Ms. Devin Wardell earned her B.A. in International Studies from Middlebury College. She wrote her senior honors thesis on William Morris, a 19th century entrepreneur who sought to address social ills through his textile business. She holds a Graduate Certificate in Sustainable and Socially Responsible Apparel Business from the University of Delaware, and she has traveled internationally to explore the textile industry and hand-weaving communities in North America, Europe, and Asia. After graduating from Middlebury, Ms. Wardell spent four years working as an international business consultant. In this professional role, she created and led workshops, teaching financial analysis and business strategy to corporate senior leaders to help them better cope with the complexities of their competitive business environments. She has partnered with senior managers and executives at Fortune 500 companies including AT&T, Macy's, Inc., and Gap, Inc. Through her consulting work, she came to appreciate the power that corporations can leverage to achieve social good. She is currently a Fellow and Regional Chair of the StartingBloc Institute on Social Innovation, which trains young leaders on cutting edge tactics around implementing social and environmental change through enterprise. In her role as Regional Chair, she leads the ten-person Boston board, develops educational programs on social innovation, and organized StartingBloc's 2011 Institute, an annual event involving over 100 Fellows and volunteers.|
Modern market pressures threaten the survival of India's hand-woven textile industry, which perpetuates an iconic craft and employs millions of weavers. Various types of organizations provide weavers with resources to help them adapt to and better align with current market dynamics. Ms. Wardell's Fulbright-Nehru research titled "Crafting a Future: Enhancing Indian Hand-Weavers' Success in the Modern Textile Market" will focus on how effectively hand-weavers have utilized these resources: to access consumer markets and to design and weave products that appeal to consumers. She plans to determine strategies that will assist weavers in effectively leveraging available resources and thus contribute to the preservation and economic growth of India's hand-woven textile industry.