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.
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]