Young Presidents’ Organization Business Leaders Make a Difference Beyond the Bottom Line

DALLAS--()--YPO (Young Presidents’ Organization), the world’s premier peer network of chief executives and business leaders, announced that the projects and businesses created by the 18 YPO Global Impact honorees over the past three years have impacted nearly 1.2 billion people.

YPO, which unites members through the mission of becoming Better Leaders Through Education and Idea ExchangeTM, created the Global Impact project to celebrate the extraordinary success of YPO’s business leaders worldwide in social enterprise and responsibility. Not only are YPO members successful in their respective business industries, but they also are striving to solve global issues in order to make the world a better place.

YPO Global Impact highlights several members each year with the goal of bringing attention to the many innovative and impactful socially responsible projects spearheaded by YPO members that bring great value to the entire planet.

“We are so pleased to announce this year’s Global Impact honorees,” said Bernie Auyang, 2014-2015 YPO International Chairman. “These members are paving the way for social enterprise and community outreach, demonstrating to their fellow YPO members and leaders around the world how to best use their business acumen and talents to improve their communities and beyond.”

“YPO is more than a networking organization to help executives excel in their businesses; it is an incubator of innovative, passionate people determined to make a meaningful mark through social enterprise and community outreach,” said Bernie Auyang. “The YPO Global Impact project is just the first step in honoring these individuals and sharing the examples of their good work with the rest of YPO and the world.”

The 2015 YPO Global Impact honorees are:

Audette Exel, member of the WPO Greater Sydney Chapter and head of Adara Group

The daughter of social activists, Audette Exel grew up with a passion for social justice. She knew from a very young age that she wanted to lead a life that gave voice to the powerless. After several years as a successful lawyer and a global financial leader, Exel found a way to bridge the divide between the worlds of profit and non-profit. In 1998, Exel created Adara Group, which consists of Adara Advisors and Adara Development.

Adara Advisors is a business for purpose rather than profit. Its sole objective is to fund the administration costs of a non-profit, Adara Development, which helps women, children and their communities in remote and rural areas to improve their lives. Adara Development's teams are experts in maternal, infant child health; the care, support and reintegration of children at risk; and remote health and education service delivery. Each year, they touch the lives of more than 30,000 people.

Guy Russo, member of the WPO Pan Asia Chapter and global chairman of Half the Sky Foundation

As head of McDonald's in China, Guy Russo was looking for ways to give back. After meeting the champion of Half the Sky Foundation, he and his wife, Deanne Bevan, had found their life passion. Half the Sky Foundation advocates for China’s orphaned children, with the goal of ensuring that each child has a caring adult in his or her life and a chance for a bright future.

Russo started by donating his charitable budget to the foundation, but that was just the beginning. Nine years later, Russo had helped secure millions in donations, enough to support Half the Sky programs at welfare institutions in provinces all over China, and through his international business expertise, he had helped develop a strong, passionate board and governance practices. After returning to their homeland of Australia, the Russos launched Half the Sky Australia. To date, Half the Sky has benefitted more than 120,000 children and created more than 1,500 jobs.

Arvind Narula, member of the WPO Thailand Chapter and CEO of Urmatt Ltd.

Arvind Narula, the world's leading supplier of organic jasmine rice, has always been a social entrepreneur. After visiting one of the small family farms in his operation, he realized he had to revolutionize and become a chemical-free company. The organic operation proved even more profitable and grew into Urmatt, Ltd., a fully integrated global agricultural organization that provides organic rice, chia and coconut products around the world. Through Urmatt's agricultural projects, thousands of family farmers earn higher incomes and support for their labors than previous generations, allowing them to build schools and live prosperous lives.

Narula continues to find new projects to help make a difference and rewards hard-working people who are often overlooked. He recently helped several children of YPO members launch Hilltribe Organics, which gives remote, indigenous people in north Thailand a chance to eradicate poverty by raising chickens. Hilltribe organic eggs sell for a premium in the best stores of Thailand.

Kacem Bennani Smirès, a member of the WPO Morocco chapter and president of the Fondation Sanady

Concerned about Morocco’s growing education problem and its impact on his employees’ children, Smirès launched a small tutoring program for 57 students in 2006. After making some tweaks, the project expanded into Fondation Sanady, a provider of free after-school tutoring, teacher training and extracurricular activities serving more than 4,000 people a day. Ninety-five percent of Sanady students successfully complete middle school, and 75 percent graduate from high school, compared to the 12 percent high school graduation rate in Morocco. Smirès’ next plans are to spread the program beyond his community to further combat the education issues facing Morocco’s six million children.

Buddy Teaster, member of WPO Northeastern U.S. At Large Chapter and CEO of Soles4Souls

Soles4Souls is an acclaimed social enterprise, distributing new shoes and clothing to those in need and working with local well-vetted partners to establish microenterprises that alleviate poverty. But, when Buddy Teaster became CEO in 2012, Soles4Soles was suffering from a torrent of troubles. Two days after arrival, he learned he needed a new CFO, a crisis communications expert, deeper expertise on his board and new staff.

Teaster revamped Soles4Souls, and in the past three years, the team has distributed approximately 12 million pairs of shoes and more than 2 million pounds of clothing to more than 10 million people in 125 countries through nearly 1,000 partners. It distributed more than 200,000 pairs of shoes alone to victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, and the team outfitted small-town first responders for Hurricane Sandy as well as local schools decimated by the storms.

To learn more about how YPO members are making a difference outside of the boardroom, visit

About YPO

YPO (Young Presidents’ Organization) is a not-for-profit, global network of young chief executives connected through the shared mission of becoming Better Leaders Through Education and Idea ExchangeTM. Founded in 1950, YPO today provides 23,000 peers and their families in 130 countries with access to unique experiences, extraordinary educational resources, access to alliances with leading institutions, and participation in specialised networks to support their business, community and personal leadership. Altogether, YPO member-run companies employ more than 15 million people around the world and generate US$6 trillion in annual revenues. For more information, visit


YPO (Young Presidents’ Organization)
Linda Fisk, +1-972-629-7305 (United States)


YPO (Young Presidents’ Organization)
Linda Fisk, +1-972-629-7305 (United States)