Elena Douglas is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Knowledge Society. A sought-after advisor and strategist, she leads Knowledge Society’s most important projects and advises leaders in the government, private and non-for-profit sectors. Her unique perspective – informed by her career as an entrepreneur, social-impact pioneer and economic historian – and her global intellectual and business connections allow her to bring cutting-edge practice and ideas to Australian clients. Her mission is to ensure that Australia remains a prosperous, democratic and compassionate society with a robust, intelligent and productive government, education system and private sector.

Influential work

  • Led the strategy, design, development, establishment, programming, team recruitment and implementation for an insurance company’s innovation function.
  • Led the revitalisation of a large family foundation’s philanthropic strategy and approach to investment.
  • Established a comprehensive agenda to improve teaching and learning in one of Australia’s largest education systems.
  • Designed a major strategy for a foundation to improve government commissioning in critical services like education towards Indigenous children achieving parity.
  • Established the Centre for Social Impact at the University of Western Australia Business School and established the Graduate Certificate for Social Impact.
  • Was founding Chief Executive Officer of Advance Global Australians in New York City.
  • Built a national network of economists, policymakers, philanthropists and social entrepreneurs committed to using global-class practice to make beneficial social change in Australia.

Capabilities

  • Strategy
  • Public policy
  • Economic analysis
  • Leadership development
  • Organisational change

Background

Before establishing Knowledge Society, Elena was a management consultant with Deloitte and KPMG and worked in federal government agencies. She was a co-founder of BlueSkyFrog, a pioneering mobile-internet company sold to Vodafone and then Legion Interactive. Elena is a member of the Deloitte Access Economics Advisory Board. She is an accomplished social entrepreneur and has founded and grown several important national assets including Advance, In the Zone, and the Faith and Globalisation initiative with the Tony Blair Faith Foundation. Elena teaches philanthropy and social investment and leadership for social impact at the University of Western Australia Business School and writes for Australian and international publications on economics, public policy, history and culture.