Speaker Spotlight

Daniela Papi-Thornton

TedXBend | 05.12.17

1. Who has had the most significant influence on you in your adult life and why? 
Three people come to mind, two of whom have sadly passed away.

Mikey Sampson was the founder of RDIC, Resource Development International Cambodia, and he was someone I learned from and greatly respected. His willingness to speak truth to power, his commitment to truly sustainable development, and his message that you have to earn the right to try to help others by listening and learning first is one that significantly shaped my own thinking.

Dr. Pamela Hartigan passed away just a few months ago, and her influence on my life, and on the lives of so many others who learned from her, is equally significant. She too was able to speak much needed truths at times when others might have held their tongue, she was an incredible connector who always knew how to get you to the person who could help, and she had an outstanding commitment to leaving the world better than she found it. Like the title of a book she coauthored, she was a wholly unreasonable woman, and the world is better because of her unreasonableness.

The person who is currently having the most influence on my life is Skye Thornton, my son. I have learned so much from him every day of these first six months of his life, and I know he will continue to be my best teacher, helping me be more present, more patient, and more thoughtful, and bringing continuous moments of joy into our lives.

2. What is it about your work that keeps you going?
Watching students and those I work with find their own paths to impact. When someone comes back to you and tells you about the incredible work they are doing, and notes that they were partially inspired by a course you taught or something you said, it makes your work feel even more gratifying. I believe that if we could each understand and hone our best gifts, we’d be able to find roles within and beyond our jobs which help repair our often divided and damaged planet, and helping people find the hole in the world they were uniquely designed to fill helps us all move towards a better future.

3. For your talk content, what’s recommended reading?
Forces for Good
My Tackling Heropreneurship report (www.tacklingheropreneurship.com) – and hopefully someday soon our Learning Service book (www.learningservice.info)
The first 50 pages of William Easterly’s “The White Man’s Burden”
Baljeet Sandhu’s forth coming report on “The Value of the Lived Experience” (or her SSIR article on the topic in the meantime – https://ssir.org/articles/entry/building_opportunities_for_inclusive_leadership )

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