Here in Londontown in a hole-in-the-wall hotel by Paddington, when just 24 hours ago I was in San Francisco at the Net Impact Conference. Tonight convened with my Homies in the Em-See-Dubba-Gee (Microfinance CEOs Working Group) talking about how we can best move the industry forward amid myriad challenges — “good problems” to have — from the many-fronted war on poverty. Feeling privileged to be in this group of smart, dedicated, motivated people.
Back to San Fran: Net Impact, started 20 years ago, is a gathering of social entrepreneurs who want to twist the power of capitalism away from straight up personal enrichment (a big motivator, no lie) towards solving the big problems of the world: poverty, malnutrition, safe water, clean energy — you get it. In the place of personal enrichment, we Social Entrepreneurs plunk down our Trump (no, not HIM) Card: Job Satisfaction. Because, face it, amigo(a)s, ain’t none of us gonna get outta here alive. When you are born, an “Invisible Hand” takes a baking clock and sets that Big Timer in the Sky. Could be set on 60, 70, 80, maybe even on 100 years. But when the Reaper blows the whistle, ain’t gonna be no Injury Time. So: What you gonna do when He comes for you?
Speaking to the young folks at this conference, there was a common message. Hey, I’m tired of doing unpaid internships. I’ve got talent, experience, but I have to make a living. Maybe I need to “sell out” to Corporate America (what my generation would have called it) at least for a while, and then, after I get some experience, move into the SE space. Not a bad strategy. Especially in this job market. And Corporate America is Getting Greener by the Day.
Another way to go is “Go South, Young (Wo)Man. Emerging Markets are where the growth is happening. Maybe you will have to volunteer initially. But you may find that there are more opportunities than you imagined for someone who speaks English or some other European language. And knows the culture. Plus you are already there.
Shout out to everyone who attended my workshop on Green Energy in Uganda. You ideas are already in the mix. Thank you!