2008 Session:

Session Description – Microfinance - an innovative way to empower individuals in the developing world

This session will discuss the philosophy of microcredit, liberating the entrepreneurial spirit and why this mission inspires Whole Foods Market and our 54,000 team members. Participants will discuss ideas and ways they might be able to engage and support the microlending mission of Whole Planet Foundation or other organizations creating seeds of economic prosperity around the world. Whole Planet Foundation (A Whole Foods Market foundation) is dedicated to supporting microlending programs in countries where Whole Foods Market sources products. In less than two years, Whole Planet Foundation has committed over $6 million to microlending programs and to date, this has supported the creation of over 15,000 small microbusinesses (average size of each loan is $150), in partnership with outstanding microfinance institutions such as 2006 Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus and others such as Pro Mujer and Adelante Foundation.

Plaza Level of Whole Food’s Corporate Headquarters (upstairs, by the playground)

To find this area, either
a) walk up the flight of stairs near the front entrance of Whole Foods and entering the corporate office area
b) take an elevator from the parking lot to Plaza level (marked as PL in the elevators).

Once you enter the offices, the receptionist will check you in and direct you to the session meeting.

About the Speaker

Donnell ocker

Whole Planet Foundation (A Whole Foods Market foundation), Vice President - Partnership Development

Donnell Dianne Ocker - Vice-President of Partnership Development at Whole Planet Foundation (A Whole Foods Market Foundation) where she oversees the Foundation’s communications, marketing and public relations activities and fund raising. Donnell was with Conservation International (CI) — a global non-profit — for 9.5 years. At CI, she was a founding staff member and Senior Director for the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) — a $150 million global financing mechanism providing grants in over 35 countries.

She started her career at CI as a microenterprise specialist, providing technical expertise for small businesses and tourism development projects in Bolivia, Guatemala, Mexico and Peru.

Donnell worked for three Texas State Agencies on tourism development, public relations and community development. She implemented a global public relations campaign for the La Salle Shipwreck Project securing over $8 million in free publicity, including feature articles in National Geographic, Smithsonian, CNN, the Today Show among other news outlets.

Donnell was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Honduras, where she set up a community environmental education program and an international ecotourism program. She has a BS from Texas A&M University, is fluent in Spanish and has worked in Latin America, Africa and Asia.