7 Inspiring Quotes From the 2017 Collaborative

By Allison Gauss
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Another Collaborative has come and gone—another three days packed with insights, dialogue, and inspiration. We heard from experts in cause sectors ranging from mental health to hunger to climate change. There were dozens of sessions offering valuable takeaways for social enterprises and nonprofits of all sizes.

While we can’t possibly pack all of the Collaborative’s incredible moments in one blog post, here are just a few of the event’s most insightful and inspiring quotes.

1. “When you align talent with purpose, you can literally change the world.” –Danny Kim

Danny Kimm is a speaker, consultant, and career coach at The Dauphinee Group and Point Loma Nazarene University. He spoke on The Secret to High Performance Teams, a panel including Cindy Jones-Nyland, co-Founder and principal of Brite Dandelion; Jake Wood, founder and CEO of Team Rubicon; and Chandini Portteus, CEO of Wipe Out Kids Cancer.

2. “Tech doesn’t solve problems—people do. Tech enables problem solving.” –Neal Myrick

The panel Using Technology to Maximize Social Impact featured Neal Myrick, director of social impact at Tableau; Elaine Gibbons, executive director of corporate engagement at PATH; and Josue Estrada, SVP strategy and operations at Salesforce.org. These leading technology companies shared how their work is powering social change.

3. “The most impactful message comes from those impacted.” –Linda Sarsour

Linda Sarsour is an activist and a co-organizer of the historic Women’s March. She spoke alongside Liz Plank, senior correspondent at Vox, and Andrew Wetzler, deputy chief program officer at Natural Resources Defense Council, on the panel From the Living Room to the Legislature: How Grassroots Initiatives Launch Social Change.

4. “You can’t improve the health of a community unless you understand it. We had to earn a seat at the table of the community.” -Gerald E. Johnson II

How the Social Sector Will Weather Federal Funding Cuts was a panel on how social impact organizations must adapt their revenue model, revise their programmatic commitments, or both in the face of proposed cuts to federal funding. The panel featured Gerald E. Johnson II, chief diversity officer and SVP at American Heart Association; HyeSook Chung, deputy mayor for Health and Human Services at the Executive Office of Washington, D.C.’s Mayor Muriel Bowser; and Eric Anst, manager of data and analytics at C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group.

5. “If your model requires your employees to take a 30 percent pay cut to work in a toxic environment for the sake of social good, you’re doing it wrong.” –Jeff Shuck

Jeff Shuck co-leads Plenty with Jennifer Mulholland. They were joined by Stacey Stewart, president of March of Dimes and David Omenn, VP of development at Global Citizen Year for a panel on Unlocking Abundance: A Holistic Approach to Transformational Growth.

6. “If you aren’t telling your story, then someone else is.” -Wajahat Ali

In the panel Building a Future Free of Hate Speech, Wajahat Ali, creative director at Affinis Labs, explained why oppressed groups must tell their stories to counter false and derogatory narratives from others. He was joined by Sally Smith, founder and CEO of Nexus Fund; Patricia Georgiou, head of business development at Google Jigsaw; and Mary deBree, manager of content policy at Facebook.

7. “When someone tells you that it cannot be done, it is more a reflection of their limitations than yours.” -Adrianne Haslet

Speaker, advocate, and dancer Adrianne Haslet delivered the closing keynote on day two of the Collaborative. A survivor of the Boston Marathon bombing, she shared her journey in overcoming life-changing trauma to achieve dreams others said were impossible. Her moving remarks impressed upon the crowd that just because some massive social problems have not yet been solved, it doesn’t mean they cannot be solved.


The 2017 Collaborative was jam-packed with breakthrough moments, stirring discussions, and exciting innovations. Keep an eye on the Classy blog for more on the event’s lessons and save the date for next year’s Collaborative, coming to Boston June 12 to 14.

Save the Date for the 2018 Collaborative

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