From June 23-25, I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the Clinton Global Initiative America 2014 in Denver, CO. To my knowledge, Charles Thomas, Executive Director of Queens City Forward and I were the only attendees from Charlotte.
The chance came about last fall, when I was introduced to CGIA, through a connection at the Rockefeller Foundation. After originally being considered to participate with the Youth Working Group, another CGI focus was more fitting — entrepreneurship for “underserved” markets. The entrepreneurship working group was where I presented City Startup Labs’ commitment for the next couple of years — an expansion of the program into other markets.
In addition to making this commitment to the working group, I also shared it with Secretary Hillary Clinton. [click here to see CSL’s CGIA 2014 commitment]
Networking at CGIA was an easy, nearly effortless process, as the conference was designed to help foster an interest in your colleagues. While this was facilitated in the working group/roundtable sessions, opportunities to meet and greet cropped up organically any and everywhere. I got the sense that folks were genuinely curious and interested in what each other was up to. However, naturally there appeared to be a great deal of self-interest as well. For most, CGI represented a hefty investment, which the participants intended to see a return on.
The enthusiasm and input that CSL garnered, during the working group/roundtable sessions, was particularly inspiring. Our table was packed with smart, spirited and engaged social change-agents, representing a spectrum of organizations, agencies and companies. This was something else that was quite evident at the Clinton Global Initiative — nearly everyone who I came into contact with, had an intention of affecting social change in one way or the other. This was another great thing about attending — being amongst people working to make a real difference.
So, currently I’m mapping a course that will strengthen the outcomes of the pilot, while establishing continual twice-a-year cycles in Charlotte. And of course, we’re working on City Startup Labs’ CGI Commitment.
Please share your feedback, comments and recommendations about our commitment. [see below]