Collaborating for Impact

Monday, 24 September @ 6:00 AM

Ever been to a convention that felt like a big waste of your time?  Me too… but not this time!!!


Hosted by Stay Classy at the New Children’s Museum in San Diego, the first annual Classy Collaboration brought together top social entrepreneurs and nonprofit leaders to connect, learn and collaborate.  And that’s just what we did.


CONNECT – It was energizing to spend time with people so clearly committed to making a meaningful difference in the world.

From young social entrepreneurs like Mark with Flatwater Foundation, Alejandro Velez with Back to the Roots and Jake from Team Rubicon, to solo operators with tremendous passion like Liz with Girls with Sole… connecting was easy and rewarding. Other connection highlights for me:

  • Katya | Network for Good
  • Deborah | U-Touch
  • Melissa & Lauren | OneHope
  • Chiqui | Medical Teams International
  • Lynne | Neighbors4Neighbors
  • Rebecca | The University of Scranton
  • Michael |
  • Kayleigh | Free Wheelchair Mission
  • Rasa & Nancy  | Oxfam America
  • Roseann | (matchmaker service)
  • Alexis | MTV
  • Scot | Stay Classy
  • Ritu | Social Media for Nonprofits

LEARN – I chose to spend my first learning session with Alejandro Velez, co-founder of Back to the Roots, as we learned how to engage our community in ways that lead to breakthrough ideas and loyal fans.

Alejandro has a great story to share and his passion, enthusiasm and entertaining stories about truly engaging his audience made for a great session.

The second session was spent with Scot Chisholm, founder of StayClassy.  We focused on ways to create a movement, to engage new audiences and to empower them to take action that moves the organization forward.  Scot shared 10 great tips for making this happen (more on that in a future post).

COLLABORATE – This was the most fun for me.  Picture 200+ (30 per session) passionate, creative, caring people all focused on solving problems that will make a meaningful difference in the world.

MTV’s – Alexis Tirado partnered with Mark Garza, founder of Flatwater Foundation to lead a session on how to create new ways to create sustained engagement for Flatwater.  After setting the stage with background about the organization and their efforts to-date, we broke up into small groups to brainstorm about this challenge.

I won’t give away the story because Mark and Alexis have to work through all the ideas to determine which they will pursue together on behalf of Flatwater… but I can tell you there were some really great ideas.

Next up – Ritu Sharma partnered with Jacob Wood, co-founder of Team Rubicon, to lead collaboration on how this great organization could carve out a unique identify and differentiate its mission in order to attract more supporters and donations.  Jake and the rest of Team Rubicon left with some great ideas and a lot of new fans.

One thing I heard over and over from participants was how much they enjoyed being a part of the collaboration…and how much they would love to have these collaboration teams focused on their challenges.

I think it’s fair to say that the StayClassy team won’t have a problem finding leaders who want to participate in future collaborations.  I know I do!



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