Diana Wells

President, Ashoka


Diana joined the organization after graduating from Brown University in 1988 with a degree in South Asian Studies. As an undergraduate, her year-long study abroad in Varanasi, India led her to see the need for local solutions to solve global problems. This insight inspired her to pursue an internship at Ashoka, where she created one of its core programs, Fellowship Support Services, (now Fellowship) which expanded the resources available to Ashoka’s social entrepreneurs to connect them to one another. When Diana took a leave to pursue a Ph.D. in anthropology from New York University (2000), she was named both a Fulbright and Woodrow Wilson scholar. Her ethnographic research on understanding how social change happens as a local articulation of a global social movement resulted in her dissertation: 'Between the Difference: The Emergence of a Cross Ethnic Women’s Movement in Trinidad and Tobago.'

Ph.D. in hand, Diana returned to Ashoka as a leader in the worldwide process of selecting social entrepreneurs to be Ashoka fellows. Additionally, she was given responsibility for Ashoka’s geographic expansion and during her tenure, there was a significant increase of Fellow elections, allowing Ashoka to reach its current total of 3,000. She became the President of Ashoka in 2005.