Michelle Livingston

Golfing for Elephants

Michelle Livingston's picture
Name: Michelle Livingston
Organization: Golfing for Elephants
Title: Founder
I am committed to wildlife and social good. As national marketing director 1999-2012 at the clothing store chain Buffalo Exchange, I used cause marketing to raise funds for international wildlife conservation. I raised $366,000 in total to benefit charities such as Humane Society International, Galapagos Conservancy and Surfrider Foundation by planning annual Earth Day events at Buffalo Exchange stores nationwide, 2000-12. Fundraising benefited conservation of whales, buffalo and tortoises. By partnering with The Humane Society of the United States, I started an annual Coats for Cubs drive, encouraging fashionistas to give up their fur coats to be repurposed as bedding for orphaned and injured wildlife. We influenced the public and helped reduce demand for this status item, a similar issue as ivory in China, by collecting 7,500 used furs, 2006-12. We officially endorsed the Truth in Fur Labeling Act so the public can identify all items made of real fur. Despite the troubling fact that Buffalo Exchange continued to sell used furs at its stores, I successfully rallied support from management, employees, the charity, shoppers and reporters through cause marketing. Event planning and fundraising skills honed at Buffalo Exchange and as CEO of American Advertising Federation (AAF) Tucson 2010-11, will help my venture. Two weeks before I became CEO of AAF Tucson, I lost my father to cancer. Yet, I was determined to realign the club with the business community's Downtown revitalization by creating excitement and relevance for our ADDYs gala. I changed the format to theatre instead of banquet, eliminated $20,000 in production and catering, cut ticket prices in half, added red carpet and Hollywood-type searchlights, ordered trophies for all winners and moved the event from the Foothills to Downtown for the first time in 20 years. It was by far the highest attendance and profit ever in our local ADDYs’ 30-year history! Even the mayor joined us. My club won $10,000 in 7 National Club Awards, including recognition for our ADDYs program. At Harvard University 1994-97, I organized a public policy conference in Beijing, helping garner US$30,000 from Asian executives and government officials. I planned events with the Chinese Students Association and celebrities like Baseball Hall of Famer Hank Aaron at the Harvard Foundation for Intercultural & Race Relations. I received my M.B.A. in December 2013 from the University of Arizona's Eller College of Management in Tucson, earning Golden Key and Beta Gamma Sigma honors with a 4.0 GPA. Previously I was a Master's candidate at Brown University, History of Art and Architecture, 1990-91. I received a B.A., Magna cum laude, from Boston University in Art History, with Distinction in the Major, 1990. Relevant MBA coursework included: Market-Based Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Leadership and Social Responsibility, Legal and Ethical Values in Business, International Management, Global Business Experience (Chile), Marketing Strategy, Marketing Management, Social Media Marketing Strategy, Project Management, Financial Statement Analysis, Managerial Accounting, Financial Accounting, Corporate Finance, Statistical Decision Making, Managerial Economics and Negotiation.

Challenge Entries

Our responsible golf tourism company will donate 50% of our profits to anti-poaching efforts in Kenya -- to save elephants from the ivory trade. Through golf, we raise funds and support from the Chinese, who buy 70% of the world's ivory. Partner of 96 Elephants and Wildlife Conservation Society.