Grameen Foundation CEO Delivers Leaders Forum Lecture
As a college junior, Alex Counts sent a letter to Dr. Muhammad Yunus, the founder of the Grameen Bank and recipient of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize. Counts told Yunus that he admired what Yunus had done in pioneering microlending in Bangladesh and believed he could help expand the ideas of microfinance outside Bangladesh. "I stopped just short of declaring the Counts/Yunus Plan for Defeating Global Poverty in Five Years," he told an audience at Yale SOM on March 29.
Yunus took Counts up on it, telling him to come to Bangladesh when he finished college. Nearly 25 years later, Counts is still working in microfinance as the founder and CEO of Grameen Foundation, a global nonprofit that helps lift some of the world's poorest people — mostly women and children — out of poverty by providing access to financing, technology solutions, and management strategies to local organizations.
Counts spoke about what he has learned about leadership as part of the Yale SOM Leaders Forum lecture series. "I'm always amazed at the power of individuals to change the course of history," he said. "We're often told in all sorts of subtle ways that people can't even effect much change in their own lives, let alone their own community, let alone on history. But history looked at rightly says the opposite."