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Konstanze Frischen leads Ashoka in North America. Ashoka is the world’s leading organization for social entrepreneurs. In the U.S., its work now focuses on the social innovation space in the South and the Midwest. Konstanze moved to the country 2 years ago from her native Germany, where she founded Ashoka in 2003 as she was convinced that 'social entrepreneurship' was an idea very much needed in Western Europe. Thus, she introduced a radically new concept of social innovation in Western Europe and with her colleagues built up the most powerful network of innovators across the continent. She also co-founded the Ashoka Globalizer, an initiative that aims at re-defining what we mean by ‚scale'.
After focusing for 2 years on her role as mother, she took on the position of Ashoka Europe’s director in 2011, where she was co-responsible for successfully formulating and executing a new integrated strategy, before moving to the US in early 2015. Konstanze is a social anthropologist with a degree from the London School of Economics, and has lived in Germany, the UK, and Latin America. She worked for the business and financial news of CNN International, and was a tenured writer and editor for Germany’s quality broadsheet FAZ, as well as a member of the team that planned and launched the Sunday newspaper FAS to large public acclaim, winning the European Newspaper Award. Until her departure to the US, she was a board member of GLS Bank in Germany, the country’s leading credit union committed to ethical investment and sustainability.