Ashoka’s DEI Strategic Plan
As a result of this initiative we will see equity being improved in procedures and processes that enable a fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for all people while striving to identify and eliminate barriers that have prevented the full participation of underrepresented groups.
In this work we see the opportunity to strengthen and enhance our networks, create meaningful synergies, and build bridges throughout the social entrepreneurship sphere, and maximize the impact of all of Ashoka’s programming.
3 Areas of Focus
Individual & Institutional Awareness/Learning Journey
Building a truly diverse, inclusive, and equitable organization requires all (primarily but not exclusively- those who hold most of the power) to actively engage in the never-ending journey of eliminating our own discriminatory biases (conscious and unconscious) and of becoming aware of our power and privilege so that we can learn how to truly see, trust and welcome all of those who are different from us. This awareness & learning journey is an empathy-in-action effort that will make us better at seeing and engaging “everyone” in our Everyone a Changemaker" vision and mission.
DEI informed actions
As a changemaking organization we understand that seeing things differently will bring about change to our processes and structures. It is a natural phenomenon and progression that we will enable and pursue through our DEI framework. We embark on this effort acknowledging that change is difficult, it requires time and patience, and it will need us to always be conscious of the different perspectives inside the Ashoka family. All DEI informed actions should take this understanding into account.
Assessment and Accountability
Assessing and measuring the impact of our DEI work is a crucial pillar of the DEI strategy. This will be our method of accountability (internally and externally) that will also inform, and course correct our strategy and actions. The DEI Team will build a data and assessment instrument that allows the organization to monitor its DEI metrics, both quantitatively and qualitatively, with the goals of leveraging these insights to move our work forward.
These are collective efforts and go far beyond the work of the DEI team
The contribution of each and every one of us is essential to translate our vision into reality. In this journey towards a fully diverse, inclusive, and equitable world, we acknowledge that change starts with us, we recognize that we are all learners and that we have the responsibility to ensure that we embody our own values.
Greening Youth Foundation - United States
Angelou is cultivating a generation of youth of color to be stewards of our land and natural resources and ultimately shift the demographics of the environmental conservation movement.
Jansahas - India
Ashif is building a national movement to abolish the unconstitutional caste hierarchy in India, with community leaders from the lowest and most marginalized Dalit caste, at the center leading the movement, supported by institutions like lawyer networks, community-based organizations and cultural groups and the constitutional law.
UDLA - Chile
Carlos Güida Leskevicius is a doctor, Uruguayan, living in Chile. Since 1992 he has been involved in changing men's behavior and mindset to promote gender equity and sexual and reproductive health.
He is currently a full professor at the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences at the University of the Americas and an academic at the University of Chile.
Chloe B. McKenzie
BlackFem - United States
Chloe B McKenzie is a researcher, writer, educator, and wealth justice activist. Chloe is the founder and visionary of BlackFem and the Center for Financial Trauma and Wealth Justice, national nonprofits that are closing the race and gender wealth gap by mobilizing cities, political systems, culture centers, and education systems to be the mechanism through which we maximize the wealth-building capabilities of Black women and women of color, their families, and their communities.
Global Press Institute - United States
Cristi Hegranes seeks to develop a new, better quality, and more sustainable model of international journalism that is rooted in the perspective of local communities—and especially women from those communities.
Cynthia Ong Gaik Suan
Forever Sabah - Malaysia
Cynthia is using her expertise in facilitation to create an equitable, diversified, and circular economy in Sabah on the island of Borneo—one of the most biodiverse regions on Earth.
Fa.Vela & Inclusive Futures - Brazil
João co-created and is spreading a comprehensive and inclusive methodology to teach favela and other vulnerable area’s residents education for life. He is reinventing learning for adults in favelas and paving the way for more inclusive entrepreneurship and educational ecosystem for individuals with a history of absence of rights and access to quality formal education.
ImagiNation Afrika - Senegal
Karima is changing the educational system in Senegal by using an approach of creativity and self-reliance. She is popularizing the integration of knowledge, by gamifying various subjects, especially math. She makes learning more enjoyable by reinventing it through a sequence of games connected to the local context of the child. In turn, she makes education the personal development of children which empower them to reach their own visions and goals.
This Ability Trust - Kenya
In a country where the persistence of lingering stigma about persons with disabilities impacts far too many, their rights are still a long way from where they should be. Lizzie dedicated the past decade to understanding the negativity around the term “disable” and after years of exploration, she finally found the specific intersection where she could bring significant change in the world. Lizzie is amplifying the voices, building capacity, and creating visibility for women and girls with disabilities across Kenya and beyond.
Hope Builders International Consult - Nigeria
Mathias Bodman Yashim is providing young people with the skills and opportunities for practical leadership experiences in order to create a generation of entrepreneurs who generate jobs for themselves and others, instead of endlessly searching for employment.
Lallab - France
Sarah is building a generation of Muslim women who re-take ownership of their own narratives, having their voices finally represented in the debate about discrimination their rights.
Fundación SHARE - Mexico
Verónica has designed an evidence-based, scalable methodology to help dismantle the imbalanced power structures that underpin discrimination. Through Fundación SHARE, she equips children and adults alike with theoretical and practical tools to cultivate empathy, overcome prejudice and build genuine connections with people from different backgrounds.
DEI Related and Influenced Efforts
*If you have DEI related efforts that you would like to add here please reach out to us [email protected] we would love to add and share!
Hola America seeks to strengthen the ecosystem and accelerate innovative projects that provide solutions to challenges faced by migrant communities. It proposes to address the challenges associated with migration and refugee in the Latin American region through the lens of social innovation, in order to make them visible as changemakers.
Hello Europe aims to become the collective voice of innovative, empowering citizen solutions in the field of migration, providing a vision of the kind of work happening in Europe and around the globe, which is creating a better society for people on the move as well as for those who meet them.
Millones de Agentes de Cambio
A community of people and organizations that are committed to promoting and supporting others to become Changemakers through a digital platform.
Observatório de Género
This initiative aims to create a community of change that uplifts critical areas for the integration of gender in the Spanish Speaking World, through sharing experiences and solutions among gender experts from different parts of the region.
Ashoka Changemaker Summit - Equity Session
On November 18th 2021, Ashoka Changemaker Summit hosted a conversation named "Is the equity revolution changing our organizations? A timely conversation with DEI leaders from different sectors". We invited top leaders of the social sector to reflect on their role in building an equitable world. We had the opportunity to hear from them their biggest challenges, some of their successes, and more importantly about their commitments and aspirations for equitable practices in the social innovation field.
Ashoka’s DEI Taskforce members
The DEI Team cannot do all this work alone. The support and dedication of key DEI champions across the organization has been and will be crucial to the success of our efforts. Besides our champions, 36 Ashoka colleagues have volunteered to support this work in each one of their areas of work and teams. We thank them and recognize their commitment to DEI work:
Annette McGee Johnson
Jean Pierre Greenlund
Lorena Garcia Duran
Ovidiu Hristu Condurache
Rafael Murta Reis
Ricardo Sanches Tomazoli
Stephanie Haapalainen Ambar
Tia Johnston Brown
Meet the DEI Team
Our team is one of our smartest investments, and we are practicing our values by making sure our team of teams is diverse & inclusive, with representation from different parts of the world and with inclusive team practices.
Zahra Ibrahim Lethome
DEI Operations and Finance
Based in Nairobi, Kenya, Zahra is the Office Manager & Finance Assistant for Ashoka East Africa. Since 2020, Zahra has led, co-led, and coordinated a number of special programs in the region that include the AmEx Masterclasses, The Kenya Changemaker Map, Changemakers United Africa and is part of the Fundraising core team in the Africa Diamond.
Zahra brings a multi-cultural perspective to the Ashoka DEI Initiative, collaborating to broaden our understanding of Diversity Equity and Inclusion across different geographies.
Ricardo Sanches Tomazoli
DEI Operations and Communications
Based in São Paulo, Brazil, Ricardo manages the Brazilian community of Fellows. For the Global DEI Team, Ricardo has been playing an important role in the process of making Ashoka fully accessible for everyone, as well as planning the DEI Team’s communications and assisting other DEI efforts. Ricardo is also engaged with LGBTQIA2S+ efforts, he founded a collective that supports and empowers non-heterosexual and non-cisgender students.
DEI Global Venture & Fellowship Leader
Based in Madrid, Spain, Kenny leads Europe’s Search and Selection team and is also the co-lead for Hello World, Ashoka’s Global Migration initiative. Also in Ashoka, Kenny has contributed to launching a number of initiatives, including Jóvenes Changemakers, to activate youth as changemakers across Europe, Start Empathy, and more recently, Faith-Inspired Changemakers and our DEI initiative. Before his current role, he served as a pastor in the United States, focused on cross-cultural faith-based initiatives.
Lorena García Durán
DEI Global Leader
Based in Los Angeles, CA (born and raised in Mexico City) Lorena launched the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts at Ashoka. She also leads ASN in the U.S. and remains part of the Partnerships team. Lorena joined Ashoka in 2008 and has been leading partnerships between social and business entrepreneurship since then. She launched Ashoka in Miami back in 2009, making it the Latin American hub for all Ashoka efforts. She sits at the Board of Directors of an Ashoka Fellow’s organization Freedom for Immigrants and is also a Board member of Imperative Fund, an impact investment fund that is sustainably helping communities get out of poverty.