UNITED ON PURPOSE
Jeff and Greg first met over a decade ago.
At the time, Greg and his team were creating the now global MicroConsignment model, while Jeff was leading IBM’s global CSR consulting efforts. They clicked immediately over Greg's empathy activity where students discovered that all families, rich and low-income, prioritize their children’s education above all else.
Fast forward 10 years…
Greg continued to be recognized as a social entrepreneur by Ashoka, the World Economic Forum and others and had built his unique impact and immersion program, Social Entrepreneur Corps. With teams in countries ranging from Nicaragua, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, and Guatemala – where he had served in the Peace Corps – Greg and his amazing team have been leading important development work impacting thousands of communities. Greg’s biggest aha moment came when he realized that empowering people to create change in communities around the world got them closer to discovering their purpose – whether it was female entrepreneurs selling eye glasses in rural villages or students collaborating on solving a water purification challenge.
Meanwhile, Jeff was building Your Project X with the goal of helping people find meaning and purpose in their careers and lives. At a recent catch-up last summer, Greg and Jeff immediately saw the synergies in the work they were doing. Both organizations – and their programs – were anchored in purpose. Both saw the world as wildly unpredictable, where AI is expected to replace 50% of jobs over the next several decades and two-thirds of the jobs middle school students will hold 10 years from now haven’t even been invented yet. Both believed that in order to prepare for the unpredictable, we must anchor in intention and learn to lean into it. Actualizing our purpose – and our journey to discover it – is the only way to navigate successfully in a volatile, unpredictable, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) world.
One hot spring New York City afternoon, Greg and Jeff made a big decision (the reason for this blog post!) and a new, expanded company - Project X - was born, with Social Entrepreneur Corps becoming a key program. By joining forces, we are expanding our areas of expertise (finding purpose, leading a meaningful life, driving change through social entrepreneurship, preparing young adults for careers that matter, building 21st century skills like empathy and design thinking, and more) so that we can make a difference in more people's lives in the United States and in marginalized communities around the world.
With two decades of combined experience collaborating, creating and educating in unpredictable, rapidly changing places - from Guatemala to South Africa, the US to Haiti, we have identified eight skills that are fundamental to this transformation. These skills are embedded in all our programs and consulting work. These are the skills we all need to succeed, but that can only truly be gained through experience. We call them the X-Factors.
Our X-Factors are:
‘Wicked’ Problem Solving - successfully overcoming huge systemic gaps to create positive change where others have failed
(Social) Entrepreneurship – taking action to build solutions both large and small, with and for others. Comfortable with failure, imperfection, and building prototypes that make a difference, are sustainable and can scale
Creativity – putting your imagination to work is critical in a world with no fixed outcomes, where pivoting and reimagining possibilities is key
Empathy - proactively creating the basis for respect, trust, deep engagement and connection across differences
Adaptive Leadership - making the best decisions and judgment calls possible in uncertainty and ambiguity
Resiliency & growth mindset - pushing through challenges, succeeding through failure, and self-directed continuous learning
Collaboration- working with others to achieve more than you possibly could yourself (including your own personal growth)
Global competence - navigating and succeeding in an interconnected society and world
We found our purpose:
To build transformational programs for students, adults, and organizations that help them question predetermined norms and get closer to their best, most fulfilled self through connection with others, a focus on creating value, and commitment to purpose as a lifelong practice. This mission is the heart of everything we do. With our now larger footprint, we aim to grow our impact by enabling individuals to develop and unleash their unique potential into the world.
As one of our recent program participants said:
Our journey is just beginning and we invite you to join us.