Board of Directors

Ashoka’s Board of Directors serves the specific needs of both Ashoka and the social entrepreneurship movement. Membership requires deep understanding of and commitment to our vision and values and to our "everyone a collegial entrepreneur" culture.
Over half the board members are social entrepreneurs, and the others possess mastery of designing, leading and managing institutions. The board works closely together to contribute to Ashoka’s strategy and institutional evolution into an Everyone a Changemaker™ institution. The board also exercises financial control oversight.

Board Members

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 grew up in a small community in Newfoundland. As a teacher in Toronto, she focused her attention on the important, urgent challenges facing education and society as a whole. She has introduced a series of profound changes. In 1981, she founded Canada’s first and largest school-based parenting and family literacy program which has been used as a best practice model throughout North America and internationally. More recently, Mary has developed a methodology that helps young children grasp empathy, taught by her organization, Roots of empathy. It has been highly successful in reducing bullying rates. Mary is now engaged vigorously in spreading this very successful, simple way of helping children develop critical social skills. She has written a widely appreciated book, The Roots of Empathy. She has helped her model spread to classrooms in every province in Canada. Australia is adopting it, as will New Zealand, and portions of Germany, and the U.S. are actively interested. Mary is a member of the Order of Canada and an Ashoka Fellow.


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 (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.


Kyle Zimmer, USA
Co-founder and President, First Book

In 1992, Kyle Zimmer, then a practicing attorney, was volunteering at a soup kitchen in Washington, DC. Realizing that the kids she was working with had no books in their lives, she set out with two friends to build a market-driven solution to ensure all children have access to critical books and resources.

More than 20 years and 135 million brand-new books later, Kyle continues to lead First Book, the nonprofit social enterprise she co-founded to ensure that local schools and community programs across the country serving children from low-income families would have a steady supply of the brand-new, high-quality books they so desperately need.  Over the years, the organization has built upon its tradition of ‘collaborative disruption’ with for profit and nonprofit partners to serve children in need.  First Book has now evolved to address the essential needs for educational equality, including training materials for educators, non-perishable foods, winter coats, school supplies, and an expanded spectrum of resources focused on the basic needs of children from low-income households.

Under Kyle’s leadership, First Book has built the largest and fastest growing network of schools and programs across the United States and Canada – over 200,000 at last count – and growing by more than 5,000 per month.

First Book has pioneered groundbreaking new models, including the First Book National Book Bank, which serves as the largest clearinghouse for new books donated by publishers, and the First Book Marketplace, an award-winning, revenue-generating program that purchases new books and an array of other resources and makes them available to educators and program leaders at unprecedented prices.

Kyle’s commitment to innovation and collaboration has earned her a reputation as a social sector leader. She currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors for Ashoka, which works to support the finest social entrepreneurs in more than 70 countries. She also serves on the Youth Venture Board of Directors and as a member of the board for James Patterson’s ReadKiddoRead.

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.