Till - A Multifaceted Visionary

Exploring the Mind and Mission of the Founder of Impacc

Who is Dr. Till Wahnbaeck?

I’m a father of three girls, an amateur cook and a searcher – I love to try out new things and try to learn a new skill every year. My latest thing is free diving, very cool.

Why did you start Impacc and what inspired you to choose this path in business?

I spent the first half of my career in business and the second half in the social sector. I loved the results-focus and the instruments of the private sector and the purpose and dedication of the social world. But the two don’t often learn from each other a lot. I created Impacc to use the tools of one world to achieve the goals of the other.

What do you think is the biggest strength of Impacc?

I think it’s our optimism. We are all impatient optimists – we believe that the world is getting better, and that we have a responsibility to speed up the change because it’s not good enough yet. This impatient optimism is infectious, I think, and it creates momentum.

What would you add or subtract to your current team?

I wouldn’t subtract anything, but we’d love to add more world-class technical expertise to the team in new and different functional areas so we can better help our startups grow.

What do you do to build a positive team culture?

In a mostly virtual, inter-continental team it’s really important to connect beyond the work stuff. We start every weekly meeting with ten minutes of banter and chit-chat – that really sets the tone for the team. And we meet twice a year in person and spend time together hiking, cooking, sightseeing, whatever. Those are always the highlights of our year.

How do you see Impacc changing in the next five years?

We will continue on our growth path and move closer towards our goal of creating a million jobs. We will enter one new country every year across Sub-Saharan Africa. Our basic model won’t change: converting donations into investments so that stellar base-of-pyramid businesses can create lots of green jobs. But we will build an even stronger organisation that helps founders achieve their goals better than anybody else.

Is there any experience you think everyone should be required to have? What is it?

Not really. We hire for passion and train for skills. We look for people with a cool head, a hot heart and strong hands. If people really want to make a difference, they will – no matter their past experience.

What do you like doing, outside of work?

I’m an avid urban farmer, an eager but very untalented guitar player, I like to read Italian fiction and watch senseless American action movies. And my idea of a perfect evening is cooking for a bunch of friends.

If you could only listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be?

I’m a bit embarrassed about this, but it’s actually Folsom Prison Blues by Johnny Cash.

Till Wahnbaeck

Co-Founder & CEO
Till ran both for profit companies and a global NGO and has always strived to bridge the gap between the social and the private sector. As global CEO of Welthungerhilfe (a German food- and nutrition-security NGO with 2,500 staff in 40 countries and a budget of 250mio$), he championed innovation and impact. Previously, as Marketing, Sales and Innovation Director for consumer goods company, Procter & Gamble, he built innovation methods and processes to rejuvenate P&G’s global salon portfolio. With his wife Carolin, a journalist, they have three daughters and three chicken. Till is an enthusiastic but sadly untalented surfer and avid urban farmer.

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