The social impact sector as an agreeable career domain has begun to flourish only recently, and undoubtedly, there is still a long way to go. The sector faces several challenges as any emerging sector; limited resources, borrowing of methods and processes (in this case largely from the corporate sector that are often unfit for this space), and most importantly bringing in professional talent that has both skills and the commitment to take on the biggest challenges in the world! It is hardly surprising that when we began brainstorming about the topic for our conference, the need to demystify social impact careers became starkly clear.
Thus was launched the Demystifying Social Impact Careers series in April this year in collaboration with Amani Institute and the International Innovation Corps. The first edition was held in Delhi with over 150 attendees, from students and corporate professionals to lawyers, journalists, policymakers and more!
A look back at the Delhi edition
With the idea to highlight career options, leadership skills needed, human capital opportunities and the challenges facing the social impact sector, Arthan, Amani Institute and International Innovation Corps introduced the event and paved the way for the conversations to follow.
The Long Conversation
The first session saw three stalwarts from the social impact space – Srikanth Viswanathan, CEO at Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy, Yamini Aiyar, President at the Centre for Policy Research and Kartik Desai, Executive Director at Asha Impact – interview each other and talk about their entry into the social sector and its evolution over the years.
Transitioning from the Private Sector to the Social Sector
When one makes a shift into the social sector, a few differences stand out – from work environments to the skills needed to solve enormous social problems. The panelists for this session stressed the importance of patience as a skill and its importance for a smooth transition to the sector.
Can I Make a Living while Working in Impact?
Given the age-old notions that exist about the social impact sector, questions about making a living are valid. However, the expansion and transformation of the sector have definitely brought in an improvement in the compensation over the years – in many cases, even comparable to those in the private corporate sector. At the same time, panelists also emphasised that passion and focus cannot be secondary motives to be employed in this sector.
To equip the participants with tips on sustaining in the social impact sector, workshops such as Deciphering Entry into the Sector, Becoming Good at Networking and Emerging Tech for Social Good were also conducted.
Walk Your Talk
Finally, to inspire the participants, five leaders shared their stories of personal struggle and success. The speakers were Vithika Yadav, Country Head at Love Matters, Vivek Sharma, Program Director, Gandhi Fellowship Programme, Kaivalya Education, Priyanka Dutt, India Country Director at BBC Media Action, Prachi Windlass, Director-India Programs at Michael and Susan Dell Foundation and Dr. Rukmini Banerji, CEO at Pratham Education Foundation.
With Demystifying Social Impact Careers, we have started a conversation about working in the development space, and we are glad to take it forward in Bengaluru. We hope to connect many more people to their passion, purpose and the skills needed to have a meaningful career that impacts the lives of many.