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Rebecca van Bergen  

Founder & Executive Director of Nest, Social Entrepreneur & Female Empowerment Activist

Rebecca van Bergen is the founder and executive director of Nest, a New York City non-profit organization that is working side-by-side with the world's most promising artisans, to sustainably develop their small businesses while simultaneously promoting peace, prosperity and female empowerment.

As a result of her groundbreaking, three-pillared approach to global development, social enterprise and female empowerment, Rebecca was named one of the St. Louis Business Journal's "30 under 30," which recognizes the achievements of young entrepreneurs and executives. She appears regularly in media including PBS's Agents of Change and was identified as a CNN "Young Person Who Rocks." Among Nest's accolades, the organization was a featured charity at the Sundance Film Festival and has been recognized by the Clinton Global Initiative.

Following a long-time dream of making a positive impact on the world throughout he power of capitalist forces, Rebecca van Bergen graduated with her Masters Degree in Social Work from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri in 2006, with a firm idea for Nest already planted.

Recognizing craft as a cornerstone of emerging economies around the world, Rebecca saw an opportunity to transform craft into a tool for positive social and economic change.

By empowering artisans with the modern tools, training and market access necessary to revive their crafts, Rebecca was determined to create a place of prestige for ancient artisanship within world of modern high-end retail and designer fashion; she founded Nest just two weeks following her graduation at the young age of 24.

As a pioneering woman, wife and mother, Rebecca has made female empowerment a focal point of Nest's social goals, identifying artisan business partners that promote female employment, as well as building female safety, job security, and leadership into every Nest development project. In her personal and professional life, Rebecca is vocal about encouraging women leaders to embrace"the feminine business mind," which uniquely integrates compassion into all business endeavors.

Speech Topics

Purposeful Partnerships: How For-Profit Companies Can Affect Global Change

Aligning two disparate entities is an important piece of what Nest does. Nest has worked in more than 15 countries and helped more than 3,000 artisans worldwide—and that has all been possible by building innovative social partnerships. In this talk, Rebecca shares with audiences misconceptions about the possibilities for for-profit companies making a difference. Rebecca reveals the creative possibilities for successful partnerships, combining the money-raising abilities of nonprofits and the sustainability of for-profit companies.

The Arts & A Global Economy

Nest is committed to cultural preservation of artistic techniques, taking century old traditions and making sure it remains relevant today. In this talk, Rebecca discusses how we can celebrate the art but in a way that’s sustainable, exploring the common debate about merging tradition with modern inspiration—yet shares her firsthand experience watching community artisans draw meaningful inspiration from western designers and brands. Rebecca explores how this outside inspiration actually brings creativity back to the process and helps the artisans sustain exciting and consistent renewal in their craft. In this talk, Rebecca shows how the arts can create valuable jobs, connecting the smallest communities with a powerful, global set of consumers.

Empowering Women Around The World Through Employment

Research has shown that when women are given the chance to earn money and bring income home to their families, they really invest that money for good—children are less likely to go hungry, more likely to receive an education, and guaranteed a stronger family unit. During her work with Nest, Rebecca has seen first hand the the profound difference that providing women with jobs has not only on their individual self-confidence, but also on a much wider, community level. In this talk, Rebecca shares how though investing in women, communities around the world can see a lasting change happen across generations.


15 Young Go-getters You'll Want to Meet | The Rundown | PBS ...
Rebecca van Bergen provides business consulting, financial support and retail connections to artisans in developing countries in her organization Nest.

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