Leadership

Leading Together 2019 is a gathering of leaders in philanthropy and other influencers in business, government, and academia eager to connect, learn, and share with one another. We take learning and relationships seriously. Talks go deep and connect dots. Connections are welcomed and real.

By now you have heard the news that Vikki Spruill has accepted a position at the New England Aquarium and in June will return to the ocean conservation community, where she has deep roots. The Council appreciates Vikki’s leadership and wishes her well. As we turn to seeking a new leader, we want to hear from you. What are the most pressing issues for the next leader to focus on? What attributes are vital in the next person to head the Council?

On December 20, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced the first recipient of our 100&Change competition’s $100 million grant: an early childhood intervention for children in the Syrian refugee region co-developed by Sesame Workshop and the International Rescue Committee. The Sesame/IRC project was selected over an initial field of more than 1,900 applicants through a multi-stage process that eventually identified four finalists.

This spring I traveled to Japan, where I had the opportunity to visit the Hosoo textile company in Kyoto. The company was founded in 1688 and has been passed down through 12 generations of the same family, still sitting on the same site. Formerly focused on textiles for traditional garments used in imperial households, the company has retooled itself for the cultural edge of the modern era. Now, they are working with MIT on innovative smart fabrics and providing material to fashion houses like Louis Vuitton and Channel. This seamless transition between the ancient past and the near future was a frequent sight in Japan, and it struck me as a stunning metaphor for how we might not only adapt to momentous change, but use creativity and take risks to leap ahead of it.