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Willy Foote

CEO & Founder, Root Capital

Willy began his career on Wall Street as a financial analyst in Latin American corporate finance. Later, he worked as a business journalist in Mexico, where he discovered the challenges faced by cooperatives and small producers who lacked access to credit and markets. He founded Root Capital in 1999 to build a different kind of deeply mission-driven financial institution — one focused squarely on growing rural prosperity in some of the poorest and most environmentally fragile places on the planet. Since then, Root Capital has grown to over 125 employees, with clients across Latin America and Africa, and $100 million in assets. Willy received the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship in 2005, was named an Ashoka Fellow in 2007 and a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2008, became a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO) in 2009, was listed as one of Forbes’ “Impact 30” in 2012, and was a He nry Crown Fellow (Class of 2012). He is on the Executive Committee of the Aspen Network for Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE), a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network, and a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Willy holds an M.S. in development economics from the London School of Economics and a B.A. from Yale University.