The Aspen Institute, is a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society. It has a tried and true reputation for gathering diverse, nonpartisan thought leaders, creatives, and scholars to address some of the world’s most complex problems.
The Henry Crown Fellowship Program was started by The Aspen Institute as a way to help business leaders gain expert guidance on trying to build solutions for some of society’s most pressing problems. Established in 1997 with a mission to form the next generation of community-driven leaders, the program is now more relevant than ever. Every year, it offers its class of 22 members a two-year program designed to equip them with the tools needed to meet the challenges of business and civic leadership in the 21st century with expert guidance from the Aspen Institute.
Let’s take a look at why 2,500 successful ventures have been launched by fellows across the Aspen Institute’s initiative and how these global leaders have already made significant strides in using their businesses and organizational platforms to address critical world problems.
Impact Beyond The Conference Room
It is no secret that there are still many disparities within the work world that need to be addressed including but not limited to educational achievement gaps, access to health care, financial literacy, domestic violence, job creation, and more
The Henry Crown Fellowship Program is an esteemed achievement for accomplished business leaders who are driving positive change within their communities and in society. This year’s program demonstrates a new breed of leaders between the ages of 30 and 45, mostly from the private business sector. Having already achieved personal success, the class members are ready to broaden their goals, and apply their skills to challenge themselves, grow, and build a better society.
Fellows spend four weeks over the course of two years in a structured retreat – exploring their leadership, core values, their vision for a good society, and their desired legacies. But the Fellowship is not just about reflection. It is also about action: each Fellow launches a leadership venture that will stretch them and have a positive impact on their communities, their country, or the world.
The Class of 2022 includes industry leaders like Nick Tran, Former Global Head of Marketing at TikTok; Lindsay Shookus, Producer at SNL, NBCUniversal; Luis von Ahn, Co-founder & CEO at Duolingo; Shilla Kim-Parker, Cofounder and CEO of Thrilling; and Laura González-Estéfani, the Founder and CEO of Miami-headquartered TheVentureCity, a global, operator-led investment firm.
Bringing Change For The Better to The Global Financial Perspective
TheVentureCity hails from one of the fastest-growing tech startup scenes in the US, and its fearless female leader González-Estéfani wields seasoned financial and business prowess from experience working at big players such as eBay and Facebook. She has reinvested this savvy, so to speak, into Venture’s global, operator-led investment model.
González-Estéfani and her team at TheVentureCity have sought to generate global impact through their work, portfolios, and external projects with a mission to make today’s entrepreneurial ecosystem more diverse, international, and accessible to fair capital.
A member of the European Commission’s Innovation Council, last year Laura led a group of 25 female VCs in launching a petition for the European Commission to increase investment in female-led VC and entrepreneurship in the continent. At the end of 2020, TheVentureCity partnered with the World Bank for its annual Innovate4Climate initiative to develop practical solutions for climate change with a select group of startups.
In response to being chosen as a Henry Crown Fellowship Program Fellow, González-Estéfani said: ‘’I am honored to join an inspiring group of changemakers who share my values about using our combined skills and platforms to catalyze positive change.’’
‘’My team’s work has always been grounded in creating and curating a community that can elevate entrepreneurship, and I’m excited to bring back further learnings from this unique opportunity,’’ she continued.
Since Laura founded TheVentureCity, 50% of its leadership positions have been filled by women, and its 30+ employees boast 17 different nationalities. TheVentureCity has already accepted over 100 startups into its growth program and invested in 20+ more via its first venture fund.
The Future of Community Business Leaders
Ethical standards in the business world are quickly escalating—with 63% of customers wanting to see more ethical practices from companies. This is instigating a higher demand for morality in enterprise, and in turn, is shifting the way that leaders at companies present themselves as the spokesperson for businesses and how they choose to invest in their surrounding communities.
Through the Aspen Institute’s Henry Crown Fellowship Program, the selected class of 2022 business leaders will present a potent force of talent ready to focus their energies on some of the greatest challenges of our times—evolving global society for the better.