Tue | Jul 23, 2019

Brown selected as Eisenhower fellow

Published:Monday | May 20, 2019 | 12:20 AM
Saffrey Brown, co-founder and head of innovation at The Leap Co.
Saffrey Brown, co-founder and head of innovation at The Leap Co.

Saffrey Brown, co-founder and head of innovation at The Leap Co, has been selected as one of 25 leaders to participate in the prestigious Eisenhower Fellowships’ Regional Programme in 2019.

Brown emerged the representative for Jamaica from a highly competitive pool of invited applicants across Latin America and the Caribbean, said Sandra Glasgow, chair of the local nominating committee. The programme brings together exceptional leaders ages 32-45 from a variety of professional fields to the US for intensive, individualised fellowships.

“Saffrey has a strong track record of being an innovator and champion in Jamaica’s social sector. Her drive to create positive change at all levels of society and the passion that emits through her outgoing personality, makes her a perfect match for the intensive Eisenhower Fellowship. We are confident that she will have an extraordinary experience and we look forward to the highly impactful work that she will implement when she returns, and way into the future. We are so proud of her and wish her all the very best,” Glasgow said.

Brown expressed her ­anticipation to share with other innovators, and explore advanced global trends and best practices during her Eisenhower Fellowship. “I am very excited about this ­tremendous opportunity, and I am humbled to join the esteemed network of leaders from across the globe who make significant and diverse contributions to their home countries, regionally and globally, in the interest of ­changing the world for the better,” she said.

Social financing for impact

“My goal is to be able to maximise my own contribution to create tailored solutions and produce tangible results for Jamaica’s development, particularly in the area of social financing,” she added.

For seven weeks, from October 3 until November 15, Brown, along with the other fellows will traverse the US, pursuing individual ­projects and engaging in ­transformative exchanges of knowledge and ideas with thought leaders, visionaries and achievers in their respective fields. They will apply what they learn in concrete ­projects with real-world impact when they return home.

“The fellowship will allow me to acquire knowledge from agencies practising social financing; provide an opportunity to observe and learn from real-world case studies and how they have worked, and to apply this learning in Jamaica – allowing for the expansion of the local social enterprise financing network,” Brown explained.

Recognised as one of the earliest leaders in social enterprise development in Jamaica, Brown, former general manager of the JN Foundation, will focus her individual project on creating a mechanism for social financing for Jamaica in the first instance, and later the Caribbean. She is passionate about “contributing to an approach to social financing that will provide a clear pathway for social innovation projects to access capital and finance, and to be measurable, scalable and ­replicable,” she added.

As a social entrepreneur, Brown co-founded The Leap Co Ltd in 2018 that seeks to develop ventures built on profitable models that deliver solutions to environmental, social and ­economic challenges.

She has also been an ­advocate for social enterprise inclusion in government policy – with the development of three ­comprehensive pieces of research guiding the sector. The expected outcome of her work on her return from the Eisenhower Fellowship will be increased investment in local social programmes and ­innovations; improved reporting of social financing outcomes, and the achievement of sustainable development goals through ­business and investment.

Representing countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, the fellows were chosen based on the ingenuity of their ideas and their proven track records of leadership in a variety of fields, including government, education, ­entrepreneurship, energy, healthcare, law, non-profit enterprise and the arts.

Started in 1953 and named for America’s 34th president, Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Eisenhower Fellowships bring together ­innovative leaders from across geographies and sectors, visionaries who tackle big ­challenges to better the world around them. Since its inception, nearly 2,400 mid-career leaders from more than 100 countries have ­benefited from the unique, customised experience of an Eisenhower Fellowship.

Brown, who is also chair­person for the Council of Voluntary Social Services, now joins the local ­network of previous Eisenhower fellows from Jamaica, including Dr Earle Spencer Taylor (1982), Morin Seymour (1995), Sandra Glasgow (2000), Dr Parris Lyew-Ayee Jr. (2014) and Imani Duncan-Price (2018).

Luminaries, now deceased, include Horace Barber (1969), Astil Sangster (1973), Dr Keith Panton (1988), Jennifer Cox (1991) and Pauline Rosalind Gray (1997).