Editors note: Donald Thompson, a veteran entrepreneur and investor, writes a weekly column exclusively for WRAL TechWire about leadership as well as diversity and equality.
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK Lara Stein grew up white and Jewish in apartheid South Africa, an experience that gave her a personal lens on systemic change, education and oppression. Later, she went on to found the grassroots initiative TEDx and build Singularity Universitys global expansion and implementation strategy.
Now, she is founder and CEO of Boma Global, an international network of local partners that offer transformative learning experiences to help people be more intentional and intelligent about the future. As she told me, I spent the first half of my life in the for-profit sector, and the latter part sort of straddling the two: nonprofit and for-profit. Now, Im working on systemic change that could bring the two together.
TEDX Raleigh logo
A few weeks ago, I was privileged to interview Lara for my podcast. Lara and I share a guiding belief that education is key to solving big, global problems, and we each work to show other leaders whether business executives or emerging professionals how to be ready for the future. Through Boma, she is democratizing global problem solving. At The Diversity Movement, my team tackles the same work from within organizations, teaching people how to nurture diversity and inclusion for better innovation and stronger decision making. Lara and I have a lot in common. Our conversation left me feeling energized and hopeful.
Heres an excerpt that I hope will make you feel the same way. Listen to the full interview on The Donald Thompson Podcast.
DT: Tell me about Boma Global and its mission. Why did you start this firm, and what are you looking to accomplish?
LS: In ancient Africa, the Boma was a wooden enclosure where the tribe would come together to have hard conversations and then, ultimately, take action. The world right now is so complicated. There are all these vectors coming together: COVID, climate change, geo-political change, social change. And as COVID has shown us, we need local solutions, or at least alignment, to roll up globally if were going to move forward as humanity in a way that matters. It doesnt matter what zero admission rules you put in place in the U.S. if we are not aligning with China. So, we have to think about these big, global problems and how we solve them through both bottom-up and top-down systems.
Donald Thompson: Talking leadership and values with Matt Sheehan of Exhale, Primo and Redbox
The original vision for Boma, just symbolically, was this idea of humanity coming together in both bottom-up and top-down ways, using community circles to design emergent and agile outputs for some of these big global challenges. Essentially, Boma Global is a decentralized network of partners all around the world that are designing and implementing solutions and learning journeys for how we get leaders to think more intentionally and intelligently about the future.
Were doing that primarily through large-scale impact events that focus on some of our big-level challenges, then working with corporate leaders on what they need to know and who they need to be to design a more intentional, intelligent, inclusive, and sustainable world.
DT: That is really, really powerful. I want to drill down a little deeper. Tell me about a specific line of instruction or an event that someone would go to.
LS: Yeah, sure. We recently did an event in New Zealand on regenerative agriculture and the future of food systems.
It was called E Tipu 2021. We had 600 people live in the room, and we also livestreamed it to our Boma community and our Boma community circles around the world. We also put a number of tickets aside for groups, young people, startups, nonprofits and etc. so that we could ensure access to lots of people who would not usually have access to events like this. So, you had CEOs of big, Fortune 500 companies sitting next to high school students and talking about how we could redesign our food systems.
Ultimately, we would like to do that in a global way so were able to highlight and elevate innovation all over the world around that topic and make it very much an inclusive conversation. In everything we do, we try to attack things from a cross-disciplinary, cross-stakeholder, cross-economic point of view. We try to get multiple complex inputs so we can really get a great output.
When it comes to the work were doing in the corporate training sector, we really focus on what you need to know and who you need to be to be a future-forward, sustainable, inclusive leader. Because 90% of leaders right now say theyre totally re-evaluating both themselves and their businesses because of COVID. So, who do they need to be as human beings in order to lead future-focused organizations?
DT: One of the things I want to give you some space to share is, how does someone reading this get involved in Boma? What should they do next?
LS: Again, our theory of change is cross-stakeholder. What were really focused on right now is how do we get corporate leadership to think differently about designing a more inclusive and sustainable future? If youre a big organization, we would love to work with you and take you through our corporate training or collaborate with you on creating modules that are bespoke to your organization. But, we also design large-scale events. So, to the degree you want to participate in any of our events, we have amazing work both online and digitally.
And then finally, we have a platform right now that allows communities to have these completely self-organized initiatives and bring people with diverse points of view together to help them have and work with them on having a conversation where they are able to listen respectfully to each others points of view.
Donald Thompson: Scaling up, or burning out? Talking with startup coach Veronica Kirin
DT: We work on that at The Diversity Movement too. We teach leaders the importance of inclusive language and how to use inclusive language so that we can really have a conversation. So we can put pressure on the debate of ideas, not the vilification of each other.
One of the final questions I have is what would you like to share with our audience that I havent been thoughtful to ask? What would you like to have as that final thought?
LS: You know, I really believe in shared humanity and that we all have more in common than we have different. But we have to create a softer, gentler society to allow for those commonalities to come out. We have to figure out how to harness technology to not divide us, but unite us. And so my final thought is, you know, South Africa at the end of apartheid could have gone the same way as every other country on the African continent and ended up in a civil war.
But because of Mandelas leadership, they had the foresight to create the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, where you could air your grievances, then forgive and move on.
In order to build the future, we need to have truth, reconciliation and forgiveness so we can move on. And in order to do that, we need some great leadership on this planet.
DT: Thank you Lara. I am thankful and humble that you took some time to spend with us.
Donald Thompson is an entrepreneur, public speaker, author, Certified Diversity Executive (CDE), executive coach and host of The Donald Thompson Podcast. With two decades of experience growing and leading firms, he is a thought leader on employee-focused cultures, goal achievement, influencing organization-wide change and driving exponential growth. He is also co-founder and CEO of The Diversity Movement, a results-oriented, data-driven strategic partner for organization-wide diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives. Donald serves as a board member for several organizations in marketing, healthcare, banking, technology and sports. His autobiography, Underestimated: A CEOs Unlikely Journey to Success, launches in 2022. Connect with Donald on LinkedIn and at donaldthompson.com.
See the original post here:
- Column: How will climate change impact the Shuswap? Salmon Arm Observer - Salmon Arm Observer - January 9th, 2022
- What happened to those in poverty with the child tax credit expansion ended? - The Philadelphia Inquirer - January 9th, 2022
- No, colleges and universities are not safe to reopen for in-person learning - WSWS - January 9th, 2022
- 20 Baltimore tech and entrepreneurship leaders offer New Year's resolutions for 2022 - Technical.ly - January 9th, 2022
- I learnt to come out of my shell and be heard - The Standard - January 9th, 2022
- Janssen Takes Multifaceted Approach to Ensuring Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in its COVID-19 Vaccine Trial - FiercePharma - January 7th, 2022
- #BizTrends2022: Tourism tribe, let's be more intentional in 2022 - Bizcommunity.com - January 7th, 2022
- Meet Assistant Teaching Professor Terri Tilford: 'I Hope Students Learn From Me the Joy of Learning, How to Effectively Help Others and How to... - January 7th, 2022
- Kennedy Krieger Institute and University Of Maryland receive $2.9 million grant to implement antiracist, trauma-informed training - EurekAlert - January 7th, 2022
- Listening sessions scheduled to hear about health equity within Washington - KXRO Newsradio - January 7th, 2022
- Stations contribute reporting, expand reach of new rural news network - Current - January 7th, 2022
- I was a troubled teen in Pennsylvania whose future was redeemed. More youth need that chance. | Opinion - The Philadelphia Inquirer - January 7th, 2022
- Mapping Teotihuacans Past, Present, and Future - Eos - January 7th, 2022
- The False Promise of Criminal Justice Reform - The Nation - January 7th, 2022
- A Sleeping Giant Awakens (Maybe?) "Environmental" Enforcement Of Title VI Of The Civil Rights Act Of 1964 In The Era Of The Biden... - January 7th, 2022
- Suburban Strength: Columbus Suburbs Are Growing Faster Than the City - Columbus Monthly - January 7th, 2022
- Bethlehem swears in its 14th mayor - lehighvalleylive.com - January 7th, 2022
- Adam Roberge, Phil Gaimon, Ruby West and three others headline new Jukebox Cycling team - VeloNews - January 7th, 2022
- Trailblazing scholar heads to the N.J. Assembly with eye on public access - The Philadelphia Tribune - January 7th, 2022
- The Benefits of International Partnerships - The Foreign Service Journal - January 7th, 2022
- Charah Solutions Partners with Community and National Charitable Organizations Through Its Ongoing Charah Cares Philanthropic Initiative - Yahoo... - December 29th, 2021
- Attracting and retaining talent through culture - National Hog Farmer - December 29th, 2021
- Governor Wolf Responds to Congressional Redistricting Map Proposed by the House State Government Committee - pa.gov - December 29th, 2021
- Struggle against COVID-19 was biggest story of 2021; Year In Review: The first six months of 2021 - News-shield - December 29th, 2021
- She was arrested at a bar, then found hanging in a cell. Police haven't given her family answers. - Stars and Stripes - December 29th, 2021
- Logan University teams with regional health commission for blueprint to fight chronic pain - Chiropractic Economics - December 29th, 2021
- Hope is key to the coming year, beyond - Appalachian News-Express - December 29th, 2021
- Financial Services Industry Year in Review: Regulatory Enforcement and Litigation Trends in 2021 and Beyond - JD Supra - December 29th, 2021
- The Best Burnout Advice People Learned In Therapy In 2021 - HuffPost - December 29th, 2021
- Most popular stories, commentaries and podcasts of 2021 on CatholicReview.org - Catholic Review of Baltimore - December 29th, 2021
- Mohammadu Indimi And The Primacy Of Education - LEADERSHIP NEWS - December 29th, 2021
- You dont teach prejudice by discussing its existence. How to talk to children about race and discrimination. - PBS NewsHour - December 27th, 2021
- Philadelphia promised $68 million in new antiviolence spending. How its going. - The Philadelphia Inquirer - December 27th, 2021
- The opioid and homelessness crisis at Mass. and Cass: whose problem is it? - BU News Service - December 27th, 2021
- How to Build Inclusive Mentoring Programs for the Hybrid Workplace - ATD - December 27th, 2021
- What Makes the Muhammadu Indimi Brand Stand Out? - THISDAY Newspapers - December 27th, 2021
- Q&A: John Dozier on the Strategic Action Plan for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion - MIT News - December 27th, 2021
- BAPTIST LIFE: 4 suggestions on building a ministry to children and students - Kentucky Today - December 27th, 2021
- Okayplayers 10 Best Films Of 2021 - Okayplayer - December 27th, 2021
- How the OneTen Coalition is Ensuring Black Talent Without Four-Year Degrees Grow Their Careers - Pittsburgh Magazine - December 27th, 2021
- Tango, contra and other dancing still stalled as other activities have returned to the Upper Valley - Concord Monitor - December 27th, 2021
- Christmas 2021 thoughts and hopes: Editorial Board Roundtable - cleveland.com - December 27th, 2021
- Build Back Better is crucial to boost climate action without leaving coal miners behind | TheHill - The Hill - December 23rd, 2021
- Crisis in the Classroom: Decoding the critical race theory debate - News 5 Cleveland - December 23rd, 2021
- Blackbaud Shows Continued Commitment to Giving Back Around the World - PRNewswire - December 23rd, 2021
- Governor Hochul Signs Legislation to Improve State Response to COVID-19 Pandemic - ny.gov - December 23rd, 2021
- A holiday miracle that comes in a vial | Opinion - nj.com - December 23rd, 2021
- Opinion: Shift Colorado's transportation priorities away from asphalt and toward mass transit - The Colorado Sun - December 23rd, 2021
- Detroit Vesey's Is a New Kind of Inclusive Space For Los Angeles - Eater LA - December 23rd, 2021
- City of Tucson Awarded Phase One Build Back Better Challenge Grant from the Economic Development Administration - Signals AZ - December 23rd, 2021
- Opinion: Friends of public education, its time to speak up - News-Leader - December 23rd, 2021
- Support local businesses this holiday and beyond - AustinTalks - December 23rd, 2021
- Endangered Monk Seal Died Of Gunshot Wound To The Head, Authorities Say - Honolulu Civil Beat - December 23rd, 2021
- Black Artists, Then And Now, On View In Wilmington, Delaware And Philadelphia - Forbes - December 23rd, 2021
- 'Bold, Audacious Goal': Coalition Pushes to Add More Than 1 Million Educators of Color - Education Week - December 23rd, 2021
- Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Update St. Olaf College - St. Olaf College News - December 23rd, 2021
- The kids are not all right: The urgent need to expand effective behavioral health services for children and youth - Brookings Institution - December 23rd, 2021
- 23 tech leaders on the opportunities that can shape Baltimore's future - Technical.ly - December 23rd, 2021
- Doctrine of Discovery and Its Impact on American Indian and Alaska Native Health Care | Health - nativenewsonline.net - December 23rd, 2021
- Scientists and Laypeople Speak Different Languages. This Funder Wants to Bridge the Gap Inside Philanthropy - Inside Philanthropy - December 23rd, 2021
- Mayor Jenny Durkan Announces Recipients of the Neighborhood Economic Recovery Grants - SPD Blotter - December 17th, 2021
- Mayor Bowser Releases the 2022 Green Book, the District's Small Business Enterprise Opportunity Guide | mayormb - Executive Office of the Mayor - December 17th, 2021
- The Redistricting Process Favored the Status Quo, Again. That Needs to Change. Voice of San Diego - Voice of San Diego - December 17th, 2021
- This is America: Santas of color are the most magical part of my Christmas experience. We need more of them. - USA TODAY - December 17th, 2021
- ONE YEAR LATER: A reflection on the anniversary of the first COVID vaccines with CCPHD's Mike Zelek - The Chatham News + Record - December 17th, 2021
- State Redistricting Stalls Amid Standoff Over Tribal Priorities - The Paper - December 17th, 2021
- Army Corps architect creates space for minority youth; earns Black Engineer of the Year Award - United States Army - December 17th, 2021
- 2021 reflections: In an amazing year of achievements, nothing topped the return to campus - UCLA Newsroom - December 17th, 2021
- Social media and small businesses: The good, the bad and the authentic - The Daily Universe - Universe.byu.edu - December 17th, 2021
- Westside Future Fund Receives $750,000 from PNC Foundation for Home on the Westside - PR Web - December 17th, 2021
- Suicide and intentional self-harm - Australian Institute ... - December 13th, 2021
- Nonprofits Want Share of the State Budget Surplus - The NonProfit Times - December 13th, 2021
- Introducing Crain's 2021 Notable Businesses Championing Diversity and Inclusion - Crain's Cleveland Business - December 13th, 2021
- News from the noteworthy: 12-09-21 - AllOTSEGO - December 13th, 2021
- Native New York: Dispelling the Myth of the Sale of Manhattan & More - nativenewsonline.net - December 13th, 2021
- KU Libraries, The Commons to host presentation by author Andrew Hoffman on Jan. 13 | The University of Kansas - KU Today - December 10th, 2021
- 'We failed in being inclusive' | How experts are hoping to reverse lack of diversity in medical research - WUSA9.com - December 10th, 2021
- Walmart and NAACP Join Forces To Create Educational Pathways - CSRwire.com - December 10th, 2021
- The Urgent Imperative For Corporations To Promote Financial Literacy In Communities Of Color - Forbes - December 10th, 2021
- State Budgets Tied to Fossil Fuels Are Slowing the Energy Transition and Leaving Workers and Communities Behind - Center For American Progress - December 10th, 2021