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Global Executive Team

William Drayton

Bill

As a student, he founded organizations ranging from Yale Legislative Services to Harvard’s Ashoka Table, an inter-disciplinary weekly forum in the social sciences. He launched Ashoka in 1981. He used the stipend received when elected a MacArthur Fellow in 1984 to devote himself fully to Ashoka. In 2005, he was selected one of America’s Best Leaders by US News & World Report and Harvard’s Center for Public Leadership.


Diana Wells

Diana joined the organization after graduating from Brown University in 1988 with a degree in South Asian Studies. As an undergraduate, her year-long study abroad in Varanasi, India led her to see the need for local solutions to solve global problems. This insight inspired her to pursue an internship at Ashoka, where she created one of its core programs, Fellowship Support Services, (now Fellowship) which expanded the resources available to Ashoka’s social entrepreneurs to connect them to one another. She became the President of Ashoka in 2005.


Iman Bibars

Iman is the Regional Director for Ashoka Arab World (AAW) which she launched in 2003. Iman is a Leadership Group Member and Global Diaspora Leader in Ashoka.  She is the co-founder and chair of ADEW, a CSO providing credit and legal aid for impoverished women. With more than 30 years of experience in strategic planning, policy formulation, community development and project design, Iman has dedicated her life to working with marginalized and voiceless groups -female heads of households in Egypt's poorest areas.


Maria Valeria Budinich

Valeria Budinich is a social entrepreneur with 25 years of experience innovating at the intersection of business and society. As a Leadership Group Member at Ashoka, she founded "Full Economic Citizenship", a global initiative that has enabled over 50 hybrid business models in housing, small farmer agriculture and other industries. Currently, she is launching Ashoka’s Changemaker Economy, a global initiative on the new way of organizing for value creation for the good of all. In 2012, she received the Harvard/McKinsey M-Prize for management innovation for her pioneering work.


Conrad W Carter

Bill

Bill Carter was one of Ashoka's founding Board members. After stepping down from the Board of Directors in February 2009, Bill joined Ashoka as its Everyone a Changemaker Leader for Africa. In this role, he guides Ashoka's overall strategy for our programming in Africa. Before working fulltime with Ashoka, Bill was the CEO of an independent power company, the Long Lake Energy Corporation, that developed hydroelectric, cogeneration and other types of power generation which was sold to public utilities in the US and Canada.


Henry De Sio

Henry De Sio is pioneering Ashoka's framework change efforts aimed at facilitating the global societal shift to Everyone A Changemaker™ – with a specific emphasis on preparing our youth to step confidently as innovators and leaders into today’s fast-changing world. Previously, De Sio served as deputy assistant to President Barack Obama and he was the 2008 Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Obama for America. Henry has spent more than a decade teaching, writing, and speaking on the leadership principles that drive individual and organizational achievement.


Anne B Evans

Anne Evans has extensive experience as a social entrepreneur, private sector management consultant, senior executive and nonprofit trustee. Formerly a partner with the MAC Group (now Gemini Consulting) she was also Executive Officer/Administrator of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.  She has consulted to and served on the boards of a variety of nonprofit organizations, including as board chair for the Levine School of Music.


Konstanze Frischen

Konstanze leads Ashoka in North America and is a member of the Global Leadership Group. She founded Ashoka in her native Germany in 2003, convinced that social entrepreneurship was needed in Western Europe. Thus, she introduced a radically new concept of social innovation and with her colleagues built up the most powerful network of innovators across the continent. She also co-founded the Globalizer, an initiative re-defining what we mean by scale. She became Ashoka Europe’s director in 2011, before moving to the US in early 2015.


Allen L Hammond

Al Hammond is Senior Entrepreneur with Ashoka's Full Economic Citizenship program, where he is leading an effort to transform rural healthcare.


Lucy F Perkins

Since 1999, Lucy Perkins has been serving as a Leadership Group Member of Ashoka. Lucy has designed and led major organizational changes for Ashoka at both the regional and the global levels.


Maria Paula Recart

Paula

Paula Recart is part of the Leadership Group at Ashoka, the most senior level in the organization. She is North America Partnerships Leader and has served as Ashoka US Director in the past. She joined Ashoka in 2007 after 15 years in the media industry in Chile, where she was Editor-in-Chief of the magazine with the largest circulation in the country. During her 9 years of tenure, she led the magazine to one of the top positions in readership and sales, and she oversaw six additional new magazines.


Vishnu Swaminathan

Vishnu has more than 14 years of experience as an entrepreneur and innovator. He started two IT based companies in Singapore in the areas of financial transactions and animation technology. He then moved to India to head a leadership school based in Pune, where he led the school's social effort by creating a independent Centre for Social Development. He has also run an assignment with National Innovation Foundation, a government sponsored organization working on grassroots Innovation at national level in India.


Ashwin Naik

Ashwin is a Resident Fellow, part of the Ashoka Health and Nutrition Initiative and a Leadership Group Member at Ashoka. He is the founder and serves on the board of Vaatsalya Hospitals, an award winning social enterprise, focused on building and managing a network of hospitals in small towns in India. Vaatsalya is the largest hospital network of its kind in India, bringing affordable healthcare services to more than half a million underserved customers per year, and is the winner of the Porter Prize in India for value based healthcare.


Nancy Welsh

Nancy Welsh is an industry leader with corporate marketing and advertising experience with both Coca-Cola USA and The Kellogg Company.  Nancy is a Leadership Group Member at Ashoka and the President of Ashoka’s Youth Venture®, an international network of powerful young changemakers. Nancy holds the country’s first US Process Patent in green construction for her method of building green communities, wholly comprised of rescued, relocated homes.


Shashikumar Velath

Shashi is a global leadership group member in Ashoka. In a career spanning two decades he has relied on his entrepreneurial thought leadership to contribute to changemaking – as an award winning investigative journalist, conflict & war correspondent, editor, strategist on campaigns-communications-advocacy, team builder, entrepreneur and analyst on security and strategic affairs. He has held leadership positions in media and non-profit organizations.


Ross Hall

Ross joined Ashoka in November 2014. Ross has founded and grown more than 20 businesses around the world.

Global Board of Directors

Bill Drayton, USA

Chair and CEO, Ashoka

Bill Drayton is a social entrepreneur with a long record of founding organizations and public service. As a student, he founded organizations ranging from Yale Legislative Services to Harvard’s Ashoka Table, an inter-disciplinary weekly forum in the social sciences. After graduation from Harvard, he received an M.A. from Balliol College in Oxford University. In 1970, he graduated from Yale Law School. After working at McKinsey & Company, he taught at Stanford Law School and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. From 1977 to 1981, while serving the Carter Administration as Assistant Administrator at the Environmental Protection Agency, he launched emissions trading (the basis of Kyoto) among other reforms. He launched Ashoka in 1981. He used the stipend received when elected a MacArthur Fellow in 1984 to devote himself fully to Ashoka. Bill is Ashoka’s Chair and Chief Executive Officer. He is also chair of three other organizations; Youth Venture, Community Greens, and Get America Working! Bill has won numerous awards and honors throughout his career. In 2005, he was selected one of America’s Best Leaders by US News & World Report and Harvard’s Center for Public Leadership. Other awards include the Yale Law School’s highest alumni honor, the National Wildlife Federation’s Conservation Achievement Award International; and the National Academy of Public Administration National Public Service Award. As one of three members of the Leadership Team, his special responsibilities are leadership of the new group entrepreneurship and social financial services programs as well as staff search and marketing functions. (photo: (c) Yusuke Abe)


Mary Gordon, Canada

Ashoka Fellow and Founder, Roots of Empathy

Mary Gordon is recognized internationally as an award-winning social entrepreneur, educator, author, child advocate and parenting expert who has created programs informed by the power of empathy. Ms Gordon created the aggression/bullying prevention program Roots of Empathy in 1996 and named her not-for-profit organization after the program. Roots of Empathy now offers programs in every province of Canada, New Zealand, the USA, the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, England, Wales, Scotland, Switzerland and Germany. In 2005, Ms Gordon created the Seeds of Empathy program, a social emotional and early literacy program for 3 to 5 year olds in child care. She is a Member of the Order of Canada, the Order of Newfoundland, an Ashoka Fellow (2002) and Ashoka Globalizer (2011). Ms. Gordon was awarded the Commemorative Medal for the Golden Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in Education (2002) and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for significant achievement and remarkable Service (2012). Ms Gordon is also the founder of Canada's first and largest school-based Parenting and Family Literacy Centres, which she initiated in 1981. They have become public policy and have been used as a best practice model internationally. Ms Gordon speaks and consults to governments, educational organizations, and public institutions. In the late 90’s The Nelson Mandela Children's Foundation brought Ms Gordon to South Africa to share her parenting expertise. Ms Gordon has also presented to the World Health Organization, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, and the United Nations, among others. Ms Gordon is the recipient of several prestigious awards recognizing her contribution to innovation in education. In 2009 she received the Public Education Advocacy Award from the Canadian Teachers' Federation. As a leading expert on empathy, Ms Gordon has had several dialogues with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama has expressed that programs like Roots of Empathy will build world peace. Ms Gordon has been featured in several documentary films and scholarly books. She frequently appears in popular print and electronic media. Her book Roots of Empathy, Changing the World Child by Child is a Canadian best seller and available in several languages.


Roger Harrison, United Kingdom

Newspaper Executive and Journalist

Roger has had an extensive career as a journalist, manager, CEO and board member. His business careers have spanned local and national newspaper publishing, magazine publishing, broadcasting, and property ownership and development. Roger’s journalism career began in 1951 as a freelance writer. He worked full-time for The Times and in 1967 moved to The Observer. He served there as of Director, then as Chief Executive from 1984 to 1987. Roger also served as director at London Weekend Television and as the Deputy Chairman of Capital Radio. After his studies at Oxford and Harvard, Roger began his social service. He lived for several years in one of the poorest parts of East London helping with and later becoming chairman of a youth club and community center. From 1990 to 2002, he served as Chairman of Toynbee Hall, which serves a heavily Bangladeshi immigrant community. Roger also has also served as Chairman of Asylum Aid (helping asylum seekers in the UK), a council member of Goldsmiths College (a university in South London), and a trustee of many diverse charities. He is currently the Chairman of the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD), an influential dance education and training organizations that operates in 80 countries.


Fred Hehuwat, Indonesia

Ashoka Fellow and Founder, The Green Indonesia Foundation

As a student at the prestigious Bandung Institute of Technology, Fred was one of the founders of the nonparty student movement that played an important a role in ending the Sukarno era. After earning a Ph.D. in geology in Holland, for twelve years he directed the important National Institute of Geology and Mining. He expanded this role to include extensive development work. He was one of the co-founders of the first citizen environmental organization, the Green Indonesia Foundation, at the time a difficult and courageous initiative. Fred was one of the very early Ashoka Fellows. Fred chairs Ashoka Indonesia and has played many roles in Ashoka -- from selection panel chair to member of the board Executive Committee.


Sara Horowitz, USA

Board Director (2015)

Sara is the founder and Executive Director of Freelancers Union a non-profit organization founded in 2003 geared towards addressing the needs of the ever growing, independent workforce, via advocacy, education and services. Freelancers Union membership continues to grow and already comprises two hundred and fifty thousand individual members nation wide. Sara is a MacArthur Foundation "Genius" Fellow and the CEO of Freelancers Insurance Company, which provides affordable health care to independent workers with revenues nearing 100 million dollars. Previously Sara has served as a labor organizer and labor lawyer. She is a graduate of Cornell University and received her master's degree from Harvard University.


William Kelly, USA

President, Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future (SAHF)

Bill took early retirement from his twenty-five year partnership at the law firm of Latham & Watkins to pursue his passion for preserving affordable rental homes for low-income people. An organizer of SAHF and its first President, he is working to change policy and the marketplace so that sophisticated non-profit organizations may buy and operate affordable apartments in a financially sustainable way. He began his legal career as law clerk to Court of Appeals Judge Frank Coffin and to Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell, as Executive Assistant to the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and as counsel in a wide array of domestic and international transactions. A life-long innovator in the provision of pro bono legal services, Bill is working with Ashoka to develop a global network of pro bono counsel for Ashoka Fellows and other social entrepreneurs. Bill is a Director of the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless Governance Institute, and the International Senior Lawyers Project.


Felipe Vergara

Co-Founder and CEO, Lumni

Felipe Vergara is the Co-Founder and CEO of Lumni a venture capital fund that invests directly in human capital. Lumni finances education for students in exchange for a small fixed percentage of their future income over a pre-set time period. Before devoting full time to Lumni he founded four companies in the education and finance sectors, and worked as a consultant for McKinsey & Company in New York. Felipe received an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a BS in Industrial Engineering from Universidad de los Andes in Colombia.


Kyle Zimmer, USA

Co-founder and President, First Book

Kyle is a passionate advocate for social entrepreneurship, educational equity, and the importance of literacy to further economic competitiveness and global understanding. Among her awards is the National Education Association Foundation’s Award for Outstanding Service to Public Education (2013) and the National Book Foundation's Literarian Award (2014). Kyle was featured in the opening plenary on stage at the 2015 Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) America, and was also featured onstage by President Bill Clinton at the 2013 Clinton Global Initiative. She was a presenter at the University of Oxford’s “Power Shift: Forum for Women in the World Economy” at the Saïd Business School at Oxford and she also in a regular lecturer at the Wharton School of Business and Columbia Business School. She participated in the World Economic Forum in Dubai in 2014, was a presenter and blogger at the World Economic Forum in Beijing in 2012. She served as a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Social Entrepreneurship, and was featured as a presenter at the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2010. In 2009, Kyle was honored as a Carle Honors Angel Award recipient. She was named the first-ever American Marketing Association Nonprofit Marketer of the Year in 2008 and Outstanding Social Entrepreneur of the Year in the United States in 2007 by the Geneva-based Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship. She is currently serving as a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Council on Values.

United States Executive Team

Konstanze Frischen

Konstanze leads Ashoka in North America and is a member of the Global Leadership Group. She founded Ashoka in her native Germany in 2003, convinced that social entrepreneurship was needed in Western Europe. Thus, she introduced a radically new concept of social innovation and with her colleagues built up the most powerful network of innovators across the continent. She also co-founded the Globalizer, an initiative re-defining what we mean by scale. She became Ashoka Europe’s director in 2011, before moving to the US in early 2015.


Maria Paula Recart

Paula

Paula Recart is part of the Leadership Group at Ashoka, the most senior level in the organization. She is North America Partnerships Leader and has served as Ashoka US Director in the past. She joined Ashoka in 2007 after 15 years in the media industry in Chile, where she was Editor-in-Chief of the magazine with the largest circulation in the country. During her 9 years of tenure, she led the magazine to one of the top positions in readership and sales, and she oversaw six additional new magazines.


Philip Van Kirk

Greg

Greg Van Kirk is the Co-Founder and President of Social Entrepreneur Corps. He as well is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of sister organization Community Enterprise Solutions. Greg is an Ashoka Lemelson Fellow, Ashoka Globalizer and was recently recognized as Schwab Foundation “Social Entrepreneur of the Year for 2012 (Latin America)” at the World Economic Forum. Greg is the innovator who designed the MicroConsignment Model.