Engaging All: Strategies for Thriving in Complexity

#amexleads Livestream | April 1, 2019

Livestream March 16, 2020

The world around us is becoming more complex. Understanding this complexity is especially relevant when trying to solve social problems. This year's American Express Leadership Academy Global Alumni Summit, held in Washington, DC, on April 1-2, 2019, included a special livestream discussion featuring Bill Drayton, founder and CEO of Ashoka in conversation with Stacy Palmer, editor of The Chronicle of Philanthropy. Bill shared his extensive experience in the social sector, and discussed strategies for engaging various stakeholders to thrive in our complex society.

If you missed the Summit, you can watch the recording here:



Before the discussion, the Chronicle of Philanthropy hosted a special Facebook Live preview, which you can watch below. (Scroll to learn more.)

About the Speakers

BillBill Drayton,CEO & Chair, Ashoka

Bill Drayton is a social entrepreneur with a long record of founding organizations and public service. As the founder and CEO of Ashoka: Innovators for the Public, Bill Drayton has pioneered the field of social entrepreneurship, growing a global association of over 3,900 leading social entrepreneurs who work together to create an ‘Everyone a Changemaker’ world. Ashoka Fellows bring big systems-change to the world’s most urgent social challenges. Over half have changed national policy within five years of launch.

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. He worked at McKinsey & Company for ten years and taught at Stanford Law School and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. While serving the Carter Administration as Assistant Administrator at the Environmental Protection Agency, he launched many reforms including emissions trading, a fundamental change in regulation that is now the basis of much global as well as US regulatory law, including in fields beyond the environment.  

Bill launched Ashoka in 1980; in 1984, he used the stipend he received when elected a MacArthur Fellow to devote himself fully to Ashoka. Bill is Ashoka’s Chief Executive Officer. He also chairs Ashoka’s Youth Venture, Community Greens, and Get America Working! Bill has won numerous awards and honors throughout his career. He has been selected one of America’s Best Leaders by US News & World Report and Harvard’s Center for Public Leadership. In 2011, Drayton won Spain's prestigious Prince of Asturias Award, commonly described as Spain’s Nobel, for his work promoting social entrepreneurship. The prize foundation described him as a "driving force behind the figure of social entrepreneurs, men and women who undertake innovative initiatives for the common good."  Other awards include Honorary Doctorates from Yale, NYU and more; the Yale Law School’s highest alumni honor; the National Wildlife Federation’s Conservation Achievement Award International; the National Academy of Public Administration National Public Service Award; and the Harvard Kennedy School Richard E. Neustadt Award for Public Policy.

He is a member of among others, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Council on Foreign Relations.

Stacy Palmer, Editor, Chronicle of Philanthropy Stacy

Stacy Palmer has served as a top editor since The Chronicle of Philanthropy was founded in 1988 and has overseen the development of its website, Philanthropy.com. She plays a hands-on role in many Chronicle services, such as its Philanthropy Today daily newsletter and its webinar series offering professional development for people involved in fundraising, grant seeking, advocacy, marketing and social media.

Palmer has appeared frequently on radio and television to offer commentary on news in the nonprofit world. She is the editor of Challenges for Philanthropy and Nonprofits, a book published by the University Press of New England that collects three decades of observations by the nonprofit activist and Chronicle columnist Pablo Eisenberg. Before she helped found The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Palmer was editor for government and politics at The Chronicle of Higher Education.

She is a graduate of Brown University, where she earned a bachelor's degree in international relations. She has been an active alumna, serving on numerous alumni boards, including chairing the Brown Alumni Magazine and is now a member of the university's Women's Leadership Council.

Alumni Award Finalists

At the end of Stacy and Bill’s discussion, the Summit hosts announced the winner of the 2019 American Express Leadership Academy Alumni Award. This award honors an accomplished social purpose leader who continuously demonstrates strong leadership and who has had a significant impact on their organization, the sector and community. The recipient receives a $25,000 grant to their organization.

This year's winner was Maco Yoshioka, Founder/CEO, Madre Bonita (Japan).

Congratulations to this year’s finalists!

  • Vanessa Ho, Executive Director, Project X (Singapore)
  • Jacob Ireri, CEO, Deaf Empowerment Society of Kenya (Kenya)
  • Wesner Pierre, Vice President, CAMBA, Inc. (USA)
  • Prakash Tyagi, Executive Director, GRAVIS (India)

Click here to meet the winner and the finalists.

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