The Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), founded by Bill Clinton in 2005, brings together heads of state, CEOs, philanthropists, members of the media, Nobel Prize winners, and nonprofit and NGO leaders to discuss the world’s challenges and create innovative solutions. Last week I was invited to participate as a Senior Counselor of C.Fox Communications, and honored to be among such an innovative group of individuals.
The theme for this meeting, determined by President Bill Clinton, was ‘Mobilizing for Impact’, a logical extension of the fall’s theme which was ‘Designing for Impact’. Clinton recalled that when he founded CGI, he saw the need for an organization willing to change from the “I wish” mentality to an “I will” one. Today, CGI requires its attendees to pledge action, not merely discuss the great issues of the day. And that’s the difference.
The breakout session I attended—Resilient Cities—was led by John Podesta, Chair of Center for American Progress and former White House Chief of Staff. Architects, environmentalists, accountants and investment bankers mixed with marketing executives, global entrepreneurs and representatives from major retailers to discuss the impact global warming and recent catastrophic events will have on how and where we build our cities in the future.
Creativity was insisted upon and brilliance was mixed with the fanciful. With Superstorm Sandy still heavy in the New York air, solutions seemed to focus more on preparation for a different world. There was talk of high-tech applications partnering with the power of volunteerism having the greatest impact in the aftermath of a disaster.
The thought that really stuck with me coming out of the session was from President Clinton himself, about the role we can play in having an impact on such challenges: “Think of people as architects and designers for change. When we act, we mobilize.”
It was a terrific session, and one I was delighted to attend.