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.
Ashoka Fellows Council for Equity
We launched a global Council of Ashoka Fellows to support DEI efforts as we strive to make Ashoka a truly diverse, equitable, and inclusive organization. We are honored and excited to work with this phenomenal group of leading changemakers.
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.
Beulah Thumbadoo & Associates - South Africa
Beulah Thumbadoo is working to create a culture of reading, as part of a campaign to raise literacy levels in South Africa and help the nation educate itself.
E-Romnja - Romania
Roma women across Europe face structural inequalities (social, cultural, economic), which prevent them from taking active societal roles. In this context, Carmen empowers Roma women to own their unique voice, become changemakers in their communities, and write a new narrative about themselves.
Miss Rizos - Dominican Republic
Carolina and her organization, Miss Rizos work to eradicate the discrimination against the curly hair characteristic of Afro-descendant populations as a means of addressing broader issues related to race and color.
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.
Helena Puig Larrauri
Build Up - Spain
Helena bridges the gap between institutional and governmental organizations who officially lead peace processes and the communities who suffer the harsh consequences of conflicts, and who are generally excluded from peace-making decisions. She is democratizing peace processes by working with local peace activists worldwide and designing scalable peace interventions that connect local voices to decision makers.
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.
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.
BMe - United States
Trabian Shorters is one of the world's leading social entrepreneurs and the catalyst of a national movement to first define black people by their aspirations and contributions, then to secure their fundamental freedoms to Live, Own, Vote and Excel.
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’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.
DEI Global Venture Associate & Taskforce Integrator
Shrushti is a trained psychologist and comes with an unconventional mix of private and public sector experience. She had worked with Ashoka Innovators for the Public, the organization that pioneered the sector of social entrepreneurship 30+ years ago. She is building the world’s largest network of 3,700+ leading social entrepreneurs, amplifying and connecting a global community that is leading the everyone a changemaker movement. Shrushti recognized the unarguable economic market opportunity and environmental benefits of recycling waste and co-founded Reash, a company that is working on waste management and building circular systems across South Asia. Yoga has a major influence in her life. She has been teaching yoga since the age of 18, with the intention of helping young adults develop a problem-solving attitude through the art form.
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.