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Posts Tagged ‘social entrepreneur’

At the invitation of the Tokyo Institute of Technology’s Social Entrepreneurship Program, Bill Drayton, the founder of Ashoka, was the keynote speaker at a February 6, 2010 symposium on “Everyone a Changemaker: Social Innovation to Change the World.”

Japan Society was pleased to be one of the collaborating institutions for the half day event (agenda: http://bit.ly/9C63sk), which also included IN member Nana Watanabe, the author of two books, in Japanese, on social entrepreneurs called Changemakers.  For a summary of the sold out event and photos, visit the Tokyo Institute of Technology website here: http://bit.ly/czLzWw

While in Japan, Mr. Drayton also had a meeting with Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama.  The meeting was videotaped and can be seen here:  http://bit.ly/9CJA0X.

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In January 2010, Japan Society had the privilege of hosting Rosanne Haggerty, founder and President of Common Ground Community and a member of the U.S.-Japan Innovators Network, in Japan.  She had a whirlwind of a trip and we were so delighted to have been able to facilitate a great number of programs and meetings while she was in Japan.

Rosanne re-visited the Kotobuki section of Yokohama to catch up with Innovators Network member, Tomohiko Okabe of Koto-Lab.  Rosanne was impressed with how Okabe-san and his colleagues have been able to reach out to local property owners to transform excess rooms into lodging for the backpacker set.  Where others see a neighborhood in dire need, Okabe-san saw a community asset–empty rooms–and turned it into an opportunity!      

The following day, she spoke at a public forum, “Regional Development in Urban Cities – Cases from the U.S. and Japan,” in Tokyo with Okabe-san.  Co-organized with Tokyo Foundation, 160 people attended the forum, many of whom are concerned about growing homelessness and poverty in Japan today.  The Tokyo Foundation has posted a transcript of the program on their website, which can be found here: http://bit.ly/8ZRvyg

In a more intimate setting, Rosanne had breakfast with about 20 young social and business entreprenuers at the ETIC offices.  The focus of breakfast dialogue was changing society through entrepreneurship and how the “social” and “business” aspects of social entrepreneurship co-exist.

Rosanne was also invited to speak at Meiji University.  Partnering with Professor Yasushi Aoyama, another member of the Innovators Network, Rosanne participated in a public forum at the university on “The Birth and Growth of Social Entrepreneurship in the U.S.”  She later was a guest speaker for a seminar class at the Graduate School of Governance at Meiji University.

And for something completely different, Rosanne appeared on a popular Japanese TV program “The Most Useful School in the World.”  The show aired February 27, and we hope to be able to post a link to the show soon, but alas, it will be in Japanese only.

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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)

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Back in the day, working in Japan meant working for the sake of nation-building.  Japan was determined to put its economic house back in order.  Legions of salarymen toiled. Rebuilding Japan into an economic juggernaut was reward enough. 

But then the recession came.  Salarymen still toiled. “But for what?” many asked.  “Japan – let’s take a rest” was a slogan oft heard as the government urged people to slow down (take a long weekend at a local spa or seaside resort and help shore up the sputtering economy!).  

Slowly, attitudes change.  Today many people are looking for work/life balance and a greater sense of meaning beyond the office. Where once value creation was judged largely in terms of economics, people today are increasingly looking at value in its broader social context.  Social entreprenuerism is big. Making money is good. Making money and improving society is even better. 

Recently I was asked to comment on WNYC’s Brian Lehrer Show about Karoshi, death by overwork.  There’s a complicated web of factors behind Karoshi, and the Japanese legal system is just starting to grapple with the phenomenon. Many Japanese corporations are starting to take steps to prevent such deaths. 

With these welcome moves, combined with changing Japanese attitudes toward work, perhaps Karoshi will all but disappear in Japan in another generation.   Shouldn’t work be life-affirming? In an ideal world, yes.  Japan is headed in the right direction, but still has a ways to go. We all do. (Daniel Rosenblum)

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The new Encore Career Finder, created in partnership with Simply Hired, lists thousands of openings at nonprofit, environmental, health care, education, social service and governmental organizations.

To read more about the Encore Career Finder, please visit http://www.encore.org/news/encore-career-finder.

To search for the Encore Career Finder, please visit http://encore.org/careers.cfm.

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Echoing Green announced twenty-seven entrepreneurs as their 2008 fellows, one of its largest classes to date. The entrepreneurs, selected from a record pool of more than 1,450 applicants from eighty-three countries, will launch nineteen start-up organizations.

This year, for the first time in Echoing Green’s twenty-one-year history, more than half of the fellows are developing models for creating lasting change that harness market forces, including several who plan to launch socially focused for-profits. The 2008 class is also distinguished for its relative youth, reflecting Echoing Green’s core belief that young people are key actors in sparking meaningful social change. One-third of the 2008 fellows are under 26 years old.

For more information about the 2008 fellows, please visit http://www.echoinggreen.org.

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LECTURE SUMMARY
Changemakers: Make the Impossible Possible
February 27, 2008

SPEAKER
Bill Strickland, President and CEO, Manchester Bidwell Corporation; author, Make the Impossible Possible: One Man’s Crusade to Inspire Others to Dream Bigger and Achieve the Extraordinary

MODERATOR
Nana Watanabe, photographer and author, Changemakers: Social Entrepreneurs are Making a Difference and Changemakers II: Working as a Social Entrepreneur

Armed with his trusty slide show and 30 years of experience as a leading social entrepreneur, Bill Strickland shared his inspirational story to a packed house at Japan Society on Wednesday, February 27. The program began with an introduction by award-winning photographer and author Nana Watanabe, whose serendipitous meeting with a punk rocker-turned-social entrepreneur earlier in her career motivated her to seek out and publicize the efforts made by social entrepreneurs. Inspired by her successful first book, Changemakers: Social Entrepreneurs are Making the Difference, Japan Society invited her to photograph participants in the U.S.-Japan Innovators Network retreat in San Francisco in June 2006, where she met Bill. Deeply moved and impressed by Bill’s work, Nana profiled Bill in her most recent book Changemakers: Working as a Social Entrepreneur.

Bill Strickland describing his organization in Pittsburgh, the Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild. ©Satoru Ishikawa.After being introduced and invited to the podium, Bill, a man standing around six feet-five inches tall and whose presence commands attention, began his presentation much like every other presentation he has given: with a joke. He has one presentation and he knows it and openly jokes about it. He says he feels sorry for those who have chosen to listen to it yet again, but deep down you know what he’s about to talk about is no joke. It’s this disarming and charming attitude that puts an audience at ease and allows his powerful message to reach the hearts and souls of people every day.

Bill began his slide show by describing his organization, the Manchester Bidwell Corporation, and the numerous job training and community arts programs they provide to disadvantaged children and adults. Inspired and, as Bill puts it, “saved” by his high school art teacher, Bill knew from the time he entered the University of Pittsburgh as a probationary student that he wanted to transform the lives of the people in his neighborhood. He knew that the first step in achieving his goal was to build a center worthy of the people he wanted to help. It would have to be a beautiful structure with tons of natural light, beautiful displays of artwork, flowers and a huge fountain in front of the building, because according to Bill, “When you put people in a world-class facility, you create world-class people. When you put them in prisons, you get prisoners.” This was his first step in killing the “spiritual cancer” infecting the poor people living in the ghetto. As a result, he had a student of world-renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright design and build his center, which as we all found out, became the scale model for the Pittsburgh Airport.

The second ingredient of Manchester Bidwell’s recipe for success is the cutting-edge education people receive. Not only are students given a sense of the possibilities, but also a sense of control over their lives through music and arts programs. Additionally adults are learning trades such as pharmacology, culinary arts, and horticulture that can be applied to finding jobs that Manchester Bidwell has smartly identified as hard to fill by corporations in the greater Pittsburgh area. Connecting music and ceramics with pharmacology might seem like an odd paring, however Bill’s ability to see opportunities where others might only see obstacles allowed him obtain funding and expand Manchester Bidwell to the point where it is today. His relationship with the late Senator John Heinz brought his center a million dollar kitchen and top-notch culinary arts program, and contacts with Hewlett-Packard birthed a state-of-the-art computer lab and visual arts program.

Bill Strickland and Nana Watanabe fielding questions from the audience. ©Satoru Ishikawa.After expounding Manchester Bidwell’s philosophy of light and beauty as a way to lift people out of poverty, Bill explained his new goal: 100 centers in the United States and 100 around the rest of the globe. Centers have already been built in San Francisco, Cincinnati and Grand Rapids, MI, and new centers in places like Philadelphia and New Orleans are in the planning stages. Internationally, Bill was recently in Israel and sat down with Jews and Arabs where they discussed a plan for a new center that would target a diverse group of Jewish and Arab children and adults as well as immigrants to Israel from Russia, Ethiopia and around the world. Conversations about building centers have also begun in Ireland, South Africa, San Paulo and Costa Rica

Bill wants his book Make the Impossible Possible to be a source of inspiration and guiding light for people without hope. He wants a number one book for the media attention and financial backing that a best selling book can bring to help him communicate his message all over the world.

The lecture was followed by a Q&A session, reception and book signings by Bill and Nana.

[photos by Satoru Ishikawa]

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