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2014 NGen Conference Kindles a Fire Within Today’s Young Philanthropic Leaders

Posted Dec 31, 2014 02:10 PM
The Independent Sector's 2014 NGen Conference challenged emerging nonprofit and philanthropic leaders under 40 to become fearless in the way they tackle social change.

Inspiring the next generation of nonprofit leaders, the Independent Sector’s 2014 NGen Conference last November challenged everyone in attendance to be fearless in the way they tackle social change. Leadership is not a mere part of the job description; it is a call to action.

NGen brings together emerging leaders under the age of 40 from the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors to discuss challenges facing our society. Conference participants come from diverse professional backgrounds ranging from business start-ups to established national organizations.

The first session addressed current trends that will shape tomorrow’s leaders. In groups of peers, participants discussed issues facing the philanthropic sector while playing the role of a grassroots organization, a funding foundation, and a government entity. The groups also brainstormed what their ideal leader would have to face in 15 to 20 years.

From there, the conference broke off into two separate tracks: Social Change and Leadership Skills. When everybody reconvened later in the evening, participants were treated to a unique icebreaker networking exercise which incorporated visual and spoken word art. It was a creative alternative to just handing out business cards.

The following day, participants woke up early to have breakfast with several NGen Ambassadors, including former Seattle mayor Norm Rice. The conference’s closing keynote speaker was Heather McGhee, president of Demos. She spoke on political, economic and racial inequalities in our society. She sought to bring attention to our unspoken biases which affect our everyday decisions and interactions with people. As future leaders in an ever changing world, it is essential for everyone to become more self-aware of their own prejudices when important decisions have to be made.

At the end of the conference, attendees left energized to become stronger leaders of their missions. To learn more about NGen, follow them on social media. Click here to discover what the Independent Sector is all about.