Jean Oelwang (’87 Marketing)

2021 Alumni Award Recipient: Jean Oelwang, ’87 Marketing, Gerald I. Susman Sustainability Leadership Award.

Portrait of Jean Oelwang.

2021 Gerald I. Susman Sustainability Leadership Award

Jean Oelwang is the founding CEO and President of Virgin Unite. Over the last 17 years, she has worked with partners to lead the incubation and start-up of several global initiatives, including: The Elders, The B Team, The Carbon War Room (successfully merged with the RMI), Ocean Unite, The Caribbean Climate Smart Accelerator, 100% Human at Work, The Virgin Unite Constellation and The Branson Centres of Entrepreneurship.  She also played a key partner role in the incubation of many other initiatives such as The Audacious Project, The Africa Donor Collective and The New Now.

Oelwang has helped corporations put the well being of people and the planet at their core, including working with over 25 Virgin businesses across 15 industries to help embed purpose in all they do.  Oelwang also served as a Partner in the Virgin Group leading their people strategy. She was the joint CEO of Virgin Mobile in Australia prior to starting Virgin Unite.

Before Virgin, Oelwang spent eighteen years working on six continents to help start and lead mobile phone companies in South Africa, Colombia, Bulgaria, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia and the US. 

Oelwang worked for the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife in Australia, and in numerous volunteer roles, including a stint as a US VISTA volunteer in Chicago.

She holds a number of advisory board roles, including The Elders, The New Now, the Sara Blakely Foundation, The Vatican’s Humanity 2.0, Penn State Smeal Board of Visitors, Vintro, Last Mile Health and the boards of RMI, The Caribbean Climate Smart Accelerator, Ocean Unite, AID Live, Unite BVI Foundation and Just Capital. She is also honored to be a B Team Leader.