Rebecca van Bergen is the Founder and Executive Director of Nest, a nonprofit building a new handworker economy to advance global workforce inclusivity, women’s wellbeing beyond factories, and cultural preservation.
She graduated with her Masters Degree in Social Work from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, in 2006, the same year that Muhammad Yunus won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in microfinance. Following her passion to turn craft, the 2nd largest employer of women globally, into a means to correct the gender and income imbalance in our world, she founded Nest at age 24.
Rebecca’s accolades include being a Draper Richards Kaplan Social Entrepreneur, a Cordes Fellow, and receipt of Ashoka and C&A Foundation’s 2016 Fabric of Change Award for innovation in fashion sustainability (received recently at the Copenhagen Fashion Summit). She is a Levi Strauss & Co. Collaboratory Fellow, Draper Richards Kaplan Fellow, and has been spotlighted by the New York mayor’s office as an NYC Catalyst.
She was selected as one of twelve of GLG’s 2015 Social Impact fellows and received Clinton Global Initiative complimentary membership in 2015 and 2016. Rebecca is regularly quoted in international media stories for The New York Times, NPR, Quartz, The Guardian, ELLE, Glamour, and more.
She has been honored as a PBS “Changemaker,” CNN’s Young Person Who Rocks, and one of the White House's’ Top 100 Entrepreneurial Enterprises led by a young person.
Episode #1578 Rebecca van Bergen: Create Change Where You Are
Rebecca van Bergen celebrated her graduation by asking a big question: How do you create agency and change through human to human work? She’s spent the last 14 years answering it through Nest: Her non-profit that’s connected hundreds of thousands of artisans, across 115 countries, to ethical home-based work with leading brands.
She believes in creating change from where you are. We delve into articulating the difference you aspire to make in the world and continuously evolving your mission and yourself to realize it. For Rebecca, that’s meant accelerating her goals to support the over 300 million women working from home, whilst understanding that it’s only by cultivating a sense of wholeness and embracing her strengths that she’ll be able to reach them.
Nest continues to be propelled by unwavering belief and drive. Still, Rebecca’s always believed that they’re part of a larger narrative. She shares a story from her very first trip reminding us that a small act of kindness can be remembered for a lifetime.