Ashoka*CIRCL Leadership Event

Ashoka Leadership Event April 2019, exploring how it is possible to change current systems and transform them for a better world by inspiring people to be a changemaker


How is it possible to change current systems and transform them for a better world by inspiring people to be a changemaker? This was the theme of  Ashoka’s New Leadership Event on the evening of 15. April 2019.  Around 80 people met at the event at CIRCL, Amsterdam, which was held in collaboration with ABN Amro. The event was characterized by energy and enthusiasm and consisted of inspiring talks and breakout sessions with interactive settings.  

To begin the night Noa Lodeizen, the director of Ashoka Netherlands and Ross Hall, the leader of Ashoka Europe education strategy, held a Crash Course about ‘Weaving system change.’ They are both co-founders of The Weaving Academy and explored what it means to thrive in our increasingly complex and hyperconnected world and how new leadership (weaving) can help us succeed together.

Following the crash course,  Ashoka Fellows Jeroo Billimoria and Jos de Blok shared their personal stories of leadership and collaborative system change.

Jeroo Billimoria is a serial social entrepreneur and founder of several international NGOs. Her most recent initiatives include Aflatoun (Child Savings International), Childline India Foundation, Child Helpline International & Child and Youth Finance International (CYFI). Jeroo told her story on collaborative system change, the leadership approaches that helped her start up and scale so many successful initiatives and how people were hesitant to believe the numbers of people she has reached out to. Her newest initiative, the groundbreaking One Family Foundation aims to initiate positive change in the world through incubating diverse projects which at the core, aim to promote sharing!

Jos de Blok is the founder of Buurtzorg. Buurtzoog was created as an alternative to traditional home-care organizations in the Netherlands and focuses on the self-management capacity of nursing professionals. By enabling patients to spend less time in hospitals and nurses to work more independent and find solutions for their patients, Buurtzorg is a highly efficient patient-centric system that provides more quality care along with higher job satisfaction. Jos inspired the crowd by revealing the core of new leadership that is needed to shift to self-organization models: ‘keep things simple.’

I experienced the Ashoka vibe that makes me come to these events again and again
guest at Ashoka New Leadership event. 



To explore how and why we need to grow leadership skills to transform systems for a better world, guest were invited to attend one of 3 break-out sessions: The Green Revolution; Circular economies and Learning for universal wellbeing & change making.

The Re-Green Revolution session was hosted by Dennis Karpes, founder of Justdiggit and an Ashoka Fellow. Justdiggit is restoring dry land by capturing rainwater and introducing sustainable agriculture to create healthy ecosystems. Besides this, Justdiggit is also building a global landscape restoration movement. Through international media partnerships and The Raindance Project event series, Dennis aims to make the re-greening of our planet a worldwide priority to upscale and accelerate re-greening projects in Africa. In his vision, healthy economies require healthy ecosystems, now and in the future.  

The Circular Economies session was hosted by Christian Hudson who works with the EU on their G7 and G20 diplomacy for environmental sustainability and participates in Ashoka’s Circular Futures program. Circular Futures is a new leadership program focusing on collaborative system change in the field of the circular economy. The session focused on how we can use the Circular Futures approach to transform cities and evolved into lively discussions.

The Learning for universal wellbeing & change making session was hosted by Jasmijn Hamakers-Kester and Yolanda Eijgenstein.

Jasmijn Hamakers-Kester is rector at the Vathorst college, a school for contemporary secondary education in Amersfoort. Vathorst college was selected by Ashoka as a Changemaker School, and Jasmijn was named "School Leader of the year 2016". Jasmijn has a holistic view of education activities and is one of the weavers of the new movement called Nedshift. Nedshift takes a leading role in the transition towards new educational designs that allows students and teachers to shape bottom-up education that motivates them to learn, to innovate, to create, to take responsibility, to co-create, to trust and to transform.

Yolanda Eijgenstein has more than 20 years of entrepreneurial experience. At the age of only 24, she became the owner of her own company, in 1997 she became the businesswoman of the year, and currently, she is in the top 100 most requested speakers in the Netherlands. Yolanda is a chairman of the TEDX Education which is part of the impressive TEDx movement. TEDxEduction organizes events with inspirational talks that create a constant change in thoughts, ideas, and actions on education and lifelong learning. Yolanda is also the owner and founder of Why Company, which has for 20 years been active in the field of management consulting, leadership issues, change management, and group dynamical processes.

As a first-timer to an Ashoka initiative, the event was an incredible way to get an overview of the community. From the very first step into the room, there is an electric feeling of passion and determination… and this was on a Monday evening Image; Importantly, there is a strong sense of support. People exchanging personal and professional updates with one another, people being introduced to one another. It was clearly a gathering of successful leaders from various fields, but not your typical leadership meet-up. People weren't embarrassed to share stories of failure or struggle. That is how we grow.

- Guest at Ashoka New Leadership event.