Aspen Institute Innovation Lab Recognizes Business Leaders As 2016 First Mover Fellows

June 23, 2016

Corporate Social Intrapreneurs Create Positive Social, Financial and Environmental Impacts.

Contact: Trisha King
Program Associate
Aspen Institute Business & Society Program
212-895-8065 |

New York, June 23, 2016 —The Aspen Institute First Movers Fellowship Program today announced its 2016 class of Fellows who are working within companies to help solve the world’s most challenging social and environmental problems. First Movers is the leading global network of intrapreneurs and equips Fellows with the skills and confidence to drive innovations inside companies that add value to the organization and positively impact the lives of consumers, employees and communities. The initial Fellowship year includes three seminars built around the core themes of innovation, leadership, reflection and community.

This year’s accomplished Fellows represent a diverse set of companies and functional responsibilities, such as finance, public affairs, business development and talent management. Nearly half of this year’s Fellows work at companies that have been represented in past Fellowship classes: Best Buy, GE, IBM, IDEO, Levi Strauss & Co., LinkedIn, Pacific Gas and Electric Co., Visa Inc., and Xylem Inc. The companies with Fellows for the first time are: AT&T, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Bertelsmann, Blue Bottle Coffee, ENGIE, Grainger, Kellogg Company, LexisNexis Risk Solutions, Marina Bay Sands, Mars, Incorporated, and West Elm.

“The diversity of the cohort in terms of industry and functional responsibility is key. We also value and seek out diverse candidates in terms of demographics, location and experiences, as these differences are critical to the ideation and innovation process,” said Nancy McGaw, creator and director of the First Movers Fellowship Program. “The curriculum prompts Fellows to reflect on their personal purpose and inspires bold thinking about the positive impact companies can make in society. We are proud to welcome these talented individuals into the First Movers community, a network which now includes 150 Fellows all over the globe.”

First Movers Design Team member Bryan Walker, managing director of the Design for Change Studio & partner at IDEO, affirmed the strength of this growing community of business leaders. “First Mover Fellows are champions for exciting innovations that build competitive advantage for their firms and set the bar higher for others. Our company has been involved in the program design since its inception, and we are proud that IDEO will again be represented in this year’s class.”

Fellows were nominated either by leaders in their industry, peers, or academic partners of the program. They were selected for having a proven track record in innovation, coupled with a compelling idea about a next stage innovation project to undertake during the Fellowship. The First Movers Fellowship Program was developed by the Aspen Institute Business and Society Program, which has a broader mission is to build the courage and conviction of business leaders to think long-term and act in the best interests of society. 

For bios and photos of the 2016 class of Fellows, visit: 

The 2016 First Mover Fellows

  • Xantha Bruso, Manager, Long-Term Energy Policy, Pacific Gas and Electric Co.
  • Tim Coates, Program Manager, Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs, IBM
  • Brendan Ferretti, CFO North America, GE Grid Solutions
  • Jennifer Gootman, Director of Social Consciousness & Innovation, West Elm
  • Charles Hayes, Managing Director, China & Partner, IDEO
  • Kirstin Hill, Managing Director, Bank of America Merrill Lynch
  • Heidi Koester Oliveira, Senior Manager, Global Human Rights, Mars, Incorporated
  • Tyler Kirsh, Senior Global Sustainability Analyst, W. Grainger, Inc.
  • Akshay Kothari, Head of LinkedIn India
  • Paloma Lopez, Global Sustainability Director, Kellogg Company
  • Robert Meloche, Senior Director, Global Financial Inclusion, Visa Inc.
  • Shirley Ni, Senior Manager, Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability, Best Buy
  • Nicolas Piau, Director of Mergers & Acquisitions, ENGIE
  • Bart Sights, Vice President, Technical Innovation, Levi Strauss & Co.
  • Jevan Soo, Chief People Officer, Blue Bottle Coffee
  • Carsten Tams, Senior Vice President, Ethics & Compliance, Bertelsmann
  • Kevin Wei Zhong Teng, Executive Director of Sustainability, Marina Bay Sands
  • Ankush Tewari, Senior Director, Market Planning, LexisNexis Risk Solutions
  • Randolf Webb, Senior Analyst, Strategy and Business Development, Xylem Inc.
  • Anne Wintroub, Director of Social Innovation, AT&T 

The Aspen Institute First Movers Fellowship Program is an innovation lab and leadership development program for corporate intrapreneurs – accomplished innovators inside companies – who are creating new products, services and management practices. It equips Fellows with the tools, skills and network they need to deliver financial value to their company and positive social and environmental outcomes for the world. Founded in 2009, First Movers is designed around four core themes; innovation, leadership, reflection and community. It strengthens the capacity of Fellows to lead change within their company and industry – which collectively, over time, will redefine how business is done and how success is measured. For more information, visit

The Aspen Institute Business and Society Program, founded in 1998, works with business executives and scholars to align business decisions and investments with the long-term health of society – and the planet. Through carefully designed networks, working groups and focused dialogue, the Program identifies and inspires thought leaders and intrapreneurs to challenge conventional ideas about capitalism and markets, to test new measures of business success and to connect classroom theory and business practice. For more information, visit

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit


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