11 December, 2017 News: Joe Biden Calls For Sympathy From Leaders
uch-loved former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has been sorely missed since he and Obama left the White House. But luckily his recent speech is filling our Biden void… and offering some important advice for future leaders.
Joe Biden recently gave a speech at the Cornell University commencement ceremony in New York, where he reminded students that, although the world is battling through a lot of turmoil, there are opportunities to change things for the better – if we take the time to understand each other.
His message to the future leaders was clear; if we want to affect change, we need to be concerned about the people around us. He said that, in the U.S, there is a culture of fear of the “other” that has polarised the country. And this is not the way to create positive social change. He drew on his personal experience as an example, and noted that some of his political achievements, such as crafting the Violence Against Women Act, were born out of a concern for – not fear of – the people around him. “Everything from your marriage, to your job, to your neighbourhood, to your country, works better when we actually take time to look out for the other guy” he said, “Just treat them with a little bit of dignity and decency in our neighbourhoods, as well as our national institutions.”
He also touched on the notion of attempting to understand one another’s problems. “And it helps when this generation that’s emerging reaches out, because all this is personal, and tries to understand. Understand the people you’re dealing with, understand their problems. It’s an awful lot harder to dislike someone when you know their dad is dying of prostate cancer or they have a brother with a drug problem. Or they just lost their mom. You may fundamentally disagree with them, but it’s hard to dislike them,” he said.
Ultimately, this understanding boils down to the idea of having empathy for other people – an important quality that is needed in our leaders. “Biden’s comments on Empathy mirror what we try to do at The Philanthropic Collection™,” says Ali Gregg, founder and Pioneering Philanthropist of The Philanthropic Collection™, a social enterprise in South Africa that showcases events and projects that benefit the non-profit sector. “Our Quest at The Philanthropic Collection™ is to engage business as a force good. We aim to get leaders to change their hearts and mind-sets, and call on those with financial and social influence to redress humankind.”
One of the Events showcased by The Philanthropic Collection™ is The CEO SleepOut™. “We ask leaders to spend one night outdoors, to elevate their consciousness and get a very small taste of what is life is like for those who have nothing, in the hopes that even a small amount of understanding for the “other” will spark a change in their own feelings – and their policies.”
And it certainly does seem to do that. Despite criticism over whether or not one night on the street will really affect the business leaders, an IQ Business Report – The Social Return on Investment (SROI) Empathy Analysis – shows it does. SROI tells the story of how change is created, and assesses the value of the impact of the Project. The IQ Business report from The 2016 CEO SleepOut™ shows that, out of the 167 CEOs that Participated in the Event, 66% experienced improved corporate culture as a result of the Event. And, out of the 109 staff members that joined the CEOs at the Event in 2016, 100% felt an increase in awareness levels for the cause of homelessness.
Another project spearheaded by The Philanthropic Collection™ that drives this understanding is coffee table book, Empathy. Empathy features hauntingly beautiful images of the homeless, captured with their permission and approval, by acclaimed photographer Debbie Yazbek. It tells their life stories in detail, each one giving more insight into what life is truly like when you live on the street, offering a greater understanding of how people end up on the streets.
Creating empathy doesn’t seem like a ground-breaking idea – but it certainly seems to be gaining traction in our private sectors; the very people who need to commit to ongoing change. “It’s down to a simple idea: that every single person is entitled to be treated with dignity and respect. It’s in our DNA… All men and women are created equal,” says Biden. And the more we understand what others are experiencing, the more we will be compelled to ensure their equality in our businesses.
– By The Philanthropic Collection –
The Philanthropic Collection™ is a boutique social enterprise,
where we tailor haute-couture brands for philanthropy.