- Research By Topic
- Student Programs
- Executive Programs
- GSB Social Innovators
- Community Engagement
- About CSI
Skip to Content
Change lives. Change organizations. Change the world.
You are missing some Flash content that should appear here! Perhaps your browser cannot display it, or maybe it did not initialize correctly.
The nonprofit sector and private sector have historically operated in vastly different ways, but is this always in the best interest of those involved? Jean Oelwang, CEO of Virgin Unite, would argue that nonprofit organizations have a lot to learn from the business practices of the private sector if they wish to maximize their impact. Oelwang sees nonprofit largely as a "market of good intentions" that in many cases fails to scale or incentivize cooperation in an effective way. By collaborating with members of the Virgin group such as Virgin Mobile, Virgin Trains, and Virgin Airlines, Virgin Unite strives to demonstrate that socially responsible innovations can bridge all sectors. Oelwang discusses Virgin Unite's emphasis on core operational sustainability as means for long-term change, and their reasons for choosing a wider scope of impact. Jean Oelwang was speaking as part of the "Social Innovation Through Corporate Responsibility" class at Stanford's Graduate School of Business.
Jean Oelwang is the CEO of Virgin Unite, the entrepreneurial foundation of the worldwide Virgin Group. In 2003 she was joint CEO of Virgin Mobile in Australia when she was asked to work with Richard Branson and the Virgin staff around the world to create Virgin Unite. The team works with Virgin’s two hundred businesses worldwide and other entrepreneurs to instill an interest in driving positive change at their core. Virgin Unite also works with partners to create new approaches to social and environmental issues, such as a school of entrepreneurship for young people in Johannesburg and an entrepreneurial approach to rural health transport in Kenya. Oelwang and Virgin Unite have also helped to incubate a number of global leadership initiatives such as the Elders, the Disease Control Hub in sub-Saharan Africa and the Carbon War Room.