Innovators Help Business Change From Within

June 5, 2013

Nancy McGaw
Director of the First Movers Fellowship
The Aspen Institute
(212) 895-8007

5th Class of Aspen Institute First Mover Fellows creates success for companies and communities

New York, June 5, 2013—The Aspen Institute Business and Society Program today announces the fifth class of First Mover Fellows, individuals who are working within companies to unite business growth with a sustainable society in the products and services they are developing. The 19 Fellows chosen this year come from a wide variety of industries including automotive (Toyota); food and beverage (PepsiCo); technology (Google, HP, and LinkedIn); pharmaceuticals (Janssen); energy (AREVA, CLP Holdings, and SolarReserve); waste and recycling (Waste Management); and telecommunications (Verizon Foundation). 

“The accomplished and creative business professionals selected for this program are redefining business success,” says Nancy McGaw, creator and director of the First Movers Fellowship Program.  “They are looking over the quarterly horizon and creating long term value for their companies in diverse ways such as lowering operating risks, managing supply chains, meeting the needs of underserved markets and, embedding sustainability practices throughout their organizations.”    

The 12-month Fellowship, which includes three seminars, is built around the core themes of innovation, leadership, reflection and community. The program offers individuals a chance to become part of a growing community of innovators who share a passion about their work and belief in new possibilities for business. It also serves as an innovation lab where Fellows develop the skills to make their innovations real and successful in their organizations. The program offers both a leadership development opportunity for the Fellows and an organizational development strategy for their companies.

Part of the First Movers experience is stepping out of the corporate fray to reflect with other fellows about the projects they’re trying to implement and the challenges they’re facing. 

“Many of these people are working so much against the grain of what companies typically reward,” says Judy Samuelson, the founder of the Aspen Institute’s Business and Society Program and a regular contributor to The Huffington Post. “These fellows may have identified a business opportunity but they also know there will be skepticism about whether this is the best way to spend their time and effort, and whether there will be a broader impact on the firm.”

In some cases, Samuelson says, participating in First Movers has given fellows the emotional strength to keep advocating for social and environmental innovations in an organization that might not initially seem receptive to such arguments. In other cases, the program has provided fellows with the tools to introduce and implement such initiatives, and along the way increased the visibility – and career prospects – of First Mover participants.

“People have been promoted, they have become more able to achieve objectives within their firm; they have become the go-to expert in their companies on social innovation,” Samuelson says.

Now in its fifth year, First Movers has garnered impressive support from firms and organizations, and increased interest from potential fellows. Candidates must be nominated, and the program relies upon a network of about 400 scouts at firms and business schools worldwide that helps to identify promising candidates.

“The fellowship helps high potential, talented individuals in organizations to think even bolder and bigger and develop tools to succeed as changemakers,” says McGaw, who recently authored a post on the promise of First Movers in the Harvard Business Review titled “Have A Real Impact; Keep your Day Job.”

The First Movers Fellowship was developed by the Aspen Institute Business and Society Program, whose mission is to equip business leaders for the 21st century with a new management paradigm—the vision and knowledge to integrate corporate profitability and social value.

For more information about the First Movers Fellowship, or about the 2013 Fellows, visit

The First Mover Fellows – 2013

Carlos Abogabir, Co-Founder and President, GeCo. Carlos is unlocking the business potential to achieve local sustainable development. In a collaborative network between government, civil society, and the private sector, he searches to maximize social and economic impact in a market-oriented way. He is principally focused on the development and commercialization of new gourmet products that include smallholder growers in the value chain and generate value for all.

Lee Ballin, Sustainability Manager, Bloomberg LP. Reporting to the Chairman’s Office, Lee and the Global Sustainability group aggressively integrate sustainability considerations into all operations and co-develop products and services for the Bloomberg Professional Service, enabling their clients to evaluate sustainability market risks and opportunities.

Caroline Barlerin, Director, Global Community Engagement & Communications, Sustainability and Social Innovation (SSI), HP. Caroline has spent her career bridging the worlds of profit and purpose. Her mandate is to engage more than 320,000 HP employees around the world in programs benefiting the community, employees, and the company. 

Hailey Brewer, Senior Design Lead, IDEO. Hailey leads client relationships and projects in IDEO’s New York studio. As an innovation and design strategist, Hailey helps clients envision the future of their business and move toward it through human-centered design of new services, experiences, brand narratives, and new ways of working. Within IDEO, Hailey focuses on empowering teams to be brave in their designs and advocate for ideas that create value for clients and society at large.

Dorothy Chan is Group Public Affairs Manager, CLP Holdings. She is responsible for advocating CLP Group’s views on energy financing and technologies, climate, and sustainability positions. She formulates and implements strategies to support the CEO and Group Executive Director-Strategy in their stakeholder engagement and communications; manages the company’s relationship with international opinion leaders; oversees the company’s citizenship activities; and strengthens internal and external understanding of energy and sustainability related issues.

Laura Clise is the Director of External Communications & Corporate Citizenship for AREVA Inc., responsible for external communications, stakeholder engagement, sponsorship, and corporate citizenship for the North American region. In her role, she also leads AREVA’s Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) program and serves as the company’s liaison to the Center for Climate and Energy Solution’s Business Environmental Leadership Council.

Manoj Fenelon is Director of Foresight for the Global Beverages Group at PepsiCo Inc. Manoj helps imagine alternate futures for PepsiCo’s beverage brands and businesses, and guides them in creating new value through platforms that help people lead meaningful lives. He leads efforts to identify and develop innovation opportunities that are at the intersection of business and social needs.

Renata Frolova, is the Head of Responsible Procurement for A.P. Moller-Maersk. Renata helps extend the company’s values and business principles to their 100,000-plus suppliers in the areas of human rights, labor, environment, and anti-corruption. Renata and her champion team have been responsible for mainstreaming sustainability into the Maersk Group’s supply chain since 2010, when Renata became Head of the program.

David Gallon, Strategic Innovation Manager, Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc. David advises, consults, and guides corporate culture change and strategy development in conjunction with senior executives, as well as members of the marketing and product planning teams throughout Toyota Motor Sales. His work is informed by current and future societal trends and how these trends will impact the Toyota business.

Therese Lee is Global Ethics & Compliance Counsel at Google Inc.  She is the lead architect for the company’s global anti-bribery compliance program.   She is responsible for legal and regulatory compliance matters, particularly Google’s worldwide compliance with the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) and international anti-bribery laws.  She works with US and international governments and civil society to promote anti-corruption solutions and advocacy.

Stephen Mullennix is Senior Vice President of Operations for SolarReserve where he leads the company’s efforts in asset management and corporate development. SolarReserve’s leading utility-scale solar power technology utilizes integrated energy storage to deliver clean, reliable electricity at any time – day or night. 

Eric Myers, Director of Organic Recycling, Waste Management (WM). WM, North America’s leading provider of integrated environmental solutions, provides customers with environmentally sound management of solid wastes and the transformation of waste into usable resources. Eric is responsible for leading WM’s development of current and next generation beneficial use solutions to create higher value products from the organic portion of the waste stream.

Justina Nixon-Saintil is Director of Education for the Verizon Foundation. She is a key strategist accountable for the development, implementation, and measurement of the organization’s education program for both K-12 and higher ed. Her specific area of emphasis is on implementing technology-based educations solutions to improve STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) related academic achievement in underserved communities.

Meredith Petrin, Director, Business Development, WaterHealth International (WHI). WHI is a global leader in providing access to safe, WHO-quality, affordable drinking water to underserved communities through the installation, operation, maintenance, and quality monitoring of community water purification systems called WaterHealth Centers.

Aditi Advani Ramirez, Chief Operating Officer, Macquarie Social Impact LLC. Aditi is working to incorporate an ESG focus in Macquarie’s Infrastructure and Real Assets (MIRA) business. MIRA is the largest owner and operator of infrastructure assets globally. It manages 98 infrastructure businesses in 23 countries around the world. Its assets serve more than 100 million people daily.

Karin Reiter is Group Corporate Responsibility Manager for Zurich Insurance Group. In this position she supports the advancement of the Group’s overall corporate responsibility (CR) strategy, in whose development she played an integral role. Karin is currently leading the implementation of a holistic Group community investment strategy, focused on leveraging Zurich’s core competencies to address social and environmental challenges in close cooperation with non-profit organizations.

Elizabeth Seeger, Principal, Business Operations, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co L.P. (KKR). Elizabeth helps oversee the management of environmental and social responsibility issues and opportunities across KKR’s global portfolio including through KKR’s Green Portfolio Program.

Matt Sonefeldt, Head of Investor Relations, LinkedIn. Matt is focused on developing a deep understanding of LinkedIn’s internal operations, delivering value to LinkedIn’s management through industry analysis, and ultimately building relationships with long-term oriented shareholders aligned with LinkedIn’s management strategic objectives.

Adrian Thomas is the Head of Global Market Access & Public Health for Janssen, the pharmaceutical companies of Johnson & Johnson. Janssen is focused on innovative biologics, pharmaceuticals, and vaccines addressing unmet medical needs across a wide range of disease areas. Adrian leads the organization that designs worldwide programs and strategies to enable patients to access the company’s products and is ultimately the champion for Janssen’s thought leadership and efforts addressing access and affordability in developed, emerging, and resource challenged markets.

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