40 Under 40 2017: Brianne Chai-Onn

VP, CSR and social impact practice, Finn Partners, 38

Whether she’s working on a teen dating violence prevention program or a sustainability consumer trade show, Brianne Chai-Onn has developed a reputation for looking beyond media relations to create lasting social change.

At Finn Partners, Chai-Onn works on a high-profile stage, creating global movements around complex social issues and corporate social responsibility programs. Colleagues call her the "go-to person for anything to do with the United Nations," and "our secret weapon when it comes to global issues."

She has spent a decade developing and directing integrated communications programs for a variety of issues, including sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, intimate partner violence, gender equality, and overcoming health disparities.

Her work with Shumei International, a Japanese organization focused on sustainable agriculture, to increase its impact through strategic events and alliances is a career milestone. Chai-Onn secured and amplified Shumei’s first collaboration with International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements — Organics International, Organics Consumers Association, Regenerative International, and Biovision by establishing a partnership with IISD Reporting Services at the United Nations Climate Change Summit in Morocco.

She oversaw the creation of a video on reframing food and agriculture featuring a Shumei spokesperson alongside leading experts, which received more than 75,000 views and 2,400 likes on Facebook. Under Chai-Onn’s leadership, Shumei secured an ongoing Huffington Post column and published a series of books featuring world-renowned environmentalists, government leaders, authors, activists, and celebrities.

All of this has led to leadership opportunities for hundreds of young people in Asia, a rural development project involving more than 6,000 women farmers in Zambia, and the growth of regenerative farming networks across the globe. Her work has been recognized by the United Nations and presented at multiple events, including the UN Sustainable Development Summit and UN Climate Change Summit in Denmark and Morocco, respectively.

  • Chai-Onn brought the iconic Lantern Floating event from Hawaii to New York City, linking the event to International Day of Peace, brokering a partnership with ABC, and securing the participation of senior UN officials. The resulting Times Square takeover event saturated NYC’s most highly trafficked commercial area with floating lanterns.
  • During a recent trip to her Jamaican homeland, she met with organic farmers to explore international partnership opportunities, and Chai-Onn is currently organizing a leadership program in Kingston for young entrepreneurs on the island.
  • She organized Finn Partner’s first holiday bazaar featuring products to support women entrepreneurs from Rwanda, Senegal, and Jamaica, and sustainability projects in Haiti.

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