Katya Smyth spoke last week at the Southern California Grantmakers (SCG) Leadership Exchange event, “Can New Approaches to Collaboration Produce Stronger Results?”. She outlined five questions that need to be considered before foundations embark on the essential work of collaborating and working through networks to address wicked problems: 1. Why are we doing this?; 2. Do we have what we need?; 3. Whose version of reality is this anyway?; 4. Who’s the boss?; and 5. Am I an egg? (i.e., do I need to change, as well as expecting others to change?). Katya’s remarks, along with those of Fred Ali of the Weingart Foundation and Peter Long of Blue Shield of California Foundation, kicked off an important discussion among philanthropic foundations about information and data sharing, collaboration, and what it means to be a partner with community. Many thanks to SCG for convening this very timely, very important and very action-oriented discussion.
Two days prior, Katya Smyth was the invited speaker at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government New England Alumni Association Leadership Breakfast. She spoke with about 20 alumni about her founding of the Full Frame Initiative and her unease with the framing of social entrepreneurship as change belonging to the efforts of any single individual. Katya suggested there is a need for a “social entrepreneur 2.0” that recognizes the unique role of chief evangelizer, usually held by someone who is a boundary spanner between affected communities and communities of privilege. Many thanks to the Kennedy School NEAA for the invitation to share and discuss new thinking about social entrepreneurship.