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Acting globAlly - University of Washington Foster School of Business

Acting globAlly - University of Washington Foster School of Business

Acting globAlly - University of Washington Foster School of

MAggiE And tREvoR nEilSon 20 uW BuSINeSS Acting globAlly A nEW bREEd oF FoStER ScHool SociAl EntREPREnEuR iS cHAnging tHE WoRld on A ScAlE botH MicRo And MAcRo by Ed KRoMER and JocElyn Milici At first, you might think Maggie (bA 1994) and trevor neilson just another couple of dyed-in-the-fleece northwesterners—nature-loving, tech-wielding, coffeedrinking, different-thinking. they’re business casual and Seattle nice. Raising two young children on Mercer island. Run a little philanthropy consulting firm together. call their clients “folks.” but the neilsons’ folks aren’t just any folks. clientele has included bono, bill clinton, Richard branson and a long A-list of cEos and celebrities who wish to make a real impact on the world through good works that are as entrepreneurial as they are altruistic. Economic development, education, disease, water, health, disaster recovery, genocide, refugee relief. you name the issue. the neilsons’ global Philanthropy group has confronted it, invariably through some complex, innovative initiative that veers from the bearing of philanthropy-as-usual. they have helped shape the breakthrough work of the clinton global initiative and the bill & Melinda gates Foundation. they’ve helped bono fight poverty and disease in Africa. they’ve worked with corporations like citigroup feature and ing to develop microcredit strategies. they’ve advised Angelina Jolie, brad Pitt, Rachael Ray, Shakira, and a host of other luminaries who have come to view their celebrity as a powerful tool toward healing global ills. Word of mouth like most from places like Everett and olympia, philanthropy was not something that Maggie and trevor grew up with. they met cute in 1995, she a Husky and he a coug. but it took some years for their professional paths to converge. trevor initially worked in the clinton White House, assisted the late John Stanford in reinventing Seattle Public Schools, then became a charter employee of the gates Foundation in 2000. Maggie spent her first years after the Foster School working for the E & J gallo Winery and, seduced by the late 1990s dot-com boom, did her tour of duty at Seattle tech companies. Ready for a new challenge after a stint at Amazon.com, she began to question her future. “i loved working at Amazon,” she says. “but when i began exploring the options, i realized that i was probably going to do SPrING 2008 21

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