Sir Richard Branson is a successful international entrepreneur and is Founder and Chairman of the Virgin Group. Virgin is one of the world’s most recognized and respected brands and has expanded into everything from air and ground travel to telecommunications, health, space travel and renewable energy through more than 200 companies worldwide, employing approximately 50,000 people in 29 countries.
In the same way he approaches starting a business, Richard works with partners on the frontlines to tackle tough social and environmental challenges with talented people and innovative approaches. In 2007, along with Nelson Mandela, Graça Machel and Peter Gabriel, Richard and a group of wonderful partners announced the formation of the Elders, a group of global leaders to contribute their wisdom, independent leadership and integrity to tackle some of the world’s toughest problems.
Richard is also putting significant focus into Virgin Unite, the not-for-profit foundation of the Virgin Group, which unites people to tackle social and environmental issues in an entrepreneurial way. Virgin Unite supports a number of efforts ranging from the creation of sustainable healthcare models in Africa, to fostering young entrepreneurs through the Branson School of Entrepreneurship in South Africa.
Over the past 20 years, the Dutch Postcode Lottery raised almost 3 billion euros in the Netherlands to support civil society: environmental protection, the conservation of nature, human rights and sustainable development. From the very beginning the lottery supported charitable organizations both international and in the Netherlands by raising money through a lottery and informing the public about the work of the charities concerned. With its 2.5 million participants, the lottery has grown to become the Netherlands’ biggest charity lottery and it supports 75 charitable organizations.
The Postcode Lottery was also introduced internationally and is now established and successful in Sweden, England and Scotland. The mission of the Postcode Lotteries is to achieve a better world for people and nature; a world in which all people, animals and plants can live healthily, and are treated justly and with respect.
Climate change is one of the largest global challenges that we face. The Postcode Lotteries believe in an entrepreneurial, innovative and creative approach. Co-operation is the keyword. That’s why the Dutch Postcode Lottery is proud to support the Carbon War Room in its battles against carbon.
Mr. Strive Masiyiwa is founder and Executive Chairman of South African- based, diversified global telecommunications group EcoNet Wireless.
Under his leadership and guidance, EcoNet Wireless has, since its formation in 1993, developed into a global telecommunications enterprise with operations and investments in more than 14 countries in Africa, Europe and the East Asia Pacific Region. The company operates in the core areas of mobile cellular telephony, fixed public networks, internet and satellite services. Outside of telecommunications Strive Masiyiwa has developed a diversified pan-African portfolio of investments in areas such as insurance, financial services, bottling, infrastructure developments, hotel and safaris.
Strive Masiyiwa is a well-known international business leader who has won numerous international recognition and awards for business excellence. In 1999 he was named by the Junior Chamber International (Jaycees) as one of the “Ten Most Outstanding Young Persons of the World.” In 2003 he was chosen as one of the “15 Global Influentials of the Year” in a CNN/Time Magazine poll. In 2011, Strive Masiyiwa was profiled by The Times (UK) in its supplement of the “25 people who are leading Africa’s Renaissance.”
Over the years Strive Masiyiwa has served on many international boards and foundations, and has also been involved in numerous initiatives to promote entrepreneurship and social development in Africa. In 2003 he joined the Rockefeller Foundation Board of Trustees. He also serves on the board of AGRA (Alliance for a Green Revolution in Agriculture), an initiative chaired by former Secretary General of the UN Mr. Kofi Annan.
Outside his business interests, Strive Masiyiwa is also active in promoting awareness on the impact of AIDS in Africa. A foundation which he and his wife founded and fund currently provides scholarships to more than 26,000 orphans.
As one of the most respected African business leaders today, Strive Masiyiwa speaks regularly on African business at major international business gatherings, and has been regularly featured in leading international publications and television programs, among them the Economist, Newsweek, CNN, Barron’s of New York, Forbes, Guardian and The Financial Times.
Mr. Michael Haas is the Founder of Orion Energy Group LLC (Orion), Co-Founder of Renewable Development Company Ltd. (RDC), and the Founder of Alliance for Climate Education. Orion was formed in 1998 to help meet the growing worldwide demand for low cost, non-polluting renewable energy. Orion’s projects completed to date generate enough zero-carbon electricity to meet the annual electricity demand of approximately 650,000 average US homes. RDC was formed in 1997 near Chester, England to help achieve commitments set by the United Kingdom for new alternative energy generation. In the UK, RDC has completed projects that will generate enough zero-carbon electricity to meet the annual electricity demand of approximately 300,000 average UK homes. Prior to forming Orion and RDC, Mike held various positions with KENETECH Corporation and McDonnell Douglas Corporation. Mike received his Bachelor's Degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Missouri-Rolla in 1987, and his Master's Degree in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering from Stanford University in 1990.
Mike is active in numerous community organizations, and has also served on several Boards of Directors. Mike was born in the mid-west, and now lives in Northern California with his wife and three children. He spends his free time outdoors with his family.
Vladas Lašas studied, lectured and did research on Computer Vision at Kaunas University of Technology. He holds a doctorate in Computer Science. He presented results of his research at conferences in Japan, USA, Germany, Russia and other countries. He is co-founder and/or co-owner of several companies in Lithuania, including: UPS Authorized Service Contractor in LT - Skubios siuntos UAB, Elinta UAB - Industrial and Power Plant Automation, Elinvision UAB - Computer Vision R&D, and Globaltus UAB - Global e-Commerce.
Vladas is a TED Conference member and one of the 32 TED Patron’s worldwide. He is an investor in sustainable & renewable energy projects in Europe through GRE Holding. His area of interest includes innovation in technology, education and society. He actively take part in projects run by AmCham, The British Council, Save The Children, Rotary Club, universities and other organizations. He likes jogging, trekking, bicycling and adventure.
Ms. Shelly J. Meyers has over 20 years of financial and investment experience. She is Founder and President of Palisades Management LLC, a Registered Investor Advisor (RIA) that provides investment management services to high net worth individuals and institutions, including certain family accounts. (Ms. Meyers’ Father-In-Law Mr. Winston Salser, PhD, was the Founding President of biotechnology firm Amgen).
Palisades Management also provides strategic advisory services to corporations pertaining to corporate finance, management, and capital market activities, all of which include personal and/or family investment in early stage companies involved in “green” and health related industries. Ms. Meyers currently serves on three Corporate Boards: Augme Technologies Inc. (as Chairwoman), Ecologic Transportation, Inc. and Montecito Bio Sciences.
Prior to founding Palisades Management, Ms. Meyers served as Executive Vice President for Pacific Global Investment Management Company (PGIMC), where she played an integral role in launching PGIMC’s high net worth management business. Ms. Meyers also managed the Pacific Advisor Funds’ Multi-Cap Value Fund from inception (April 2002) to a five year record that beat the S&P 500 on an annualized basis, and which ranked the Fund in the top 10% in its five year Morningstar peer group.
Ms. Meyers founded Meyers Capital Management and the Meyers Investment Trust in June 1996, and managed the Trust’s Meyers Pride Value Fund from inception in June 1996 to September 2001. The Meyers Value Fund was sold to Citizens Funds in September 2001 with Ms. Meyers serving as sub-advisor until October 2002.
From 1993 to 1996, Ms. Meyers served as Assistant Vice-President at The Boston Company Asset Management, Inc. (BCAM). She acted as an Assistant Portfolio Manager and equity research analyst for the institutional investment group in a team responsible for equity investments valued at $10 billion. Prior to that, she served in the Finance Department at Chevron Corp, and was the first woman sent to work at oil and gas operations throughout Australia, East Asia and the South Pacific.
Ms. Meyers has often addressed national audiences on investing issues, with regular appearances on CNBC’s Power Lunch, CNN, and Bloomberg TV. She’s also been featured in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Investor’s Business Daily, USA Today, The Washington Post, Mutual Fund Magazine and Business Week. In 1998, Ms. Meyers was named to the Board of Trustees for E*Trade Funds, serving until September 2006.
Ms. Meyers received her MBA from Dartmouth College’s Amos Tuck School of Business Administration. She received her BA with a major in Political Science and minor in Economics from the University of Michigan. Ms. Meyers was issued a CPA license by the state of California in 1990.
With over 25 year’s experience in shipping, energy, chemicals, production and development in Hong Kong, Singapore and the US, Idan is actively leading the way into ventures and future technologies and is chairman of Better Place, (Electric Vehicle).
Idan has an MBA from London Business School where he holds a Fellowship and is member of the School’s Europe Regional Advisory Board. He is a graduate of the Haifa University in Economics and Shipping and a member of the Global Advisory Board of John F Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.
For the majority of her career Marieke van Schaik (1970) has worked for a company – a social enterprise – that combines passion and professionalism in working for a better world. Having a continuous position at the Dutch Charity Lotteries since 2000 has enabled Marieke to make a significant contribution to its growth – developing and implementing a strategic vision on how to best spend the ever growing charity funds as well as dealing with the demands of an ever growing and more influential company.
The Dutch Charity Lotteries (Dutch Postcode Lottery, BankGiro Lottery, Friends Lottery) give 50% of every ticket sold to good causes in the fields of nature conservation, poverty eradication, human rights and social cohesion (Dutch Postcode Lottery), cultural heritage in the Netherlands (BankGiro Lottery) and health and welfare in the Netherlands (Friends Lottery). Over 2011 - thanks to the lotteries’ 3.5 million players – almost € 400 million were given away to more than 200 NGOs and cultural institutions in the Netherlands and abroad. Every year 9 million prizes are given out and a large number of advertising campaigns, television programs and events for lottery participants are produced.
Since 2009 Marieke is one of the three managing directors of the Dutch Charity Lotteries, responsible for charities, communications, finance and human resources. Holding a degree in International Relations from the University of Amsterdam, she worked as a project manager in DOEN Foundation before joining the newly set up charity department of the Dutch Charity Lotteries in 2000. After various positions in the department she became head of the team in 2006 and led it to where it is today: managing relations with hundreds of organisations receiving or wishing to receive lottery funding, implementing the application, monitoring and evaluation process and organising communications and events on charity issues.
Marieke co-initiated, conceptualised and organised the first Postcode Lottery Green Challenge competition in 2007. The Green Challenge is an annual worldwide competition for the best green business plan, the award is € 500,000. To this day, the Green Challenge remains successful. It has a high impact not only for green businesses, but also in terms of raising awareness on the potential of green businesses.
In 2009 Marieke was closely involved in introducing the ‘Dream Fund’. All beneficiary organisations that receive an annual contribution of the Dutch Postcode Lottery of € 1 million or more give 10% of this contribution to this fund. With this money (approximately € 20 million a year) the lottery challenges these organisations to apply for their dream project: high risk projects with a potentially high impact. An example is “A Breakthrough in the fight against AIDS”, the HIV/ AIDS treatment as prevention project in Swaziland.