“The Fierce Urgency of Now”

December 1, 2020  • Institute Staff

The Resnick Aspen Action Forum is a platform for Aspen Global Leadership Network fellows—a community of values-driven entrepreneurial leaders—to gather, explore societal challenges, and act. In a year plagued by crises, the theme, “The Fierce Urgency of Now: Uncomfortable Leadership,” was especially relevant. More than 500 participants and 150 youth from 35 countries joined online. At the opening plenary, Henry Crown Fellow and Institute trustee Jacqueline Novogratz told fellows that “deep listening” is key to activating the moral imagination. “What binds this community is a deep desire to be of service,” Novogratz said. Henry Crown Fellow Dan Hoffman then brought the Institute’s seminar experience online with his platform: Circl.es. Inspired by his fellowship, Hoffman created the interface to bring meaningful connection to a virtual format. “The Aspen curriculum inspired me; fellows and moderators pushed me and, ultimately, invested to make our company happen,” he said. As is tradition, fellows also made Action Pledges, public commitments to social impact. For example, Health Innovators Fellow Megan Jones Bell pledged to “improve psychological resilience for one million people in the US.” Central America Leadership Initiative Fellow Jaime Zablah Siri pledged to create 5,000 new jobs for El Salvadorans previously involved in violence. The closing plenary included multiple generations of leaders, from former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to youth activist Salvador Gómez-Colón, who left fellows with his thoughts on leadership: “Every leader needs to ask: how are my actions today impacting someone else’s tomorrow? Because leadership is not about self or ego but about others.”