Liz Wald '95
Something is driving Liz Wald ’95 to help people.
Maybe it’s the time she spent working with craftswomen in Rwanda. Wald helped those women turn their hand-knitted creations into financial independence through EDImports, a fair-trade import company she founded in 2003.
Maybe it’s her days playing varsity soccer at Harvard in the late 1980s, where she learned how to work as part of a team. Maybe it comes from her time at Kellogg, where she honed those skills while developing a love for travel that has taken her to more the 60 countries.
“The driver for me isn't so much altruism, but rather that business can be a sustainable way toward poverty alleviation. While there is certainly a place for charity, especially after large, tragic events such as a tsunami or earthquake – in the long run charity is not a sustainable business model,” Wald says.
That desire to couple business with social consciousness, plus her experiences as a world traveler, have helped Wald in her current role as Head of International at Indiegogo
. Since joining in April 2013, Wald has been in charge of spreading the San Francisco-based company’s reach across the globe.
Indiegogo has become one of the world’s largest fundraising platforms. Through it, anyone can pitch a product or a project. The idea is if other people like a proposal, they can donate money through the website, no matter where they live.
While Wald lives in New York, she enjoys traveling between the coasts and sometimes internationally to get her job done.
“I manage a team of people that are all over the world. I think having always been on a team and understanding the importance of communication and being clear with goals has served me really well,” Wald says.
Currently, she’s focused on helping the company expand further into Asia and Europe because, as she puts it, good ideas can come from anywhere. As part of that goal, she recently helped Indiegogo hire the company’s first employees in Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom. She’s also helping the company overcome the challenges of navigating the dozens of European countries’ individual currencies, languages and laws.
Wald’s other duties see her shifting gears regularly as one moment she may be talking with the engineering team to develop new products or features while the next she could be working with Indiegogo’s public relations people to attract campaigns in new countries.
A global citizen
About 7,000 campaigns are running on Indiegogo at any time, but those that have Wald most excited have a decidedly humanitarian bent.
“There are some really interesting health and technology things coming out of Canada right now. Things that can help you determine whether your chemotherapy is working, things that can tell you what kind of chemicals are in your food,” Wald says.
She has even launched her own campaign on the site called BPeace
, which raises money for business training for women living in countries that have been affected by war.
As for her personal goals, the self-described “global citizen” says that something larger is out there waiting for her. But for someone who has climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, trekked the Himalayan Mountains and hiked among gorillas in Africa, “larger” may border on the sensational.
“The sky’s the limit,” Wald says. “I would love to see some of the women that I worked with in Butare, Rwanda, be able to access crowdfunding in the future.
“That would be amazing,” she says.