I was raised in Fairmont, West Virginia, a small town in the Appalachian mountains. It was studying Appalachian literature in college that helped me understand where I came from, who I am and where I want to go. The stories of farmers losing their land to coal companies, workers fighting for decent working conditions and the deep roots of mountain culture weaved together the pieces of my childhood. It helped me understand my family’s successes and challenges as entrepreneurs in the region, the often love-hate relationship with our Appalachian history and our deep connection to the land. Ultimately, knowing where I came from opened my eyes to the world around me and how similar the challenges each us face can often be. It took me to Jamaica to help craft their protected areas strategy and helped me expand a community radio station in rural Appalachia. It led me to India to work with water entrepreneurs and most recently to help build Ashoka’s Changemakers. The past few years have been dedicated to building a sustainable model for Changemakers and fueling the world's best ideas with the resources necessary for success. Coopers Rock, WV, is a place that I've visited all my life. As a kid I would go to these rocky and mossy woods for picnics with my grandmother. Now I go to explore nature, mountain bike and climb rocks. It's a subdued place high above the Cheat River but nestled inside a canyon full of cliff walls and caves. It's a great place to get away, take friends and see something old and new.
Charlie Brown was the previous Executive Director of Ashoka’s Changemakers.
Before Changemakers, Charlie spent three years building the architecture for Ashoka’s global community of over 1,700 Ashoka Fellows and directed three policy focused Ashoka initiatives. In addition to Ashoka, Charlie has worked environmental issues related to climate change, tourism, and innovations for the management of national parks in the U.S. and Jamaica.
When not working, Charlie is an avid outdoorsman and fan of Appalachian literature. Charlie received a business degree from Virginia Tech and MBA from the University of Denver.