Ashoka's Changemakers | Changemaker | 0 United States
I try to be a good listener. I do talk a lot (maybe too much at times) but I am always trying to be a better listener. This is the best way to learn empathy and have a more positive impact on the world in which I live. I was in New York City on September 11, 2001 and I worked to help the people that were affected by the World Trade Center attacks. I did a lot of listening. I heard so many stories of loss and grief, of sadness and tragedy. But over time, I also heard stories of resilience, recovery and love. It was an incredibly traumatic event for the city and the country but we recovered. Around the world, people donated money and those of us in New York did the best we could do to get the resources to the people who needed it most. To do this well, we had to listen well. Though this was an extraordinary moment in time, this process is taking place all the time, all around us. And I love being a part of it.
I don't know if I can name one place. I love traveling overseas and meeting people everywhere. I have been fortunate enough to be able to visit more than 15 countries in the last two years. Wow! Some of my best memories are from traveling in sub-Saharan Africa. In one crazy (and totally inspiring trip), I traveled overland from South Africa to Kenya. I spent a lot of time on buses! But sometimes, the best way to get to know someone is when you are squished next to him on a seat or holding her baby or groceries. Plus, the long trips mean that there is plenty of time to share stories.
I believe that people everywhere have fundamental rights; everyone has the right to food, education, work, shelter and safety. However, we have not achieved this as a global society. And issues like poverty, access to education and health care or economic development are our most challenging problems. To solve them, we cannot rely on what we have already done. We need to innovate and execute with brilliance and empathy. I want non-profits, NGOs and governments to become radically better at inspiring innovation and designing products and services that make an impact. This is why I went to business school even though I may never work in the for-profit sector. It is eye-opening to look at how businesses can create positive impact by generating profit. There's a lot to learn there. Of course, I also think that businesses can learn a lot from the citizen sector too.
I work at Changemakers. I run competitions and challenges and help us develop and launch new products. I recently graduated from Stanford Business School where I focused on innovation in the social sector. Prior to Stanford, I worked for a non-profit domestic violence organization in New York City for 6 years. I also helped out in New York after September 11, 2001.