RECAP: 2021 Social Impact Strategy Program Closing & Alumni Summit

Rosemary Clark-Parsons
October 1, 2021
Event Summaries, Executive Programs, Residential Programs

2021 Social Impact Strategy Program Closing

This past August, the 2021 cohort of the Executive Program in Social Impact Strategy finished out eight months of intensive learning, application, and community-building. On September 20, 2021, the CSIS Team hosted a Program Closing event to celebrate and acknowledge these students’ hard work, determination, and dedication to advancing the public good.

CSIS Managing Director Ariel Schwartz kicked off the event with a collaborative learning session, in which students worked together to synthesize and organize their learnings from the program into an actionable toolkit for their future work. Following this, the cohort participated in a commencement ceremony, featuring words of wisdom and congratulations from Sara S. Bachman, Dean of the School of Social Policy and Practice, Peter Frumkin, our Faculty Director, and the whole CSIS Team. But it was members of the 2021 cohort who made the event especially wonderful. Taylor Knickel, Kate Lynch, and Amy Lisewski were nominated by their classmates to deliver short commencement speeches. Their remarks, highlighted in the video below, speak to both their personal experiences in the program and the cohort’s collective experience advancing their social impact goals while facing the challenges of our current moment. The complete recording of the commencement ceremony is available here

We are enormously proud of our 2021 Executive Program in Social Impact Strategy students. The 2021 cohort was our largest ever, and represented our eighth Social Impact Strategy program offering since 2015. The more than 150 students in the 2021 cohort represent 15 different countries and a diversity of career stages, sectors, and impact areas. Huge congratulations to this inspiring group of doers, who have invest the past eight months — and, for many, their whole careers — into making their communities better places. 

Thank you also to our 2021 Social Impact Strategy Teaching Fellows: Barbara Toorens, Christine Cea, Diane Lauer Hallman, Dominic Kelly, Lindsay Young, Natasha Dyer, Oscar Radoli, Shamichael Hallman, Shruti Kapoor, Stephanie Fenniri, and Tatiana Fraga Diez. All showed so much care for our students this year. They spent many hours facilitating learning, leading jamouts, offering feedback on assignments, facilitating Peer Accountability Knowledge and Support groups, and many other activities that helped strengthen our community and support application of learning to real social impact projects.

Each year, we are deeply impressed and inspired by the Social Impact Strategy students and alumni who engage with our curriculum. Applications for the 2022 executive program are currently open and we look forward to welcoming our ninth cohort in January! 

2021 Alumni Summit

The celebration of our students and alumni continued with our September 21, 2021 Alumni Summit. More than 200 recent and longstanding alumni of our executive and residential programs came together on Zoom to learn together, connect with one another, and re-energize as we head into the fall.

The day started with a coffee hour for alumni looking to reconnect with the CSIS community. CSIS Program Manager Anna Dausman then led a Luck Circles session, during which participants articulated specific asks to advance personal or professional goals and presented the asks to a small group for feedback, advice, and resources. 

The Luck Circles session was followed by a truly magical presentation from Andrew Evans, an illusionist and magic designer who brings a modern approach to magic. In 2014, he founded and built The Magic Patio — a magic speakeasy tucked in a hidden corner of San Francisco — which has quickly become the city’s most sought-after magic experience. Beyond the stage, Andrew spent 5 years as a Design Lead at IDEO and is a lecturer in Design at Stanford University’s D.School. At the Alumni Summit, Andrew shared what the world of magic can teach us about adding some spark to our facilitation strategies. Drawing on his own experience delivering magic shows via Zoom during the pandemic, Andrew discussed the importance of leading with empathy for our audiences, creating the conditions necessary for open engagement, and designing transitions with purpose.

Our fifth Alumni Summit was a wonderful success, thanks in large part to the energy our alumni participants brought to the event. We can’t wait to gather again, virtually or in person! Subscribe to our mailing list for updates on future events.