What happens when you convene 100 changemakers in one place? Magic.

September 14, 2017
Programs & Research

September in Philadelphia means yorkie hair cuts day and the unmistakable buzz of in the air. To welcome autumn, the Center for Social Impact Strategy convened over 100 changemakers from across the globe to from September 6-9th to celebrate their accomplishments, and to deepen connections for the work ahead.

In the final week leading up to the convening, nearly 100 students completed requirements for the Executive Program in Social Impact Strategy, the culmination of 8 months of new tools deepening the impact of their work. Thursday brought leaders from Indonesia, Kenya, Germany, and the greater Philadelphia community back to campus to synthesize their learning.

Using 3 minute pitches, graduates shared their most critical takeaways, and how they applied their new tools to their ventures. To better communicate their vision moving forward, graduates learned how to leverage Pixar’s storytelling arc to tell their own story, the stories of those their work supports, and the story that intertwines these narratives.


The evening graduation ceremony recognized the sacrifices and hard work required to complete the 8 month Executive Program, as the larger CSIS alumni community welcomed the newly-minted graduates over a dim sum dinner and deep conversation.

With so many brilliant minds convened in one place, the Center launched its’ first all-alumni summit to realize what’s possible when we work together. Friday brought together over 100 participants whose work spans more than 35 countries, representing each cohort of the Executive Program in Social Impact Strategy, Penn Impact Lab, IDEO U Impact House, Global Social Impact House, and Penn-Columbia Social Impact House.


Participants soaked up inspiration from a panel on the future of impact, featuring insight from Umi Howard (Lipman Family Prize), Dr. Femida Handy (School of Social Policy and Practice, University of Pennsylvania), and CSIS’s own Faculty Director, Dr. Peter Frumkin. In a group activity, participants explored their values, and developed a 12-month vision for the road ahead. Thanks to the tremendous efforts of alumni, the group developed ideas for platforms to connect the global network throughout the rest of the year.