William Drayton

Chariman and CEO,
Ashoka

Bill Drayton is a social entrepreneur. As a student, he was active in civil rights and founded a number of organizations ranging from Yale Legislative Services to Harvard’s Ashoka Table, an interdisciplinary weekly forum in the social sciences. He graduated from Harvard with highest honors and went on to study at Balliol College in Oxford University, where he attained his master’s degree with First Class Honors. In 1970, he graduated from Yale Law School and began his career at McKinsey and Company in New York. From 1977 to 1981, Mr. Drayton served as Assistant Administrator at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency where he launched emissions trading (the basis of Kyoto) among other reforms. After his term at the EPA ended in 1981, he returned to McKinsey half-time and launched both Ashoka and Save EPA and its successor, Environmental Safety. With the support that he received unexpectedly when elected a MacArthur Fellow at the end of 1984, he was able to devote himself fully to Ashoka. Mr. Drayton is currently the Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Ashoka: Innovators for the Public. He is also chair of Youth Venture, Community Greens, and Get America Working! Mr. Drayton has won numerous awards and honors throughout his career, including, most recently in 2005, being selected as one of America’s Best Leaders by US News & World Report and Harvard’s Center for Public Leadership. In 2006, he was recognized as being one of Harvard University’s 100 “Most Influential Alumni”.