Ashoka Nordic founder Maja Frankel takes on the role of Secretary-General at Friends

Maja founded Ashoka Sweden back in 2011 and has been the driving force behind its growth and expansion, culminating with the expansion to Finland and the organization becoming Ashoka Nordic. After eight years she has decided to depart Ashoka to become Friends new Secretary-General.

Why are you transitioning, and why now?

When I took on the challenge of founding Ashoka in Scandinavia it was to establish social entrepreneurship and to expand the organization across the Nordics. To spread our vision of Everyone a Changemaker for the good of all.

In 2011, the field of social entrepreneurship was in its infancy in Sweden, and it took longer than I had anticipated to get the interest and ecosystem we see today. Therefore, I am especially thrilled that we are now operating across the Nordics, and also that we spearheaded the growth of the now established field of social entrepreneurship. What I had hoped to be part of creating, is now in place.

Perhaps more important for why I am transitioning now, is that Ashoka Nordic is in such capable hands. I am truly excited to see how our great team will further and expand our vision going forward.

What are you most proud of?

There are so many things, we are after all talking about eight crazy, yet lovely and inspiring years. What springs to mind is that we as a catalyst have been able to identify and support Fellows, teachers, schools, projects and innovations allowing for the scaling of ideas and increased impact.

Another thing I am proud of is that we have pioneered a new partnership model. We collect partners around a problem and make them invest in our vision. From there, we tailor the solution together. Sometimes we identify gaps and add additional partners, always with certain pressure points for maximizing our impact in mind. This has allowed us to punch over our weight, having more impact than what should be possible in a relatively small organization.

One change that I have seen over the years, is that due to the digitalization, it has never been easier to change the world. Today, we can engage and bring forth concrete products such as Changemakers’ Yard, to awaken the Changemaking capacity, enabling others to reach their potential and improve our society.

Why are you transitioning to Friends and what are you most looking forward to in your new role as their Secretary-General?

My background and motivation have always been non-discrimination and children’s rights. Friends is a particularly good fit for me as the organization combines educational efforts against bullying with research and policy work for long-term change. I am getting back to my roots.

What will you bring from Ashoka Nordic on your continued journey?

I identify very closely with Ashoka’s vision, it’s therefore easy for me to bring a continued commitment to making sure that we enable future generations to change our society for the better.

Finally, it’s to my great joy that I hand over the organization to the amazing team that I had the pleasure to identify and work with. I know they will do a fantastic job increasing Ashoka Nordic’s impact in the years to come.