Inventing a new model of social change
As one of the world’s leading thinkers on social change, Bill Drayton has pioneered the field of social entrepreneurship. He is the CEO and founder of Ashoka, a global organization which selects individuals tackling society’s most pressing problems with innovative, entrepreneurial solutions. Since 1981, Ashoka has elected over 2,000 leading social entrepreneurs as Ashoka Fellows, providing them with living stipends, professional support, and access to a global network of peers in more than 60 countries. Through Ashoka, Bill has introduced the world to a fundamentally new model of how ideas can change social systems across the globe, improving the lives of millions.
Bill has been internationally lauded and recognized as a visionary. He was named one of America’s 25 Best Leaders by US News and World Report in 2005-2006. In 2004, he was named one of Fast Company’s “Fast 50,” a group of “idea elite” who are pushing their industries forward with the power of their vision. In 2002, Business Week named Ashoka’s approach to philanthropy as one of the eleven “most innovative” of the organizations it surveyed. He was also elected one of the early MacArthur Fellows for his work, including the founding of Ashoka. He has been a speaker at the World Economic Forum, and has addressed audiences around the world.
Bill has developed his ideas across many fields. He worked as an Assistant Administrator at the EPA, where he successfully led a series of major innovations and reforms in the field, ranging from the introduction of emissions trading to the use of economics-defined incentives to remove the advantage of delaying compliance. As a management consultant with McKinsey & Co, he gained wide experience serving both public and private clients, and built his understanding of how organizations work. He also served briefly in the White House, and taught both law and management at Stanford Law School and Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. He is a graduate of Harvard, Oxford, and Yale Universities.