Make Big Bets and Make History

The easy road in any undertaking is to set comfortable, realistic goals. But if we're truly going to Be Fearless — and find breakthrough opportunities to change the world, we must set audacious goals.

Jean Case, the Chairman of the National Geographic Society and CEO of the Case Foundation, is a philanthropist, investor and internet and impact investing pioneer who advocates for the importance of embracing a more fearless approach to innovate and bring about transformational breakthroughs. Her career in the private sector, including as a senior executive at AOL, spanned nearly two decades before co-founding the Case Foundation in 1997. 

A passionate believer in all things digital and the amazing potential of technology to change the world for the better, Jean has been profiled in a wide number of publications including the New York Times, CBS, CNN, FOX, the PBS NewsHour, MSNBC and CNBC for her writing and speaking about Be Fearless and her leadership in the impact investing movement. She focuses her efforts and those of the organizations she leads around many of the same entrepreneurial approaches she cultivated through her extensive private sector career. Under her leadership, the Case Foundation has been recognized for its innovative efforts to address significant social challenges, harnessing the best impulses of entrepreneurship, innovation, technology and collaboration to drive exponential impact. Out of this work, the Case Foundation has identified five principles that individuals and organizations can take to Be Fearless and bring about transformational change and Jean has spoken at hundreds of convenings inspiring leaders worldwide to incorporate the principles into their work. Jean’s first book, Be Fearless: 5 Principles for a Life of Breakthroughs and Purpose, on the 5 Be Fearless principles with stories of those who embody the principles, was published in January 2019 by Simon & Schuster. That same month, it was named a national bestseller. 

Before starting the Case Foundation, Jean was a senior executive at America Online, Inc. where she directed the marketing and branding as AOL brought the internet to the masses. Before joining AOL, she held strategic marketing positions at GE’s Information Services Division and at The Source, the nation’s first online service. 

In addition, Jean currently serves on the boards of National Geographic Partners and the White House Historical Association. She also sits on the advisory boards of the Brain Trust Accelerator Fund, Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative, Georgetown University’s Beeck Center for Social Impact & Innovation and the George W. Bush Presidential Library Center’s Women’s Initiative Policy Advisory Council.

Jean was an advisor to the U.S. National Advisory Board to the Social Impact Investing Task Force established by the G8 and served in two appointed roles leading strategic public-private efforts, including the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation, to which she was appointed as Chair by President George W. Bush, and as Co-chair of the U.S.-Palestinian Partnership. She was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2016 and has received honorary degrees from Indiana University and George Mason University. Finally, Jean and her husband Steve joined The Giving Pledge and publicly reaffirmed their commitment to give away the majority of their wealth to fund worthy charitable causes.