The Power of Partnership

The Power of Partnership

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Lydia Gilbert was honored as an Ashoka ChangemakeHER, Changemakers's inaugural celebration of the world's most influentual and inspiring women. Find her fellow honorees' voices here.

Lydia Gilbert is directing CGI America, a new effort of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) that focuses on economic growth and job creation in the United States.


My career has been shaped by public service. After college, I lived in the Dominican Republic where I worked to improve the quality of education for elementary school students who are living in rural poverty.

I knew I would pursue a career in social impact after a year of facilitating small-scale community development projects. Why? Because the inequities in the world are too daunting not to do anything; because I should make a difference; and because I can.

I am most effective when I combine my creativity with that of my peers. I love to brainstorm and feed off of others' energy. I believe that my ideas are most effective when they are shaped by the wisdom and practicality of others.

This combination of inventiveness and teamwork has always been satisfying to me, and is a combination that I often see work well at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI). CGI brings together world leaders from the public, private, and civic sectors to address pressing global challenges.

Our members turn good ideas into powerful results that improve lives. We have a scrappy, "boots on the ground" approach, and we foster a community of doers through CGI "Commitments to Action." Over the past six years, CGI members have made nearly 2,000 commitments that have already improved the lives of 300 million people in more than 170 countries. I am proud to be a part of that.
I am most awed by commitments that leverage the power of partnership. While one person may have a good idea, another may have the resources to move that idea forward. Sometimes you need to address your weaknesses by harnessing others' strengths. While it can take stamina and persistence to bring together different stakeholders, these partnerships often forge real-life solutions.

As changemakers, we can take advantage of the world's interrelatedness and turn more good ideas into powerful forces for change.


Lydia Gilbert joined the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) in 2007 to help launch new initiatives stemming from the organization's annual meeting, and subsequently worked with CGI members to develop their Commitments to Action at the intersection of technology and economic empowerment. Previously, she worked at the Clinton Foundation's childhood obesity initiative. Before joining the Clinton Foundation, Lydia was a fellow at the Dominican Republic Education and Mentoring (DREAM) Project, where she was a school mentor for youth living in rural poverty. Lydia received her bachelor's degree in history from Cornell University.