For over 25 years, Katherine Foster has been building initiatives that bridge sustainable development with innovative partnerships, programs, financial and technical solutions. A former Canadian Diplomat, she focused on International Trade, Climate Change and Human Security (war affected children, landmines, conflict diamonds, etc.) for nearly a decade before turning to building innovation for social impact out of Switzerland in 2004 from the first microfinance bank in Namibia to a STEM program for girls at EPFL, to Kofi Annan’s Humanitarian Forum. She also taught and lead innovation workshops for Multinationals, NGOs, Government Agencies, start-up accelerators and top universities across Europe.
Later, as Development Lead for the European Union’s flagship innovation program Climate-KIC, Katherine spearheaded partnerships and programs on climate innovation with 900 startups accelerated including 13 nominees for Forbes 30 Under 30. In 2017, she became Executive Director of Blockchain Labs for Open Collaboration (BLOC) now a leading European digital infrastructure organization and lab, but is on leave as she builds out the blockchain and carbon markets framework and pilots for the World Bank. Katherine serves as an advisor to the UNDP Impact Hub Accelerator 2030, FinTech4Good, WishKnish and to numerous impact programs and startups. She is also a keynote speaker, commentator and mentor. Proud of her Swiss and Northern Canadian roots, she shares her interests in kayaking, hiking, skiing and snowshoeing with her two school-age children.
Why are you optimistic about the future of work?
New approaches to innovation and cross-sectoral collaboration is paving the way to new jobs, new approaches to employment and more diversity.