While most professionals who work with kids believe that they’re genuinely accepting of all and nonjudgmental, the truth is, studies show that most people have hidden or implicit biases that shape how we feel and behave. The thing about implicit biases is that we don’t always notice that we have them. It’s not overt racism, like believing that one race is superior or that all people of a certain race are inferior. But it’s there all the same. No matter what background we come from, what race we identify as, how our parents raised us, what type of community we grew up in, we all carry prejudices and biases.
Our blog is dedicated to facilitating the dialogue about social change and trends. Each entry, written by leaders and scholars on a diverse range of subjects, addresses the ways in which we function as both dreamers and doers—and our interconnectedness as a society.
“Talent:” a term used regularly to refer to the “high potentials” that every employer is desperately trying to attract, the social sector included. But who and what are we really talking about when referring to this ambiguous group and how does one go about getting hold of them? These are the questions that my cofounders and I have been asking ourselves since we started The Changer—a career platform designed to help nonprofits and mission-driven businesses attract and keep the kind of people that they were missing, those that were going to be able to help take these organisations to the next level, to help them live up to their lofty ambitions of changing the world and even turn around an entire economic system on a crash course for collision.
Research has disproven the commonly held belief that children only have biases if they’re taught them. Children form their own biases related to race not only from what they learn from parents and other adults, but from what they observe in their own surroundings. One researcher compared this to accents – if children only learned what they observe from their parents, the children of parents with accents would also have accents. But instead, children observe a variety of patterns from society, school, their community, etc. and adopt behaviors based on what they see.
Moving to Myanmar to work for Koe Koe Tech was not part of my post-college plan. As a 2015 Global Social Benefit Fellow (GSBF), I had the privilege of working for Operation ASHA – Cambodia, a social enterprise that works to eradicate tuberculosis worldwide. Having had an incredible experience with them, I planned to return to Cambodia to continue working with them in March 2017. However, shortly before I was expecting to leave, organizational changes made that an impossibility and I suddenly found myself without a job, any semblance of a plan, and a one-way ticket to SE Asia.
Wherever your attention goes, that is the part of your life that grows larger, gets bigger, and creates momentum. For almost ten years, I’ve worked as a makeup artist in addition to working on my painting and drawing practice. I remember graduating from art school and wondering how I was going to make enough for rent, groceries, etc. and going through a mental list of possible jobs. While I sold artwork right out of college, it wasn’t enough to sustain a basic comfortable lifestyle. I had several short lived positions: receptionist, waitress, graphic designer, gallery assistant, art teacher– many of these were consuming enough that when you went home for the evening, you had to either prepare for the next day or continue working on client projects. I needed something I could leave at the door, that left energy for painting. One day, I was walking by a makeup store when the idea came to me. The hundreds of tiny shiny pots, brushes, pretty setups, aesthetic surroundings–was this so different than painting?
“Guess it’s just us two females hanging out in a crowd of just males once again.” This common phrase was jokingly uttered between Maya and I multiple times throughout our field research in India. Gender inequality is not a new concept to me; it is something I have become very conscious of every summer spent in India. Even though gender inequality exists in America, it is more apparent here in India. Everywhere men dominate public spaces while most women stay inside their houses. When we arrived to the rural areas to conduct our interviews with the end-beneficiaries, the men would crowd around us while the women would be outside their houses looking at us from afar.
One of my favorite things to do on a Sunday afternoon is to go downtown to one of the community gathering places and watch children play in the interactive water fountain. I love to watch them run into the spouts and feel its force of energy as they splash around in the water. The run, they fall down, they get back up. When the fountain changes patterns and diminishes its force, the children giggling and jumping watch in hopeful anticipation of the water shooting up from the spout again. Not knowing when or where the next spray of water will be, the children look toward their parents or siblings for cues as to how to negotiate their next move.
People don’t often believe me when I say that the very first Ashoka U conference in 2008 had 40 people sleeping in bunk beds and presenting around a campfire. Eight years later – just a few things have changed!
Today 700 people flock from across the globe to share ideas on how to turn colleges and universities into hubs of social innovation. And after years of convening innovators in changemaker education, we’ve learned what it takes to fuel this growing movement.
The 8th annual Ashoka U Exchange will be co-hosted by Babson College in Boston and will take place on April 5-7th, 2018. As we prepared to open our call for proposals on August 15th, I spent some time reflecting on the Exchange feedback I’ve heard from our community. Here are five reasons I heard that explain why people keep coming back year after year.
This July, in partnership with a local Jesuit social ministry center in Togo, Miller Center co-sponsored the largest ever GSBI Boost workshop, providing training for 30 West African social entrepreneurs. This was the first Boost ever delivered in French, and the largest ever set of participants. It fulfilled a multi-year dream for a Jesuit friend of mine, Fr. Bossou Constant SJ, and was made possible with the inspiring leadership of a fantastic GSBI mentor, Jose Flahaux. Although I had a trivial role at the workshop, I was blessed to witness the joy of these two good colleagues in the field.
It is infinitely harder to change what already exists rather than start from scratch. This is especially true with long-entrenched cultures, and structures.
On the flip side, the potential for shifting resources within a large, well-respected institution can lead to results on a much larger scale than a start-up. This is the power and potential for leading change within an institutional context.
I spend about five hours a day slacking off. Really: I spend that much time doing stuff I enjoy, that isn’t on a task list anywhere. I walk through the beautiful university campus near my house – during the workday. I cook for pleasure. I lay around on my daughter’s bed reading while she does her homework.
You’re probably thinking, “I could never do that!! Because I have to [insert 500 good reasons]!” Maybe you now believe that I am lazier and more pampered than you previously imagined.
The reach of The Christian Science Monitor is relatively small among news organizations. But the place CSM has in the lives of its audience is the envy of much larger media players. “We have a very solid, loyal base of readers who will follow us through fire,” notes CSM associate publisher David Grant. He emphasizes that CSM’s readers include both church members and a wide readership beyond it.