Five Minute Focus On: Paul Stapleton, Ashoka

Glandore Members & Partners

Tell us about yourself

I’ve been working for Ashoka for the last two years and in the non-profit sector over 6 years, after previously being an engineer. I’m originally from Laois, but have lived in Dublin on and off for nearly 15 years. My main hobbies are music and GAA and I’ve been involved in both since a young age. Pop by to say hello!

Tell us about Ashoka

Ashoka connects business leaders to high impact social entrepreneurs. We elect these social entrepreneurs as Ashoka ‘Fellows’ if they meet our criteria. Their work must be a new proposition to society that addresses an important area of human need. Their work must have the potential for large-scale impact and must also act to create long term sustainable change in a sector.

As our Fellowship is lifelong, our criteria must ensure that the candidate’s ambition is truly to change the world. We support our Fellows in three main ways: financially, professionally and with our network. Our Fellows work across all sectors, from the environment and healthcare to eduction and currently we support 3,300 Fellows in 90+ countries.

What’s your role in Ashoka?

I’m the country director for our Irish office.

Tell us something about Ashoka we may not know

Ashoka was one of the first organisations in the world to pioneer the term social entrepreneur. We were set up in 1980, long before the term was in people’s vocabularies.

Ashoka is a sanskrit word and means ‘the absence of sorrow’. The Indian Emperor Ashoka was one of the world’s earliest great social entrepreneurs. After unifying India in the 3rd Century B.C., Emperor Ashoka renounced violence and became one of history’s most tolerant, global-minded, and creative leaders, pioneering innovations in economic development and social welfare.

What’s next for Ashoka?

Our focus this year is on growing the Ashoka community here in Ireland, recruiting business leaders who buy into the fact that entrepreneurship can be used as a means for social change. Joining our Ashoka Support Network is an excellent way of working with the world’s most impactful social entrepreneurs to grow their impact.

We’re also hosting a pan-European event around Social Entrepreneurship called the European Changemaker Summit in Berlin in May this year.

What tip would you give to a business wanting to make a social impact in 2018?

Consider the three pillars of impact an organisation can have on society – environmental, social and economic. Also use the in-house expertise in the company to make an genuine impact on society rather than focus on once-off projects that may not capitalise on employees strengths. Also support the organisations that you believe in and that are having a huge impact.

What do you like about being a Glandore Member?

Every member of the Glandore team is very approachable and kind!

What do you like about living and working in Dublin?

There’s something to do every day of the week in Dublin. I love the arts scene here, as there’s always a good gig or show on, and artists play a huge role in social change here in Ireland.

Friday nights in or Friday nights out?

About half and half. Everything in moderation!

Ashoka is a non-profit organisation connecting social entrepreneurs around the globe to spearhead worlwide movements. Visit for more information, or check out Ashoka out on socials; Facebook Twitter | Linkedin

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