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Founder and CEO of Crisis Text Line, Social Entrepreneur to Speak at 2018 Iona Commencement

Nancy Lublin
NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – Founder and CEO of Crisis Text Line, social entrepreneur Nancy Lublin will be the keynote speaker at Iona College’s 74th annual undergraduate commencement ceremony at 11 a.m., Saturday, May 19, 2018, in the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden.

"It is inspiring for our graduates to hear Nancy Lublin’s story of entrepreneurship and service," said Iona College President Joseph E. Nyre, Ph.D. "Her ethical leadership and commitment to social issues provide an impressive example of what it means to Move the World. We are honored and grateful for her participation in the Iona College commencement."

Lublin is known for harnessing people, technology, and data to change the world. While many operate in traditional models of outreach and management, Lublin breaks them. She turns her new and effective solutions into some of today’s most innovative and disruptive nonprofits and social movements. Fortune named her one of the "World's 50 Greatest Leaders."

"It is an absolute honor to have Ms. Lublin share the stage with the Class of 2018," said Iona College Student Government Association President Erin Kutch. "Nancy Lublin embodies the Iona mission and its commitment 'to the development of graduates recognized for their ethics, creativity and problem-solving abilities.' She will serve as an inspiration to the Class of 2018 as we move our tassels to the left and embark on the next chapter of our lives."

Lublin will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree during the commencement ceremony.

"Somewhere in heaven my grandparents are kvelling that there will finally be a Jewish doctor in the family," Lublin said.

During her 2013 TED Talk, Lublin launched Crisis Text Line, the world’s first 24/7, free, text message-based support service for people facing a range of issues, from depression and substance abuse to eating disorders and physical abuse. With over 64 million text messages processed, Lublin has plans to expand Crisis Text Line internationally, allowing people around the world to text in and get help. Using this data, Lublin launched a separate initiative called to track when and where issues occur.

According to LinkedIn Co-founder Reid Hoffman, "Relatively few Silicon Valley start-ups achieve the sort of traction and transformative influence as quickly as Crisis Text Line has to date .... [Lublin] recognized that technology and Big Data analytics would allow her relatively small team to extend support services to more people, faster."

With the success using technology and big data, Lublin rolled out in 2018 as a for-profit subsidiary of Crisis Text Line. Repurposing many of the learnings from Crisis Text Line, uses software as a service (SaaS) products to teach companies and leaders how to have the difficult conversations about performance, human relations, customer service, firings and layoffs, and diversity and inclusion.

"By layering machine learning on top of the Crisis Text Line data corpus, we've learned surprising things about word choices, sentence structure, and tone," says Lublin, who is also CEO of

In 2015, McGraw-Hill Education appointed Lublin to its board of directors, bringing her "extraordinary track record in technology innovation and leading two major not-for-profit organizations." One of the Schwab Foundation’s 2014 Social Entrepreneurs of the Year, she was selected as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum and named one of the NonProfit Times 50 Most Powerful Leaders three years in a row.

After taking over as CEO of in 2003, Lublin turned it into the largest youth organization in the world. With more members than the Boy Scouts, their success attracted companies like Pepsi and Chase, whom Lublin advised on corporate social campaigns. It's no surprise that Fast Company called her one of the "most creative people in business."

At 23, Lublin turned a $5,000 inheritance into Dress for Success, a global nonprofit, helping more than one million women in 30 countries achieve economic independence.

Author of the bestseller Zilch: The Power of Zero in Business, Lublin has been featured on Oprah, 60 Minutes, CNN, and in The New York TimesWall Street Journal, and The Economist.

Founded in 1940, Iona College is a four-year private, coeducational institution of learning in the tradition of the Edmund Rice Christian Brothers and American Catholic higher education. Iona’s 45-acre campus is just 20 miles north of Midtown Manhattan. With a total enrollment of nearly 4,000 students and an alumni base of over 45,000 around the world, Iona is a diverse community of learners and scholars dedicated to academic excellence and the values of justice, peace and service. Iona is highly accredited, offering undergraduate degrees in liberal arts, science, and business administration, as well as Master of Arts, Master of Science and Master of Business Administration degrees and numerous advanced certificate programs. Iona’s School of Business is accredited by AACSB International, a prestigious recognition awarded to just 5 percent of business schools worldwide. Recent significant College announcements include the appointment of a new dean of the business school, plans for a new, state-of-the-art school of business facility and the establishment of the Hynes Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation.