New York, NY, 6 April 2021 – Today, YPO, the global leadership community of more than 30,000 chief executives in 142 countries, announced the organization’s Global Impact Award regional honorees.

The YPO Global Impact Award is YPO’s highest honor to members that recognizes their impact outside of YPO, celebrating CEO impact that is both sustainable and scalable. A regional honoree was selected from each of YPO’s 14 regions.

“Business being a force for good is one of YPO’s key tenets. We are honored to recognize and celebrate these extraordinary and impactful YPO members from around the globe who are truly making a mark in their communities and beyond,” said YPO CEO Xavier Mufraggi. “They are an inspiration to us all on how to lead with purpose.”

The 2021 YPO Global Impact Award Regional Honorees are:

Andre Abucham (Latin America)
Andre Abucham is the Founder and Chair of the Board of Santa Fé Beneficent Association, which has aided thousands of homeless single mothers and children through its programs focusing on shelter homes, children’s families and life after living in shelters.The nonprofit welcomes and treats children, adolescents and families at risk by providing support, education and appropriate environments so they may develop to their full potential.

Melissa Melshenker Ackerman (Mid-America U.S.)
Melissa Ackerman is the President of Produce Alliance and the Produce Alliance Foundation. At the onset of COVID-19, Melissa led the Produce Alliance Foundation in raising hundreds of thousands of dollars to keep the food supply industry functioning. The foundation has distributed more than 5.5 million food boxes, including 165 million pounds of fresh food, through its USDA’s Farmers to Families Food Box Program, and created over 600 jobs to produce these boxes.

Javier Benavente Barrón (Europe)
Javier Benavente Barrón is the President of Alares Group and The Alares Foundation. In anticipation of the emotional impact of isolation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, he set up the social program “Ilumina una Vida” “Brighten a Life,” a free, 24/7 telephone line offering support for elderly people from volunteer social experts and psychologists. To date, more than 45,000 people have called in for support. This social program now has been established permanently within Alares, including free face-to-face assistance in homes when needed.

Greg Block (Southeast U.S. and Caribbean)
The late Greg Block was the Founder, Chairman and CEO of First Step Staffing, which secures sustainable income for individuals transitioning from homelessness, veterans and those with criminal backgrounds so they may rebuild confidence and self-respect through employment. First Step provides approximately 8,300 jobs annually.

Hakan Bulgurlu (Pacific U.S.)
Hakan Bulgurlu is the CEO of Arçelik, a global white goods company producing consumer durables and electronics across 12 brands available in more than 145 countries. Dedicated to sustainability and being a net-zero company in its global production operations, Arçelik has 23 production facilities across nine countries and employs more than 35,000 workers. Arçelik is an industry leader in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and has been included in the FTSE4Good Index for five consecutive years.

Jo Burston (Australia/NZ)
Jo Burston is the CEO of Inspiring Rare Birds, which works to create, support and promote diverse and inclusive workplaces, where opportunities in entrepreneurship and leadership exist for everyone. Currently, close to 300 female entrepreneurs are being mentored by CEOs, leaders, experts and serial entrepreneurs, with the program impacting the businesses of 2,695 people to date. She is also the co-founder and director of Startup.Business, which runs entrepreneurial learning programs in secondary schools across Australia.

Patrick Chalhoub (Middle East/North Africa)
Patrick Chalhoub is the Group President of the Chalhoub Group. Through the company’s philanthropic arm, Chalhoub Impact, which focuses on educational, environmental and humanitarian initiatives, Patrick spearheaded a Lebanon relief program after the explosion in August 2020, donating more than USD1.2 million to NGOs to support the local community. Chalhoub Impact also strongly focuses on nurturing education by fully funding a school in Lebanon for 1,300 Syrian refugee children and fostering more than 10 partnerships with universities through scholarships, educational programs and knowledge exchange. 

James Chen (North Asia)
James Chen is the founder of Vision for a Nation, the charity which led to Rwanda becoming the only developing country globally to provide vision correction for all, and Clearly, the global advocacy group which got vision onto the agenda at organisations such as the Commonwealth and United Nations. 

Lotte Davis (Canada)
Lotte Davis is the CEO and Founder of One Girl Can, which is focused on breaking the cycle of poverty and eradicating gender inequality in Kenya through education and mentoring. One Girl Can’s unique holistic model empowers girls from the time they leave primary school until they gain meaningful employment. Since 2013, they have provided scholarships for 1,000 young women, coach and train more than 10,000 students annually through workshops, and have built or renovated 130 school buildings.

Carrie Freeman (Western U.S.)
Carrie Freeman is the Co-CEO of SecondMuse, an impact and innovation company that collaborates with government agencies, corporations, foundations and entrepreneurs to navigate and solve complex global challenges. Under Carrie’s guidance, SecondMuse has directly engaged with more than 200,000 participants through innovation and entrepreneur support, facilitated USD600 million in investment, and incubated more than 500 companies. The majority of these companies are led by women or people of color and 80% are still in business.

Alison Hill (Northeastern U.S.)
Alison Hill is the CEO of LifeStraw, which transforms dirty water into safe drinking water and has become a market leader in water filtration. For every LifeStraw product sold at retail, a child in need receives safe water for an entire school year, providing more than 4.6 million kids with a year of safe water. Additionally, in 2020, her teams and products have helped provide safe water access to over 136,000 people following natural disasters in more than 18 countries. LifeStraw also has a strong commitment to the planet; as a carbon neutral company, it offsets hundreds of millions of single-use plastic water bottles and ensures sustainable packaging and water stewardship.

Nichol Ng (Southeast Asia)
Nichol Ng is the Co-Founder of The Food Bank Singapore, a centralized organization that addresses food waste and donation distribution issues. Under her leadership, the food bank re-distributes excess food to more than 370 non-profit organizations that reach out to more than 300,000 underprivileged in Singapore, She commissioned The Hunger Report, a 20-month study by the Lien Foundation for Social Innovation that provided insight on the food insecurity challenge in Singapore for the first time. a charity which Nichol is also CEO of X-Inc, a group of six companies in the food business.

Isak Pretorius (Africa)
Isak Pretorius is the Group Executive Director of JAM International, which provides food security, livelihood development, health, nutrition, water, and sanitation assistance to vulnerable children and communities in Africa. In 2020, Isak designed and spearheaded an electronic food voucher system to improve food distributions during the COVID-19 crisis, reducing food lines, increasing social distancing, while incorporating the commercial supply chain to protect and support small businesses through this volatile period. JAM International directly assisted 3.9 million people and provided more than 150 million meals to the most vulnerable communities in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Nathan Sivagananathan (South Asia)
Nathan Sivagananathan is the Co-Founder of Trail, a walk of solidarity to honour and aid those battling cancer by bringing together communities in a post-conflict Sri Lanka with the shared goal of developing cancer treatment infrastructure. In 2011, Trail embarked upon its journey of hope and reconciliation, raising USD 2.6 million to build the first ever cancer treatment center in the previously war-torn Northern region of Sri Lanka where it has treated over 250,000 patients in marginalized and impoverished communities. Joined by over 2.5 million supporters, Trail continued its efforts to create equitable access to cancer-care through the ‘Trail 2016’ charity walk aiming to raise USD 5 million to build the Karapitiya Trail Cancer Hospital in the South of the country to provide much-needed relief to the growing number of patients.

The recipient of the 2021 YPO Global Impact Award will be announced in late May.

About YPO
YPO is the global leadership community of more than 30,000 chief executives in 142 countries who are connected by the shared belief that the world needs better leaders. Each of our members have achieved significant leadership success at a young age. Combined, they lead businesses and organizations contributing USD9 trillion in annual revenue. YPO members inspire and support each other through peer learning and exceptional experiences in an inclusive community of open sharing and trust. Visit for more. 

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