If I had a dollar for every time I was in a conversation where the need to bring more folks to the table, new voices to the table or new ideas to the table, I would have the capacity to buy a lot of tables. And not just those IKEA ones, I’m talking fancy tables with smart screens built into them.

Of course they are right on the money (excuse the pun), but are we on the right track or just tracking the right conversation?

We talk alot about systems change, understanding that if built, rebuilt or in more passionate circles, dismantled, then that can allow people to thrive, and our society to thrive with it.

Systems are key, that’s true, but the ‘system’ as it were still needs people to review it, ideate it and of course implement it. I think we definitely have the energy for change, but do we necessarily have the right people in place to change it?

Given what transpired across 2020 I don’t think we do.

That’s why i thought it was important to underpin this book by taking a proactive look at social sector talent and how we can start building a better foundation for change, looking at those new voices, approaches and partners and putting them in a position to be successful.

Diversity is not just a box to be ticked, it is a commitment to change for the better, a change where fairness is key and justice is at its core.

Change is driven by people not processes. Tech is what accelerates and enhances change, it isn’t what drives it.

With that in mind, y’all need to accept that your employees should mean everything to your organization and that the current levels of pay, investment in professional development and retention efforts are way below par.

One of the three major pillars of our book is that of talent. It highlights what is required to attract, keep and elevate nonprofit talent, how to challenge current narratives of what our workforce looks like, acts and operates in and charts a path to what steps we can do now and over the next decade to ensure that our sector is the most dynamic and impactful it can be. A place where workers identify can have both legacy and currency, rather than being made to choose by the pressures of an outdated view of success.

As many familiar with the book would know, we are highlighting 14 emerging leaders, people that ultimately chose to be the difference rather than simply play a role in it. We are excited to announce the first three featured – Meggie Palmer, Michael Ward Jr and Adriana Loson-Ceballos – who’s bio’s are below and serve as your primer on what has shaped their thoughts on these important issues and their career work.

Meggie Palmer What if women – and men – never had any doubts about their worth? What if the anxiety associated with negotiating could be overcome? What if building confidence created new opportunities and value for employees, their colleagues and their company? This is the world entrepreneur and former foreign correspondent Meggie Palmer envisions, and she’s using technology to make it reality.

Described by many as a confidence creator, Palmer – who lectures at Columbia University and Barnard College, and writes about gender and diversity for Vogue, Marie Claire, Women’s Agenda and News Corp – founded consulting firm PepTalkHer in 2016. The startup’s mission is to close the gender pay gap by empowering professional, aspirational women and their allies to know and negotiate their value. Palmer and her team lead practical, fun, engaging corporate consulting and training programs for global businesses, including JP Morgan Chase, HSBC and Revlon, that enable leaders to develop – and retain – their best staff.

In the U.S., legislation is underway that will mandate fair and transparent compensation. Palmer is already helping several large companies, such as Salesforce, Contently and Protiviti, get ahead of the change, using technology to facilitate the transformation. Reevaluating and rebalancing the pay scales can be a sensitive subject for many CEOs and HR leaders, but, it’s an increasingly significant issue as consumers move buying power toward businesses with representative teams and inclusive values.

PepTalkHer has grown to a community of more than 25,000 strong, frequently partnering with brands such as Salesforce, Anheuser Bush and Erno Laszlo that want to engage with the PepTalkHer community and attract talent. In conjunction with experts, PepTalkHer also developed a proprietary curriculum to help organizations retain, engage and reward millennials and high-potential talent. In 2019, Palmer launched the PepTalkHer app in collaboration with Vogue. Using the nudge theory of psychology, the app aids users by sending weekly prompts to help them reflect on their weekly wins at work. It aims to make performance reviews less painful and helps to shift users to a growth mindset. Tracking data and images, it allows you to export and print your “brag book” to better advocate and negotiate at performance review time.

Palmer is a changemaker, and she translates her optimism and passion for the future to the boardroom and the stage. She’s regularly quoted in the press and interviewed by the likes of NBC and Glamour. A passionate and inspiring speaker and coach, she was a keynote speaker at Salesforce’s annual conference Dreamforce, and she recently headlined a conference for Vogue. She’s MC-ed and hosted for dozens of events globally, including for the European Union at its International Women’s Day event at SXSW. Palmer was also invited by Nico Rosberg to speak at his Greentech event in Berlin.

During her days as an award-winning foreign correspondent, Palmer filed stories for global broadcasters, including BBC World News, CNBC, SBS Dateline, Channel 7, Discovery Channel and Animal Planet. Journalism honors include a Walkley Award, a New York Festival TV & Film Award, a UN Media Award and being named Queensland Young Journalist of the Year.

In addition to PepTalkHer, Palmer is also founder and CEO of Sliding Door Media. Drawing on her 15-year media career, she uses analytics and anecdotes to train high-level executives of disruptive, game-changing businesses to communicate their message across platforms and audiences using the power of storytelling.

A volunteer lifesaver and proud member of The Wing, Palmer currently sits on several not-for-profit boards, including Burn Bright, an organization teaching school children throughout Australasia values-based leadership. She also serves on the U.S. board of women in tech NGO Elevacao.

Michael Ward JrMichael Ward Jr. is a social entrepreneur focused on increasing the upward mobility and social capital of underserved communities, specifically people of color. Michael currently lives in Austin, TX and is the president of the Austin Urban Technology Movement (AUTM). AUTM is a nonprofit that bridges the gap between the technology industry and the Black, Brown, and Latinx communities through job placement, career development, and networking opportunities. Michael is also the co-host of Culture Crawl ATX, a podcast that invites random guests to engage in conversations about controversial topics.

Originally from Miami, FL, Michael earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Global Studies from the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill. While at UNC, Michael spent some time studying in France and worked for the International Communications Volunteers (ICV) in Geneva, Switzerland.

After graduating from UNC, Michael started his career at Oracle selling both front-end and back-end enterprise software for cloud and on-premise technology. During his time at Oracle, Michael also led Oracle’s Black employee resource group, African-American Business Leaders for Excellence (ABLE), across the United States, Canada, and Brazil.

After Oracle, Michael transitioned to ADP as a PEO district manager where he learned the impact human capital management (HCM) has on a company’s sustainability, culture, and bottom line. Michael also spent some time in the Austin startup community, working as the vice president of operations at Primal 7, a fitness and physical rehab company.

Adriana Loson-Ceballos – Adriana has successfully fundraised for local, national, and international nonprofits working in the fields of social services, arts and culture, social justice, and human rights in New York City, Washington D.C., San Diego, and Mexico City. 

She has almost a decade of experience writing proposals for city, county, state, and federal grants that have resulted in significant annual portions of the organizations’ budgets. Ms. Loson-Ceballos has also obtained foundation funding from family, community, institutional, and foreign foundations, with grants up to $1,000,000. Her experience in foundation fundraising has resulted in strong donor prospecting and cultivation skills, as well as a successful creation of evidence-driven strategies based on the organization’s CRM data. She has developed a corporate membership program for a social service organization in NYC and worked with corporations to obtain organizational support in the form of sponsorships, grants, and partnership opportunities supporting the corporation’s CSR goals. Contributing to the strategy around individual and annual fund appeals, and working fundraising events, she has developed fruitful relationships with donors and boards at various organizations.

Adriana has an M.A. in human rights studies from Columbia University and is currently completing a Ph.D. program in leadership studies with a concentration in nonprofit and philanthropic management at the University of San Diego.

Throughout Future Philanthropy you will see new leadership in action, and hopefully see yourselves in them, their work and their backgrounds. Lifting up those getting the work done is something that needs to be part of our collective role in championing change and inspiring those new folks we continually speak about to the table. Let’s just make sure we have enough chairs from now on, and let’s be patient in filling them for this is a generational journey we are embarking on and one that will no doubt be full of trials and tribulations.

Secure your copy of the Future Philanthropy today (and a number of unique pre & post publication perks) via our small pre-sale campaign that is happening through December via Kickstarter.

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