Designing for Social Impact: The Aspen Institute’s 2020 Fellows

The Aspen Institute is driving change to help solve the greatest social challenges of our time.

Today, The Aspen Institute announced its 12th class of First Mover Fellows. The class brings together some of the most cutting edge corporate social intrapreneurs, committed to delivering business value alongside meaningful social and environmental impact.

This year’s announcement marks a particularly special one for me as I will be joining The First Movers Design Team, helping guide and design the Fellowship program and the class’s overall experience.

Having joined the fellowship over a decade ago, this is a poignant and meaningful milestone in my social impact journey. I’m delighted that the successes, challenges and hard fought lessons experienced throughout my career have positioned me to support others and amplify their impact. I’ve spent my career committed to balancing purpose with profit and, as a part of the design team, I feel that commitment is about to enter the next chapter.

I can pinpoint my desire to lead a career founded on meaning and social contribution back to university, when I was an undergraduate at Wilfrid Laurier. It was there I founded Meal Exchange, with a plan that saw students donate hundreds of thousands of meals to feed those that were food insecure. Following graduation, I worked in the corporate world at Procter & Gamble by day, and I focused on social impact through Meal Exchange at night. As satisfying as it was, I couldn’t help but feel I was living a bifurcated life, and wanted to solve for something more harmonious that united profit and purpose.

Since then I’ve led a number of meaningful brand and social impact efforts, ranging from rethinking the capital markets so that investors could vote their proxy online to align their social values with their economic goals, developing a refurbishing infrastructure at Walmart that demonstrated that there is value in items that already exist, or helping various 5&Vine clients take on industry incumbents as socially minded Challenger Brands. The intention underlying those engagements has been constant – How can we align business with the long term health of society and the planet?

I’ve been lucky enough to be part of The Aspen Institute family during this journey, connecting with a community of intelligent, capable, inspirational and value-aligned intrapreneurs. Their support paved the way for my success, and I’m confident the same will happen for the class of 2020. I can’t wait to see how these innovators reimagine not just the social impact of the companies they’re working for, but redefine approaches to capitalism that we can all learn from.

For more on The Aspen Institute and the First Movers Fellows on their website.


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