E9S10 Connecting, Convening and Curating Ideas for Impact at Scale with Madison Marks

Summary & Key Takeways

In this episode of The Social Change Career Podcast, Madison Marks, a leading social innovator with two decades of impact experience, shares her experiences and insights on entrepreneurship, development, and innovation. Madison is currently a Portfolio Strategist with UNICEF Venture Fund's Office.

Marks outlines the importance of identifying valid problems, pursuing customer discovery, providing evidence of impact, and creating an impact framework to. She also discusses the critical role of self-care in preventing burnout in social impact work and key insights how to build resiliency when working on challenging issues.

She also shares the role of entrepreneurship and startups to advance social impact as well as explore the work of Unicef's Venture Fund, which supports early-stage companies by providing investment, technical advice, and strategic mentorship. Marks also provides guidance on acquiring funding, learning new skills, and crafting a personal education strategy.

Key topics include:

  • Inclusive investments and practices
  • Venture building and traction
  • UNICEF Venture Fund and startup support
  • Multilateral job opportunities
  • Madison Mark's career journey
  • Funding and support for startups
  • Upskilling for social impact jobs
  • Managing burnout in large organizations
  • The role of generalists in the social impact space
  • The power of cohesive narrative and storytelling skills.

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Bio: Madison Marks is a global development professional specializing in strategy, communications, program design and delivery, and partnership building for initiatives focused on social innovation, impact funding, entrepreneurial ecosystem building, youth engagement, and cross-cultural exchange. Madison is currently working as a portfolio strategist with the UNICEF Venture Fund, investing in frontier technology, open-source Digital Public Goods with the potential to impact children on a global scale.

Previously, Madison was Managing Director of the Social Innovation Lab with Johns Hopkins University, supporting in scaling the impact and growth of Baltimore-area, mission-driven ventures. Madison has also lived in Jordan, Lebanon, the UAE, and Washington D.C. where she has worked with Expo 2020 Dubai, Womena Investments, Rainmaking Innovation, Qatar Foundation International, and American Councils for International Education. Madison holds an MA in Arab Studies from Georgetown University and a BA in Middle East Studies from Florida State University. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering as a startup coach and mentor across the globe.

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