOO and my socially conscious peers organizing for women’s rights on campus absolutely influenced who I have become and truly laid the groundwork for my continued evolution.”