Reese Fernandez-Ruiz – Keynote Speaker

President & Co-Founder, Rags2Riches

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Specialist Subjects

  • Social Entrepreneurship
  • Women in Leadership
  • Making a Positive Impact
  • Developing a Business
  • Sustainability


  • English


Therese Clarence Fernandez-Ruiz is the president and founding partner of Rags2Riches Inc., an eco-ethical lifestyle brand based in the Philippines that creates urban artisanal home and fashion masterpieces. Central to Rags2Riches’ purpose for being is the community of artisans who are lifting their families out of poverty through carefully crafting products from upcycled and indigenous materials. Rags2Riches has fostered sustainable partnerships with these artisans as well as premiere Philippine designers who re-imagine and interpret urban artisanal skills and indigenous materials.

For the past five years, Fernandez-Ruiz and the Rags2Riches team were able to build an eco-ethical, high-value fashion and home brand in the Philippines that has trained 800 Filipino community-based artisans. Fernandez-Ruiz and the company have also been recognized internationally through the Business In Development Challenge Award, Ecouterre, Fast Company and Sundance Channel, among others.

Because of her work in Rags2Riches, which is now considered one of the most successful and pioneering social enterprises in the Philippines and in Asia, Reese Fernandez-Ruiz has been recognized as one of five Rolex Young Laureates for 2010, the youngest recipient in history of The Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service for 2010, Young Entrepreneur Awardee of the World Entrepreneurship Forum 2011 and Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum 2012. She also featured as one of Forbes’ ‘30 Social Entrepreneur Under 30’.

Moreover Reese Fernandez-Ruiz is also Founder and Curator of Things That Matter “a joyful marketplace that creates positive impact and inspires an intentional lifestyle” and the Founder and Host of the
In Good Company Podcast which offers essential advice and ideas to working women.

Fernandez-Ruiz enjoys fostering sustainable partnerships, curating indigenous and handmade products from all over the world, and creating positive impact through design and social entrepreneurship.

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