Specialisterne Foundation is a not-for-profit foundation with the goal to generate meaningful employment for one million autistic persons and those with similar profiles (ADHD, OCD, dyslexia etc.) – in combination referred to as neurodivergent persons – through social entrepreneurship, corporate sector engagement and a global change in mindset. With headquarters located in Copenhagen, Denmark, we work globally to bring about our vision of a world where people are given equal opportunities in the labour market.
Specialisterne Foundation is associated with the United Nations Department of Global Communications and is committed to promote the United Nations’ ‘Call to Action‘ for employers to hire autistic persons. We collaborate with a range of stakeholders and demonstrate how the inclusion of neurodivergent talent can improve workplaces and contribute to improved quality of life. Through acting as a catalyst and supporting employees globally, we contribute to the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8, target 5: ”By 2030, achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value”.
Since 2004, we have proven ‘The Autism Advantage’ and catalysed a global movement which so far has resulted in the employment of more than 10.000 autistic persons in competitive jobs across a number of business sectors.
The founder, Thorkil Sonne, is a World Economic Forum Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur, Ashoka Globalizer Fellow and Chairman of Denmark’s Council for Corporate Responsibility and Sustainable Development Goal.
Founder & Chairman of the Board
Director & COO
CEO & Managing Director
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Mr. Thorkil Sonne (Chairman) is the founder Specialisterne Foundation and Specialisterne Denmark. He was appointed in 2018 by the Danish Government as Chairman of the Council for Corporate Responsibility and Sustainable Development Goals.
Mr. William E. Hoover (Independent). Former Director at McKinsey Nordic Region. Bill Hoover has 30 years of experience in consulting global industrials and telecom-related companies. His specialty areas are China, supply chain and performance transformation. Bill has a degree in Mathematics and English from Dartmouth College and an MBA from Harvard.
Mr. Lars Henriksen (Independent). Independent Management Consultant. Lars Henriksen has been on Specialisterne Foundation board since its formation. Henriksen is a former Managing Partner at Accenture, Nordic and has during his more than 30 years as a consultant worked and lived outside Denmark for over 25 years. He holds several positions as a board member and an investor in start-up companies, and is an advisor to the MBA programme at Copenhagen Business School.
Mr. Ramon Bernat, CEO Specialisterne Spain. With more than 35 years of experience starting and consolidating businesses, he focuses his work on high-impact entrepreneurship, mainly in projects related to autism. President of Fundation Planeta Imaginario, commited to supporting children with autism and their families, he is leading the implementation and development of Specialisterne in Spain, Italy and Latin America. Ramon is also member of Fundation Ship2B Board, an accelerator of high social impact businesses and holds several positions as a board member in various companies and organizations.
Ms. Henriette Fenger Ellekrog (Independent). Chief HR Officer (CHRO) and member of Executive Management at the global renewable energy company Ørsted A/S. Henriette Fenger Ellekrog joined the Specialisterne Foundation board in 2019. She has more than 20 years experience from various industries and international companies. She has a masters degree from Copenhagen Business School and serves at the Board of ‘Fondet for Dansk-Norsk Samarbejde’ and the Advisory Board for Women in management at the Confederation of Danish Industries.
Ms. Isabella Arendt (Independent) is the president of the Christian Democratic party of Denmark. She has more than 10 years of experience in Danish politics and debates. She has run for the national parliament in 2011 as the youngest candidate in Danish history and since in the elections of 2015 and 2019. She has a bachelor degree in political science and has worked as an analyst at the Happiness Research Institute before entering a political career.
Ms. Marie Ringler (Independent) is leading Ashoka’s work in Europe. She founded Ashoka’s Austrian office in 2011 and soon took over Regional Director for Central and Eastern Europe. In 2015 she became one of Ashoka’s Europe Directors, in 2018 she was appointed European Leader of Ashoka. She was born in Vienna, studied Sociology, Political Science and Women`s Studies at the University of Vienna, and holds a degree from ESADE Business School, Spain and an MBA from the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland.
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