Learning From Leaders Who Get Curious

May 4, 2023

Takeaways from attending the DANA Impact Delaware conference and Total Impact Summit in Philadelphia.

By Hanna Ruth, Director of Business Development at Social Contract

I am fully embracing the spring conference season and opportunities to gather with and learn from leaders driving change. Drew Fennell, our Executive Vice President, and I attended the 2023 DANA (Delaware Alliance for Nonprofit Advancement) Impact Conference at the University of Delaware. In a buzzing room full of more than 200 nonprofit leaders, we were challenged by Seth Goldenberg, author of Radical Curiosity, to "ask questions that will design the future." Our team begins every project with a discovery stage focused on asking questions and engaging those proximate to the challenges our client is working to address.

2023 DANA Impact ConferenceThroughout the day, we heard examples of curiosity and innovative partnerships in action. Logan Herring, CEO of The WRK Group, with whom we had the privilege of working in the early stages of The Warehouse's design, shared their partnership philosophy, which he called "the Thanksgiving model." Everyone is invited to bring their metaphorical best dish to the table, and sure enough, with an abundance mindset a feast comes together, and there are always leftovers. I'm excited for our team to keep this visual metaphor in mind as we continue supporting many cross-sector partnerships. 

Total Impact Summit 2023

I also attended the Total Impact Summit this week, hosted by Impact PHL in Philadelphia. The theme this year, Investing for People, Planet, and Place, provided rich conversation and learning about how we leverage financial resources to support thriving local communities, alter the course of climate change, and cultivate resilient local economies.

I was reminded of Social Contract's tagline, "rewrite the status quo," multiple times throughout the conference. When talking about leading systemic change,  Lauren Grattan, co-founder of Mission Driven Finance, prompted us to reflect, "What is the world we want to have? You have to know the rules of the system to rewrite the system." This aligns with our team's approach: we begin as students, learning how an organization currently operates to understand how we can support growth, improvement, and innovation. 

I hope you're finding opportunities this spring to engage with leaders who inspire you to get curious, cultivate an abundance mindset, and rewrite the status quo.