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It is clear that the world we live in today changes at a fast pace that surpasses theories within the subject of leadership as it was studied several years ago. Drawing on recent sources, I found some examples of how the whole concept is perceived in an innovative way.  

Roselinde Torres, who dedicated more than 25 years to look for answers to the question: What makes a person a great leader? in a TED presentation held in San Francisco on November 2013, found unexpected answers after research of more than 4.000 companies on the subject. She came to conclusions, that I would summarize as follows. First of all, a leader is not someone who reacts to situations, instead, he/she molds and gives shape to reality in order to obtain the expected result. This aspect has a lot to do with the ability of a person to get out of the box, to walk away from preconceived ideas, traditional ways of doing things and solving problems, and create a different future, leaving aside judgements of people who are not used to different ways of thinking. For that, this leader is a person who also is able to develop relationships with people completely differently that will help him/her to ask themselves different kinds of questions and find different responses to these problems.  

Fields Wicker Miurin, in London, in 2009, made a presentation in TED based on testimonies of famous leaders from different backgrounds and highlighted their sensitivity -- their humility was not about them but about the people who needed something done. The Forbes Coaches Council, on the other hand, released an article on December 2017 about “16 Essential Skills of the Leader of Tomorrow,” that emphasized the belief that leaders are made, not born. I would summarize these 16 skills with just a few that get to core of what makes the leader of tomorrow. The leader of tomorrow earns the respect of others with his/her empathy and capacity to connect with people, the ability to encourage everyone around them to give their best, and they dissolve fears by their willingness to really listen; also, this leader has self-confidence, believes in his/her mission, and his/her commitment to goals. The leader of tomorrow is humble and authentic, curious and sensitive, flexible to learn new things, and to adapts easily to changes. It is someone who does not give up and is versatile enough to consider differences as opportunities for growth,  

I met Martha Leticia Silva Flores during a social innovation event organized by the Center of High Impact Social Innovation (CISAI) in Jalisco, Mexico last June. She is the center’s director and the impression she made when I met her and what I was able to learn about her in just a few days convinced me to write about her as a leader of tomorrow.   

Leticia was born in the City of México, in a traditional Mexican family, with her three brothers. She was not the eldest, and yet, thanks to her intellectual curiosity, her tenacity, and perseverance, she wanted to go to college and, at the end, she became the first member of her whole family, from both sides, to obtain a university degree. She got married very young to the love of her life. Four children were not an obstacle to her continuing her goals to keep studying. She repeated herself that “with organization, tenacity, perseverance, and hard work she could obtain whatever she wanted.” 

In 1999, she started as a professor at the Technological Institute of High Studies of the West ITESO, and in 2006 she won a scholarship from the United Nations to complete a master’s degree in Knowledge Management in Torino, Italy. In 2013, she started a PhD on Scientific Social Studies at the Jesuit University of Guadalajara and she graduated with honors in 2017, becoming the only honorific mention given in the history of the Doctorate. Meanwhile, in 2015 and 2016, she did a research in ESADE at the University Ramón Llul in Barcelona, Spain, which enabled her to work in the Social Innovation Institute as a visiting professor designing methodology for the Social Innovations Laboratory in ESADE. At present, she is the director of the CISAI, and research professor of the Center for the High Impact Social Innovations of Jalisco ITESO, at the Jesuit University of Guadalajara. Leticia is also a member of the Academic Board of the Master in Generation and Management of Innovation at the University of Guadalajara and member of the Sectoral of Scientific Research (CSIC) of the UDELAR in Uruguay. Leticia is a member of the Social Innovation Network in Mexico and coordinator of the Mexico’s Node of the International Network for the Sustainable Development (inno4sd) based in the Netherlands.

Her line of research is the social innovation regional studies of innovations, ecosystems of innovation, and social impact’s assessment. Among her latest publications, the most important are:  “Social Innovation: A Social Shared Competence” released in Education in the Knowledge Society (EKS); “The Digital Revolution Facing the Big Challenges of the World, 100 Initiatives of Digital Social Innovations That Are Transforming Latin America,” released by ESADE, Barcelona; and “An Approach to Social Dynamics of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Ecosystem of the Metropolitan Guadalajara’s Zone (ZMG),” released by ALTEC, Porto Alegre, Brazil. 

To complete Leticia’s profile and know the person beyond the academia and professional achievements, I interviewed her with the Q & A as follows.

1.Which aspects of your life, do you consider to be relevant to shaping the person you are today, representing who you are, and what made you work in social innovation?  

I have always felt that we all have the responsibility of doing something for others from what we know how to do. It is the reason why, as a researcher, I consider scientific and technological research must be at the service of the social development of a country; not only in terms of generating knowledge that often remains hidden in a database of academic articles or in patents used for the benefit of only a few. For me, it is essential to associate the scientific and technological knowledge produced in research centers with the social knowledge produced in the reality of people, so often conceived as incompatibles. However, I am sure that the intersection of both types of knowledge allows the origin of social innovations which has the ultimate objective of positively impacting people’s lives. For this, what I do from my professional activity is addressed to encourage and facilitate social innovation projects that put scientific findings to the service and benefit of society in a concrete and real way. 

2. You have written in your Skype Profile the following sentence: “Passion to live, generosity to coexist, and prudence to survive.” What does this mean this to you?   

“Passion to live,” I have always felt a great passion for life, from feeling the sun on my skin, the wind playing with my hair, feeling the company of the forest, or simply sitting at the top of a mountain and seeing the trees. Contemplating, in nature, the presence of God who nourishes me to feel passion for putting my intellect, my spirit, and my soul in everything I do, as life is the sum of our actions. 

“Generosity to coexist,” because, we are human beings in relation with each other, this can only be possible by being generous with each other, generosity in sharing time, ideas, spaces. We have to learn to be generous in order to live together, as I have learned by living with my husband. 

“Prudence to survive,” as sometimes we speak and act without thinking. On the other hand, the consequences of this are misunderstandings or hurting people without noticing. As a result, being conscious of this is important to not hurting others and surviving. 

3. Could you in a few words explain the connecting thread – what is the link that articulates your professional and academic activities with your mission as a human being? 

Definitively, God is the connecting thread, and my children and husband, the driving force. 

4. What would be the skills needed to be a leader in the field of social innovation in Latin America?  

First, sensitivity as the human quality to be smart enough to be practical and efficient while using different resources in the service to others. And secondly, resilience.  

5. How do you see the subject of social innovation in the region? 

Social Innovation is better positioned here in Jalisco, Mexico than in the rest of the country, thanks to the Social Innovation Office which has undertaken several efforts to promote a culture of social innovation, such as Epicentro and Social Valley. However, Jalisco is still an emerging ecosystem. We can see it clearly in events like Campus Party or Talent Land where the axis dedicated to social innovation is barely noticeable. Probably the Reto Zapopan initiative could help better to promote the culture of social innovation.  

6. Do you have any ideas for the future of social innovation in Latin America?  

I would like to highlight two ideas: 

First, in order for to enable a critical mass to develop a culture of social innovation there is the need to initiate programs that promote the culture of innovations in early education, at school, or middle high school. We don’t need to wait until university. 

Second, in order to support the present social innovators it is necessary to build infrastructure to make access to financing possible as well as accompanying mechanisms, because through all of my research about social innovation, the main reason important social projects are abandoned is for economic reasons. 


I would like to include testimonies of people who have lived and worked with Leticia, to confirm she embodies the skills of a leader and promoter of change that the world of tomorrow needs:  

  • “From my point of view, Leticia has in her relevant and rare qualities: a powerful analytical regard, a remarkable capacity of work, a humility that only highlights more her personal and professional achievements; a kindheartedness that is very rare in the academic world, and a willpower to learn and spirit of self-improvement that let’s us predict a brilliant future. From a distance, I can only send her my best wishes and a warm hug. Her success will certainly be the success of social innovation in the region.”  - David Murillo 

  • “I met Leticia approximately a year and a half ago. She is part of the Social Innovation’s Network of the Consultive Forum of Science and Technology. She presented the programs being held by ITESO. She combines her academic work with the promotion of social innovation projects on one of the innovations and entrepreneurship clusters that has been receiving a strong impulse from the government. This is very important because many proposals developed in Mexico remain as only good rewards, but they do not scale nor get consolidated. Leticia succeeded in coordinating efforts to get agreements not only at the local level, but also at national and international ones, especially in Canada, England, and Spain, that enable her to gain a long-term vision of the direction of these new strategies to produce solutions that could mitigate poverty and damage to environment.”  - Carmen Bueno Castellanos. 

  • “Leticia Silva is an extraordinary woman, great wife, and committed mother to the four children she raised while studying to get her master’s degree and PhD. She is a model of perseverance and focus to achieve her goals. Her success lies not only in the professional level, but also in the personal one as she is a great wife and mother. When it is a matter of cooking, she is wonderful -- making exceptional meals in minimal time.”  - Carlos Serrano

  • “I believe that the dedication Leticia gives to education deserves recognition because she has put her knowledge to the service of education in different levels and spaces. In the academic field as a professor she has contributed without limits her skills in designing activities to improve courses. She has always been concerned with elevating the academic quality of her courses and the results achieved by her students; looking for ways to teach in a special way useful content for students, knowing how to connect with each of her students, strengthening her relationships with them in order to make the experience of her courses as enriching as possible.  
    Since I’ve known Leticia, she has been an exemplary person, tireless in her work and deeply committed to what she does. She has been preparing and surpassing herself with the mindset of being congruent with an interdisciplinary thinking, between engineering and social sciences, from classrooms to the creation of projects that could articulate both areas in order to solve social problems.”   - Martha Gabriela Solano Aguilar 

Works Cited

“16 Essential Leadership Skills for the Workplace ofTtomorrow.” Forbes Coaches Council; December 27, 2017.

Es claro que el mundo que vivimos hoy cambia a un ritmo que supera las teorías con las que se estudiaba el tema del liderazgo hace algunos años. Acudiendo a fuentes recientes, encontré algunos ejemplos de cómo el concepto es percibido de manera innovadora. 

Roselinde Torres, dedicada por más de 25 años a responder a la pregunta de ¿qué es lo que hace de una persona un gran líder?, en una presentación de en San Francisco, Estados Unidos, en Noviembre de 2013, encontró respuestas inesperadas luego de un estudio realizado a más de 4.000 compañías sobre el tema. Llegó a varias conclusiones que yo resumiría de la siguiente manera: Primero que todo, un líder no es alguien que reacciona, sino que moldea y le da forma al futuro. Ese punto tiene que ver con la habilidad de una persona de salirse del molde, de las tradiciones y las ideas preconcebidas, de rebelarse y crear un futuro diferente sin importar los juicios del entorno acostumbrado a lo mismo. Y para ello, ese líder es una persona que tiene la capacidad de desarrollar relaciones con personas diferentes, que le ayudarán a hacerse preguntas diferentes y encontrar respuestas diferentes a dichas problemáticas. 

Fields Wicker Miurin, en Londres, en 2009, hizo una presentación en basada en los testimonios de líderes famosos de diferentes estilos, nacionalidades y obras, y resaltó la sensibilidad de éstos, la humildad con la que explicaban que no se trataba de ellos, sino de las personas que necesitaban que él/ella hiciera algo al respecto. 

El Forbes Coaches Council, por su parte, publicó un artículo en Diciembre de 2017 sobre “16 habilidades esenciales de un líder para el mañana” y encontré que ellos comparten la teoría de que los líderes no nacen, se hacen. Resumiría esas 16 habilidades en algunas que considero reúnen y llegan al fondo de lo que es un líder del mañana: El líder del mañana se gana el respeto a través de su empatía y capacidad de conectarse con cada persona; su capacidad de motivar a cada uno a perseguir sus sueños y disolver sus miedos porque, sabe escuchar a cada uno y logra, con ello, que cada uno de lo mejor de sí; también a través de su confianza en su misión y su compromiso con su visión. El líder del mañana es una persona humilde y auténtica, curiosa y sensible, flexible para aprender y adaptarse rápidamente en los cambios y para quien las diferencias son oportunidades de enriquecimiento mutuo. Finalmente, el líder del mañana es una persona versátil y perseverante con sus metas.  

Conocí a Martha Leticia Silva Flores en el evento sobre Innovación Social que realizó el Centro de Innovación Social de Alto Impacto CISAI, en el estado de Jalisco en México en Junio de este año. Ella es su Directora y el impacto que me produjo conocerla y lo que pude percibir del ser humano y la profesional, me convencieron de la necesidad de escribir sobre ella, por ser un ejemplo de todo lo que hemos venido aprendiendo sobre los líderes del mañana. 

Leticia nació en Ciudad de México, en una familia mexicana tradicional, con tres hermanos. No es la hija mayor, sin embargo, gracias a su curiosidad intelectual y su constancia y tenacidad, tuvo claro su objetivo de ir a la Universidad y se convirtió en la primera persona de su familia, tanto materna como paterna, en obtener un título universitario. Se casó muy joven con el amor de su vida. Un hogar con cuatro hijos no le impidió seguir estudiando pues su motivación era que “con organización, tenacidad, constancia y trabajo podía lograr todo lo que se propusiera”. En 1999 comenzó como profesora en el Instituto Tecnológico de Estudios Superiores de Occidente ITESO, y en 2006 gano una beca de las Naciones Unidas para hacer una Maestría en Gestión del Conocimiento en Turín, Italia. En 2013 comenzó su Doctorado en Estudios Científicos Sociales en la Universidad Jesuita de Guadalajara y en 2017 lo obtuvo con honores, convirtiéndose en la única mención honorífica otorgada en la historia del doctorado. Entre tanto, en los años 2015 y 2016, realizó una estancia de investigación en ESADE de la Universidad Ramón Llul en Barcelona, España lo que le permitió trabajar con el Instituto de Innovación Social como profesora visitante diseñando la metodología para el Laboratorio de Innovación Social de ESADE. Actualmente es la Directora del Centro de Innovación Social de Alto Impacto del Estado de Jalisco, CISAI, y profesora investigadora del Centro para la Gestión de la Innovación y Tecnología del ITESO, Universidad Jesuita de Guadalajara. Leticia es también miembro de la junta académica de la maestría en Generación y Gestión de la Innovación de la Universidad de Guadalajara, y   miembro de la Comisión Sectorial de Investigación Científica (CSIC) de la UDELAR en Uruguay, miembro de la Red de Innovación Social México y coordinadora del nodo México de la red internacional para el desarrollo sostenible (inno4sd) con sede en Holanda.

Su línea de investigación es la innovación social, estudios regionales de innovación, ecosistemas de innovación y evaluación de impacto social. Entre sus últimas publicaciones se destacan: “Social Innovation: A Social Shared Competence” publicada en Education in the Kowledge Society (EKS); “La revolución digital ante los grandes retos del mundo. 100 iniciativas de innovación social digital que están transformando América Latina” publicada por ESADE, Barcelona; “Una aproximación a las dinámicas sociales del ecosistema de emprendimiento e innovación de la zona metropolitana de Guadalajara (ZMG)”, publicada por ALTEC, Porto Alegre, Brasil. 

Para completar el perfil de Leticia y conocer el fondo detrás de todos estos logros académicos y profesionales, decidí entrevistarla y conectar así el tema de esta edición con su ejemplo. 

1. ¿Qué aspectos de tu vida consideras que han sido relevantes para hacer de ti la persona que eres hoy, que representen quién eres y que te hayan llevado a trabajar en la innovación social? 

Siempre he sentido que tenemos la responsabilidad de hacer algo por los demás desde lo que sabemos hacer, por ello como investigadora considero que la investigación científica y tecnológica debe estar al servicio del desarrollo social de un país; pero, no sólo en términos de generación de conocimiento que muchas veces se queda guardado en una base de datos de artículos académicos, o en patentes que son utilizadas para el beneficio de algunos pocos. Para mí, resulta indispensable la vinculación del conocimiento científico tecnológico que se produce en los centros de investigación con el conocimiento social que se produce en la realidad de las personas pues, en muchas ocasiones, parece como si fueran conocimientos irreconciliables. Sin embargo, estoy segura de que el cruce de estos conocimientos permite la posibilidad de generar innovación social que tiene como fin último incidir de manera positiva en la realidad de las personas que luchan día a día por tener una mejor vida. Por ello, las acciones que hago desde mi quehacer profesional están encaminadas a impulsar y favorecer proyectos de innovación social que pongan los hallazgos científicos al servicio y beneficio de la sociedad de manera real y concreta.

2. Has escrito en tu perfil de Skype la siguiente frase: “Pasión para vivir, generosidad para convivir y prudencia para sobrevivir”. ¿Qué significa para ti?  

“Pasión para vivir”, siempre he sentido una gran pasión por la vida, desde sentir el sol en mi piel, el viento como juega con mi pelo, sentir la compañía del bosque o simplemente sentarme en lo alto de una montaña y ver los árboles, contemplando en la naturaleza la presencia de Dios que me alimenta para sentir pasión en todo lo que hago poniendo mi cognición, espíritu y alma para tratar de hacerlo bien. Entonces “pasión para vivir” sería poner cognición, espíritu y alma a las acciones que hacemos, porque finalmente la vida es la suma de nuestras acciones.

“Generosidad para convivir”, sé que somos seres que se relacionan unos con otros, y esto sólo se puede dar por la generosidad de ambos (tú y el otro), generosidad al compartir tiempo, ideas, espacios y generalmente tenemos que aprender a ser generosos para convivir, cosa que he aprendido y vivido con mi esposo.

“Prudencia para sobrevivir” algunas veces decimos o actuamos sin pensar en el otro, lo que ocasiona que podamos lastimar o generar malos entendido sin darnos cuenta. Por lo tanto, me parece que tomar conciencia de ello es importante para no hacer daño y sobrevivir.

3. ¿Podrías definir en pocas palabras cuál sería el hilo conductor, eso que articula tu actividad profesional, académica y tu misión como ser humano? 

Definitivamente Dios es el hilo conductor, y mis hijos y esposo son el motor.

4. ¿Cuáles serían, en tu opinión, las calidades o habilidades necesarias para ser un líder en el ámbito de la Innovación Social en América Latina? 

En primer lugar, la sensibilidad y calidad humana para ser lo suficientemente inteligente para ser práctico y eficiente al utilizar distintos recursos al servicio del otro, y en segundo lugar, la capacidad de resiliencia.    

5. ¿Cómo ves el tema de la innovación social en la región?

La innovación social en la región de Jalisco, con respecto al resto del país, está mejor posicionada gracias a que la Secretaría de Innovación Social ha promovido varios esfuerzos que pretenden impulsar una cultura de innovación social como Epicentro y Social Valley. Sin embargo, aún Jalisco es un ecosistema de innovación social incipiente y lo podemos ver claramente en eventos como Campus Party o Talent Land, donde el eje de trabajo dedicado a la innovación social apenas es perceptible, probablemente uno de los esfuerzos que coadyuvan de mejor manera con la innovación social en Jalisco es Reto Zapopan. 

6. ¿qué ideas se te ocurren para el futuro? 

Son varias las ideas que se me ocurren, pero, quiero apuntar dos:

Primera, para que exista una masa crítica que permita el desarrollo de la innovación social en Jalisco es necesario iniciar con programas que promuevan este tipo de innovación desde la educación básica o la educación media superior, no hay que esperar a la educación superior.

Segunda, para apoyar a los actuales innovadores sociales en Jalisco es necesario generar infraestructuras para el acceso de financiamiento y tener mecanismos de acompañamiento para acceder ellos, pues a lo largo de las investigaciones que he hecho sobre innovación social, la principal razón por la cual se abandonan los proyectos sociales es por cuestiones económicas.


Como conclusión de este artículo, quisiera incluir los testimonios de personas que viven y han trabajado con Leticia para confirmar sus calidades de líder y promotora de los cambios que el mundo está requiriendo: 

  • “A mi modo de ver Leticia recoge en su persona unas facetas relevantes y escasas: una mirada analítica potente; una capacidad de trabajo muy notable; una modestia que, por otro lado, resalta sus logros personales y profesionales; una bonhomía que se echa de menos en el ámbito académico y una voluntad de aprendizaje y superación que apuntan hacia un futuro académico brillante. Desde la distancia, sólo puede desearle mis mejores deseos y darle un cálido abrazo. Sus éxitos serán sin duda los de la innovación social en la región.” David Murillo 
  • “Yo conocí a Leti hace año y medio aproximadamente.   Ella forma parte de la Red de Innovación Social del Foro Consultivo de Ciencia y Tecnología. Presentó los programas que lleva a cabo en el ITESO. Ella combina la parte académica con la promoción y e impulso de proyectos de innovación social en uno de los clusters de innovación y emprendimiento que han recibido un fuerte impulso del gobierno del Estado. Es importante este reconocimiento porque en el país se desarrollan muchas propuestas que se quedan en simples concursos y que no escalan ni se consolidan. Leti logra coordinar esfuerzos a nivel local, pero se vincula exitosamente en el plano nacional e internacional con importantes convenios sobre todo en Canadá, Inglaterra y España que le permiten tener una visión a largo plazo del rumbo de estas nuevas estrategias de generar soluciones que mitiguen la pobreza y el medio ambiente.” Carmen Bueno Castellanos. 
  • “Lety Silva es una mujer extraordinaria, gran esposa y madre comprometida con 4 hijos que educó al mismo tiempo que estudiaba la maestría y luego el doctorado. Se ha convertido para la familia en un ejemplo de constancia y enfoque de esfuerzos para alcanzar las metas fijadas. Su éxito no sólo radica en el terreno profesional, en el ámbito familiar, es una gran esposa, excelente madre y si se trata de cocinar, es maravillosa logrando platillos excepcionales en un tiempo mínimo.” Carlos Serrano
  • “Creo que la dedicación de Lety a la educación merece reconocimiento porque ha puesto su conocimiento al servicio de la educación en distintos niveles y espacios, en el trabajo académico como profesoras ella ha aportado sin restricciones sus habilidades en el diseño de actividades y la mejora de cursos. En su labor como docente se ha preocupado por elevar la calidad académica de sus clases y de los resultados en los productos de los estudiantes, ha buscado ejercer la enseñanza de contenidos útiles y, de forma muy especial, se ha preocupado por saber cómo acercarse a los estudiantes para mejorar su relación con ellos, con la idea que enriquecer sus experiencias en las aulas y que fueran más significativas. 
    Desde que conozco a Lety para mí ha sido una persona ejemplar porque es incansable en su trabajo, profundamente comprometida con lo que hace. Ella se ha preparado y ha buscado superarse, pero, además ha querido ser congruente con un pensamiento multidisciplinar transitando ella misma de la ingeniería a las ciencias sociales, y de la educación en aulas, a la creación de proyectos que vinculen el conocimiento con su aplicación para la resolución de necesidades sociales.” Martha Gabriela Solano Aguilar 


“16 Essential Leadership Skills for the Workplace ofTtomorrow.” Forbes Coaches Council; December 27, 2017.

Networking Breakfast for Pennsylvania Nurse Residency Collaborative.
From Left to Right: Sarah Hexem, Mary Lou Kanaskie, Pam Meinert, Amy Ricords, Cathy Witsberger, Cindy Cappel, and Faye Gardner.

“Every new nurse should have access to a high-quality residency program. Yes, you need to stay competitive for recruitment. Yes, there is an impressive return on investment when looking at retention. But, honestly, we are at a point where it is just the right thing to do,” says Amy Ricords, MEd, BSN, RN-BC.

Ms. Ricords currently chairs the Steering Council for the Pennsylvania Nurse Residency Collaborative (PA-NRC). The PA-NRC officially launched in August 2016 as a strategic partnership between the Pennsylvania Action Coalition and Vizient, Inc. Through the PA-NRC, hospitals throughout the Commonwealth can access the Vizient/AACN Nurse Residency Program™ at a discounted rate and receive additional state-level networking and technical assistance opportunities. The Institute of Medicine’s Future of Nursing Report recognized nurse residency programs as instrumental in improving the quality of healthcare. Pennsylvania is the third state to implement the NRP at a state level. To date, 57 hospitals in Pennsylvania participate in the PA-NRC. 

“Unfortunately, although all health care settings hire new graduate nurses, residency programs have not permeated beyond larger acute care settings,” states Ricords. When not volunteering with the PA Action Coalition, Ms. Ricords serves as the Director of Nursing Education and Professional Development at Penn State Health Hershey Medical Center, where the Vizient Nurse Residency Program was implemented in 2010. Ms. Ricords has also worked in homecare, acute rehab, acute care, and in various leadership positions. “In every setting, I can see the value that the curricular components of the Nurse Residency Program would bring.” 

Ms. Ricords is particularly interested in the generational dynamics of the nursing workforce. As the baby boomers seek successors and nursing schools turn out millennials by the thousands, health care systems are challenged to think creatively about how to quickly and effectively support emerging nurse leaders. “When we look at our entry level nurse leader positions, nearly 50 percent of graduates are from the Nurse Residency Program. We aren’t just transitioning the new nurse, we are fostering the next generation of nursing leadership,” she says. 

With hospitals clamoring for Magnet status and high competition for new graduates, most health care systems are looking to residency programs that can be accredited and typically those programs have a price tag. For systems hiring hundreds of new graduates a year, the cost-benefit is clear. “The challenge is that many smaller hospitals that hire fewer graduate nurses, see the large systems and say, ‘that isn’t for us.’ Yet, small cohorts are often even more effective because they can be so closely tailored to the needs of those nurses. And the margin for smaller hospitals means that preventing even one nurse from leaving prematurely makes a huge difference.”

Ms. Ricords is working with the Steering Council, the Pennsylvania Action Coalition, and Vizient, to find new ways to bring the Nurse Residency Program to smaller hospitals, rural health settings, and non-acute settings. “The first year of the PA-NRC was about getting up and running, establishing critical mass, and building a sense of community. Now, we are looking at how to leverage the wealth of experience across the state to support nurses’ practice in health settings of all kinds.”

Amy Ricords conducting the Pennsylvania Nurse Residency Collaborative Implementation Training at Einstein Medical Center.

Founded in 1980, Ashoka began with a hope to create the field of social entrepreneurship Bill Drayton believed in, one focused on investing in individuals with a system-changing idea and entrepreneurial skillset that would achieve the greatest social impact. Ashoka understood that innovative and leading entrepreneurs are spread all over the world, so in 1981 Ashoka began identifying what would become the Ashoka Fellows in India and supporting their social change ideas with a three-year stipend and powerful network. The work that began in India started formalizing and expanding in 1986 when their Fellow reach spread to Brazil, Nepal, and Bangladesh. Today, Ashoka has furthered its reach to more than 93 countries and a network of more than 3,000 Ashoka Fellows globally. 


Change Leader and Manager of the Board of Directors, Samara Randhawa is based out of the Ashoka headquarters in Arlington, Virginia. Samara began her career with Ashoka as a 22-year-old working on a two-year apprenticeship directly with Bill Drayton. Samara believes that the opportunity to learn from Bill Drayton truly changed the way she views the world today. Following the apprenticeship, Samara’s role within Ashoka evolved with her working as the Manager of Global Communications, Co-Leader on the Strategic Planning Team, and most recently as the Partnership Manager and Manager of the Board of Directors. Recently, as part of the Framework Change Team, Samara proudly worked on the internal strategy guide of Ashoka’s organization framework change strategy to achieve Everyone a Changemaker.™ 

Samara brings a global perspective to her work as she is a dual citizen of the United States and Canada. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Carleton University in 2006.


Samara believes that by working behind the scenes in support of Fellows and Ashoka constituents and assuring that Ashoka grows financially and strategically she is in fact setting the stage for everyone to have the self-permission and empowerment to contribute to change. The following quote perfectly describes Samara’s view of the world and her purpose as a leader. “Everyone has a calling -- a way of doing and being -- and I am working to create a world where everyone has confidence and self-permission to creatively contribute to change and shape the world for the good of all.”


Samara is clear in her commitment and dedication to system changing solutions and every person knowing they are a changemaker. Samara appreciates the opportunity to partner with leaders across Ashoka’s team of teams to achieve the shared goal of Everyone a Changemaker. According to Samara, for hundreds of years the world has largely organized in a model of repetition; where rigid hierarchies were the norm and people learned a set of skills that could serve them for life (e.g. Henry Ford assembly line). This old paradigm is quickly disappearing and the world is now in a new paradigm that is defined by rapid change. She describes it as a world led by open fluid systems where everyone must be contributing to change, particularly for the good of society. As part of this shift, Ashoka is introducing a new framework for living and working together in this new paradigm: Everyone a Changemaker. Social entrepreneurs are at the heart of this transformation because they are the architects of the new systems we need -- individuals focused on ensuring a more equal, just, and healthy society. In a world of rapid change and increasing problems the answer is more problem solvers. Ashoka is dedicated to achieving maximum impact by introducing this powerful new Everyone a Changemaker framework that ensures empathy, teamwork, leadership, and changemaking as the guiding framework for all. 

Most Important Contribution

Samara welcomes and appreciates the opportunity to expand Ashoka’s marketing and revenue plans. Her current challenge includes helping to spearhead a global youth campaign and messaging strategy for Ashoka. 

With the cost of graduating from many top schools exceeding a quarter of a million dollars, what is the value proposition of internships for students and donors? In this Q&A, Robert Miller, Chief Alumnae Relations and Development Officer of Bryn Mawr College, shares his insights on an internship’s positive impact for a school which U.S. News has ranked among the top 10 of all colleges and universities in percentage of graduates who go on to earn a Ph.D. Prior to coming to Bryn Mawr College, Bob was Senior Associate Director of Major Gifts at the University of Pennsylvania.  

Q. While Bryn Mawr College provides financial aid to 50 percent of its students, one would assume that many of them still need to pursue better-paying jobs like a waitress or tutor versus a non-paying internship that provides cachet but no cash. 

A. Internships’ terms and conditions have evolved over the years and in many instances, for the benefit of students. For instance, this past summer, our school provided funding (e.g. around $4,000/intern) so that several our hardworking students could support a variety of groups including non-profits, government, and academic entities. And like their peers who secured paid jobs at Fortune 500 firms, they had to complete specific assignments like prepare and present posters of their internship experiences to alumnae. 

Q. While it is great that recent studies have indicated that students graduating with internship experiences, in general, are more likely than students without those experiences to find employment upon graduation1; how do you secure funding when there are many other options for donors to invest their limited dollars? 

A. While a college’s governance and daily operating model might be different from a Fortune 500’s, our development team crafts customized funding proposals that have a laser focus on the potential impact against the identified pain points of the issue at hand. And our Leadership, Innovation, & Liberal Arts Center in turn provides a support model that prepares students for pre, during, and post periods of an internship. 

Q. So for students and donors, what are the top three value propositions that internships offer? 

A. First for students, while earning high GPAs are very important, research findings continue to point to the value of securing internship experiences. For example, NACE's 2018 Job Outlook survey uncovered how hiring managers believed that interning within your preferred industry is more important than your college major or GPA.2 Also, internships allow students’ passions to bloom and explore potential dream careers.  

Second for donors, many of whom are alums; internships enable current students to make informed decisions on future careers which in turn build a pipeline of better-engaged alums to the 22,000+ who work and live around the world. 

Finally, for society, internships provide an invaluable experiential platform for learning. One World Economic Forum report that has been imprinted on me was one report’s reference to how the average time in a single job is 4.2 years . With the changing future of work, individuals should factor internships into their life-long reskilling plans. 


1 Saltikoff, Nathalie, May 2007, The Positive Implications of Internships on Early Career Outcomes, NACE


2 Mejia, Zameena, July 2018, How Bill Gates' summer internships shaped his career, CNBC Make It 

Author Bio

Michael Wong has more than 25 years of experience working for Apple, AstraZeneca, EPAM, IBM, and Merck. Mike is Co-President of the Harvard Business School Healthcare Alumni Association and his insights have been shared in the Harvard Business Review and MIT Sloan Management Review.


Ms. Sharmain Matlock-Turner is the President and CEO of the Urban Affairs Coalition (UAC). She began her tenure at the Coalition in March of 1999, with a special distinction as the first woman. As the first female UAC leader, Sharmain considers being heard the toughest part of her job. With the existing unintentional bias, she endeavors to maintain a delicate balance trying to push her way in without making others uncomfortable. 

Training in politics helps Sharmain to overcome the most challenging aspects of her nonprofit leadership work. In 2005, she was one of three Philadelphia nonprofit leaders selected to receive a scholarship to the Harvard Business School’s nonprofit leaders' summer program. She formerly served as Chair of the Advisory Committee for the Office of Economic Opportunity for the City of Philadelphia. She also served on the boards of the Philadelphia Gas Works and the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority. These collective experiences have strengthened her ability and confidence to make people recognize her seat at the table and value the experience and knowledge that she brings. As she said in the interview:

“I get to understand that my value and ideas in some periods of time might be unrecognized… And I am an African American. There are more biases against that. But I never let them stand in my way. I just feel that these make me stronger and more effective.”

As for the most rewarding part her job, Sharmain emphasized that it is all about the people. Those who work in UAC and who get helped from UAC keep motivating her nonprofit leadership work. A young man who attended UAC’s youth summer program later became a full-time staffer of UAC. A teenager who attended UAC’s financial education workshop successfully obtained his first credit card. Many stories like these are rewarding for her. 

“Knowing that you have the power to influence how people view themselves and how they see the potential of their place in the world. That is the most rewarding thing in the world. You know that you really touch people.”

UAC operates like a huge umbrella and partners with a variety of nonprofits. To manage such a complex strategic partnership, Sharmain found that the key to her role is to get to “Yes” responsibly. When some partners present a problem, she considers if UAC has the skills internally or resources externally to support solving the problem. Collaboration serves as a second crucial approach to successful strategic partnerships. Sharmain values the grassroots-level staffers and believes that the real work gets done on the ground in the communities. As the president of UAC, she views that her position is responsible for coordinating all parts to make sure the holistic system works and that UAC can make the partners’ work easier and more effective.

Dealing with the diverse partners, Sharmain hoped to encourage the uniqueness of individual programs while standardizing administrative and cash management. Contrary to a factory, UAC tries to maintain the specialness of a program and strategy. Yet, Sharmain considers standardized and effective cash management as critical to avoid disruption of program progress. 

As a community-rooted nonprofit, UAC has brought many crucial opportunities to communities. The organization’s efforts are focused in four areas: improving life chances for youth and young adults; building wealth in low-income communities; strengthening the grassroots nonprofit sector; and forging strategic partnerships across sectors and communities. Among the ample contributions she has made, Sharmain regarded bridging the gap between low-income communities and financial services as the most crucial opportunity that UAC brings to the communities it serves. The entirety of the work and advocacy that Sharmain and her staffers have done is to make sure that financial institutions stay connected to the low-income people at a grassroots level in communities. Sharmain remains confident that the communities that UAC serves recognizes their contributions:

“We’ve got to make sure that we are touching people in the communities, so that we have a give-and-take understanding of their needs, answering some of the needs, and getting their feedback, so that we know we are working on the right track.”

Under the contemporary political recession, nonprofits face the challenge of reduced funding. Government grants comprise a major source of UAC’s funding. Recognizing these challenges, Sharmain retains a positive view that the pain is shared across many places and can be overcome through many ways. She has promised not to hold back in paying the senior-level staff to ensure a stable management team. Also, she is making sure that UAC’s portfolios are big and diverse enough so that they can transition some of their programs when the grants they currently receive are no longer there. 

Sharmain is confident that UAC’s business model has helped the 47-year old organization to live on from year to year, as well as to maintain focus on what’s most important. She also considers it crucial for her to stay connected to policy makers so that UAC knows the next big ideas and how their programs either can be part of these ideas or if there is a need to redesign their projects to ensure they are part of the next big thing as well.

As an intern in Diane’s organization, I have had the pleasure of getting to know this dynamic and fierce leader, day in and out. Her commitment to gender equality and economic security makes WOMEN’S WAY lucky to have her leadership. She brings more than 30 years of political, fundraising, and nonprofit experience to her role in the organization.

As I sat down with Diane, I was pleased to listen to her explain her passion for fairness and equality for all.

How Diane Describes Her Leadership Style and Tips to Fundraising

Diane believes that telling a story and having empathy is the key to running a successful nonprofit. One has to believe in the mission they are describing rather than trying to “sell it.” Success is all about relationships and understanding the collaborative process. She emphasizes that understanding a funder’s needs and hesitations is the best way to secure funding and carryout your organization’s mission. Putting yourself in your funder’s shoes creates trust and a joint process where both parties in the relationship benefit from a new initiative. Asking for money is not her clear objective, she wants to excite someone to believe in her mission, and she believes money will follow.

Diane believes in a “Shared Leadership Model.” She believes everyone in an organization needs the resources and encouragement to carry out their everyday tasks. She believes in autonomy of every department and empowering her staff to take leadership. Feedback from every staff member can grow an organization immensely.

As an executive director in an organization in a restructuring and strategic planning phase, she finds it imperative to not cut any one out of the organization. She lines up every employee’s needs with the organization’s mission for a connected and collaborative leadership approach. She focuses on the growth of the organization through data-driven decisions and modern approaches to communications and outreach. She is currently spending her time rebuilding WOMEN’S WAY’s visibility within the community and plans to develop strategic partnerships within the community to achieve equity for all.

“I lead by helping other people become leaders.”

How did Diane Become Involved in the Nonprofit World and Become the Executive Director that She is Today?

As a child, her parents were very involved in social justice work. Her parents instilled this core value in Diane and her siblings very early in life, making achieving social justice a driving force in all the work she does. This laid the foundation for understanding the inequities that are prevalent in society and guides all her decisions and actions today. 

She began her career in health care as a physical therapist in Chicago and began as a professor of physical therapy at Thomas Jefferson University. In 1991, when homelessness in Philadelphia was at an all-time high, she began volunteering with Project HOME, an organization focused on assisting the homeless gain better access to healthcare. She then went on to establish a program for the homeless in Philadelphia, by working with her students to provide physical therapy services. 

Diane knew she had a calling so she left her full-time faculty position to open her own nonprofit organization helping artists with severe mental illness. Diane and her husband remodeled an old warehouse and opened a community center in North Philadelphia called Journey Home. This community center expanded into selling artwork and providing afterschool programs and summer camps with absolutely zero nonprofit experience. Diane then went on to run for the seat of State Representative of the 168th District, where she secured the highest percentage of votes on the Democratic ticket. Between 2007 and 2015, Diane served as the Executive Director of the Federation of Neighborhood Centers (FNC), a non-profit organization that provides health and human services to more than 35,000 disadvantaged individuals per year. 

“I did not have a mentor, I did not have a teacher. I did this all by myself, by tossing myself into the fire and using my commitment to social equity as my drive. Learn by doing is my motto.”

To learn more about Diane’s work with WOMEN’S WAY and their continuous fight for gender equality, visit

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