Do Something about “THAT”

Tuesday, Aug 16, 2016 Category Education

​​​– A Message from Managing Director David B. Smith

Somebody should do something about that.  Then I realized I am somebody. – Lily Tomlin

The Presidio Institute is directly adjacent to the Golden Gate Bridge – it’s so close in fact, I have to look up to take in the view from my office window.  Whether against the backdrop of a bright blue California morning, bathed in evening’s orange glow, or partially disguised by fog, it’s a constant reminder to me of those who dare to make positive, lasting impact in the face of impossible odds. 

The stories of designers and engineers toiling to erect a span that would connect San Francisco with neighboring Marin County are well documented.  Yet I often ponder how many men and women stood over the bluffs of the Golden Gate Strait prior to the mid 1930’s waiting for someone else to actually get it done?  And what was the catalyst by visionaries like James Wilkins, Michael O’Shaughnessy and Joseph Strauss that compelled them to take the challenge from conception to reality?

Rather than wait for someone to do something about it – they did it; with an uncompromising desire to create the impact they wanted to see.  To me the bridge serves as a constant source of inspiration whenever I call into question my own ability to make meaningful impact in the face of adversity – often by building bridges between people, ideas, and organizations.

Yet on the occasion I don’t have one of the seven wonders of the modern world right outside my window, I’m fortunate to be surrounded by professionals who are driven by their own desire to leave the world a better place – no matter the challenge.

We’ll hear from some of those individuals in this issue of Reveille - people like Alison Gold, our Manager of Leadership Education, whose boundless energy and passion for cross sector solutions is a constant source of inspiration.  In this issue, we’re also beginning a series of profiles of Presidio Institute Fellows.  We hope you enjoy getting to know these motivated leaders who – though established in their careers – never settle to coast toward solutions when there are still so many hills to climb.

Also in this issue, Natalya Sverjensky of Within People shares how not to let anxiety hold you back from making the impact you are capable of.  And if you couldn’t make the in-person event, we hope you’ll check out our latest salon video 50 Fund: A Game Changer for the Community, to learn first-hand from a panel of visionaries how their commitment and drive made Super Bowl 50 the most philanthropic sports event in history.

As always, we invite you to become part of the narrative by taking part in one of our programs, or contacting us to participate in an upcoming issue of Reveille.  The inspiration you convey through your own storytelling may be the catalyst for the next up and coming leader to realize that the “someone” they’re waiting on to solve “that” problem, may be the person asking the question.

Impactfully yours,

David B. Smith

David B. Smith is the Managing Director of the Presidio Institute, and formerly the Executive Director of the National Conference on Citizenship and Mobilize.org. Building on the Presidio’s legacy of service and public-private partnerships, the Presidio Institute provides transformational experiences that inspire, encourage, and empower leaders to make measureable, positive impact in their communities. More information about the Presidio Institute Fellowship program can be found at http://presidio.gov/institute.​​