Commitment Webinars

From November 2018 through April 2019, select CGI U Commitment Mentors will host a series of content and skill-based webinars on topics ranging from the value of diversity to the art of networking to help CGI U students advance their Commitments to Action, further develop academic and professional skills, and share expertise and insight on a wide range of global issues.

Below you will find the full list of scheduled webinars in addition to any associated materials. Please note that webinar dates and topics are subject to change. Although these webinars will not be recorded, presentation slides will be added to this page shortly after the conclusion of each webinar. Interested participants are encouraged to register for each webinar they would like to attend and setup calendar reminders.


November 2018

Communicating Science: Turning Complex Ideas into Simple Conversation
Friday, November 9 from 1:00-2:00PM ET - Already took place
Hosted by Myeashea Alexander, Commitment Mentor for Arts and Media

See PowerPoint Presentation

The success of many projects can often depend on the ability to develop great partnerships and share our vision with diverse groups. Clearly and accurately explaining your work and its importance can influence the type of attention or funding that is received. Doing this well can be challenging! Traditionally, science communication is focused on improving the ways that scientists are able to share complex ideas with the public and non-specialists. This webinar will focus on a few of the same effective communication techniques that popular scientists use in their work to help commitment-makers reach wider audiences, foster collaboration, and inspire action.

Myeashea Alexander is the Commitments Manager for CGI U. She was also on the leadership team for one of the top scicomm training programs in the U.S. and is the creator of the science and anthropology blog, The Rockstar Anthropologist.

 


Social Media for Impact: Communicating Your Commitment
Tuesday, November 27 from 12:00-1:00PM ET
Hosted by Jay Sullivan, Commitment Mentor for Conservation

See PowerPoint Presentation

Social media can be a powerful tool to enhance impact both for your commitment and in whatever future work you pursue. It helps you reach and develop an audience; inform your community about your work; and spark a broader dialogue. But with increased access to these platforms, it can be hard to break through the noise and engage your audience. A coordinated strategy for your communications and engagement can help solve this problem. During this webinar, participants will learn communication strategies, social media tips including photo campaigns, and understand how to better leverage social media for impact. Participants will also have the opportunity to practice and refine a pitch and core idea to more effectively communicate what you do, what drives you, and how you are unique.

Jay Sullivan has experience working in communications and designing and directing programs that are impact-oriented, from starting viral social media campaigns on language and bias to designing internal development programs for the White House.

 


December 2018

Taking Others With You and Keeping Them There: Building Resilient Organizations
Thursday, December 6 from 5:00-6:00PM ET
Hosted by Robert Pecchio, Commitment Mentor for Dialogue and Conflict Resolution

See PowerPoint Presentation

Two heads are better than one, and when passionate, like-minded individuals come together at an organization, they’re able to create lasting change and rally around a unified goal. As an organization grows, however, it must ensure that its leaders maintain a mission-aligned culture, recognize and nurture team-member strengths and contributions, and manage conflict or staff departures appropriately. In this webinar, participants will learn best practices on maintaining a positive organizational culture that is productive and resilient in the face of conflict and other challenges; tips on navigating the legal pitfalls and protections surrounding the building of an organization; and preparations for organizational success as teams encounter growth, expansion, and intergroup conflict.

Robert Pecchio is a practicing attorney in employment, labor, and corporate law in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He is also a graduate student-researcher in organizational and intergroup conflict analysis and management.


 


Fundraising…. Do You Even Need Money?
Monday, December 10 from 12:00-1:00PM ET
Hosted by Vinny Johl, Commitment Mentor for Youth Empowerment

See PowerPoint Presentation

Fundraising for you commitment is hard work, but what if you could potentially skip the bake sales and time-intensive crowdfunding process? This webinar will focus on fundraising fundamentals, effective goal setting, and clearly defined fundraising objectives. We will then explore how to sustainably raise funds for your commitment and how to successfully move forward with limited to no funds. From penny campaigns to multi-million dollar legacy donations, this webinar will sort through what, if any, fundraising method is right for your work.

Vinny Johl is a recognized leader in nonprofit fundraising, having raised over $30 million through various methods over the past five years.


 


January 2019

Partnerships: Creative Collaborations that Bring Results
Wednesday, January 16 from 12:00-1:00PM ET
Hosted by Pauline Pratt, Commitment Mentor for Girls and Women

Register to Attend Here

Implementing a commitment with limited resources requires creatively thinking of how to maximize efforts through partnerships. Partnerships can reduce cost of implementation and strengthen results when the collaboration is aligned. This webinar will explore the different options for collaborations including private sector, academia, grassroots organizations, and within your personal networks. The webinar will also discuss various types of partnerships including advocacy, pro-bono work, information sharing, and more. Participants will gain a better understanding of the benefits of partnerships, identify the programmatic and financial gaps in their commitments, and develop the skills and tools to discover possible connections within their reach.

Pauline Pratt spent four years at the United Nations Population Fund supporting over 60 country offices with developing innovative ideas. She is also a member of the Internal Consultancy Group that explores collaborations, private sector engagements and strategies for donor negotiations.

 


Building a Better and More Inclusive Tomorrow: A Business Case for Why Diversity, Inclusion, Equity and Access Matter to Your CGI U Commitment
Thursday, January 24 from 1:00-2:00PM ET
Hosted by Ryan Ubuntu Olson, Commitment Mentor for LGBTQ

Register to Attend Here

It’s been proven at Fortune-500 companies, non-profits, and within governments that understanding diversity, inclusion, equity, and access not only is the right thing to do but is a profitable approach to enhancing the quality of one’s services, approaches, and outcomes. This same principle can be applied to development outcomes as well. Without understanding and including the people you serve, you will not achieve the success you hope to achieve. Without understanding the complexities of the global populace, you will only identify solutions that are tired and tried. This session will allow participants to consider how their own commitments might be enhanced through adding a diversity and inclusion lens.

Ryan Ubuntu Olson designs and implements global gender and sexual diversity training through the USAID funded Health Policy Plus Project, having reached over 5,000 people in over 40 countries to date. Ryan is a CGI U 2017 Honor Roll recipient.

 


Creative Confidence: Soft Skills for College and Career Success
Thursday January 31 from 1:00-2:00PM ET
Hosted by Devon Skerritt, Commitment Mentor for College Readiness

Register to Attend Here

Scholars and business leaders, from the social sector to startups to corporations, agree that to be successful in the classroom and in the workforce requires social and emotional skills and learning. These are the traits that enhance creativity, drive innovation, and make for productive teams. Based on his doctoral dissertation research about engagement in social sector internship programs and work with innovation leaders in diverse fields, Devon Skerritt will describe social and emotional learning behaviors and engage attendees in reflective, experiential activities about building the soft skills demanded for success in college and work. This session will briefly review research on student and worker engagement and provide attendees with tools to build their creative self-efficacy and emotional self-awareness.

Devon Skerritt is the Associate Director of Design and Innovation Programs at Southern Methodist University.



 


February 2019

Empowered Women, Empower Women: Lean In, Reach Out, and Grow
Tuesday, February 5 from 5:00-6:00PM ET
Hosted by Brinda Penmetsa, Commitment Mentor for Waste Management
Register to Attend Here

Across sectors, there is clear gender gap in leadership positions. According to a recent 2018 study from the Pew Research Center, only 4.8% of Fortune 500 CEOs, 19.3% of U.S. Representatives, and 23% of Senators are women. So how do we bridge the gap? How can young women build each other up, navigate the workplace, and thrive? This webinar invites attendees to participate in a conversation focused on sharing best practices and resources for women to succeed. After all, investing in women is not only the right thing to do, it's the smart thing to do.

Brinda Penmetsa is a graduate of the University of Houston and her CGI U commitment has been featured at CGI U and other social impact events. Brinda will be hosting a panel discussion at SXSW 2019.


 


Creative Activism: Using Art and Media for Social Innovation
Wednesday, February 13 from 12:00-1:00PM ET
Hosted by Myeashea Alexander, Commitment Mentor for Arts and Media

Register to Attend Here

Creative activism aims to address and share awareness of local and global concerns using tools of creative expression. Utilizing a variety of techniques, art forms, and media, creative activism can be a powerful, transformative method that can communicate cross-culturally and transcend language barriers. This webinar is focused on advocacy and activism in relation to art, media, and social innovation. It will highlight thought-provoking ways to incorporate imaginative and engaging elements into a venture and will discuss strategies and examine examples of successful outreach campaigns to better understand the impact and efficacy of adding creative flair to projects and initiatives.

Myeashea Alexander is the Commitments Manager for CGI U. She was also on the leadership team for one of the top scicomm training programs in the U.S. and is the creator of the science and anthropology blog, The Rockstar Anthropologist.

 


Beyond the Gender Binary: Understanding the Impact of Gender and Sexual Diversity in our World and in Our Commitments
Tuesday, February 19 from 12:00-1:00PM ET
Hosted by Ryan Ubuntu Olson, Commitment Mentor for LGBTQ

Register to Attend Here

Too often solutions to address the world’s most pressing problems leave out those who may be in the most need of interventions. Often these are entrapped within the constructs of a gender binary which erase or limit the capacity of individuals throughout the world to express their full potential based on patriarchal heteronormative values that undergird so many of the issues we are seeking to address. In this webinar, participants will gain a deeper understanding of how global gender and sexual diversities can enhance the quality of a commitment, but also have soul shifting impacts on some of the world’s most pressing problems.

Ryan Ubuntu Olson designs and implements global gender and sexual diversity training through the USAID funded Health Policy Plus Project, having reached over 5,000 people in over 40 countries to date. Ryan is a CGI U 2017 Honor Roll recipient.

 


Public Speaking: The Main Weapon of a Leader
Tuesday, February 26 from 12:00-1:00PM ET
Hosted by Nazaneen Qauomi, Commitment Mentor for Health Education

Register to Attend Here

Do you get nervous before a presentation? Do you want to speak up and raise your question in a public event, lecture hall, or meeting? Do you want your idea to get heard by people around you? Public speaking is not only performing in a platform; it is one of the skills that each of us use in our daily lives to express our ideas, objections, and perspectives. In this webinar, participants will discuss the tips and “how to” steps of public speaking, the art of practicing it daily, and how to introduce yourself as an individual and as a brand.

Nazaneen Qauomi is a freelance writer and advocate, having spoken or performed at many events throughout her career. Her passion for public speaking began at age 13 when she taught upwards of 50 students English as a second language.

 


March 2019

Hacking for Conservation & Development: Designing Solutions for Impact
Tuesday, March 5 from 12:00-1:00PM ET
Hosted by Jay Sullivan, Commitment Mentor for Conservation

Register to Attend Here

We are in the middle of a period of extraordinary change on the planet - a sixth great mass extinction of biodiversity and rapid periods of development. Our challenges will increase as billions emerge into middle class placing new demands on the planet, exacerbated by climate change. Whether your commitment is in conservation, development, or another field, knowing your assumptions, testing hypotheses, and applying principles of a lean startup can be valuable tools to enhance your commitment. This workshop will offer participants an introduction to larger global trends in conservation and development; provide ways to effectively communicate the impact of your commitment; and teach core skills for product development for commitment-makers at all stages.

Jay Sullivan has experience working in communications and designing and directing programs that are impact-oriented, from starting viral social media campaigns on language and bias to designing internal development programs for the White House.

 


Considering a Career in International Development? How you can Transform Your Commitment into a Full-Time Gig
Tuesday, March 19 from 1:00-2:00PM ET
Hosted by Ryan Ubuntu Olson, Commitment Mentor for LGBTQ

Register to Attend Here

Many student commitment-makers may be asking themselves how they might leverage their ideas into something that they could do full time. A number of commitments over the years have been able to demonstrate an important impact on the communities they serve, however what opportunities might there be to scale up those interventions or to have a deeper impact on the communities they serve? This session will provide an overview of the field of international development and how to effectively pursue a career in it. Participants will be encouraged to ask questions, explore best practices, and offer practical advice on how to take their ideas for change and to turn them into action.

Ryan Ubuntu Olson designs and implements global gender and sexual diversity training through the USAID funded Health Policy Plus Project, having reached over 5,000 people in over 40 countries to date. Ryan is a CGI U 2017 Honor Roll recipient.

 


Design Thinking is…: An Introduction to Human-Centered, Innovative Problem Solving
Friday, March 29 from 1:00-2:00PM ET
Hosted by Devon Skerritt, Commitment Mentor for College Readiness

Register to Attend Here

Design Thinking has emerged as a prominent methodology and mindset for creative problem solving employed by entrepreneurs, social innovators, and leaders from the social sector and business alike. However many people have only a surface understanding of the concepts underlying design thinking and how to apply it in different contexts beyond the buzzwords and hype. Devon Skerritt, Associate Director of Design and Innovation Programs at Southern Methodist University, has been working for the past three years growing a master’s degree program, facilitating, and consulting with a team of designers. This interactive session will define design thinking and the field of human-centered design. It will review the framework, learning outcomes, and applications of design thinking to innovate in building innovative solutions to social sector challenges, as well as introduce tools to show how thinking and acting like a designer can help you create novel solutions and even shape your future career opportunities.

Devon Skerritt is the Associate Director of Design and Innovation Programs at Southern Methodist University.

 

 


April 2019

From Application to Presentation: How to Effectively Communicate Ideas for Action
Tuesday, April 2 from 5:00-6:00PM ET
Hosted by Brinda Penmetsa, Commitment Mentor for Waste Management

Register to Attend Here

Presentations are about effectively communicating ideas or thoughts to audiences. This webinar will cover the importance of identifying the right audiences to share ideas for action, tips on delivering effective presentations to large and small audiences, and how to build community support for student commitments. Webinar presenter Brinda Penmetsa has experience presenting her Commitment to Action to several audiences both in and outside of the university setting and will be hosting a panel discussion at South by Southwest 2019.

Brinda Penmetsa is a graduate of the University of Houston and her CGI U commitment has been featured at CGI U and other social impact events. Brinda will be hosting a panel discussion at SXSW 2019.


 


Neurodiversity: A Strength-Based Approach
Monday, April 8 from 3:00-4:00PM ET
Hosted by Thomas Koenig, Commitment Mentor for Disabilities

Register to Attend Here

Neurodiversity is a movement that argues that neurological differences should be recognized and respected as any other human variation. We should seek out different types of minds whether it be in a professional or personal setting, as adding neurodiverse individuals to your workplace and personal life will benefit all those around you. Neurodiversity aims to focus on the unique strengths rather than their weaknesses. If as a society we shift that paradigm to the larger disabilities community to focus on the strengths gained from disabilities we would all benefit. This webinar aims to open people’s minds to how they perceive those with disabilities and show how much disabled people can offer the world.

Thomas Koenig has worked with neurodiversity individuals for the past seven years in several different roles. He currently works at the Center for Neurodiversity as a program developer and the director of the Outdoor Leadership Program.

 


Learning the Art of Networking and Overcoming Fear
Wednesday, April 17 from 12:00-1:00PM ET
Hosted by Pauline Pratt, Commitment Mentor for Girls and Women

Register to Attend Here

Networking is about connecting with others with positivity and authenticity to build relationships. For the purpose of achieving CGI U commitments, the focus will on developing professional relationships that will support student development. This webinar will cover the basic understanding of networking and why it is important to connect with others, the etiquette of networking, techniques and tips for effective networking, and how to sustain those relationships.

Pauline Pratt spent four years at the United Nations Population Fund supporting over 60 country offices with developing innovative ideas. She is also a member of the Internal Consultancy Group that explores collaborations, private sector engagements and strategies for donor negotiations.