Alison Colwell has over 12 years of experience working on business and human rights issues across the private, public, and civil society sectors globally and in the U.S. Currently serving as the Director of ESG (Environmental, Social/human rights, Governance) and Sustainability for Okta, Alison has prior experience as the VP of Partnerships and Development at Novi, the Director of Sustainability at Sephora, and the Director of Stanford's Investment Responsibility Stakeholder Relations Office. She served as a central point of contact for the Stanford community on questions related to responsible investment of the university’s endowment. She has guest lectured on business and human rights at Stanford and the Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley; mentored students about careers in human rights; and spoken at international conferences such as UN Global Compact’s Forum at Rio+20 and the International Association of Impact Assessment’s annual conference, and published articles and blogs on human rights.
Prior to coming to Stanford Alison worked as a consultant for Business for Social Responsibility (BSR). Alison has helped companies develop their human rights and community investment policies, standards, guidelines and implementation tools, and has conducted various human rights impact assessments. Her geographic focus has been the Western hemisphere; however, she has conducted fieldwork with communities in Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and North America.
Alison has an M.A. in Public Policy and Administration from Carleton University (Canada), a B.A. in Global Development Studies and a Bachelor of Commerce with honors from Queen’s University (Canada). As a student, she co-founded a student group that was instrumental in the creation of the Centre for Social Impact at the Smith School of Business, Queen’s University. She is fluent in English and Spanish, and has basic French and Portuguese comprehension.