Senior Team

Dr. 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. Iman has also worked with UNICEF, Catholic Relief Services, CARE-Egypt, GTZ and KFW.  Iman holds a PhD in Development Studies from Sussex University and a BA and MA in Political Science from American University in Cairo. She was a Peace Fellow at Georgetown University and a Parvin Fellow at Princeton University. Iman has been featured in several national and international press outlets and also authored the books Heroines and Victims: Women, Welfare, and the Egyptian State, Dreams of a Good Fellow, one of the first books written in Arabic on US President Barack Obama, and the Women of Tahrir.

Valeria Budinich

Valeria Budinich is a social entrepreneur who has worked for 25 years in the creation and expansion of new businesses with social impact in 22 countries worldwide. At Ashoka, Valeria founded in 2003 the Full Economic Citizenship (FEC) Initiative, a global initiative enabling large commercial alliances between social entrepreneurs and private companies to deliver products and services to small producers and low-income families through the articulation of Hybrid Value Chains (HVC™). Ashoka's FEC work is focused on housing, healthcare, and agriculture. As the Chief Entrepreneur of the Ashoka Housing for All program, Valeria launched the initiative 3 years ago and has been responsible for expanding it to Brazil, Colombia, Egypt and India. Prior to Ashoka, Valeria was the Chief Operating Officer at Appropriate Technology International, a founding Vice-President for Latin America at Endeavor, and a VP for New Initiatives at BDA, a California-based consulting firm specializing in business process redesign and technology innovations for private sector clients worldwide. She was brought up in Chile and trained as an industrial engineer. (photo credit: Nana Watanabe)

Bill Carter

Bill Carter is Director of Ashoka Africa. He served on Ashoka's International Board for twenty-nine years, focusing on strategy development, and is a founding member of the Board. In that capacity he interviewed many hundreds of candidates to become Ashoka Fellows. In 2009 Bill stepped down from the Board so he could serve as a member of the Ashoka staff. In his current role, Bill guide’s Ashoka’s overall strategy in Africa, oversees the selection of African Fellows, and helps develop and launch new initiatives including a groundbreaking initiative to identify, support, and connect Changemaker Schools across the continent. As a senior civil servant at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Bill led the Agency's effort to create the Federal Government's first approved Agency Performance Management and Incentive System under the Civil Service Reform Act. Prior to serving at EPA, Bill was a consultant at McKinsey & Company, where his assignments were in the fields of education, economic development, insurance and housing.  Bill has a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

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. He is the author of Campaign Inc.: How Leadership and Organization Propelled Barack Obama to the White House (University of Iowa Press).


Anne 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. In 2001, she entered the world of social entrepreneurs, co-founding the Nomadic Kenyan Children's Educational Fund (NKCEF) to support secondary-level education of nomadic children in Kenya. NKCEF merged in 2011 with the Kenya Education Fund and Anne continues on the board of the combined entity. A native of North Carolina, Anne received her undergraduate degree at Wellesley College, and Masters in Public and Private Management from Yale University's School of Organization and Management as part of its Charter Class.

Konstanze Frischen

Konstanze Frischen - Ashoka GermanyKonstanze Frischen is Ashoka's leader in North America and a member of the Global Leadership Group at Ashoka. She joined Ashoka in 2003 as she was convinced that "social entrepreneurship" was an idea very much needed in Western Europe. Thus, she founded Ashoka Germany, introducing a radically new concept of social innovation in Western Europe. She also co-founded the Ashoka Globalizer, an initiative that aims at re-defining what we mean by "scale". After focusing for 2 years on her role as mother, she took on the position of Ashoka Europe's director in 2011, where she was co-responsible for successfully formulating and executing a new integrated strategy and structure, before moving to the US early 2015.

Konstanze is a social anthropologist with a degree from the London School of Economics, and has lived in Germany, the UK, and Latin America. She worked for the business and financial news of CNN International, and was a tenured writer and editor for Germany’s quality broadsheet FAZ, as well as a member of the team that planned and launched the Sunday newspaper FAS to large public acclaim, winning the European Newspaper Award. Until her departure to the US, she was a board member of GLS Bank in Germany. She is a member of the Innovation Circle of UNHCR, the UN’s refugee agency.

Al Hammond

Al Hammond is Senior Entrepreneur with Ashoka's Full Economic Citizenship program, where he is leading an effort to transform rural healthcare. He is also: a serial social entrepreneur, with five prior start-ups to his credit, now working on a health care enterprise that will pilot in rural India; an author who has published extensively in the scientific, policy research, and business literature and written or edited more than 12 books or book-length reports, including, most recently, principal author of The Next 4 Billion: Market Size and Business Strategy for the Base of the Pyramid; a consultant who has worked with numerous corporations, foundations, government agencies (including the White House science office), and international organizations; a former journalist who went on to found and edit several national publications, win several national magazine awards, broadcast a nationally-syndicated daily radio program for 5 years, and oversee the launch of a prominent blog, Dr. Hammond holds degrees from Stanford University and Harvard University in engineering and applied mathematics.

Felix Oldenburg

Felix Oldenburg serves as Europe Leader and Director Germany. An entrepreneur and expert at the interfaces of the social, business and political sectors, Felix has launched a number of national and international programs that accelerate the spread and impact of social innovations. Before joining Ashoka, Felix started an online business and worked for management consulting firm McKinsey&Company in London. As director at a political consultancy, he pioneered citizen consultations for governments and foundations, including the European Citizens' Consultations in 27 countries. He speaks and publishes on social entrepreneurship, citizen engagement, and corporate social responsibility. Felix studied Philosophy at the universities of Bonn, Tübingen and Oxford and acquired an Executive Master in Policy Management in Washington DC (Georgetown).

Lucy 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.  Currently focusing on Ashoka’s approach to major partnerships, Lucy’s past roles at Ashoka have included re-engineering global operations and Venture program to enable multi-program expansion around the world, guiding Ashoka’s expansion in Asia and across Europe, acting as CFO to bring the organization's financial management more in line with its 4-fold growth over the previous decade, and participating in the alignment of Ashoka’s hiring with its Fellow selection process.  Prior to joining Ashoka, Lucy spent seven years in international finance, first with the International Finance Corporation/World Bank and then with Emerging Markets Partnership, a US$4 billion global equity investment firm.  Lucy has an undergraduate degree in International Relations from Stanford University (1986).  She earned an MBA in Finance from Wharton in 1992.

Paula Recart

Paula Recart serves as North America Leader and Director of Ashoka in the US. 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. Prior to that, she was part of the founding team of a broadcasting project –Rock&PopTV- that is still considered one of the most creative endeavors in Chilean media. At Ashoka, Paula has been part of the Global Marketing team and now leads the US efforts since July 2010.

Beverly Schwartz

Beverly is the author of Rippling: How Social Entrepreneurs Spread Innovation Around the World, Published by Jossey Bass, Jan 2012. She joined Ashoka as Vice President of Global Marketing from Fleishman Hillard International Communications where she created and managed their social issues portfolio and directed the non-advertising portion of the "National Youth Anti-drug Media Campaign". A behavioral scientist and social marketing expert, Bev has many systems changing innovations to her credit. She helped write and pass the nation's first non-smoking in public places state law in Minnesota, helped design and manage the first national "America Responds to AIDS" campaign and authored the first Surgeon General's report on HIV/AIDS for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, developed the National Eye Care Project for indigent elderly at the American Academy of Ophthalmology and worked on gender and education reform issues while at the Academy for Educational Development.

Vishnu Swaminathan

Vishnu joins Ashoka with more than 14 years of experience as Entrepreneur and innovator. He started two companies in Singapore in the areas of Financial transactions & Animation technology. After one of the companies was acquired he 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 started his career as a 3D and Film Special effects artist, holds a couple of patents from his ventures and has worked on a wide range of technologies, projects, training and strategic business models.


Ross Hall

Ross HallRoss is currently directing Ashoka’s education strategy for triggering a widespread change in the experience of education so that every young person is empowered to become a changemaker.

Over recent years, Ross researched and architected a ground-breaking programme that aims to equip and incline young people to be well and to do well. The first implementation of the Better World programme is with 500,000 children in rural communities across Zimbabwe, Tanzania, and Ghana. The Better World programme extends an earlier project that Ross conceived and led for Pearson Plc (Effective Education for Employment), which he used with ministries, employers and educators around the world to evaluate the effectiveness of education systems and institutions.

Ross joined Pearson in 2006 to head up their international qualifications and QA business, where he spearheaded the development of several innovative services (including a consultancy service and a suite of employability qualifications that embrace 21st century skills). Before joining Pearson, Ross spent 15 years in corporate venturing and incubation, establishing and growing more than 20 businesses around the world.

Ashwin Naik

Ashwin NaikAshwin 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 Inaugural Porter Prize in India for value based healthcare. In 2012, Ashwin also helped establish National Association of Social Enterprises in India, a leading industry body comprising of the leading social enterprises in India. Ashwin has been honored as a Young Global Leader (YGL) by World Economic Forum, Young Leader by Asia Society Asia21, Senior Ashoka Fellow, and Ted India fellow. His passion is Social entrepreneurship, Healthcare access and innovation.

At Ashoka, Ashwin leads the efforts to launch a Global Vitalness Initiative to transform our current thinking about health, wellbeing and nutrition. He is also involved in helping companies build changemaker organisations by collaborating with Ashoka Fellows. Ashwin has a medical degree from Karnatak Medical College, Hubli and a Masters from University of Houston, Texas. In his spare time, you will find him watching movies or collecting random (and mostly useless) historical trivia.

Nancy Welsh

Nancy WelshNancy 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. She has received various awards for her philanthropy, and has been heralded nationally for her innovative, paradigm-changing start-up non-profit, Builders of Hope, Inc. Nancy is the mother of four, holds a B.S. in Communications from the University of Tennessee and is a licensed Broker in North Carolina and Georgia. She is currently the Chairman of the Board for Builders of Hope, a 501(c)3, General Contractor and Real Estate firm whose mission is to increase the availability of affordable housing.


Shashikumar Velath

Sashikumar Velath, Leadership Group Member

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. He has been a practitioner of frame change strategies with the ability to convert uncertainties and adversities into breakthrough opportunities. His leadership as Amnesty International India’s chief strategist was a game-changer in re-establishing the organization in India.