Ignite Presentations

Get ignited by big-picture, out-of-the-box thinking.M&J _web

Kick off your day with a double dose of inspiration, innovation, and insight! Each morning, two nationally-recognized thought leaders will share powerful ideas and unexpected ways to think about the work you do. Tap into your “practical wisdom,” or consider how “design thinking” can transform your efforts with our provocative, perceptive Ignite speakers.

2013 Ignite Presenters

AnnCramer_web_sq Ann Cramer | Senior Consultant, Coxe Curry & Associates
Work-life Alignment

What would happen if we didn’t need to think about work and life as tug-of-war, or a scale that tips at the slightest adjustment? What if we could design an arrangement that blended the two seamlessly, using values and purpose as the catalyst? There is a massive movement afoot aimed at finding personal purpose and integrating it into strategies for life inside and outside the workplace—you can see it in the consumer demand for sustainable products, hyper-engaged philanthro-capitalists, and new social ventures that span sectors and inspire new alliances. This purpose-centric philosophy is also transforming the business community’s understanding of corporate responsibility. This session explores the reasons we draw energy and satisfaction from certain pursuits and not others, and how to create more energy and satisfaction for ourselves—as well as the donors, volunteers, and employees we partner with. Led by none other than Ann Cramer, the godmother of Corporate Social Responsibility and a leading voice for education, this discussion will take you through Cramer’s personal journey to find and align her purpose with her work life, her personal life, and her community presence. Besides serving as a live case study, Cramer will provide insight into the field of corporate responsibility, and how we as nonprofits can understand and take advantage of the arising opportunities.

Ann Cramer, a senior consultant with Coxe Curry & Associates, spent more than 30 years at IBM, helping pioneer the principles of Corporate Social Responsibility as Director for IBM Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs for the Americas. She’s served on numerous local nonprofit boards, and currently chairs the board of Atlanta Partners for Education. In 2011, she received GCN’s Revolutions Award for Legendary Philanthropic Leader, and in 2012, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce presented her with its first Business Civic Leadership Achievement Award.  READ MORE

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RhondaLowry_web Rhonda Lowry | Vice President of Emerging Social Web Technologies, Turner Broadcasting

The Bleeding Edge of Why

When it comes to technology, it pays to ask why people behave the way they do. For example: why do we spend hours creating virtual avatars and living out a second life on the internet? Why do we feel compelled to provide Twitter or Facebook updates on every life experience? Why do certain apps find broad audiences while others remain obscure? And how can we use that motivation to design better solutions to more pressing questions like: Why do donors give? How can we better harness community generosity? and Why do otherwise rational people make unhealthy choices? Going beyond obvious features like convenience, entertainment, and cost savings, we need to find out how technology “solutions” like social networking sites and crowdsourcing platforms deliver on an inherent human need—one that we didn’t even know we had. The reasons people adopt certain emerging technologies over others is a new and exciting field of study, and a valuable way of thinking for anyone in the nonprofit sector: in an escalating race to solve the world’s problems, and increasing competition for dollars, donors, and talent, wise nonprofits will consider that people are often looking for a hole, not a drill. The grand challenge for nonprofits is uncovering “the why” so that we can design “the what.”

Rhonda Lowry, vice president of emerging social web technologies at Turner Broadcasting, puts the collision of technology and human behavior into practical perspective for the business world, both at Turner and in speaking engagements across the country. She has spent her career understanding and leveraging the bleeding edge of emerging technologies, and has recently turned her attention from the “tools” to the reasons people use them.  READ MORE

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KenSharpe Ken Sharpe | Professor of Political Science, Swarthmore College

Rediscovering our Practical Wisdom

‘Practical wisdom,’ once described by Aristotle as ‘true virtue’ is the essential human quality that combines the fruits of our individual experiences with our empathy and intellect—learning ‘the right way to do the right thing in a particular circumstance, with a particular person, at a particular time.’But, according to Ken Sharpe, we have forgotten how to do this. Join Ken for a thought-provoking presentation exploring how the way we organize our institutions often discourages people from learning and exercising practical wisdom. Sharing insights from his book, Practical Wisdom: The Right Way to Do The Right Thing, he will illuminate how to get back in touch with our wisdom: how to identify it, cultivate it, and enact it, and how to make ourselves healthier, happier and wiser.

Ken Sharpe is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Political Science at Swarthmore College where he teaches political philosophy, practical ethics, Latin American politics, and foreign policy. He is currently teaching a course at UBC with Max Cameron called Practical Wisdom. His most recent work, co-authored with Professor Barry Schwartz at Swarthmore, is Practical Wisdom: The Right Way to Do The Right Thing. Among his other important works are Drug War Politics: The Price of Denial; The State and the Transnational Corporations: The Political Economy of the Mexican Auto Industry. His work has also been featured in the Washington Post, The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, The Nation, and The American Prospect.   READ MORE

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JulieDixon Julie Dixon | Deputy Director, Center for Social Impact Communication, Georgetown University

A Different Kind of “Ask”: The Powerful Currency of Influence

There’s no doubt that social media has upended traditional models of donor outreach and engagement, as individuals now have many ways—beyond donating—to contribute to and impact the causes they care about. Trends on who people trust, why they support the causes they choose to support, and how those decisions are made have collided to elevate a powerful new form of currency: influence. But not every organization is embracing this shift or encouraging their supporters to wield their influence. Drawing on data and insights published earlier this year by Georgetown University’s Center for Social Impact Communication in partnership with Waggener Edstrom Worldwide, this engaging session will explore what can happen when influence is properly valued and deployed—particularly through social media—and how nonprofits can empower their supporters to amplify the stories of their impact.

Julie Dixon is the Deputy Director at the Center for Social Impact Communication at Georgetown University. She investigates the changing ways we interact with and support the significant social issues facing the world today. As a researcher, adjunct professor and deputy director of Georgetown University’s Center for Social Impact Communication, she works with hundreds of organizations annually, equipping them to more effectively engage people in their work and to share the compelling stories of their impact. She focuses much of her energy on promoting the role of technology in building connections and advancing social solutions. Julie holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Rochester, and a master’s degree in public relations from Syracuse University.  READ MORE

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