Careers in the Social Sector for Social Good

Toady I am fortunate to be attending the last day of the Ashoka U  Exchange, an amazing gathering of individuals and organizations at the intersection of higher ed, social entrepreneurship and social innovation.  There are over 700 people from around the world including leaders of higher education institutions, facultty, impact investors, civil society, foundations and more.

The panel I am currently attending is on “Creating Employable Changemakers” that has a number of outstanding panelists who are discussing the skills related to social innovation and how to help ensure students and alum of higher ed insttitutions are obtaining meaningful and paid employment. As many PCDN members  may know this is one of the central goals of PCDN to help ensure that individuals from around the world who want to pursue ethical and high impact social sector careers can access the tools, resources and inspiration  needed to be successful.

A few key points from this morning’s first speaker Monisha Kapila, founder of CEO of Proinspire, which develops leaders at all levels for organizations addressing the world’s greatest challenges. We are passionate catalysts of outstanding performance.

First is there is a boom in the number of social sector careers and institutions, particularly in the past decade.

Second, there are different stages of the career lifecycle. Each stage has unique opportunities  and challenges, as well as  different  skills.

Third, most social  sector organizations tend to be under 100 people and thus building a career is more a winding path than a straight line.

Fourth, there is an emerging ecosystem for supporting the social sector. This includes an increasing number of fellowship programs which are a wonderful way to develop skills and experience.

Fifth, when people want to switch from one career to the social sector, it is essential to frame one’s experience in the relevant language. Sometimes getting a bit of additional experience may be needed through a fellowship, or volunteer experience can provide the stamp of credibility that helps.

Sixth, we need do do much more do help advance and grow social sector, both on the demand and supply side.

What are your thoughts and experiences on careers in the social sector and your favorite resources?

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Craig Zelizer

Craig Zelizer

Dr. Craig Zelizer is the Founder of PCDN.global, which connects a global community of changemakers to the tools, community and opportunities to build careers of impact and scale change. He has strong experience in the development sector, academia and social entrepreneurship. From 2005 to 2016 he served as a professor in the Conflict Resolution program at Georgetown University (where he still teaches). He has led trainings, workshops and consultancies in over 20 countries organizations including with USIP, USAID, CRS, Rotary International and others. Craig is a recognized leader in the social sector field. He has received several awards including George Mason’s School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution’s alumni of the year award and an alumni career achievement award from Central European University. Dr. Zelizer spent two years in Hungary as Fulbright Scholar and was a Boren Fellow in Bosnia. He has published widely on peacebuilding, entrepreneurship, and innovation in higher education.
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