Today I attended the Clinton Global Initiative #CGIAmerica Conference at the Sheraton Hotel in Chicago. I was thrilled to be invited to apply for a press pass. Shocked that I was granted one. But it went through. I was legitimate, and most importantly I was in; in on an incredibly important conversation heralded by an incredibly important President, President Bill Clinton. I came armed with my iPad, and my computer, but what I relied on most was my trusty dusty pen and pad of paper. I took vigorous notes. I struggled to capture word for word quotes that I felt were valuable and important to share. Here are a few.
“There is a strong commitment to our future in this country. We have to figure out how to manifest it.”
“4th law: if someone tells you it is not a money problem, they are always talking about someone else’s problem.”
“By 2018 63% of our jobs in the US will require some post secondary education.”
“There’s a lot going on that’s good here, but we have huge gaps in getting capital to flow and people trained for jobs.”
“Entrepreneurship will get us out of this (economic) mess. Education will keep us out.”
The Pritzker Foundation will provide seed capital in the amount of 1 million dollars for “market driven innovations for high quality advancements in early childhood education.”
We are making “equity and debt investments in entrepreneurs who are driving innovation.”
“If you cannot make productive investments with money this cheap (referring to low interest rates) you shouldn’t be running anything.”
“We have 600,000 job openings in manufacturing today, but we don’t have the skilled talent to fill them.”
“I cannot tie Chicago’s future, vitality and recovery to Washington.” (paraphrased)
“In four years every child (in Chicago) will be within a 10 minute walk of a (Chicago) park district facility.”
“We have to be an engine of economic development.”
“Energy savings will be the financial infrastructure for putting people to work.”
“We have to invest in our physical infrastructure and invest in our human capital.”
“The public is an equal partner if not the majority partner in the public-private business relationship.”
“Businesses tell us, ‘We don’t necessarily need a four year degree, we need someone with soft skills and adaptability.’”
“I got a hand up, not a hand out. No matter what I still had to earn, and to prove myself.”
“We need to give youth the sense that someone in their neighborhood cares about them.”
“Work the idea in this room, not the people.”
“This is a conference where the swag is ideas.”
“We need to reignite dreams. Making dreaming a National pastime.”
“At some point in life we all need a boost or a second shot.”
“Kids have influence over other kids. They are often the most effective source for spreading ideas and information to their peers, for better or for worse.”
I did enjoy the speeches and the interviews from the Plenary Sessions, but the one part of the CGI event that I most wanted to participate in was the “Reconnecting Youth” work session. Technically as “Press” the organizers didn’t really want me in the room, because they didn’t want any of the attendees to feel inhibited in their ideation. But this is the age of new media, where influencers may be “press,” but they are also significant contributors, not just to the narrative of action but the action itself. It makes more sense for me to be in the room contributing ideas than it does for me to just comment on them. Let’s face it, it’s because I actively work to be a part of the “solution”, through my personal and professional efforts, that I have influence in the webisphere in the first place. Denying me the opportunity to do what people look up to me for would defeat the purpose of my attendance.
Luckily I was let in after all. Hands down the best part of my day. I live for collaboration. Being in a room of innovators, such as the one’s who were with me in the session, elevates my game. I have been tossing around ideas for some time now about the role that social media could play in helping connect youths to businesses and to a potential career. I believe that using social media as a bridge would allow youths to share their social media acumen with businesses that simply need to have a department or strategy for this new media age, and businesses can likewise share their business acumen with youths looking to improve their skills and become more valuable in the work force. It wasn’t until I got in the room today that my thoughts were able to gel. Why did it happen here? Because I was in a room of smart, creative people dedicated to finding solutions. The enthusiasm was contagious and made for a highly charged, highly productive environment. On top of my “social media as a bridge between youths and businesses idea”, I came up with the idea for a program that would mimic a 401k type of matching funds situation. Kids would invest their capital in the form of grades, service, effort, community involvement, and extra curricular participation. Then a business would match the youth’s contributions with their own capital in the form of supplies, workshops, internships, mentoring programs, credit, tuition assistance and more. We are going to talk more about my ideas and the others generated in the session tomorrow morning. I can’t wait! This is what I hoped the Clinton Global Initiative would be, ideas to action. It is thrilling!
What ideas did you put into action today? What will you do tomorrow? I can’t wait to hear all about it.
This is a * Level 7: Miss Lori was provided with tickets for the conference mentioned in this post.
Miss Lori can be found Musing from her Minivan at MissLori.TV , Wearetherealdeal.com , YoungChicagonista ,ChicagoMomsBlog , and ChicagoMoms.com. You can also see her Activating to Be Great at Miss Lori’s CAMPUS on Youtube, Facebook, Twitter , TOUT and LinkedIn. Miss Lori participates in the Clever Girls Collective, Social RevUp and Collective Bias Social Fabric networks. She is also a Nintendo Enthusiast. A Tropicana Tropimomma, and a FitFluential Ambassador.