Scott Anderson

Weekly Roundup – Inspiration, With Questions

For recent college or graduate school graduates who have enjoyed (or perhaps suffered through) commencement speeches, there’s always room for a more inspiration.

That’s especially the case for graduates dipping a toe, or taking the plunge, into the world of economic development and social enterprise. They’re among millions entering what is at best an uncertain job market. On top of that, they may also be entering a foreign land, perhaps a foreign industry, launching a startup to address local needs, or (gasp) all of the above.

While monologues by veteran leaders who have starred down adversity can be rousing to throngs of cap and gowned audiences, dialogues have their own special appeal. So in this season of pomp and circumstance (and sometimes banality) it was great to see a new series of one-on-one interviews hosted by Jonathan Lewis at ionPoverty hit the Internet. iOnPoverty is an online video series targeting young professionals and students seeking careers in economic opportunity and justice work. The organization is all about inspiring, mobilizing and activating young professionals, recent graduates and students to become “economic opportunity champions the donors, impact investors, volunteers and employees of tomorrow.”

Lewis, who founded Opportunity Collaboration and MicroCredit Enterprises, also lectures at the Blum Center for Developing Economies at the University of California, Berkeley. He’s bullish on the Millennial Generation (AKA: those 80 million folks aged 18-30 in the U.S. Worldwide) who will represent half of the of the workforce.

“The Millennial Generation wants to know about the people who make things happen,” he said. “They want to understand what motivates and makes leaders. They want to learn how to take effective action today.”

In the most recent batch of Q&A’s, Lewis chats with Akaya Windwood, CEO of the Rockwood Leadership Institute, a community and global leadership organization focused on social impact; and Chid Liberty, CEO Liberty & Justice, a fair-trade supply chain enterprise, and an entrepreneur-in-residence at the Liberia’s Monrovia Business Startup Center. Maybe the most relevant (to NextBillion) discussion is with Saul Garlick, CEO and founder of ThinkImpact, a very brief snippet for which is linked below:

These interviews are by turns, engaging, engrossing, enchanting and irreverent. But above all, the videos challenge the viewer’s expectations. You can see the most recent videos here, and the entire catelogue of about 100 videos are available to members for $15.

Hopefully you find them as inspirational as I did. As Lewis would say, I’ll bet you a hot dog, you do.

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Daniel Izzo on Brazil’s First Impact Investing Venture Capital Firm By Rahim Kanani

Representing 8 Counties, 11 Languages: Introducing Acumen Fund’s Global Fellows Class of 2013 By John McKinleyAcumen

The Unitus Seed Fund: Harnessing Small Equity for Scale at the BoP By Sriram Gutta