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Marie Ringler: Sustainable Creator 2017


by ashokaaustria

They have a clear vision – a green earth where all people can live well. They do not hand over their responsibility and conscience at when it comes to business – the Sustainable Creators of Austria. Their vision is their compass and drives them to find new ways to successfully run their businesses. Marie Ringler, Managing Director of Ashoka Austria, was one of the individuals, who was awarded by BUSINESS ART for her life’s work.

The example of Thorkil Sonne, how people with autism can apply their strengths to the job market, has fascinated Marie Ringler and encouraged her to become part of Ashoka. She has successfully established Ashoka Austria and Eastern Europe and has been European Director since 2015. “I was born into privilege in one of the richest countries in the world. I want to use my talents and opportunities for a better world. All people should see themselves as problem solvers so we address societal problems together.”

BUSINESSART Interview with Marie Ringler

How did you grow up? On the outskirts of Vienna. It was beautiful. But also a bit too nice. I always wanted to get out into the wide world.

What shaped you? My family history, which carries all the madness of the 20th century.

What made you strong? Laughing.

What training did you do? I always wanted to know how the world works. Honestly, I have to say that my studies answered this question very fragmentarily. So far, life has been a better teacher.

An important key experience in your life? For my current work it was the moment when I heard of the work of a social entrepreneur who has fascinated me ever since: Thorkil Sonne. He shows how people with autism can bring their strengths to the job market.

What motivates you? What drives you? I was born into privilege, in one of the richest countries in the world. I want to use my talents and opportunities to create a better world.

If you draw a balance today: What have you achieved? I’m proud that Ashoka has achieved a lot in Austria in just a few years: we nominated nine wonderful Ashoka Fellows, created a strong support network and an improved framework for all changemakers. And of course our work in Central and Eastern Europe, where we support almost 200 social entrepreneurs.

What was your biggest failure? What did you learn from it? I spoke openly about it. Draw conclusions and work together with everyone in the team on a solution. Details at our next Fail Fair!

What are your next goals? What do you want to achieve? To bring even more innovative solutions from social entrepreneurs wherever they are needed.

What is your dream? All people should see themselves as problem solvers and tackle challenges together.

What sets you apart? Persistence and creativity. And a little courage.

What would your life look like if money did not matter? Not much different.

What would you do first if you had a lot of money and / or power? Support even more social entrepreneurs.

Where do you see yourself in 5/10 years? In a Europe of solidarity in which everyone participates and shapes our society together.

Three recommendations for young people. Follow your dreams. Learn to fail without giving up, and enjoy what you do.

Austria will have the EU Presidency next year. What should they do? Positioning social innovations as a central theme for the entire EU!


FAST FACTS on Marie Ringler

© CSR Circle Arthur Michalek

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