Creative thinker, social entrepreneur, problem solver
Eileen Guo is an entrepreneur working to empower communities in transitioning environments by connecting local talent with global audiences and opportunities.
As the Founder of Impassion Afghanistan, Afghanistan’s first digital agency, she is leading the company’s various information and communications technology (ICT) initiatives, including creating and curating Paiwand, Kabul’s answer to Social Media Week; HarassMap Kabul, a phone-based program to fight street harassment; and an ethnography of social media and mobile technology use.
Prior to Impassion, Eileen created, conspired on, and led projects with cross-border and cross-sector impact. These included developing and managing FieldEx, an innovative field-based civil-military training program for students and practitioners working in conflict and disaster response; designing digital communications for TEDxKabul, the first ever TED event in Afghanistan; and serving as media relations mentor for a global portfolio of start-ups crowdfunding on the StartSomeGood platform.
Eileen has been recognized for her work by the World Economic Forum as a Global Shaper and by the Young Professionals in Foreign Policy (YPFP) and Diplomatic Courier as one of “99 Top Foreign Policy Professionals Under 33.”
Eileen writes about technology, culture, and post-conflict for a variety of publications including VentureBeat and the New York Times. Her work has been featured in the Washington Post, The Guardian, Fast Company, Fox News, and Vice, among others.
When she’s not working, Eileen enjoys spending long days anywhere there is ocean, attempting to cook for friends, and writing (check out her blog here.)
Eileen has a track record of creating sustainable new organizations from the ground up. Some of the initiatives that she has started or worked on, at early stages, include:
Mission: Help governments, businesses, and community engage in the networked world.
Eileen is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Impassion Afghanistan, Afghanistan's first digital media agency. Impassion Afghanistan was created to help world-changing organizations increase impact through social media and mobile technology. Impassion combines experience in media, communications, and technology with local, regional, and cultural expertise to provide new insights into clients' target audiences and create the most effective social and mobile campaigns. It is an affiliate of VA-based Impassion Media, which Eileen founded in March 2012.
Mission: Create a connected, empowered community of Afghan social media users
5 Provinces Throughout Afghanistan
In September 2013, Paiwand brought together 200+ of Afghanistan’s social media users from 24 provinces and abroad for the country’s first ever social media summit, aimed at encouraging social media use around the country. The summit was part of a three-part program, including provincial trainings in 5 provinces across Afghanistan, as well as a virtual engagement component or the summit and training alumni. From concept ideation to implementation, Eileen was the creator, director, and chief conspirator behind Paiwand. The Paiwand team is currently starting the planning process for Paiwand 2014.
Mission: Highlight innovation and hope in Kabul
In 2012, the world famous TED talks came to Kabul in the form of TEDxKabul. TEDxKabul featured stories of resilience, inspiration, and innovation. Bringing together 100 audience members from all across Kabul and afghanistan and speakers representing technology, art, social activism, TEDxKabul successfully showcasef another side of Kabul, one that is creative and forward-looking. Eileen provided her digital expertise in bringing the inaugeral TEDxKabul to life, serving as digital communications and press lead.
Mission: Transform teams and organizations through proven leadership solutions that drive innovation, growth, and unparalleled results in dynamic operating environments.
Eileen was an early employee at the McChrystal Group, a unique leadership development firm founded by some of America's greatest modern military leaders, including retired four-star general Stanley McChrystal. GEN McChrystal is generally credited with positively transforming the way the special operations community operated during his command of Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC.) Eileen contributed to the training team, serving as the point of contact for 1-day leadership training events and keynote speeches for Fortune 500 clients. Additionally, she designed the company's cross-platform digital media strategy still being used to this day. This included managing the partners’ social media presence and contributions, including General McChrystal’s LinkedIn profile, and building a self-sustaining online community of chief executives and other corporate leaders.
Mission: Provide a civil-military field training experience for civilian and military students
After participating in the first ever Counterinsurgency-Humanitarian Exercise at Tufts University, Eileen wanted to expand the experience to other students, and founded and ran FieldEx (the Field Exercise in Peace and Stability Operations) from 2010-2011. FIELDEX sought to expose participants to the difficulties of decision making during conflict, the complementary and competing interests of the stakeholders involved, and the inter-agency collaboration essential for a successful mission. Today, FIELDEX remains a fully-funded student organization at Tufts University attracting participants from as far afield as the U.S. Air Force Academy, Northwestern University, the U.S. Military Academy, the U.S. Naval Academy, and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.
"Eileen Guo speaks, acts, and thinks with clarity, purpose, and intent in whatever she sets her sights and vision towards creating. Her instinctive strategic and entrepreneurial mindset is enhanced by her deep understanding of social media and exemplary networking abilities, essential to success in the modern world. When I need fresh, intelligent, global perspectives, I seek and trust Eileen's counsel, research, and advice."
David Danelo, Director of Field Research at the Foreign Policy Research Institute
“Eileen first came to work for McChrystal Group as a leadership development analyst supporting our 1-day events, but quickly revealed a strong talent for communications strategy. While excelling in her assigned duties, she took the initiative to design and implement a cross-platform digital strategy that we continue to use today. Her work demonstrated a strong understanding of branding, messaging, and engagement strategy that will be invaluable to future clients. Eileen Guo is exactly the sort of creative professional that you want to lead your communications plan. I highly endorse her for all of her future work.”
-GEN (Ret) Stanley McChrystal
"When you meet Eileen, you will quickly notice a certain steely-eyed determination about her. She has bright ideas, and the rare ability to turn them into reality. I had the opportunity to experience this on two separate occasions - as my research assistant in Afghanistan and in creating FIELDEX out of a smaller exercise that I had run.
I recommend Eileen in the strongest terms. If you are looking to work or do business cross-culturally, you need her on your team. Eileen has a rare combination of intellect, maturity, and the ability to pick up skills and information at a very fast pace. I can't stress enough that I've never met another person who could even come close to pulling off the work that she has."
–Toby Bonthrone, Afghanistan and Counterinsurgency Researcher
Eileen contributes to and has been featured in a number of media outlets, including the following:
Eileen at work
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Copyright Eileen Guo 2013