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Entrepreneur | Facilitator | Speaker | advisor

A humanitarian at heart and entrepreneur by nature, Fay M. Johnson believes we should live well and while also doing good. Fay integrates her commitment for social change with the belief that business can and should create positive change.

A behavior change and human-centered design expert, Fay has spent over a decade developed change strategies for non-profits, governments, and businesses interested in tackling social issues. During the course of her career Fay has served as the Co-Director of the Human Rights Caucus, been directly involved in passing legislation, distributing aid, and mobilizing action from hundreds of thousands of people through her education and activism work. Fay is passionate about encouraging people to make a difference through their everyday actions and is committed to creating permanent shifts in social norms for the benefit of people and our planet.

Fay's last entrepreneurial endeavor, deliberateLIFE, promoted living a more ethical and sustainable life, with ease and style. The company published deliberateLIFE Magazine, a digital lifestyle magazine that provided information, products, and off-line events. The magazine won readers in 52 countries, and was praise as the Martha Stewart Living for a new generation. Fay led a team of over 40 staff and contractors and served as the CEO and Editor-in-Chief.  Fay currently leading a new product team at Facebook focused on promoting empathy and well-being.

In 2015 Fay founded a national dinner series (Deliberate Discourse), which brings neighbors around the dinner table to discuss race and identity in America. Fay designed this unique, introspective, and empathy-building experience, and has facilitated dinners across the U.S. Following the violence, police activity and protests in Baltimore, Fay was invited to the city to train 200+ hosts, who later hosted dinners across their city to discuss their city's historic and current relationship with race. Fay also facilitates dinners for companies like Google and Boston Consulting Group.

The daughter of two social entrepreneurs, she spent much of her childhood traveling, visiting over 26 countries before she graduated from high school. These experiences embedded the deep belief that we are all part of one large global village. Fay has lived and worked in Hungary, India, Ethiopia, Kenya, the United States and South Africa.

Fay also consults to influencers, businesses, governments, and non-profits on how to leverage their resources effectively to create change. Catch some of Fay's thoughts on HuffingtonPost, FastCompany, or Inc.com.


Additional Background

Fay has a long history of working at the intersection of the private and public sectors. Between 2005 - 2011, Fay lived and worked in Washington, DC, where she served as the Co-Director of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus  an active Member organization that highlights and advocates on behalf of abused individuals. She also served as a key staff member on the Africa and Global Health Subcommittee of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs during which time she coordinated 18 Hearings, served as the liaison between witnesses and the committee, assisted in the introduction of 19 bills including H.R. 2003 on Human Rights in Ethiopia, collaborated on the reauthorization of PEPFAR and an amendment to increase TB funding by $50million USD.

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After leaving Capitol Hill, Fay served as a Policy Advisor at Oxfam America, leading the organization's advocacy and campaigning efforts during the 2008 drought in Ethiopia, and ongoing efforts in Kenya, Somalia, Eritrea and Iraq.

Seeing the need for a more multidisciplinary approach to today's pressing social issues, in 2009 Fay formed Red Balloon Ideas, a boutique consulting firm that works to increase the success of social impact initiatives. The firm utilizes a deep understanding of international development and business best practices to support solutions that reduce poverty and social injustice. The firm utilizes a methodology commonly known in the public health sphere as behavior change communication to help increase the adoption of products, behaviors or life-saving ideas. Red Balloon Ideas is headquartered in Washington, DC.

Fay has also launched several public engagement campaigns, including Our Children 2010 – an initiative to provide safe spaces for children during the 2010 FIFA World Cup in her home country of South Africa.  For this campaign, she produced videos and educational material that were distributed to over 5,000 groups across the nation in an effort to reduce child trafficking.  Fay was also involved in the creation of the 2008 film Call+Response, a 'rockumentary' about human trafficking. Her personal volunteer work utilizes skills from the market places, as she works with social justice groups to bring awareness to issues of poverty and human rights abuses.

Before moving to Washington DC in 2005, Fay studied and worked in California, where she ran her first business (juggling classes and clients) and worked for a strategic management consulting firm assisting with the development of a training manual for executives looking to expand their work into emerging markets.

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Fay received a degree in International Development Studies with a focus on Africa and the Middle East from the University of California Los Angeles. While at UCLA, Fay collaborated with a handful of students to start the Darfur Action Committee which successfully launched a campaign to promote divestment from companies investing in Sudan. The movements garnered support from celebrities such as George Clooney and Don Cheadle and celebrated its first win, the divestment of calPERS funds. This was followed by an even greater success when the State of California followed suit. Fay also worked at a shelter for trafficked women in LA run by the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking.

Fay holds a Master's degree from Georgetown University in Public Relations and Corporate Communications.