July 27th 2016
I just finished reading “Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future” by Ashlee Vance. This is strictly not a title that relates to social investing and philanthropy but the story and journey of this entrepreneur is one steeped in changing the game, in disrupting the system and in innovation. After spending 4 years at AVPN and in this sector, I think it is evident that we need more of these in order to create real change. More people who are unafraid to break systems that do not work, who are relentless in their pursuit when told they are crazy and more of those who will support them and bring these goals to life.
During my time here, one of the best things about the job and the thing that keeps me going are such inspirational people that I get to meet every day. From creative and brilliant social entrepreneurs to enlightened investors, these people inspire me every single day to get things done.
And I’ve gotten quite a few things done! The past 4 annual conferences went from 349 delegates to the recent 639, and we brought the event out of our home base in Singapore to Hong Kong, and next year to Bangkok! Our events grew from the small ad-hoc workshops and seminars to regular monthly sessions that also helped to publicise our members’ programmes and projects. We grew our presence in more countries and organised events in more than 12 countries. I started the monthly webinar sessions, which proved to be hugely popular because of its convenience for our international audience. The quarterly newsletters that I edited grew to a bi-monthly frequency so that the community got to know what we are doing for the region and also what our members are doing too. Our membership grew from less than 100 when I joined to more than 290 organisations today. We have also been spreading the message of venture philanthropy through our numerous partners and media channels to audiences outside of our core circle, with interviews on ChannelnewsAsia, articles in Business Times, posts of Alliance, Guardian and many more.
I leave AVPN with a new programme – the Asia Policy Dialogue. This initiative has been 2 years in the making, from the first study tour to Europe and subsequent events that brought Asian policy makers together to create a flourishing environment for social investing and to create greater impact. And that’s the next thing that I urge you to read, the fantastic 100-page event report which provides snapshots of 15 Asian pacific countries and their approaches to social investment.
I have grown so much together with AVPN and with everything comes farewell at some point. July 2016 marks the last month I am spending at this wonderful growing organisation. I will continue to be working and contributing to the philanthropy sector and look forward to work further with you.
Thank you to all friends and supporters for an amazing time and learning journey. See you around soon!
Stacey Choe is the former Director of Policy Engagement at the Asian Venture Philanthropy Network (AVPN). Stacey started at AVPN in 2012 as Membership Services Manager and headed the membership team until moving to the Policy Engagement role in June 2016. In this position, she spearheaded the creation of the Asia Policy Dialogue, working with policy makers to create a vibrant social economy in Asia. Prior to joining AVPN, she had 8 years of experience in marketing communications, events management, market research and strategy. She spent three years in China as the marketing director of a boutique Italian consulting company. During that time, she established herself as a leading PR and communications consultant in the food and lifestyle industries in China. Stacey holds an MA in Social Anthropology of Development from SOAS, University of London, and a BA in Political Science and English Literature from the National University of Singapore. She has varied interests in social, political and community development, and has also co-founded a Lean In chapter for professional women in Singapore, mentors social enterprises and speaks on venture philanthropy at regional events.