Charlotte’s SVP contingent turned out solid numbers at this year’s Audacious Philanthropy conference in Austin, TX. The gathering offers networking with dynamic folks from across the globe for staff, Partners, Investees and more. Five Charlotte Partners and our whole staff attended, offering a great breadth of experience and perspectives to the rest of the SVP network representatives and taking away a great deal to chew on–both big-picture and small.
On the staff side, Susan and I were privy to specialized tracks focused on maximizing the work and impact of our local SVP. Topics included:
- Learning more about SVP’s dual role as both an organization and a network. Heather McLeod Grant facilitated a series of sessions focused on understanding the distinctions and overlaps between the two structures. Often the default, Grant noted, organizational leadership celebrates small successes and focuses on specific tasks and projects. In contrast, network leadership intentionally thinks bigger, collaboratively, and across players with a higher tolerance for innovation/risk. For SVPs, which inherently and intentionally operate as both organization and network, Grant argued that the latter can be a more effective approach. As we work toward finding solutions to complex, volatile problems that no single entity can move the needle on by itself, Grant encapsulated her points by leaving participants with this simple phrase: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
- Identifying our “can’t not do.” SVP “Executive Connector” Paul Shoemaker spoke as the keynote speaker on Saturday morning. As Shoemaker put it, “you’ve heard of can-do people, but “can-do” just doesn’t do it justice.” He challenged listeners to actively search themselves and hunt for the answer to this one big question by mining their hearts for the keys to three smaller ones:
1) What are you a determined optimist about in the world?
2) What are you willing to go to hard places for?
3) What connects to who you are at your core?
The answer and nexus we find, Shoemaker said, is the can’t-not-do that embodies why people become Partners with SVP–and why we commit ourselves to the organizations, causes, issues and people that we do. “The right question,” Shoemaker concluded, “challenges us to take that first step, then bigger steps, down a pathway to having more impact on the world. And on our own lives.”
View Shoemaker’s talk in full here.