Meet the BLK SHP.
BLK SHP nickname - "The Poet"
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
BLK SHP nickname - "Bette Kane"
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 nickname - "Wizard of OS"
Position / Job Title - Story Forager
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 nickname - "Dr. Midnight"
Position / Job Title - CEO of GoldieBlox
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.
Inspiring the Next Generation of Female Engineers: Debbie Sterling at TEDxPSU: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FEeTLopLkEo
GoldieBlox & Rube Goldberg "Princess Machine": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IIGyVa5Xftw
2014 Superbowl Ad: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVCC83cDch0
BLK SHP nickname - "Johnny Appleseed"
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.
BLK SHP Nickname - "D-Prophet"
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.
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....
Artists IN RESIDENCe
BLK SHP nickname - "The Improviser"
Position / Job Title - Musician, Actor, Dancer, Entertainer
BLK SHP origin story - I am from Kansas City, Mo. and was born in Arusha, Tanzania. I grew up in a culturally diverse household, which has helped me to appreciate the differences that we all share.
BLK SHP mission statement - To reach as many people as I can. Connecting through what is the same and growing from what is different.
BLK SHP traits - I have a wide skill set in different fields. I believe that this has made me unique and different.
BLK SHP skills - I'm a musician, martial artists, bodyworker, magician, dancer, Rubik's Cube guy, and actor.
What advice do you have for other BLK SHP? Every moment alive is another opportunity to turn anything inside of us around.
Social Entrepreneurs in Residence
The following individuals have been selected as BLK SHP Social Entrepreneurs in Residence for 2015.
BLK SHP nickname - "Louisa Mae"
Position / job title - Author, Misfit Economy; Co-Founder, League of Intrapreneurs; Founder, Wisdom Hackers
BLK SHP origin story - The daughter of two anthropologists, I grew up near Walden Pond and came of age in alternative schools before living in London and Berlin. I have a background in 18th century economic theory and moral philosophy.
BLK SHP mission statement - To unlock an economy powered by misfits – where each individual feels they are helping to shape the priorities of a 21st century economy.
BLK SHP traits - knowing when to camouflage and when to provoke, writing poetry, making economics more human, playing with alter egos, deep listening, creating bridges between old institutions and emerging communities of disruption
What other advice do you have? Whenever you're feeling overwhelmed, take some hermit time. Solitude and reflection will get you back in alignment with your core purpose.
BLK SHP nickname - "The Pastor"
Position / job title - Cofounder & CEO, MBAs Across America
BLK SHP origin story - I’m a 7th + generation Texan, whose great-great-grandfather was born a slave, who grew up in inner-city Dallas, and who by divine conspiracy wound up at Yale & Harvard Business School, on Wall Street in the midst of the financial crisis and in Washington in the early days of the Obama Administration. All these things shaped who I am, most importantly by giving me a deep belief in radical possibility, and in my responsibility to honor the past and be part of shaping a future that defies the odds.
BLK SHP mission statement - I’m here to spark an awakening — awakening folks to their own mission and their unique ability to unleash their passion & talents to solve the most pressing challenges of our time.
BLK SHP traits - I am an entrepreneur, diagnosed by Yvon Chouinard (founder of Patagonia): “If you want to understand the entrepreneur, study the juvenile delinquent. The delinquent is saying with his actions, "This sucks. I'm going to do my own thing.”
What other advice do you have? I am working to be a “servant leader”, which Robert Greenleaf says must be: “historian, contemporary analyst, and prophet all at once.” As “The Pastor” my BLKSHP skills are somewhat self-explanatory.
BLK SHP nickname - “The Whiz”
Position / Job Title - University Innovation Fellow, Co-Founder of 10-4 Good City, BLK SHP Social Entrepreneur in Residence
BLK SHP origin story - Soft pretzels and cheese sticks shouldn’t be considered a “vegetarian option”. As a fourteen year old, I told my friends that we should do something to change school food. They told me it wasn’t possible, so I started a blog to channel my frustrations. Inspired by Jamie Oliver, I cast my own vision for a better system. Somehow, the lunch ladies found it and called the District Office. On the last day of class my freshman year, I got a tap on the shoulder while passing through the lunch line. The manager said: “We read your blog, and want to work with you. Let’s meet with the Culinary Director of the school food program.” Soon thereafter, we were on our way to creating healthy menu options for kids across the county. This was a small beginning, but it was the first time that I tuned out the world and listed to the voice that encouraged me to take a risk. It is this voice that guides me on each day.
BLK SHP mission statement - Love people. Steward place. Shepherd change.
BLK SHP traits - I’m like a circus tent and a ring leader, all in one. I create inclusive spaces for people to share insights, find inspiration and harness the imagination to solve wicked problems.
BLK SHP skills - My superpower is connecting others. I work like mycelium to bridge divides between disparate places and create value at the intersection of networks.
What advice do you have for other BLK SHP? Pursue the still, small voice that leads you on. Along the way, stay humble, be curious and be bold enough to get out of the boat in the middle of a storm. Most of all, be true to yourself and the place that you call home.
BLK SHP nickname - "The Chief"
Position / Job Title - Director of Provider Solutions, AVIA Health Innovation; Alumnus/Former Chief of Staff and Special Advisor, Health Leads
BLK SHP origin story - As a Bengali-American born in the Bay Area, raised in Austin, transformed in Baltimore, and activated in Boston, I grew up between goat meat curry and breakfast tacos, Tagore and Plath, Bollywood and Bmore club, data and instinct, social justice and entrepreneurial excellence. I love living inside the overlap of various Venn diagrams, and believe fervently that finding commonalities in unlikely places is crucial to achieving systems change.
BLK SHP mission statement - All people deserve to be healthy -- in every sense of the word. Together, we can build both a society and a healthcare system that address the root causes of poor health, by ensuring that everyone has access to the resources and support they need to achieve health.
BLK SHP traits - Taking abstract concepts and making them accessible, refusing to see the glass as half empty, toggling between real talk and poetry, deploying a healthy dose of irreverence and humor to self, others, and work
BLK SHP skills - I love occupying the sweet space between big, brave ideas and tangible action. I'm also passionate about taking something good or promising and making it awesome.
What advice do you have for other BLK SHP? Learn as hard and fast as you possibly can — and extend yourself the grace to be okay with re-learning it all over again!
NOMInATE A BLK SHP IN YOUR COMMUNITY
Our raison d'etre is to inspire and support people who want to unlock their own powerful voices and creative potential for the benefit of society, with the understanding that being a BLK SHP doesn’t happen without the support and collaboration of others. And, we might as well have a hell of a lot of fun along the way.
How do you become part of BLK SHP?
BLK SHP has five core guiding values: curiosity, conviction (to stand for something and your voice), courage (to pursue paths less travelled by), collaboration (a generous spirit), and contribution. We’re so determined to see BLK SHP serve as a vehicle for positive social contribution that we have one rule: “The 5% Rule”. Anyone who is living these values can be a part of the broader BLK SHP ecosystem, so long as they are also giving 5% of their time to social good causes. We plan to establish outposts of BLK SHP around America led by local “shepherds”, as well as several globally, such as in London, Barcelona, and Singapore.
BLK SHP nickname - "Tornado" or "Eagle"
Position/Job Title - Co-Founder & Managing Director, The Silicon Guild; Founder, The BLK SHP Foundation; Co-Founder, Fuse Corps
BLK SHP origin story - I grew up in a small Northern California town of the Sierra Nevada foothills, between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe. My father was a judge, from a family of public servants, while my mother was a photographer, from a family of mostly artists. I never thought of myself as creative until I discovered the Stanford d.school, which teaches methods for creative thinking, and a community and collaborations with many entrepreneurs, artists, and social entrepreneurs to support that journey.
BLK SHP mission statement - My calling is to unlock inherent creative and leadership potential in others and, through greater humanity and collaboration, to develop more creative approaches to the institutional and social challenges confronting the world today.
BLK SHP traits - I often write down the last part first, when writing a sentence, then return to the first part. Thus, I spend a lot of time editing. That's just the tip of the iceberg.
BLK SHP skills - what unique skills do you have? My mind is wired to connect countless dots — people, problems, ideas, and solutions great for creativity and entrepreneurship, not so great when I wake in the middle of the night with an insight, and can't get back to sleep!
What advice do you have for other BLK SHP? If you bet on good people, and find rich ecosystems of like-minds, you will never need to interview for a job again, and will always be able invent your future.
Board Governance. The Foundation Board of Directors oversees the foundation’s activities. The Board of Directors includes: Akshata Murty, Director of Catamaran Ventures, Peter Sims, Vikki Spruill, CEO of the Council of Foundations, and Georgiana Sims.