Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Council on Foundations

I just returned from a couple of days at the Council on Foundations annual meeting in Seattle. I was part of a panel that included Orlando Ayala of Microsoft, Linda Segre of Google.org, Sally Osberg of the Skoll Foundation and was moderated by Akhtar Badshah of Microsoft. The title was "Changing Poverty through Profit."

It was very interesting, hearing a blend of corporate positioning from Microsoft and Google combined with real interest in social issues. Of course, Sally Osberg kept the social side of the equation by providing real examples of social entrepreneurs making impacts (while working with corporations). I followed up with examples from my journey from tech entrepreneur to social entrepreneur.

The questions from the audience were great, and it was one of the better panels I've been on (thanks to good prep work from the Microsoft team that organized the panel, especially Jane Meseck). I was also able to talk to many people from major foundations, and had a really good talk with Mark Kramer of FSG, one of the thought leaders in the field. Before I left town, I also got to swing by Amazon.com and explore more opportunities around books for people who are print disabled. Pretty good return for time invested!

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