G8 interns from 2009 jump for joy with Field Leader, Luke, and Executive Director, Greg. Photo by Kaveh S.

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It is our belief that true social entrepreneurial change, meaning systems changing and profound social impact at scale, is at its heart, about pursuing strategies that are focused on empowerment. Everything we ALL do as a team should be centered on designing and executing social innovations that intervene in the “right way” to empower. So how do we define empowerment? In short, we believe individuals, families, and communities are empowered to change their own lives and the lives of those around them when they have the ABILITY, MEANS, AND INSPIRATION to do so. And you need all three! Ideally, the work of Social Entrepreneur Corps intervenes and provides a positive impact in one or more of these areas based on our clients’ expressed needs and desires, taking into account their challenges and opportunities.

So, social entrepreneurial change is our mission and empowerment is our strategy. But how do we make the tough judgement calls necessary in the very dynamic and limiting environments where we work that will lead us to playing a positive role in people becoming more empowered? What do we use as our “integrity check” as we devise our models, work with partners, overcome the unpredictable, etc.? This is where our core values are so critical in so enumerable ways. Without our core values we are lost. We become subject to the unproductive consequences of our whims, our emotions, our cognitive biases, our knowledge gaps, our personal cultural constructions, our ingrained ideologies, and the like. We are admittedly very imperfect and need a set of core values to keep us true and to help us to aspire to continually do better for our clients and partners. Our team here at Social Entrepreneur Corps has spent the last month doing a good deal of reflecting and rethinking, and we have decided upon twelve core values that will guide EVERY aspect of our work, both internally and externally, as we seek to play a valuable role in others becoming more empowered and in empowering ourselves in the process. We define our core values as an aspiration to create social innovations and work in a way that is empathetic, client outcomes focused, trustful, intentional, dignified, accountable, innovative, endurable, collaborative, practical, catalytic, and inclusive. This is our “Checklist Manifesto”.

Why twelve you may ask? Well, you can call twelve a dozen. That’s nice. Did you know there were twelve apostles? There are 12 stars in the flag of the European Union. I wear a size 12 shoe. As you may have guessed, it has nothing to do with any of this. We decided on 12 because we found that we needed 12 to encapsulate who and how we aspire to be. Aaaand, it just so happens that there are 12 months in the year (I think you knew this). We find this very convenient (wink) because this empowers us to launch a new social media strategy that speaks to us and hopefully speaks to you. Here is how it goes.

Over the next twelve months we will be having monthly themes for Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and our blog. Each month the theme will be one of our core values. We will be posting pictures, field updates, articles, and news about events that are centered on the monthly core value theme. For the rest of September we are going to focus on “Empowerment” (our strategy) and then in October our first theme will be “Empathetic” (our first core value) and we need your help.

Please send us and/or post photos, articles, and updates from your work and life - your call – and post them on our social media pages, or tag us in your posts. And when you post, please use the following hashtags to get Social Entrepreneur Corps trending: #ProjectEmpowerment, #12Months12Values, and #SECorps. Each month, we will also announce the monthly hashtag for that core value, starting with #SeptemberIsEmpowerment this month. We truly view this as an engagement opportunity and want this to be a team effort. Sarah Webb, our Director of Social Media, will be the point person so please reach out to Sarah at [email protected] with photos, videos, blog posts, or ideas for stories.

Thanks so much and we look forward to your participation,

PS – This first “Empowerment” photo was sent to me by Kaveh last week, who participated in G8 in 2009. Kaveh has been doing amazing things and I was honored to share a stage with him at University of Maryland last week. Check out Sully. She’s got hops!