Position / Job Title – Inaugural Fuse Corps Executive Fellow in Los Angeles, Serving as the Senior Advisor, Livability.
BLK SHP origin story – I was born in a small Western Michigan town. My mom took a leap of faith believing we’d have greater opportunities and quality of life by migrating to Atlanta, which is where I grew up. Proximity to civil rights leaders and watching the city’s Centennial Olympic dreams become a reality reset my vision of what was possible.
BLK SHP mission statement – I’ve always viewed myself as a “sense-maker” of complex issues. I’ve taken on professional roles that have challenged me as a communicator in the private and public sectors and pursued learning opportunities that broadened my perspective and tested my analytical skills. I feel like I’m finally arriving at the broad competency level I’ve always wanted in the leaders I’ve wanted to work for and follow.
BLK SHP traits – I just want to do interesting, yet creative stuff that feels innovative and adventurous and touches the things I love: urbanism, media, and communities. I definitely feel this approach to creativity is more (or should be) the norm.
BLK SHP skills – Adaptability. Empathy. The capacity to create in different, very distinctive voices. There’s a special feeling I still get when seeing hundreds of hours, talents, and now technologies come together to produce something that feels in-depth.
What advice do you have for other BLK SHP? Keep evolving and keep us informed of the journey.
BLK SHP nickname - "Circus"
Position / Job Title - Associate Professor of Management, Oral Roberts University
BLK SHP origin story - I’m born again Okie (originally from Philly) trying to elevate the perception of middle America (perception…it’s already awesome…just trying to help more people see it)
BLK SHP mission statement - To facilitate the transfer of good ideas
Position / Job Title - President & CEO, Council on Foundations
BLK SHP origin story - I’ve lived all over the world, “growing global” was how I was raised, first as an Army brat and then as the daughter of a corporate Dad. Living in many places taught me to quickly adapt to a range of diverse circumstances and gave me a great appreciation for people and their differences.
BLK SHP mission statement - I’m a pragmatic advocate for change. I’m an entrepreneur who believes in the power of institutions: bridging from old to new, complex to clear, complicated to simple.
BLK SHP traits - I see patterns, connections and trends ahead of others and though lonely, the place from which I lead. I translate what is complex into what is powerful.
BLK SHP skills - I am impatient and patient; know what to wait for but eager to arrive.
What advice do you have for other BLK SHP? Stay true to your inner compass. It knows what you need. Build it and they will come.
BLK SHP origin story - They say the boundary between two habitats is where the greatest diversity can be found. Growing up in the suburbs, with half my family from “the hills” and the other half from ”the Big City,” I learned from an early age how the strange could be made familiar and the familiar made strange while buck dancing in cul de sacs.
BLK SHP mission statement - I’m working towards making social media less like ever-shortened flashes of Kim Kardashian and more like the enriching glow of a campfire where story, learning, and community come together.
BLK SHP traits - When I was little my parents would give me rolls of duct tape to play with, and I’ve been obsessed with sticky things ever since. Most recently this has led to an obsession with all things post-it.
BLK SHP skills - I studied hip hop in Central America for a year and picked up Bboying and freestyle rapping. I gave up a short career as a gringo rap sensation after I forgot my lines performance in front of the Honduran President and had to freestyle. I wouldn’t call myself a bboy, but I still actively practice something like breakdance yoga.
What advice do you have for other BLK SHP? - Look for the stories behind the stories of the people who you see as innovators and revolutionaries. Before it is solidified into lore and garage-startup legend, they dealt with the same doubt, uncertainty, fear as everybody else. It reminds us not knowing what you’re doing is part of the process. The revolution is always improvised!
BLK SHP origin story - A pivotal moment for me growing up was in high school: my teacher said he would give an automatic “A” for the year to the winner of our statewide science fair. The project I decided to do was called, “Carnival Games: Why Can’t I Win?” where I explored how these games are designed with math and physics principles that make it difficult to win while appearing so easy. It was a spectacle: I built life-sized carnival games, complete with the booth, balloons and darts - and I ended up winning! Looking back, this was my first foray into mechanical engineering and marketing, and it set me on the path to where I am today.
BLK SHP mission statement - I started GoldieBlox to disrupt the “pink aisle” and get girls interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) subjects. Engineering is largely missing the female perspective as only 14% are women — that’s the equation we’re trying to change.
BLK SHP traits - I have secret comedic aspirations! In college, I wrote for the Stanford Chapparal, our campus humor magazine, and I even joined an improv group when I lived in Seattle. I obviously ended up choosing a different career path, but those skills have definitely helped me build confidence by pushing me to go outside of my comfort zone.
BLK SHP skills - I am freakishly good at carving Jack-O-Lanterns. One year I carved the Mona Lisa.
What advice do you have for other BLK SHP? I was lucky enough to hear Steve Jobs’ infamous commencement speech at my Stanford graduation. The message, “never settle” really stuck with me since that day. Before GoldieBlox, I had a pretty circuitous career path - from branding the New York Knicks, to volunteering in India, to working at a jewelry company. But I never settled until I found my true passion, and it’s an amazing feeling to know what you were meant to do with your life.
BLK SHP origin story - Growing up in the Midwest at the crossroads of Detroit, Ann Arbor, and Toledo, instilled in me a supreme love for people from varying backgrounds and interests. I love to see how people work together in new and creative ways to bring impact to their community.
BLK SHP mission statement - You didn't get here by yourself, so don't close your first around the good people and the good programs. Open hands give people room to access and grow!
BLK SHP traits - I pick up stories, ideas, and people and think about new contexts and opportunities for them to grow.
BLK SHP skills - Collaborator, Connector, and Facilitator
What advice do you have for other BLK SHP? Humility: learn it, live it, and listen to others.
Job title / position - Special Correspondent ABC News, Founder, Paradox Capital, a social impact venture fund, speaker and best-selling author.
BLK SHP origin story - I was born in Detroit and while I live in Austin Texas today, I still carry Motown with me. I am the 3rd of 11 siblings born to two Jesuit educated parents who both graduated from the University of Detroit - one a public school teach and the other worked in auto industry. Growing up I learned the values I carry with me today: resiliency, independence, optimism, humor, and love in a fun and chaotic home environment.
BLK SHP mission statement - I believe in common sense compassionate and innovative solutions for what ails our world, and that change comes one person or moment at a time.
What advice do you have for other BLK SHP? Listen to the inner voice with your heart and soul no matter how quiet or distant it seems. And follow the Golden Rule.
BLK SHP nickname - "C-topher" Position / Job Title - CEO, Forward Impact, Co-founder, Forward Cities, Innovator in Residence, Center for Creative Leadership, Innovation & Entrepreneurship Fellow, Duke University BLK SHP origin story - Born to politics in DC; shaped by social justice in South Africa; focused as a journalist for CNN; awakened by starting a bar in Santiago, Chile; inspired by scaling education ventures and writing a book about Life Entrepreneurs; working to harness the power of change-making leaders in communities across NC and beyond BLK SHP traits - Super passionate and high energy, peripatetic by nature, trying hard to deepen impact, loving husband and father BLK SHP skills - Translating vision into action What advice do you have for other BLK SHP? Dream big but make sure to do
Position / Job Title - Founder & Executive Director, UnLtd USA Origin Story - Boulder-bred & Boston-educated, previously called Guatemala, Bolivia, Chile, Argentine Patagonia and India home; currently in Austin building UnLtd USA, backing individuals with ideas to solve our most pressing social and environmental challenges. www.unltdusa.org
BLK SHP nickname - "The Likely Oracle"
Position / Job Title - Founder and Chief Catalyst, Curious Catalyst // Challenge Faculty Director, THNK School of Creative Leadership
BLK SHP Origin Story - As the daughter of two rocket scientists, I've always been curious about everything - from chemistry to photography, ballet to kickboxing. I left Boston to become a filmmaker in Hollywood by way of a psychology detour at Stanford. And the circuitous path to large scale systems innovation has included R&D with emerging technology platforms, a stint as the "chief" of a sustainable tourism project in Fiji, solving cross-disciplinary problems in the digital agency space, strategy and operations for early social media innovators and then an open-source cloud computing powerhouse focused on the developing world. I self-published an email tale in the form of a mixed media book that grew out of time in the LA spoken word poetry scene, made a short film around the nuance of veterans' rights, and founded Curious Catalyst to marry investigation with action, bringing a new take to the business of social impact through my experience in agile approaches.
BLK SHP Skills - ScrumMaster! Relentlessly curious! Rabble-rouser! Connector! And a huge proponent of sharing knowledge, via open sourcing or otherwise, to increase our ability to evolve faster, better, together!
What advice do you have for other BLK SHP? Never forget the journey is the destination - so how we get there is as important as where we're going. And asking the questions is more important than the answers....