Published in Stanford Social Innovation Review | June 30, 2016
Why Rewarding Leaders Might Hurt Collaboration
By Hilary Pennington
Last month, I had the thrill of attending my first Skoll World Forum. I was fortunate enough to moderate a panel of extraordinary young leaders who are working to advance peace-building in extremely challenging contexts: Catalina Cock Duque of Mi Sangre is mobilizing young people for peace and reconciliation in Colombia; Iliana Montauk created Gaza Sky Geeks, the first and only startup accelerator in Gaza; Joseph Munyambanza is the force behind innovative education and peace-building initiatives for young people in the Congo and Uganda; and Angela Nzioki is an IT evangelist and mentor for women in tech in Kenya.
These remarkable leaders are working to build bridges across complex divides of culture, ethnicity, age, and class. And talking with them about the challenges they face in building movements got me wondering: Do the ways we recognize individual leaders in the nonprofit world inadvertently undercut the very thing they are trying to achieve?