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Category Archives: CEOs

Tom Osborn, the founder and current CEO of Geenchar, provided a solution to a problem that plagued his family since he was a child – the negative impact of cooking food on traditional cookstoves using charcoal and firewood. He then set about discovering an effective alternative solution to traditional fuel sources and, thus, Greenchar was born. For his innovation, he has been recognized as the winner for various competitions including the Global Minimum Innovate Kenya and 2012 The Royal Commonwealth Society Young Persons Essay Award, among others.

Greenchar provides households in Kenya with clean energy solutions including high-energy, long-lasting, and smokeless charcoal briquettes made from recycled sugarcane waste as well as clean cookstoves. The cookstoves are designed to reduce emissions, conserve heat, and maximize fuel use, thus, enabling households to save time, effort and money. Deforestation can also be reduced since the fuel comes from recycled sources, not from cut wood from forests.

Osborn and his team works toward becoming the ultimate provider of clean, safe and effective household energy solutions.


Isabel Medem, the co-founder of X-runner Venture, is a multi-talented, multi-educated, and multilingual individual who puts her knowledge, skills and talents to good use – and a waterless sanitation system is her notable contribution to the world. She has a degree in International Business Administration from the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration, a Master’s degree in European Management from the European School of Management, and a comprehensive work experience across several sectors including community development, microfinance, and social entrepreneurship.

Medem has worked as an intern for several organizations including Terre des Hommes, PlaNet Finance, and Village Exchange International Ghana, during her undergraduate studies. She also worked in various capacities at LFS Consulting/ AccessBank where she mastered its microlending technology and banking services.

It is with X-runner Venture, however, that Medem appears to have discovered her calling. She joined the company in 2011 and has since been responsible for the success of most of its projects as well as for the company’s service hub and financial operations. She has a passion for providing people with excellent services that can be appreciated for their value in improving their quality of life.

X-runner Venture is an organization dedicated to providing underserved communities especially low-income urban households in Lima’s slums with a dry toilet solution. Once a week, teams from X-runner pick up human waste from these communities with the waste turned into compost. The solution has contributed to the decrease of diseases caused by polluted air and water, which carry diseases-transmitting organisms, in the communities.

The dry toilet solution is a reliable, cost-efficient and results-effective solution for Lima’s urban poor with little to no access to conventional toilets. The solution also works without sewers and pipe systems, which means that the dry toilets cost less than half the cost for primitive pit latrines.

Medem, its current CEO, is also planning to expand the program to other Latin American cities.

Arthur Levinson certainly has moved up in the world although he has every right to do so considering his innate intelligence, astute business sense, and personal charm. With his bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington in Seattle and doctoral degree in biochemistry from Princeton University, he occupied a top post-doctoral position at the University of California’s Department of Microbiology.

In 1980, his life changed when he started work as a research scientist at Genentech. Levinson was soon moving up the corporate ladder – in 1989, he became Vice President of Research Technology; in 1990, he was Vice President of Research; in 1992, he was promoted to Senior Vice President of Research; and in 1993, he became Senior Vice President of Research and Development.

His pinnacle of success at Genentech came in July 1995 when he became its Chief Executive Officer until April 2009. He was named Chairman in 1999, the same year he was also awarded with the Irvington Institute’s Corporate Leadership Award in Science and honoured by the National Breast Cancer Coalition with the Corporate Leadership Award.

Levinson has an impressive resume, indeed! He was formerly a director with Google (2004-2009) as well as chairman of the board of Apple Inc. (2011) and chief executive officer of Calico, a Google-funded company focusing on health and wellness. He has several awards to his name including his induction into the Biotech Hall of Fame, his four-time citation as “America’s Best CEO” for the biotech industry, and his Alumnus Summa Laude Dignatus Award from his alma mater.

Oliver Chace (born 24 August 1769, died 21 May 1852) was a noted businessman in the United States’ textile manufacturing industry in the early 19th century. His most notable contribution to the American business industry is his establishment of the Valley Falls Company, which will become the foundation for Berkshire Hathaway in the 20th century.

Berkshire Hathaway Inc., an Omaha-based multinational conglomerate holding company, is considered as the fifth largest company in the world. Under the helm of Warren Buffet since 1965, the company manages several subsidiary companies including GEICO, Dairy Queen, BNSF, Fruit of the Loom, Lubrizol, Helzberg Diamonds, and FlightSafety International, among others.

Chace was born to a Quakers (Society of Friends) family who traced their ancestry to English Puritans who travelled to the United States in 1630 with Governor John Winthrop’s fleet. His parents, Jonathan Chace and Mary Earle, were members of New England’s Yankee elite.

He married twice – first to Susanna Buffington in 1796 and then to Patience Robinson after he was widowed on 1827. He had seven children with Buffington, two of whom later followed their father’s footsteps in the textile industry.

Chace started his career as a carpenter for Samuel Slater, the founder of the first successful textile mill in the country (in 1793 at Pawtucket, Rhode Island). He then became a serial entrepreneur, as modern-day business pundits call it, by establishing several textile mills in relatively quick succession.

His first textile mill was established in 1806 in Swansea, Massachusetts. Then in 1813, he established Troy Cotton & Woolen Manufactory in Fall River, Massachusetts and followed in 1821 by the Pocasset Manufacturing Company, also at Fall River.

In 1839, he purchased and reorganized the antecedent for Berkshire Hathaway, the Valley Falls Company in Valley Falls, Rhode Island. Chace soon expanded his business to include Moodus Cotton Factory, Manville Mills, Albion Mills, and Tar-Kiln Factory.

American businessman and investor Stephen Schwarzman is best known for heading the Blackstone Group, a private equity and financial advisory company, as chairman and CEO. He also founded the company with Pete Peterson, former US Secretary of Commerce, in 1985. As of July 2014, Schwarzman is estimated to be worth $11 billion, according to Forbes.

Schwarzman grew up in Huntington Valley in Pennsylvania to a Jewish family. His father owned a dry goods store in the state. He went to Yale University at the same time as George W. Bush and the two were both part of the Skull and Bones society. Schwarzman graduated from Yale in 1969 and finished graduate school at the Harvard Business School in 1972.

His career began in Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, an investment bank. After graduating from business school, Schwarzman moved on to working for Lehman Brothers, also an investment bank, where he became managing director by age 31 and headed the bank’s global mergers and acquisitions team. Blackstone was founded in 1985 but it wasn’t until 2007 that the company went public. When it did, it was revealed that Schwarzman had earned close to $399 million in the previous fiscal year. When he sold part of his stocks in the company, he received $684 million. His remaining stake in Blackstone back then was worth $9.1 billion already. In the same year, Schwarzman was recognized by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

As part of his philanthropic works, Schwarzman donated $100 million to the New York Public Library to support its expansion. He sits on the board as a trustee and his donation led to the library’s central reference building being renamed in his honor as “The Stephen A. Schwarzman Building.” In 2013, he started the scholarship program Schwarzman Scholars in China’s Tsinghua University.

One of the most notable personalities that have been featured in TED blog is Cindy Gallop, an English entrepreneur born on February 1, 1960 in Amersham, Buckinghamshire. She currently works as a CEO and an advertising consultant.

Gallop is famous for the companies that she founded. She is the former chair of the advertising firm Bartle Bogle Hegarty and handled huge companies like Ray-Ban, Coca-Cola and Polaroid. It was in 1998 that she opened the US branch of the company. She is also the person behind the controversial websites IfWeRanTheWorld and MakeLoveNotPorn. Before she turned to advertising, she has a strong background in theater publication for several years. She remains to be a celebrated icon in public speaking and specializes in the areas of business strategy, branding and advertising.

Although Gallop was born in England, she was raised in Brunei. She is English and half Chinese decent and has a Master’s Degree in English Literature from Oxford University. She best describes herself as “the Michael Bay of business”.

The 19th richest American and the world’s 47th wealthiest man is a native of Oregon. Not only is he a business magnate but is also a well-loved philanthropist with millions of dollars of donations to his two Alma Mater: University of Oregon and Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Philip Hampson “Phil” Knight was born February 24, 1938. He is the son of William W. Knight, a lawyer who turned into a newspaper publisher and his wife Lota Hatfield. Thinking that he will just find a job on his own, his father didn’t even allow him to get a summer job in his own newspaper company the Oregon Journal. With this decision, Phil went to their rival publisher the Oregonian.

His entrepreneurial skill was awakened while attending Stanford Graduate School of Business. It was his stop in Kobe, Japan that he stumbled upon his gold mine. In November 1962, while in Japan he discovered the Tiger-brand running shoes. With his interest in track, he was very amazed with the quality of the footwear that he requested to meet up with the Mr. Onitsuka, the owner of the label. He requested for samples to be sent to the US and he introduced this to Bill Bowerman with hopes of sales and endorsements. Bowerman was his coach and will soon become his business partner.

With Bowerman’s interest in the product and his design ideas coming into play, they partnered on January 25, 1964 to create Blue Ribbon Sports. This company will soon become the number one brand name in running shoes, Nike. It was Jeff Johnson,a friend of Knight who suggested the name Nike, after the Greek winged goddess of victory. The company’s logo, which would soon become one of the most powerful brands in the world was designed by Carolyn Davidson for $35.

With estimated net worth of $14.4 billion, Phil Knight sits as the chairman of the board of Nike after he abandoned his CEO post on November 18, 2004. He is currently busy with his Knight Foundation together with his wife Penny whom he married on September 13, 1968.


Kunal Gupta is the CEO and co-founder of Polar Mobile, a platform-provider for digital media distribution. Started when he was 22 years old, the company today boasts of a customer base in 12 countries handled by a staff of 50.

Every year, Polar Mobile grows, and Gupta is glad of all the help he’s received to be successful in business, like the $6 million funding the company received which helped it release a new product line called MediaEverywhere. According to Gupta, MediaEverywhere, a software platform developed to distribute various types of media content across connected screens, is the big goal. Powering and monetizing content is what drives the young entrepreneur to persevere in the industry.

Before Polar Mobile, Gupta established the Impact Entrepreneurship Group, a non-profit organizaton ran entirely by students to support aspiring young entrepreneurs. Gupta saw the kind of impact receiving help at the early stages could give a budding businessman and so the organization was born.

Robert Deluce is the founder, President, and CEO of Porter Airlines, a short-haul airline based in Toronto, Canada which started operating in 2006. He was an executive for other airlines before and he brings his experiences with these companies to Porter Airlines, which include owning, financing, operating, restructuring, and managing in the aviation industry. Some of the airlines Deluce has worked with in the past include Austin Airways, White River Air Services, and Canada 3000 Airlines. Aside from Porter Airlines, he is also the President of Deluce Capital Corp and President and CEO of Porter Aviation Holdings Inc. In total, Deluce has more than 50 years of experience in the airline business to fall back on, thanks to his family.

Porter Airlines is cruising the skies of Canada now but it wasn’t smooth-sailing for Deluce at the start. Like anyone who’s ever ventured into a business, he was faced with a lot of challenges just to get his company off the ground. There was the problem with the bridge that would connect the Island Airport in Toronto to the mainland, the lawsuit form Jazz, the previous airline using the building that Deluce bought in the Island Airport, and the people and the politicians. But not like the others, Deluce persevered, bringing out every ounce of determination he has to take Porter Airlines where it is now.

Deluce is one of nine children born to Stanley Matthew and Barbara Deluce in Ontario, Canada. Aviation has always been in the family, what with his father a part of the Royal Canadian Air Force who opened a small flying service after the war to cater to tourists going to Lake Superior. Deluce became a pilot when he was a teenager and returned to work for the family after finishing his schooling. Since then, the man has been around airplanes and there’s no stopping him just yet.

An American entrepreneur, Elliott Bisnow is the founder and CEO of the Summit Series, a venture partner at Learn Capital, co-founder of the Get Well soon Tour and the Bisnow Media Corporation, and founding board member of the United Nations Foundation’s Global Entrepreneurs Council. He grew up in Washington, D.C., the son of a lawyer and former federal trade commissioner, dropping out of college to pursue business opportunities in 2007.

Bisnow got his start in business while he was still attending the University of Wisconsin with a t-shirt company. In 2006, he joined his father full-time in Bisnow Media, helping grow the business to earn revenues of more than $10 million by 2012. On his own, Bisnow started the Summit Series in 2008, which Forbes called the “Hipper Davos” and Wired as “TED Meets Burning Man.” Summit Series is an American organization that hosts events that bring together activists, artists, and entrepreneurs, creating invite-only events that tackle business practices, raising awareness and funding, and technological innovations. Some of the people in attendance during the Summit Series’ first event in Park City, Utah were Ryan Allis of iContact, Josh Abramson and Ricky Van Veen of, and Blake Mycoskie of TOMS Shoes.

Through his work with the Summit Series, Bisnow has been recognized as “America’s Coolest Young Entrepreneur” in 2009 by Inc. magazine, ranking him 19th in the 30 Under 30 list released by the magazine. In 2013, Bisnow and the Summit Series were able to purchase Powder Mountain, the biggest ski resort in the US, for a whopping $40 million. Aside from being a conference venue, Summit Powder Mountain will be the center of culture and innovation, housing a sustainable residential community, a record studio, an innovation laboratory, and a startup incubator.

Through his personal effort and through the support of the Summit Series, Bisnow has also helped raise funds for the University of Miami, the United Nations Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, and the Clinton Foundation.