Aspen Institute Recognizes Innovative Business Leaders as 2017 First Movers Fellows

June 21, 2017

Corporate Social Intrapreneurs Create Positive Social and Environmental Impacts through Business

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

New York, June 21, 2017 —The Aspen Institute Business & Society Program today announced its 9th class of First Mover Fellows. These accomplished individuals are working within companies to help solve the world’s most pressing social and environmental challenges. 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 business while positively impacting the lives of consumers, employees and communities around the world.

More than half of the Fellows in this year’s class work at companies that have been represented in past Fellowship classes, signaling the company’s satisfaction with the program design and delivery. We are honored to again have First Movers representing the following companies: AT&T, Baxter, BBVA, GE, Google, IDEO, Johnson & Johnson, Levi Strauss & Co., Nike, Pratt & Whitney, State Street, Toyota, Zurich Insurance and VF Corporation. The 2017 class of Fellows also represent a diverse set of functional responsibilities, such as business development, marketing, talent management and community affairs.

“The experienced business professionals whom we select for the First Movers Program are igniting innovation for impact within their companies. We need these corporate social intrapreneurs to ensure that business has the capacity to meet the public’s expectations to deliver products and services that create value for all,” said Nancy McGaw, creator and director of the First Movers Fellowship Program. The initial Fellowship year includes three seminars built around the core themes of innovation, leadership, reflection and community. “The curriculum we offer inspires bold thinking and helps Fellows build momentum for change. We are proud to welcome these talented individuals into the First Movers community, a network which now includes over 170 Fellows all over the globe.”

First Movers Design Team member Matthew Breitfelder, chief talent officer and managing director at BlackRock, the largest money manager in the world, underscores how critical it is today for companies to encourage this kind of intrapreneuial talent. “First Movers bring multidimensional perspectives to their work and prod their companies to operate in ways that drive competitive advantage. They look over the horizon to consider what products, services and practices deliver long-term value to both business and society. We need this kind of talent to thrive – in business and beyond.”

Fellows were nominated by leaders in their industry, company colleagues or Aspen Institute staff. They were selected for having a proven track record in innovation, coupled with a compelling idea about an 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 to build the courage and conviction of business leaders to think long-term and act in the best interests of society. 

The 2017 Aspen First Mover Fellows

  • Estelle Aymard, Integrated Reporting and Sustainability Measurement Lead, Zurich Insurance Company
  • Barruch Ben-Zekry, Director, Sustainable Products and Materials, VF Corporation
  • Amanda Billiot, Executive Director of Human Resources, Pratt & Whitney
  • Ricky Buch, Senior Strategic Marketing Leader, GE Power
  • David Clark, Vice President, Safety Environment and Sustainability, Amcor Ltd.
  • Shekinah Eliassen, Associate Marketing Director, eCommerce Shopper Marketing (, The Clorox Company
  • Neil Giacobbi, Associate Vice President, Citizenship & Sustainability, AT&T
  • Chris Grantham, Circular Economy Portfolio Director, IDEO
  • Samantha Hennessey, Regional Manager, Google Inc.
  • Somi Kim, Senior Director, Healthcare Solutions, J&J Design, Johnson & Johnson
  • Faith LeGendre, Business Outcome Strategist, Cisco Systems
  • Samir Luther, Product Manager, Account Opening, Capital One Bank
  • Chonlak Mahasuvirachai, Digital Business Lead, SCG
  • Mark McDivitt, Managing Director, Head of ESG Solutions, State Street Corporation
  • Russell McLemore, Senior Director, Innovation Accelerator, NIKE, Inc.
  • Eric Noshay, Senior Director, Renal Therapy Services, Baxter International Inc.
  • Reymundo Ocañas, Executive Vice President, Director of Corporate Responsibility & Reputation, BBVA Compass
  • Becca Prowda, Director, Community Affairs, Levi Strauss & Co.
  • Elena Sacca Smith, National Community Relations Manager, Toyota Financial Services
  • Meg Sullivan, Chief Business Development, Marketing and CSR Officer, Paul Hastings LLP

For more information about the 2017 class, please visit:

The Aspen Institute First Movers Fellowship Program is the leading global network and professional development program for corporate social intrapreneurs. First Movers are accomplished innovators inside companies who are creating new products, services and management practices that increase business value and make the world a better place. Since 2009, the Fellowship Program has strengthened the capacity of social intrapreneurs 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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