Innovators Help Business Change From Within

April 28, 2010

The Aspen Institute Business and Society program today announced the second 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 16 Fellows chosen this year come from a wide variety of industries and a number of countries.

“While there is great variety in the types of companies the 2010 Fellows work in—from chemicals to design to finance—their goals are remarkably similar: to develop products or programs that benefit their businesses and the community at large,” says Nancy McGaw, director of the First Movers Fellowship Program.

The 12-month Fellowship, which includes three convenings, 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.

“What we have learned from the first class of First Movers is that companies benefit from what participants learn and are exposed to during the course of the fellowship.  Fellows bring back to their organizations an enhanced ability to innovate,” explains McGaw. “Through sharing ideas and challenges with other participants, they are also exposed to different models of business growth and innovation which they can share with their colleagues. And, because they are closely involved in the strategic initiatives in their companies, what they learn can have significant impact.”

“Global companies are facing an unprecedented set of challenges that will only intensify in the coming years,” adds Matthew Breitfelder, Vice President of Management and Leadership Development for MasterCard and one of the expert Design Team members guiding the Fellowship program development. “We know it will require mastery of a new set of 21st century leadership behaviors to navigate these challenges successfully. The First Movers program provides a remarkable group of intrapreneurs with the skills and capabilities they need to lead their companies through periods of dramatic change and growth.”

Fred Dust, a partner at IDEO, a global design consultancy and another member of the Fellowship Design Team, concurs. “Innovation is the way that companies will differentiate themselves in the 21st century. When an innovation both engages employees and contributes to the collective well-being, the company thrives.  First Mover Fellows have the remarkable ability to create that important combination for their organizations.” A list of the other Design Team members can found at

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.  Founded in 1950, the Aspen Institute is an international nonprofit organization that fosters enlightened leadership, the appreciation of timeless values and ideas, and open-minded dialogue on contemporary issues.

The First Movers Fellows – 2010

Ajay Badhwar, Strategic Market Manager, The Dow Chemical Company.  He leads the commercialization of new technologies with novel business models for Dow Oil & Gas. Specializing in CO2 capture technologies and regarded as a leader in capturing CO2 from power plants, Ajay is harnessing existing technologies to transform byproducts from power plants and industrial sources to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and meet industry demand for CO2.  

Antoni Ballabriga, Director of Corporate Responsibility, BBVA, a Madrid-based global banking group present in over 30 countries in Europe, America and Asia.  Antoni is responsible for the integration of corporate responsibility into the bank’s mainstream activities and business strategy in order to meet clients’ needs more effectively, build financial literacy and create economic value and customer loyalty.   

Rachael Barber, is Director, Global Community Investment, at Barclays plc., managing the bank’s programs in 50 countries. Recognizing that many of today’s major global challenges – climate change, health, access to finance and SME growth and development – require a creative financial component as part of the solution, Rachel is leading the development of innovative financial products that achieve positive social impacts in countries where the bank operates.  

Anupam Bhargava, General Manager, Line Maintenance Services, UTC Pratt & Whitney.  He has led environmental initiatives ranging from plastics recycling to vapor recovery systems for oil and gas distribution.  He creates businesses that foster business innovation and accelerate delivery of environmentally advanced technologies to the market place.  One example is EcoPower® on-wing engine wash, a service deployed at airports worldwide. EcoPower’s closed-loop system uses pure water to reduce aircraft fuel burn and emissions, while capturing all effluent.  

Eric Goldberg, Director, International Online Strategy, MetLife. Working with local marketing teams in 16 countries, he develops online business plans that are integrated into the overall marketing approach and deliver clear financial returns.  Using his knowledge of technology and social media, Eric is creating platforms for beneficiaries of MetLife’s corporate citizenship programs to strengthen their connections with the company and create “brand ambassadors” for MetLife.

Joanna Hafenmayer, Citizenship and Sustainability Officer, Microsoft Switzerland. In this role Joanna runs a “Citizenship Cabinet” and manages a portfolio of corporate responsibility engagements that consider the impact that information technologies can and should have on social and environmental challenges. She is currently developing an innovative leadership development program that will broaden the perspective of corporate leaders by linking them with social entrepreneurs around the globe.  

Alicia Ledlie, Senior Director, Associate Development, Walmart Stores Inc.  Alicia co-managed two urban Walmart stores before leading the design and execution of new healthcare initiatives, including development and rollout of Walmart’s in-store medical clinic business.  Her focus now is on developing and executing Walmart’s educational strategy, with an aim to increasing Walmart associates’ access to an affordable, high-quality college education.

Sally Madsen, Designer and leader of Social Innovation, IDEO.  A product designer by training, Sally has led programs for social and commercial clients in India, Ghana, Kenya, Bangladesh, and Mexico. To leverage the firm’s expertise in social innovation, she is now creating a platform for knowledge sharing which will enable IDEO to collect insights and solutions developed from their work in this domain.  This knowledge can then be shared more readily across the firm and with the public.

Marika McCauley Sine, International Government Relations Manager at The Coca-Cola Company. Marika manages global sustainability communications, projects and relationships related to economic development, sustainable agriculture, women’s empowerment and human rights. Currently, Marika is focusing on how Coca-Cola can empower the women entrepreneurs around the world who sell the company’s products by connecting them to the resources, networks and knowledge they need.     

Hamlin Metzger, Senior Manager, Corporate Responsibility, Best Buy Co. Inc.  He develops company-wide corporate responsibility strategy, initiatives and tactics based on external and internal monitoring, benchmarking, and research.   He also founded and chairs a grass-roots network of 450 employees who promote best practices in this area.  A new initiative is a platform for helping Best Buy deliver digital solutions for underserved communities around the world.  

Jeremy Neuner, Co-founder and CEO, NextSpace – Coworking + Innovation. Jeremy left the public sector to found NextSpace as a way to create the innovation infrastructure required for a freelance economy. The nature of employment is changing.  An increasing number of people are self-employed and require resources, amenities and networking opportunities. NextSpace is creating these communities and redefining how people work.  

Assil Omar, Leadership Development Senior Manager, Global, at Agility Logistics, a leading global provider of integrated logistics, headquartered in Kuwait. Assil designs and manages Agility’s global leadership development programs and talent management initiatives. She is now considering a program to engage the entire supply chain in one geographic region to focus on green logistics, sustainability and values-based  leadership. Such a program could build customer relationships and identify additional business opportunities.  

Britta Rendlen, Senior Risk Manager, Swiss Reinsurance Company.  She co-manages a group-wide framework to handle sustainability risks inherent in insurance transactions and investments.  Using her expertise in the fields of insurance, risk and sustainability,  Britta is now working to build consensus within the (re)insurance industry around a set of principles on environmental, social and/or ethical risk management that would guide business transactions.  

Emma Stewart, Senior Program Lead, Sustainability, Autodesk. Emma leads the company’s effort to model sustainability best practices to the 9 million architect, engineer, manufacturing and construction customers who use Autodesk’s design software.  She is currently creating a Sustainable Design Living Lab to develop new software solutions that accelerate the greening of commercial buildings.  

Stephanie Struhs, Brand Manager, Procter & Gamble. Stephanie has lead stellar growth in the beauty division and will soon start a new role in the Femcare business with a mission to implement a pilot for Project Ceres, an initiative that she created to empower women and touch more consumers’ lives at the bottom of the pyramid.  

Eric Wilmot, Innovation Lead, Wolff Olins, a brand strategy and design firm with offices in the UK, New York, and Dubai. Eric’s work focuses on the intersection of business, design, and social/environmental impact. He leads new products, services, and business design solutions for major global brands.

For more information about the First Movers Fellowship, or about the 2010 Fellows, visit

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