Pamela Hartigan

    • APR 26


    • OCT

      Became first Managing Director at the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship

    • Joined the Board of Mobile Metrix

    • Co-founded Volans with John Elkington

    • FEB

      Her book, co-authored with John Elkington, "The Power of Unreasonable People" is published.

    • JAN

      Became Director of the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at Oxford University

    • Joined DSM Sustainability Advisory Board

    • AUG 12


  • Born

    Alexandria, Virginia
    By Cheryl Dahle
  • Became first Managing Director at the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship

    Pamela joined the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship as it launched its mission to use the World Economic Forum and the resources of founders Klaus and Hilde Schwab, to raise the profile of social entrepreneurship globally.
    Mirjam Schoening
    I was tremendously lucky and privileged to work hand-in-hand with Pamela as her deputy for the eight years that Pamela headed the Schwab Foundation. Klaus and Hilde Schwab had placed a tremendous opportunity and trust in our hands to start looking for some of the world´s leading social entrepreneurs, who were coming up with innovative solutions to intractable problems and bring them to the platform of opportunities that the World Economic Forum provides.

    When we started out in 2000, the term social entrepreneur was literally unheard of in Europe and most corners of the world. I remember Pamela always started a conversation with a journalist that no, a social entrepreneur is not a particularly social entrepreneur who likes to party, but an entrepreneur working to make an impact. As much as she then fought to not distinguish entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs later in life, it was important to make the distinction in the early days to open the eyes of new generations of business students, business leaders and investors that entrepreneurship needs to fulfill a purpose in society. Through her teaching at the Oxford, the University of Geneva and at Columbia University, Pamela has really inspired and influenced thousands of new leaders, many who became (social) entrepreneurs.

    There a hundreds of moments with Pamela that have deeply shaped my professional and personal life. In 2001, we were organizing the first Social Entrepreneurship Summit - really the first time that 50 entrepreneurs came together from all corners of the world. We were just a team of three at the time, but Pamela´s energy was contagious and we pulled of a tight 3 day programme. I was a little worried that session titles such as "So they said you are crazy" might be considered "not politically correct" or offensive. Little did I know that this panel with Vera Cordeiro, Rodrigo Baggio, Joe Madiath, Suraiya Haque and moderated by Paolo Coelho would be one of my biggest eye-openers. The stories of the four and how they had to sell off family assets, go against their husbands will or organize laborers on their family´s farms were not only incredibly entertaining, but illustrated the power of dedication and perseverance. It also created a bond among the Schwab entrepreneurs that would extend to the future groups coming into the community. For me, it was also a lesson that addressing topics head on is what will truly get you to the bottom of an issue - a lesson that Pamela kept reminding me of until her last days.

    There are no words to express how much I will miss her direct advice, always one quick email, call or lunch away.
  • Joined the Board of Mobile Metrix

    From CEO Melanie Edwards:
    Many of you knew Pamela as one of the pioneers of social entrepreneurship and one of its most recognized visionaries. Mobile Metrix was honored to have her as our first board member. At our most embryonic stage, Pamela embraced our 'big idea' and wee team under her expansive wings. She nurtured and guided our vision. It was an enormous privilege to have Pamela in our corner, by our side. Personally, she was my quintessential mentor, moral compass, and she became a dear friend.

    Over the years, Pamela stood by and advocated for thousands of other social entrepreneurs around the planet. She was committed to building mission-driven businesses, businesses with a social conscience. Ironically, she actually came to detest the phrase "social entrepreneurship"! She began to believe that we should not segregate traditional business from social enterprises, advocating instead that all businesses should make a significant and ongoing social contribution.

    To make the world more just and equal was Pamela's life mission and message. For those of you having the opportunity to have been in her midst, you know this to be true. She exuded this position. Fought for it. Very vivaciously, I might add! I can personally attest that she continued striving for this ideal world until her last days. Her spirit and 'being' NEVER gave up. Nonetheless, cancer was also relentless.

    She will be missed beyond words. Profoundly. Yet listen and we can still hear her characteristically direct and proactive encouragement nudging us forward...."So I'm gone. Stop sulking. Get on with it!"
    By Cheryl Dahle
  • Co-founded Volans with John Elkington

    United Kingdom
    By Cheryl Dahle
  • Her book, co-authored with John Elkington, "The Power of Unreasonable People" is published.

    By Cheryl Dahle
  • Became Director of the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at Oxford University

    United Kingdom
    By Cheryl Dahle
  • Joined DSM Sustainability Advisory Board

    Joined the Sustainability Advisory Board of Dutch company DSM "a global science-based company active in health, nutrition and materials". DSM's CEO Feike Sijbesma is a powerful and prominent advocate on sustainability and invited Pamela to join the Board to contribute her passion for young people and social entrepreneurship to the company.
    By Paul Gilding
  • Died

    By Cheryl Dahle