In the early 1990s, Martin Fox was running early career executive development for a global company operating in more than 100 countries. His team had access to state-of-the-art leadership, management and business training. “Our mentors,” he recalls, “were senior executives who taught us the secrets to running high performance organizations. With those resources at our disposal, each of us rocketed upward in our careers.” But in 1991, he asked himself a critical question: “What would our world be like if we transferred those leadership, management and business skills to thousands of young people around the world to tackle pressing social and environmental issues? That one question changed my life.” And it led to the Center for Global Leadership, a nonprofit “think and do tank” that leads programs for young people, families, university students and corporate and professional organizations. Here, our quick Q&A with founder Martin Fox:
How does the Center for Global Leadership work?
We believe that young people are going to change the way our world works – CGL's role is to accelerate that change. Our team of executives and educators provide young people the advanced leadership, management and business skills. Armed with those skills, our students address pressing social and environmental issues in their local communities and/or around the world.
We have another core belief that changing the way our world works should be a ridiculous amount of fun and adventure (not somber martyrdom). Our programs take place in some of the most beautiful locations around the planet, building bridges across countries, cultures, races, religions and economic strata along the way. People in 146 countries follow our work, and we have organizations in an additional 32 countries asking us to expand our work to their nations as well.
Did you have a lightning bolt moment when you realized its potential for change in the world, or did you come to the realization gradually?
It was more of a lightning bolt in 1991, after years of constant reinforcement that my role on this planet was enabling young people to accelerate global change.
There’s a process you call the “Global Ripple.” Can you explain that as it applies to becoming involved with CGL?
Ripple One: Learn advanced leadership, emotional intelligence, systems thinking, and life skills.
Ripple Two: Design a project around your passions that addresses a pressing social or environmental issue in your local community or around the world.
Ripple Three: Implement that project with our help.
Ripple Four: Teach others how to do the global ripple.
Can you recommend some programs for adults or families who want to become involved for the first time?
I would recommend joining us in either Tanzania or Peru over the coming year. Both countries are extremely safe and great locations for seeing our village-level teams of social and environmental entrepreneurs in action.
Are there any programs in the pipeline that you’re particularly excited about?
We don't have any programs that I'm not really excited about. It tends to be that way when you are working with inspired young people around the world. In addition to our existing work around the world, we are looking forward to starting up additional young entrepreneur programs around the USA – getting thousands of young people outdoors, active and engaged in the greater good. We are also really excited about expanding our training of NGO employees and development entrepreneurs around the world.