Agora Partnerships Announces Founder and CEO Ben Powell to step down. Board appoints Cecilia Foxworthy as new CEO
Dear Members of the Agora Community:
The Members of the Board of Directors of Agora Partnerships are thrilled to announce that Cecilia Foxworthy, current Chief Programs and Innovation Officer at Agora, will assume the role of CEO of the organization as of October 16th. The Board selected Cecilia based on her track record as a social entrepreneur and her passion, management skills and vision for the future of the organization.
Cecilia came to Agora in 2018 with 15 years of experience in the international and entrepreneurial development sectors. She has worked with small business owners around the world and is an entrepreneur herself, having founded two education social ventures in New York. Over the past three years, Cecilia has leveraged her entrepreneurial experience and passion for innovation to lead a refresh of Agora’s first-of-its-kind impact accelerator. She has developed and led several new Agora initiatives, including a capacity building program for organizations that mentor and advise early stage entrepreneurs throughout Latin America and is heavily involved in ongoing efforts to strengthen the entrepreneurship ecosystem across the region.
Cecilia’s transition marks a huge milestone in Agora’s history because it also means that our Founder, Ben Powell, will be stepping down as current CEO.
Ben created and built Agora from an idea at Columbia Business School into an international entrepreneurship support organization that has impacted thousands of entrepreneurs, their teams, their communities, and their countries. Over the last 15 years Ben has led the Agora community through many significant milestones, including creating the first impact-first investment fund in Latin America, launching the first impact investing conference in Latin America and launching Agora’s flagship Accelerator program. He led a profound transformation of the organization, accelerating its performance while helping give opportunity to a new generation of leaders across the region.
Ben’s vision attracted great people to the Agora community – world-class staff from nearly every continent, skilled volunteers, dedicated board members, and passionate social entrepreneurs. His relentless pursuit of building a more just, more entrepreneurial world resulted in thousands of jobs created and millions of dollars invested in the true engines of social and economic progress: entrepreneurs. During Ben’s time Agora has not only supported entrepreneurs, but has also served as the launchpad for dozens of young professionals building careers in the social entrepreneurship and impact investing fields across continents.
The support of his wife Shauna and their children, his parents Barbara and Arthur, and his siblings Allie and Julia were instrumental in unleashing all of Ben’s potential and focus to serve a community of innovators, disrupters, and changemakers. On behalf of Agora’s entrepreneurial community and our Board of Directors, I sincerely thank Ben for his tireless work, his relentless spirit, and his vision that inspired not just an organization, but a movement. Ben will be taking a much deserved break and time for reflection as he looks to new horizons, many closer to home. As we work together to shape a bright future, Ben will remain an advisor, ensuring a smooth transition as we begin a new chapter in our organization’s transformational journey.
Our attention turns to supporting Cecilia and her excellent team as they look to scale some of our most successful programs and design new program offerings that can support our mission in one of the most challenging times entrepreneurs have ever faced. We believe this is also a time of incredible opportunities for Agora and our community. I invite you to engage or re-engage with Agora. We can use your support more than ever— MBA student volunteers, entrepreneurs who want to support other entrepreneurs, policy makers, and those who support social entrepreneurship as donors and investors. All of you, all of us, are part of this ecosystem and we can each contribute with a unique combination of time, talent, and treasure. We are part of the privileged group that can work together to help others create wealth, create jobs, and unleash the potential of communities around the world. I invite you to send me a note to firstname.lastname@example.org to see how you can contribute to Agora’s mission.
We look to the future of our organization with excitement and optimism, with an agenda that includes growing our services and creating new opportunities for the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
I want to once again express my deep gratitude to Ben for his leadership and my excitement as the torch is passed to Cecilia. Now, more than ever, we reaffirm our commitment to supporting Cecilia and her team to empower purpose-driven, entrepreneurs with knowledge, networks and capital to help build a better world.
Please join me in congratulating Ben and Cecilia as we enter the next chapter of Agora’s story.
Ricardo T. Teran
Co Founder & Chairman of the Board