Alanna Noel Ford
My professional experience spans 5 continents, and my work with NGOs, governments and social enterprises draws from the best tools of each sector to foster social justice and women's empowerment. I combine a strong eye for design and marketing with a passion for community building and innovation. See more at: www.alannaford.com.
I was 9 years-old when I started my first social enterprise, although I wouldn't have called it that at the time. FFC Dollar was a store in my basement that sold handmade crafts my two neighbors and I created from recycled materials. With each pillow or necklace we sold, we reinvested the proceeds into local charities in our rural farming town. From an early age, I understood that humans were infinitely powerful, but that some had less access to resources -- which prevented them from bringing their full potential to life.
It was the beginning of what has become my life-long pursuit for social justice through innovation. In the two decades since then, I’ve pursued my passion for social change by supporting women’s enterprises to eradicate poverty in the developing world. This has taken me across five continents, through work on both the broad level and the grassroots perspective. I’ve supported multi-national players such as the Scottish Government, Ashoka, and Women’s Funding Network, the world’s largest organization of women’s philanthropic foundations. I’ve also championed change at the base of the pyramid, from facilitating market expansion with rural artisans in the Ecuadorian Cloud Forest, to coordinating programs with the Self-Employed Women’s Association in India.
I’ve become increasingly interested in exploring sustainable models for social change after years of working with traditional NGOs. This prompted me to complete my Masters in Business Management at University of Edinburgh in Scotland in order to learn entrepreneurial approaches to tackling these issues. It was during my studies that I co-founded my own award-winning social business, thinkfresh, which provided office workers with healthy, locally-sourced meals at their desk. Running thinkfresh gave me insight into the power of conceptualizing social problems as business opportunities.
I am an artist and anthropologist at heart. As a storyteller and a connector, my talents lie in visual