“Succession and transition: there needed to be a platform for so much wisdom to be shared.”
The Elders Council for Social Entrepreneurs
Monthly conversations on eldership and transition to learn from the wisdom of elder members of the Ashoka community and reflect on your future after having founded and led an innovative, impactful organization.
About the learning journey
The Elders Council hosts a series of monthly webinars with global leaders from the ecosystem who share their personal experiences and provide advice and insights to the community on the topic of eldership and transition from different perspectives and lenses. They address topics such as the challenges of exit planning, what is founders’ legacy, the sustainability of what founders have built and their future, leaders’ wellbeing, and much more.
These conversations create a safe space for social entrepreneurs to support one another in planning their future after founding impactful organizations. It particularly champions social entrepreneurs who are over 55 years old, by working on systems of mutual support and solidarity. It also endorses the wider community of social entrepreneurs by using the wisdom of the Elders to offer assistance, including mentoring, advice on boards, transition, and other critical challenges.
This offer is not directly led by Ashoka. The Elders Council for Social Entrepreneurs is an initiative co-founded by three Ashoka Fellows – Andrea Coleman, Chris Underhill, and Mel Young – that emerged during an Ashoka Europe Fellowship retreat in Aix-en-Provence (France) in September 2019.
Connect with like-minded leaders and changemakers who have been, are going through, or are reflecting on their leadership journey after founding impactful organizations.
Learn and be inspired by the wisdom and experience of transitioning out of an organization by elder social entrepreneurs.
Become a member of a global community of support and get the assistance you need.
Who this is for
These conversations are designed for anyone going through or thinking about a transition out of the organization they have founded or led, or are facing the challenges of exit planning, thinking about questions of legacy, the sustainability of what they have built and where they are going next.
Everyone, from any generation or background, is also invited to join and listen in.
Older social entrepreneurs are actively encouraged to support one another and share their wisdom across the social entrepreneurship ecosystem.
Monthly webinars of 1 hour each, including insights from guest speakers followed by open conversations with participants.
Ongoing monthly webinars usually happening on Tuesdays.
Check out the schedule here and stay updated on upcoming dates and topics by signing up to our Newsletter.
Participating in the full series is not compulsory, participants are welcome to join any webinar. Other resources, opportunities and support are also available for anyone joining the Elders Council as a member. More information here.
Support our work
This learning journey is offered free of cost thanks to the generosity of our community. To help us develop new content and make sure it is accessible to more changemakers please donate to Ashoka today! Any contribution is deeply appreciated.
Module Leaders & Facilitators
Andrea Coleman is co-founder of Riders for Health and founder of CEO of Two Wheels for Life. Riders for Health has built systems for managing motorcycles and motorized vehicles to ensure health care is delivered – predictably and reliably - however harsh the conditions or however remote the community. Money is saved and people are employed and trained to a very high standard. Riders works in 5 African countries - Lesotho, Nigeria, Malawi, Liberia and The Gambia ‘Introducing innovations for vehicle management in Africa to deliver health care requires persistence and impatience with the status quo. I have both in abundance’ she says.
In 2013 Andrea won the Women of the Year Award, sponsored by Barclays. In 2004 she won the Sage/Daily Telegraph Best Business Leader award and in 2006 won the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Award. Andrea was selected to join the Schwab Foundation network of social entrepreneurs in 2004 and Andrea has been a fellow of the Skoll Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship since 2005 and is now a senior fellow of Ashoka.
Chris Underhill MBE is a social entrepreneur, professional mentor and a global expert on mental health delivery. In 1978 he started his first social enterprise. This is called Thrive and it is the UK organisation that uses gardening to bring about change in the lives of those living with disabilities or ill health. In 1985 he founded Action on Disability and Development (ADD) which works with disabled people in developing countries. In 1995 he was invited to be the CEO of the Intermediate Technology Development Group, now known as Practical Action and in 2000 he went on to found BasicNeeds the mental health charity working in developing countries which he retired from in 2016. Currently, he is building his mentoring practice Mentor Services.
Chris is a Senior Ashoka Fellow and a recipient of the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship and of the Schwab Foundation Award for Social Entrepreneurship. In 2000 he was honoured by HRH the Queen with an MBE for services to disability and development.
Mel Young is a social entrepreneur and has been for most of his life. He is a change-maker and believes passionately that homelessness around the world can be ended. He currently has three roles: President of the Homeless World Cup, which he co-founded in 2003. Under his leadership, the organisation has expanded all over the world and now has partners in 75 countries, touching the lives of over 100,000 homeless people every year – more than 1.2 million people in the last decade. There have been 17 annual events across the world since 2003. Last year, the tournament was hosted in Cardiff. Previous annual venues include Mexico City, Rio, Paris, Amsterdam, Santiago, Melbourne, Cape Town and Milan. The 2020 event which was due to take place in Finland had to be cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Co-Founder, New Ism. Social innovation will continue to be Mel’s main focus of interest, including his latest project, New Ism (www.newismtalks.com) which is a think tank aimed at creating a fair global economic system. A new book on the subject will be published in October 2020 and New Ism produces regular podcasts: New Ism Podcasts
Chairman of Sportscotland, the national agency for sport in Scotland. Sportscotland sees a country where sport is a way of life, at the heart of society, making a positive impact on people and communities. Previously, Mel worked as a journalist and editor with a social conscience. He co-founded multiple publications, including The Big Issue in Scotland. He is the former President and Honorary President of the International Network of Street Papers (INSP) which he co-founded. He was also co-founder of Senscot (Social Entrepreneurs Network Scotland). He is a former member of the World Economic Forum Sports Agenda Council and former non-executive director of Glasgow Life. His book about the Homeless World Cup (Home Game) published by Luath Press can be found here: Home Game: The Story of the Homeless World Cup.
He has been a Schwab Fellow of the World Economic Forum since 2001 and was named a Senior Fellow by Ashoka in 2014. Mel has five honorary degrees from Scottish universities and was awarded the prestigious Jackie Robinson Humanitarian Award from the United States Sports Academy in 2016. In 2017, he was awarded an MBE.