The Power to Make Change

The driving theme of the Ivy Leadership Summit (ILS) was Impetus, and the events and speakers were meticulously planned to reflect that. The experience has truly convinced me that as students, we have the power to make a change now. Speakers such as Heather Anderson, Senior VP of Programs at Global Health Corps, emphasized that this conference was a catalyst. We did not have to wait to gain experience if we had an idea. We should find some resources and work to implement our visions now. I loved meeting peers who had the same passions that I did for the work needing to be done in the field of Global Health. ILS was an incredible opportunity to expose myself to the different opportunities in Global Health. It took a broad interest of mine and gave me the chance to meet leaders in the field. I now have more direction in what I want to explore career wise. I especially loved two key speakers and the advice they shared.

Henry Blodget:

As founder and CEO of Business Insider, he spoke about three key aspects of becoming successful no matter what you do. His presentation was entertaining and comforting because of the way he spoke so nonchalantly of his struggles, and shared that it will always work out in the end. He broke his advice down into three parts.

1) Develop Grit. 

Grit, as he defines it, goes beyond simple resilience or tenacity, but encompasses this true refusal to fail no matter what. He describes it as choosing to go forward with gratitude, because no matter how “rock bottom” it may feel, it could always be a little worse. Being grateful is a tool to develop grit. His anecdote centered around hi experience being charged with civil securities fraud. As a result, he agreed to a permanent ban from the securities industry and paid a hefty fine.

2) Focus on What Matters.

3) Accept and Value Criticism, but Do Not Let It Define You.

He describes this event as the worst time in his life, but he recognized that it could’ve been worse. He had a healthy family, for example. That gratitude helped him find the strength to keep moving forward. Also, the extreme nature of this experience made it easy, from that point forward, to take any criticism. His reputation had been torn to shreds during this time, and he had survived. So, with Business Insider, no matter how harsh the criticism may be, it wasn’t as bad, in his eyes, as it was when his professional life was scrutinized, criticized, and destroyed in 2002.

Diana Ayton-Shenker:

As founder of Global Momenta, a strategy firm for helping private foundations maximize their impact, she was working in a field I had never even realized existed. It was unbelievable to be exposed to so many options within the field of global health. She spoke about paying attention, being astonished and telling about it. She framed the work she did as serving the global majority, and described how describing underdeveloped communities as such, truly shifts the perspective. I think it was amazing to hear from her because she spoke about risk-taking as a tool and a necessity. Jumping before you think you’re ready is essential to success, especially if an opportunity presents itself. She describes her experience listening to the wrong advice, and not jumping for an opportunity with Hulu that would have grown her company. She truly advocated for going with your gut, and knowing when to disregard bad advice.

- Submitted by Namrata Ramakrishna '20, Rockefeller Mini-Grant Recipient 

The Rockefeller Center's Mini-Grants program funds registration fees for students attending conferences, as well as the costs of bringing guest speakers to Dartmouth. The views and opinions expressed here are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of the Rockefeller Center or constitute an endorsement by the Center.