Since the new year started, I’ve had the opportunity to hear two exceptional social entrepreneurs speak: in January Bill Strickland, who heads up the Manchester Craftsman Guild in Pittsburgh, spoke before a group brought together by the Surdna Foundation, and Cheryl Dorsey, who heads up Echoing Green here in New York, spoke as part of the NYU Reynolds Program in Social Entrepreneurship yesterday. While reading my notes from Cheryl’s speech on the subway ride back to the office, I couldn’t help but think about Bill. Not surprisingly, Bill and Cheryl have much in common.
- They are extremely clear minded about what they do and why (core identity formation & alignment);
- They have a deep commitment to a core cause;
- They are real forces for good and have an exceptional ability to marshal a range of resources, not just financial, to get their work done (phenomenal resource magnets);
- They are empathetic and understanding (high emotional intelligence);
- They find the opportunity in every challenge (asset-based thinking);
- They are solutions oriented;
- They are focused and action oriented—doers with amazing results;
- They are among the most creative and big thinkers and at the same time they well-grounded and gracious (duality).
Anyone at Cheryl’s speech will recognize these characteristics as something she called the “social entrepreneurial quotient” or SEQ. These are patterns or traits that Echoing Green has recognized in their Fellows, each having all these qualities, but to varying degrees. According to Cheryl, Echoing Green is still refining the SEQ, but hopes this can help us understand and assess social entrepreneurs. (Betty)