Leaders of change united for the first time: It was October 2015, when the top-manager from the corporate world Stefan Dertnig (former partner BCG BCG Russia, Director DD Management & Advisory GmbH) registered as the first participant of the Ashoka Visionary Program and triggered the opening cohort of 22 ground-breaking changemakers from 6 European countries – our first visionaries.
Managers of NGOs and the public sector, like Markéta Pěchoučková (Head of unit responsible for supporting social innovation projects with European Social Fund, Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs of the Czech Republic), Ashoka Fellows and other leading social entrepreneurs also joined and contributed their experiences to the program.
Bart Weetjens, Ashoka Fellow and Founder of APOPO, was our first keynote speaker along with Adam Lent who introduced participants to the “age of empowerment” – a global shift in how organizations empower their staff, customers and stakeholders. APOPO has been training the famous HeroRats to detect thousands of buried land mines, cheaply freeing up farming land and living space. Inspiring stories, right? Today, we have 200+ alumni from 40 countries and we keep growing.