Intrapreneurship: Change from Within

The word “intrapreneur” is rooted in the culture of BGI, originally created by BGI Co-founder Gifford Pinchot III. Gifford defines intrapreneurship as, “using entrepreneurial energy to drive innovation inside larger organizations ” The art and practice of of intrapreneurship is one essential key to changing business — from the inside out. It can be as simple as deciding to put a recycling bin in your break room to championing for a change in the way that your company manufactures its core product. Intrapreneurs are the organizational change agents that innovate and invent new solutions to old problems, creating sustainable solutions from within.
The month of March at BGI will be dedicated to intraprenuership. We’ll be highlighting all the ways the change is happening from inside organizations and businesses.

Throughout the month, we’ll be blogging, sharing, and starting conversations on Intrapreneurship. Below you’ll find more information on the events happening this month and how you can participate on social media and the blog:

●     Facebook
●     Twitter
●     Google+
●     LinkedIn


As part of the integrated MBA curriculum, CAIR gives current students and the BGI community the opportunity to talk to industry leaders. These pioneers advance sustainable business practices, research social and ecological sustainability, and lead organizations for social and economic advocacy.

This March, BGI is honored to host the following Change Agents:

Joe Whinney, Founder and CEO, Theo Chocolate

Joe Whinney first pioneered the supply of organic cocoa beans into the United States in 1994. Traveling and working in the tropics of Central America and Africa, he fell in love with the land and the people farming there. He recognized an injustice in the way that both were being exploited and wanted to do something to make a difference.

Over the next decade, Joe worked tirelessly to champion organic cocoa beans in the U.S. and promote Fair Trade practices for the people farming those beans. He built lasting relationships and deep trust with farmer groups—all the while focused on the goal of someday making chocolate himself and sharing his passion with the world.

Joe relocated along with Vice President of Sales and Marketing Debra Music from Cambridge, Massachusetts to Seattle in 2004. Debra’s background in social marketing and consumer brand building were a perfect complement to Joe’s expertise in the sphere of sustainability. Together they spent two years creating the Theo brand concept and building the factory along with a small team, including Erin Holzer in the role of Chief Factory Engineer (now Theo Chief Chocolate Engineer). In March of 2006, Joe’s dream came to life with Theo’s inaugural run of organic chocolate—the first made here in the U.S.

Rob Bernard, Chief Environmental Strategist, Microsoft

Rob Bernard is the chief environmental strategist for Microsoft and is responsible for defining and implementing the global strategy for the company’s environmental efforts. In this role, he oversees the company’s environmental impact at all levels, including working with product groups to create technology innovations in software and hardware that can help enable customers to minimize their impact on the environment, helping accelerate scientific breakthrough on environmental issues, assuring responsible business practices that work to reduce the company’s direct and indirect environmental impact, and working with partners in industry, government and non-government to engage on global environmental issues.

Rob has held various positions during his 10-year career at Microsoft. He’s served in leadership roles ranging from marketing to business and technical management. In these positions, he has worked with a variety of teams including the Windows group, MSN, and the Information Worker/Office division. As as senior director of Program Management in Office, Rob’s group worked on the project that became the foundation for Microsoft’s joint venture with SAP called “Duet,” which enables a firm to view information from throughout its company using Microsoft Office.

As a product unit manager in MSN, Rob was responsible for growing the online shopping platform to handle millions of offers from hundreds of retail partners. And as product planner for Windows Update, he was responsible for designing many of the features and user experience, which were the foundation of the updating technologies in Windows. Most recently, Rob was general manager for Microsoft’s Developer and Platform Evangelism team where he was responsible for Microsoft’s relationship with more than 100 of the world’s largest and over 100,000 of smaller independent software vendors.

Rob has a deep personal passion around the subject of environmental sustainability and proven leadership skills. Prior to his career at Microsoft, he spent nearly 10 years in the construction and building management industry where he built and managed industrial and office properties.

Rob attended the Wharton School of Business, where he earned his MBA. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature from Columbia University. Rob lives with his family in Seattle.


March 6 | Net Impact Seattle: Professional Speed Networking (in collaboration with Net Impact BGI & UW Foster Net Impact Chapter) | Seattle

Join the Seattle Net Impact Professional Chapter for their third annual Net Impact Speed Networking event!.  Michael B. Maine, will offer attendees professional headshots for $20 following this event. This will include 3 poses as well as edited files with both print and web-ready versions.

>> Register now!

March 13 | The Future of Clothing | BGI and The Hub in collaboration with Net Impact BGI  | The Hub Seattle

Nicole Bassett, Director of Social Responsibility from PrAna, Kevin Myette, Director of Product and Supply Chain Sustainability from REI, Anne Sodemann, CEO of Rethink Fabrics, and Shannon Whitehead, sustainable apparel strategist and branding consultant  along with Stacy Flynn as moderator will talk about the future of clothing.

>> Register now!

March 15 | Building a Sustainable Economy (BASE): Sustainable Building Lecture | Bainbridge Island Library, Bainbridge Island

Joe Whinney, Founder and CEO of Theo Chocolate, will talk about how Theo chocolate changes lives — from responsible sourcing of ingredients through product development and marketing at our March BASE event.

Building a Sustainable Economy (BASE), the Bainbridge lecture series, has been developed in partnership with Bainbridge Graduate Institute, Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce, Sustainable Bainbridge and Bainbridge Public Library.

>> Free — RSVP!

March 20 | BGI Open House: Lead the Change | BGI Seattle Office

We’re opening our doors to the whole community to share what we have been up to in our programs, including the new MA in Organizational Leadership offered by our partner, Organization Systems Renewal (OSR). The evening will include a few short presentations and allows ample time for conversations. You will leave with a strong sense on how our programs will help you reach your professional, personal, and educational goals.

>> Free — More details and RSVP!


  1. DJ Sun, Mar 17, 2013 at 12:05 am · Reply

    Thanks for this blog! We’ve been building an ed resource at too. Bringing together some of the best speech & lecture videos from top universities for use for higher ed faculty, staff, and students. It’s a good free resource for courses, learning, or professional development. Feel free to share or blog it if you find it useful.


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