Defining Your Own Success: Guidance Inspired by Yvonne Siu Turner

Yvonne is the Senior Manager for Corporate Resources and Programs at Points of Light Corporate Institute. Points of Light is the largest non-profit in the world dedicated to volunteer service. Their corporate institute is the “go-to” resource for corporations to build strategic employee volunteer programs. She manages the learning programs and creates strategies, trainings, and toolkits to build successful volunteer programs. Yvonne highlights that she may do lots of different activities in one day but her focus is to help businesses understand their CSR roles, and how they impact the social and environmental world. 

Intersection of the Corporate and Social World

It’s a very exciting time to be at the intersection of business and society” – Yvonne Siu Turner

Today, Yvonne works on many resources and trainings that are targeted to large Fortune 500 companies. These companies employ thousands of people, and are powerful and capable of real change and impact if their CSR and volunteer efforts are successful and sustainable.

Yvonne also discussed her previous roles in engaging small businesses in nation wide campaigns and helping them connect to resources and other companies to get inspired. She surprisingly finds that most of the cutting edge work in CSR and civic and social impact is coming from smaller businesses!

Yvonne also talked about job trends and necessary skills for this field. This was significant.
How do we align every day with volunteer trends and social good? Ultimately, most people are looking for the kind of work that means something, whether that be met through volunteerism, or through the mission and practices of the business. the CSR role that businesses have globally and in communities is huge and trending. People want opportunities to give back. As social workers, we understand that. That is likely a large reason why we went into the field of social work to begin with.

Yvonne shared the hard and soft skills that she has developed which set her up to do the work she is doing now. Hard skills include project management, writing, research, and communication (communicate best practices in a concise way and communicate with many different types of people). Soft skills include flexibility, communicating across culture and time zones, navigating team dynamics, being comfortable with ambiguity, and paying attention to detail while having the larger picture in mind.

Many of these soft skills are highlighted in a recent video by HBX- Ernest Wilson, dean of the Annenberg School of Communications & Journalism at the University of Southern California, discusses the top skills needed for the future, skills that social workers naturally possess and develop in their education and experience.

Where Should I Go From Here?

Push yourself and take responsibility for your own personal and professional growth and career . There is no one clear path to success, so you have to constantly keep defining success based upon what gives you the most purpose in your life”

To be honest, this is one of the most simple, but most motivating pieces of advice I’ve heard so far. Push yourself, challenge yourself!

Easier said than done? I have three suggestions that I’ve been pushing myself to try that have resulted in motivation and confidence.

1. My first suggestion is related to self awareness. Do you truly know the qualities you possess? Are you comfortable expressing and talking about them? This doesn’t include vague, impersonal skills or qualities like “hard worker” or “nice”. This includes real, personal qualities. What makes you, you?! What do you bring to the table? How do you work best?

Amongst many other self-awareness and personality assessments, I have tried Gallup’s Strengths-Finder. This is a great took to get to know yourself better, and to become more aware of how your qualities apply and translate into your everyday life and future goals.

2. Next, add these discovered skills, qualifications, and keywords to your resume, or at least be ready to talk about them. Do you have anything related to these qualities on your resume? How can you talk about your experience and sell yourself using this new knowledge?

3. Finally, my third take-away is (this may sounds familiar)…network!

Yvonne shared how many of her clients can learn from other companies that are doing well.

You look at other companies and find out how they are successful and then take their strategies!

This can be applied to networking as well. You can learn fro other people that are in positions in which you could see yourself one day. Reach out and find out how they got there. Get inspired and “connect the dots”!

What conferences and workshops can you attend in your area? Yvonne discusses many different conferences and training sessions during her conversation. Do a Google search! Remember you’re on your own path and there’s no clear, or right, direction. You won’t be given anything, you need to search for it!

So, how do you define your own success? What qualities do you possess that can help you market yourself to potential employers? Feel free to share your ideas in the comments section below.

If you haven’t had a chance to watch Yvonne’s entire Career Series Session, I encourage you to take a peek. Her words will surely inspire you to become more self aware and to challenge you to become familiar with your the professional qualities you posses.




Breaking the Bonds: Moving Away from Zero-Tolerance Policies

Many of us probably grew up witnessing classmates being sent to detention, and some of us might even have feared being sent ourselves. Although our fear of detention was mostly due to the fear of getting in trouble with our parents, we were also aware that detention was a few steps away from being expelled from school. For some students today, school discipline creates another level of fear. Under a zero-tolerance policy, any disruption in class can lead to an automatic expulsion.

While zero tolerance measures were inspired by school shootings in primarily white suburban schools, they have mostly been adopted and enforced in urban schools, disproportionately impacting the poor, and students of color. Student’s in low-income areas with zero tolerance measures have a greater chance of being suspended and expelled. African-American students only represent 16% of the students in the U.S Department of Education, but account for 40% of students expelled, making them three times more likely to be suspended than white students. American Indian students represent less than 1% of the student population but account for 3% of expulsions.

Zero-tolerance policies do not distinguish between serious and non-serious offenses; students have been expelled for tardiness or simply carrying nail clippers. These policies don’t differentiate between students having behavioral disorders versus students intentionally causing trouble. Students as young as preschool have been approached with force and handcuff for minor disciplinary issues such as throwing a temper tantrumHow do suspension, expulsion, and arrest help change the child’s behavior?

It is time to reexamine school disciplinary measures. It is understandable that people want to
ensure school safety, but there is no evidence that zero-tolerance policies actually improve school safety. There is, however, evidence that zero-tolerance policies account for high percentage of juvenile arrests for 70% of African American and Latino students. Schools should be a safe haven for students, not a place where they are subjected to arrest. Students need a supportive school climate that promotes learning, not punishment. There needs to be a decrease in suspensions, and discipline needs to refocus on the social emotional and behavioral needs of the students.

If you are concerned about the prevalence and impact that suspensions have on students, let your local school district committees, and policy leaders know that you want to see a decrease in suspension referrals. Suspension and expulsion are not the best forms of discipline as it does not support youth development, they do not give students the opportunity to improve the behavioral issue. Removing students from school is excluding them from the opportunity to engage in prosocial behaviors and lowering their chances of graduating.  

For an effective student behavioral change, schools need to develop disciplinary approaches that are evidence-based. This video shows how schools are replacing suspensions with holistic approaches. Our children’s education depends on our dedication to implementing alternative disciplinary measures.

In order to bring awareness to the impact of zero tolerance policies as well as share best practices on alternative disciplinary measures, we invite you to join us for a tweetchat on April 6, 2017 at 12pm PST/3pm EST. Make sure to follow The Alliance for Positive Youth Development on Twitter @ideas4youth and use the hashtag #APYDCHAT. We look forward to coming together on this important issue and working towards positive and sustainable change in policy and perspective.


Persistence Pays Off: Words of Wisdom from Earnestine Walker

Earnestine Walker, the Vice President of Community Health and Inclusion at the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Great Rivers Affiliate has over 15 years of experience in nonprofit, government, and university environments. During her feature on our Social Change Career Series, she offered advice about leadership skills, qualities that she values and looks for in job applicants, and what she has learned throughout her experience. This discussion reminded me how there is no such thing as failure; there are only learning experiences to help you grow and prepare you for future roles. When the job search becomes wearing, and you feel like giving up or feel as if you’ve failed, Earnestine’s advice will remind you to stay positive, focused, and open to learning experiences. 

Leadership Skills

After being turned down when she applied to her dream job for not having enough experience, Earnestine worked hard to acquire the skills that were required of the positive and proved herself, eventually landing the position she originally wanted. Some may have viewed not getting the position originally as “failure”, but she perceived it as an opportunity to learn and better prepare herself for it. She never gave up and always made it a priority to collaborate and learn from others who were “smarter than her”. 

I should never, ever be the smartest person in the room. There are so many gifted, smart people who you need to be surrounded by who will help keep you level headed. I do understand what I bring, and I hope I have some worth, but there are other people who have talents and expertise that I don’t. I worked with people who were smarter than me, I saw what they did and the I said, “aha! I can do that”.

In regards to her position at AHA developing and implementing new programs, Earnestine values discipline, research skills, and balancing being both flexible/adaptable while practicing structure and strict compliance. Organizations have funders they are responsible for, so following through with expectations is crucial. She also emphasized the importance of not being IN the community you’re working to develop for, but being OF the community. Get to know the community, play various roles, and remember that communities are “savvy”. Don’t assume you know best, but learn from the community and others and incorporate that into your program. That’s the only way your program will be sustainable.

Where Should I Go From Here?

There are three main takeaways from Earnestine’s career series that really resonated with me and that I am considering during my job search:

  1. Don’t be afraid to get your foot in the door. Sure, maybe you feel a bit overqualified for a position, but can you see yourself learning in this position, eventually preparing you for the one that you want? A lot of times organizations hire from within, so don’t be too prideful- everyone has to start somewhere. Starting at the bottom prepares you for the top. Get in there, network, and connect and learn from people who are smarter than you! There is no such thing as failure.
  2. Be able to tell your story in a way that appeals to the position and organization you are applying for. Learn how to identify your skills and get creative in understanding how they are transferrable to a new position. Earnestine shared an example of a veteran; “if you’ve done planning in the military, you can do planing at the AHA, it’s all in the way you tell your story and skills. Even if the experience is not a perfect fit, make a case for yourself!”
  3. If you get turned down, work harder, meet your goals, learn, and re-apply. Your career is a path, so don’t get too focused or let down by just one stop.

Have you ever experienced a professional let down? How did you handle and grow from it? Share your story in the comments below.

If you haven’t had a chance to watch Earnestine Walker’s entire Career Series Session, I encourage you to take a peek. Her words will surly encourage you to use view your perceived set backs as stepping stones to your ultimate success.




The Importance of Adaptation: Lessons Learned from Erich Pica

Learning to adapt

One of our most recent speakers in the Social Change Career Series, Erich Pica, is the President of Friends of the Earth. He has a long career as a lobbyist and activist for the environment and works on policy development. His career series session offers some fascinating thoughts about the importance of today’s political climate; how this climate inevitably impacts the work that social workers and policy developers do; and finally, what skills and some advice to manage and be successful in this rapidly changing climate.  

Be adaptable – Take risks!

I took two major takeaways from Erich Pica’s career series. The first was the discussion around the challenge of sticking to your mission, while also being adaptable and comfortable with evolving. This is necessary for organizations to stay alive and relevant. The second is to remember that no one knows the answers to issues that we as social workers are trying to resolve; therefore be humble, collaborate with others, and take risks.

This advice can also be applied when thinking about our job search. We may know our mission, the overall goal that we want to achieve, but, it’s possible that the exact position that you are looking for is not available- maybe you don’t even know what it is yourself, yet. Erich’s experience of being a general intern at Friends of the Earth allowed him to learn the ins and outs of the organization, and eventually led him to being the director.  As job searchers, we need to find an organization or cause that we believe in, that aligns with our personal values and missions, and if we can be adaptable in the roles that we play within the growth of that organization, we will be successful.

“Have fidelity to your mission, be able to recognize where change is coming, and evolve and adapt to this change” – Erich Pica, President of Friends of the Earth

Where Should I Go from Here?

One great way to get involved in this type of work is by researching organizations that already exist that you are inspired by. Learn everything you can about them; discover what what they are doing and why they have survived. What specific projects are they working on that you could see yourself getting involved in?  Luckily, today’s world of social media and the world wide web gives you direct access to all the information you need.

Once you are inspired, reach out to people in the organization (Try LinkedIn)! A friend who was also on the job search typed up a short, general note that she sent out to about 40 people she found on LinkedIn who worked in organizations that interested her. This note explained a bit about herself, and more importantly asked to learn more about their experience and position. Her “no shame” approach got her about 4 coffee dates and a few interviews. One person who she reached out to at an organization she had applied for gave her feedback; they stated how she “stood out from the other 400 applications”, and they may have overlooked her otherwise.

Just like Erich Pica advised, TAKE RISKS!take risks

Finally, try and volunteer. Is there any organization you can get involved in on the weekends? Yes, we are busy, but even just once a month might be enough to make amazing connections and “get your feet wet”.

What are some ways you are taking risks in your job search? Share your ideas in the comments section below.

If you haven’t had a chance to watch Erich Pica’s entire Career Series Session I encourage you to take a peek. I have no doubt you will be equally inspired by his journey. 


Non-Traditional Social Work Careers: Where Do I Fit In? #alsoSW

Nontraditional Social Work Jobs

As I wrap up the final months of my MSW@USC program, I am officially deep into the post graduation job search. My goal is to find a job in New York City that provides me with financial security and is the right next step in my career journey. It is also important to me that I find a job aligns with my own personal values and the values of The National Association of Social Work.

When I start to reflect on my areas of interest in the social sector, I come to realize that my passions are deep, but they are also volatile. While I know I want to make an impact in the world, I’m not settled on my exact direction. The good news is that I seem to have a firm grasp on what I don’t want to do (I have pretty much excluded clinical work from my desires), but besides that, I am open, eager, and ready to tackle multiple social changes from human rights, to environmental protection. I can see myself working for the government, working for a large corporation or an EAP, working in a leadership or collaborative position for a social good non-profit, or even working for an international organization such as the United Nations. But the question becomes, what type of role does a social worker look to fill in these types of professional spaces?

OLF9880When searching for job opportunities, it is much easier to spot traditional social work jobs, such clinical roles in a mental health facility, or a leadership position at a non-profit organization. But, if you plan to do nontraditional social work, it becomes much less clear where to look, and how to sell yourself as a valuable potential candidate.

What do you do when you’re a young, green, generalist social worker living in New York City? At first glance, the options seem endless (which is good, right?), but the options are also difficult to identify and organize. So where do you start? Who do you align yourself with and begin to build a network? What are employers looking for in applications? How do you explain your skill set in a way that makes sense? Is focusing on your values and passions enough? And is there such a thing as going in the wrong direction?

These are just some of the many questions that flood my head on a daily basis. And while this journey can seem overwhelming at times, I can’t help but think that many recent MSW graduates are also experiencing a similar struggle. So, in honor of Social Work Month I am inviting you to join me in my quest to discover resources that will help to reveal the job opportunities that exist within nontraditional social work.

Starting this Thursday, I will be posting a #TBT blog post feature about one of the many professionals featured in our Beyond Good Ideas Foundation Social Change Career Speaker Series. This series highlights leaders in the social sector who have been successful in being agents of change in a variety of different career paths. Their tips and advice about their professional journey as well as some words of wisdom they have gained along the way will be the focus of the weekly blog post.

In addition, I will be posting resources I have come across on my job search on a daily basis so make sure to follow us on all of our social media platforms and look for the hashtag #alsoSW to catch some great tips on landing your dream job.

Thank you for following along with me on this journey. I look forward to you joining me in this ongoing conversation and to help us spread the word that policy makers, executive directors, consultants, communities organizers and other macro roles are also Social Work.


#WhyIMarch: A Personal Account of The Women’s March on Washington


I remember as a little girl always wondering why they had a Million Man March on Washington and never a Women’s March on Washington. When I finally saw that a Women’s March on Washington could possibly be happening, there was no question I was going! Initially, it did not garner much attention. I thought it would be something small and confined, nonetheless necessary and long overdue. Which, to be honest, reminds me of the way a woman’s voice has been throughout history, confined, if even given the chance to be heard at all. As the months went by, and the word got out, the number of people estimated to attend grew. But regardless of how many people were going, I knew I would be in the number.

march8 metro

Scene inside the metro

On the morning of the March, I was anxious. I had no idea what to expect. I met up with a friend and we drove over to the Metro and made our way through the crowd. There were already massive lines in the Metro to pay for the train and then another long wait to actually get on the train. Hundreds of ladies, some with husbands, friends, and children were ready for the big event. I guess you can say the Women’s March started in the Washington DC Metro Station! Ladies were harmoniously chanting, holding up their handmade signs as we followed behind each other waiting almost an hour to just get up the escalator. Despite the large crowd, there was no pushing. Everyone was courteous, respectful, and eager to get to the streets of Washington DC.

While standing in line to get out of the train station, an older woman and her husband started talking to us. She said how proud she was of us and the rest of the younger generation for our tenacity and boldness to stand up for what we believed in. I thought she might cry. If she had, I would have gladly offered her my shoulder.

I marched for women across the world who are shamed, persecuted for their beliefs, even murdered for choosing to speak up.

As we finally made our way into the actual March, it was packed! The feeling was so intense it gave me chills! So many women from all over. There were different ethnicities and backgrounds represented. And there were even men holding up their own signs in support of women’s rights. It was beautiful to see. We literally inched our way as close to the front as possible with a lot of “excuse me”, “sorry”, “excuse me”. I lost count of how many times I accidentally stepped on the backs of someone shoes. Despite our efforts, the crowd was so large there really was nowhere to move. So we stayed put for a while until our elbows grew tired of being pinned to our sides and we made our way to another section, or street.

In addition to the sounds of the songs and chants, there was a feeling of freedom and liberation in the air. A freedom from women being told we are too loud or have too much attitude. A freedom to finally shout “We were here and we were not going anywhere!”.

I marched for the overburdened, over worked, and under-appreciated women.

Kelli and Friend

Feeling inspired

Each woman had their own reason for being in the crowd. Mine? I marched for my grandmothers, my mother who raised me to be strong yet humble, my tight knit circle of friends. For all the times that women were told to be quiet, belittled, and disrespected for just for being a woman, being smart, independent, and ferocious. I marched because the strength of a woman is often misunderstood, feared, and made to succumb to other people’s insecurities. I marched for all the times we made our presence small so others could feel big. I marched for women across the world who are shamed, persecuted for their beliefs, even murdered for choosing to speak up. I marched for the overburdened, over worked, and under-appreciated women. I marched for all the Queens who have allowed their crowns to become contaminated by doubt and low self-esteem. That is why I was there. I marched for all the times I wondered as a little girl why there was never a Women’s March on Washington. Little did I know, there were millions of other women, little girls asking the same question, but only a handful who were proactive enough to bring it to fruition, growing that handful to millions.

I marched for all the Queens who have allowed their crowns to become contaminated by doubt and low self-esteem.

Attending the Women’s March was a profound and deeply humbling experience that will forever be ingrained in my soul, my mind, my heart and my thighs (that were left burning after it was all done). But it was a burning that I welcomed, a gratifying ache that has left me wanting to do more and be more.



Increasing the Minimum Wage: An Answer to Growing Income Inequality in the U.S.

Hillary Clinton opened the first presidential debate by addressing one of the prominent issues in this election, income inequality. She proposed: “First we have to build an economy that works for everyone…That starts with raising the national minimum wage.” However, when it comes to increasing the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, there is still sharp debate over what the real effects would be. Proponents say a higher minimum wage would lift people out of poverty while the opposition reports that it would negatively affect the economy by resulting in fewer jobs for workers. However, opponents often fail to consider the compounding, long-term effects poverty has on communities and their citizens.

Take Nicole Malone, for example, a 28 year old single mother of two who works 40 hours a week at a fast food restaurant in Atlanta earning $7.75 an hour. On her current salary, she cannot afford basic needs for her and her family. She relies on food stamps to feed her children and a government subsidy for her apartment. Like Nicole, a majority of low wage workers are older than 25 and rely on public assistance in order to live. Even more alarming is that 28% of these workers support children on low wages. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the median income a two-parent, two-child family in the U.S. would need to earn is approximately $31 an hour. Even if both parents work and earn the current federal minimum wage, they would still make less than 25 percent of what is needed to afford basic living expenses. As a result, their children do not have access to necessities like the nutrition they need for healthy development which in turn affects their ability to learn and sets them behind their peers from an early age.  


While an estimated 30 million workers struggle everyday to make ends meet, CEOs in the largest low wage industries (i.e. fast food, retail and leisure and hospitality) earn up to 1,000 times what their typical workers are paid, which equates to about $156 million per year. In fact, wages for workers have remained relatively stagnant over the past four decades while CEO pay has increased by nearly 1,000 percent. This means that corporate profit earnings are being distributed grossly disproportionately, and the workers who are integral in making businesses profitable are being prohibited from sharing in the profits.


Since the minimum wage has not increased in over seven years and worker pay has remained stagnant, low wage companies have shown that they will pay their employees the minimum of what is legally necessary rather than what is adequate and ethical. This makes the minimum wage law an essential component in protecting exploited workers while also combating poverty. Nonetheless, because it has failed to keep up with the cost of living, millions of vulnerable men, women and children will remain poor, and poverty has costly socio-economic implications on society as a whole in the form increased medical costs, higher crime rates and incarceration levels, greater police and court expenses, homelessness and emergency shelter expenses.     

The burden that this extreme level of inequality places on middle-class taxpayers, in particular, is often left out of the debate over minimum wage. When profitable corporations are not tasked with paying their employees adequately, taxpayers pick up the tab. Low wage work is estimated to cost public assistance programs $152.8 billion per year. Meanwhile, when corporations are tasked with providing their employees with adequate pay, historically this has shown to have very little effect on a company’s bottom line because businesses absorb these costs through higher productivity, lower turnover, wage reductions of higher earners and small price increases.

This is why increasing the minimum wage is perhaps the most economically efficient and equitable way to lift 10 percent of the U.S. population from the brink of poverty while also addressing growing income inequality in the U.S. Find out which of your leaders on the ballot support a living wage, a policy that would have vast benefits across the country and minimal costs, and vote for them this November.


I Am a Young Breast Cancer Survivor and This Is What I Want You to Know


Kimberly Chacon

I was 28 when I heard the words that changed my world forever. “You have breast cancer.” At the time I was working full time, finishing my graduate degree, and living a healthy life. My diagnosis completely knocked my life into a new reality that was dark and frightening. I did not look or feel sick, but I had a tiny lump that I mentioned to my doctor, and that was where it began.

I’m choosing to write about this now because October is breast cancer awareness month and it always brings on mixed emotions. Sadness at those we’ve lost, pain for those engaged in the battle and hope that we are going to find a cure for this vicious disease. Every October I participate in different ways, but this year I wanted to share more of my experience. This is what I’d like you to know about being a young breast cancer survivor:

1. There is no cure for breast cancer and women continue to die everyday.

There is a misconception that this disease is easy to treat. Again, it is still a fact that breast cancer does NOT have a cure and while some prognosis are better than others, breast cancer can come back, even years after you have shown to have NO EVIDENCE OF DISEASE.


2. Eight years after my diagnosis I still take a daily medication and while you may never hear me complain about it, there are side effects.

It is recommended that I take this medication for ten years following my initial treatment. When you are in your 20’s and you imagine ten years of medical treatment it seems impossible. It is life saving and a blessing to have it, but it is also a daily reminder of my past with cancer.

2. Medical research saves lives and quite possibly saved mine.

Based on the kind of cancer that I had, I was able to take a “new” drug called Herceptin. It only exists because of extensive research which involves lots of $$$$ and brave end-stage patients that agree to try new drugs. This drug became available two years before I was diagnosed and without it my odds of survival would have been much lower. There was even a Lifetime movie made about the breakthrough starring Mr. Harry Connick Jr.

3. A mastectomy does not mean you get a free, new pair of boobs.

Yes, several people made that comment to me while I was in treatment. (Why?? Why would you say that to anyone? Please don’t ever say that to anyone.) Quite the contrary. Having a double mastectomy means that you lose a part of yourself and gain significant scars. It means a painful surgery and a long healing process. It means fighting to gain acceptance of a new version of the most intimate parts of your body. It steals a part of your sexuality and it robs you of the basic human choice of breastfeeding your children. It is often all of these things right before beginning six months of chemotherapy. It leaves scars, both physical and emotional. While the procedure and outcomes have improved over the years, do not believe that a mastectomy is an easy solution.

4. Just because your hair has grown back does not mean that you are “finished”.

After going through the hell that is cancer treatment you are a different person and it takes time to find your new normal. We have gone down a tumultuous road and it takes time to heal. That can mean that relationships change, you make lifestyle changes, or you look at the world in a new way. Be gentle with someone who has gone through treatment, even if it’s two years later. Just because we look fine again does not always mean that it’s done.

5. As survivors, we are glad there is extra awareness every October, but we are always concerned about who benefits from all the pink.

First, read the fine print on anything you purchase and see what they are actually doing with your dollars. Second, keep in mind that Avon and Komen get tons of money and they have major corporate sponsors, so don’t worry about them. What’s better than buying pink socks and glitter boas? Donating to organizations that directly benefit research and women or If you want to give, make a smart donation.

Becoming a cancer survivor changed my life forever. Chances are that you know someone who has been touched by the disease.  This year, make October count and do something meaningful. Make a donation to a research program or an organization that directly helps women in treatment. If you personally know a survivor, reach out. Finally, if you’re putting off having yourself checked, please make sure you make that appointment. It could be the most important thing you do this month.

Kimberly Chacón is a graduate of New York University. Prior to becoming a stay-at-home mom she taught high school English for ten years in New York City. When she’s not running after her 18 month old twins and eight month old baby, she blogs about kids, food, and motherhood at This post originally appeared on her blog.


Key Quotes from Social Good Summit 2016 – Day Two


What an amazing two days at the Social Good Summit 2016. From the Vice President calling on us to challenge the way we manage cancer research to Demi Lovato sharing her challenges with mental illness and addiction, the US policies around social issues were pushed into a global conversation. Besides the celebrity ambassadors, there were global leaders, policy makers and entrepreneurs sharing ways to tackle the Global Goals and move the needle on global issues. Several apps, online resources and information to help people and companies develop a plan to tackle the goals were also shared, which helped to move the goals from idea to action. While last year we were called to “Tell everybody”, and make the goals famous. This year we were pushed to plan and commit. What will your group or organization do to address one or more of the Global Goals? Stay tuned as we share some of our plans throughout the year.

If you are looking for a bit of inspiration here are a few key quotes from the second day similar to the quotes we shared from day one. Also read a post from Genevieve on some of the highlights from the event especially on the role of women in leading the change or equality. You can also watch the videos and learn more on the Social Good Summit website.





Inspiring Women and Power Players – Social Good Summit

Due to my amazing internship with the SISGI group, as well as the happenstance that I live in New York City, I was able to attend the two-day Social Good Summit 2016.  This summit is hosted by Mashable and takes place during the United Nations Global Goals week. It brings together global leaders from around the world to discuss plans to achieve these sustainable development goals by 2030. It focuses on how technology and innovation can positively address these challenges.

“Not just about connecting the world with more technology, but connecting the world with more humanity.”  #2030NOW


During the first day of this global conversation, I couldn’t help but notice that women’s rights and equality was a prominent theme when discussing concrete plans to reach these goals. The wide range of injustices that are present in the world today occur disproportionately to women and children. It takes certain people to lead in creating much of the change needed across the globe. Qualities that are necessary for success in these roles are statistically seen more in women, such as compassion and the ability to organize and include.  


“Change is difficult, but not impossible” – Muzoon Almellehan

Inspiring Women Power Players

The Social Good Summit 2016 recognized and featured many powerful female global leaders of today. These ranged from the Chief Technology Officer of the U.S., to two young refugee Malala Fund campaign girls, Muzoon Almellehan and Zaynab Abdi. Here are a few of the inspiring women who shared their passion, experiences and plans to change the world.

carolynCarolyn Miles is the CEO of Save the Children  and works with refugees, although she prefers to call her mission working with human beings.  

“These are not just not people with needs, they are people with rights”.  A refugee is a not just a number, although it is important to remember that there are 65 million refugees, making this issue a current global crisis. “This is not a secondary problem, this is central.”

Carolyn recognizes that collaboration between all resources is the only way to create long term investments that are necessary to solve this issue. Her compassion allows her to advocate for the tremendous skills, resiliency, and drive that refugees possess.


malalagirlsMuzoon Almellehan & Zaynab Abdi

These two girls are both refugees, Malala Fund campaigners. The girls participated in a conversation with the Malala Fund President and with the U.S. Secretary of State Toby Blinken.  This was one of my favorite conversations, and it was amazing to witness the intelligence, drive and courage of these two.

“I want world leaders to keep their promises…Not just to Syrian children, every child.” – Muzoon.

Zaynab Abdi is a refugee girl displaced 3 times, and is now in a U.S. school with a 4.0 GPA and captain of her soccer team.

“Refugees are the same as other people. We all come from the same sky.” – Zaynab


maryrobinsonMary Robinson is the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on El Niño and Climate Change.

Mary Robinson is an expert on climate change and action and emphasizes that environmental issues and human rights are very interdependent and awareness creation is critical.

“It is not just a global climate issue but a humanitarian, environmental, gender, inequality, politics, issue.  It is not effecting the most developed countries as much, but these countries are causing it.”


dr-alaaDr. Alaa Murabit discussed the necessity of universal health. For political reasons, universal healthcare has not been possible. However, Dr. Alaa Murabit explained how healthier citizens lead to more productive and peaceful countries. She explains that even just basic immunizations and prenatal care are not available in many areas of the world. “Girls have the greatest need for health care, but least access to it in poor countries.”





megansmithMegan Smith is the Chief Technology Officer of the United States. She was previously a vice president of Google[x] at Google. How amazing and inspiring is her leadership position in a field which is predominately men?! She is currently using her position to try and bridge the gap between tech people and the rest of the general public, and to spread the importance of women in these roles.





brittanyBrittany Packnett is the Founder of Campaign Zero which advocates for the #blacklivesmatter movement. Brittany is fearless, and is in the front line of protests around the country. She prides herself and her community on speaking the truth and is not afraid to do so in any situation or environment, including the White House.





helenclarkjoyceUNDP Administrator Helen Clark and former President of Malawi, Joyce Banda spoke together about the importance of women in leadership positions and the need for women to support each other.

“Before colonization we were already queens. We are prepared for leadership because we have always been in leadership” –  Joyce Banda

“We’ve been cracking our way through these glass ceilings to say women can do these jobs! And, by the way, very well.” -Helen Clark


chelseaChelsea Handler is a comedian and the host of her own Netflix show, which airs in 190 different countries. Chelsea makes difficult and complicated topics digestible for people. She is not scared to be political and talk about what matters in the world.  She understands that human beings are more than same than they are different.

“If you have a soapbox, stand on it and scream.”




memorybandaMemory Banda a young leader and board member from Girl Up discusses what “leading like a girl” means. In her country of Malawi, child marriage and rape is a common practice, and education is not an option. She continuously stands up for girl’s rights, and is a role model for other girls in her country and around the world.





… and this is just a small portion of the women featured during the Social Good Summit 2016.  The incredible potential that women have to be leaders in today’s society is clear.  The essential contribution of and focus on women as part of the plan to achieve the UN’s global goals must be acknowledged and acclaimed. Who runs the world? GIRLS!