Oct 05, 2010

A Better Future by Design

Maria Giudice's picture
Maria Giudice
CEO & Founder

The student-led planning and advisory committee

I am blown away once again.

I had the distinct honor of being invited back to participate in now the 3rd annual Better World by Design conference. Through the course of my 20+ year design career, I have attended and spoken at conferences all over the world. More often than not I come back energized, my mind re-engaged, and my head filled by myriad creative possibilities. I come back inspired from hearing the stories of the people on stage. I make new friends, even ones who live in my own backyard. I get connected to a community of optimistic like-minded people.

All of that happened at this conference. But this conference is special and different from all the others. It has a unique energy. It's authentic and feels like it's coming from the heart.

This conference is entirely student-run, created through collaboration with RISD and Brown students in Providence, Rhode Island. In 10 months of planning, these students, from sophomores to seniors, manage to attract a global list of speakers who are doing amazing things and have made a positive social impact on this world. They invite speakers. They set up logistics. They get sponsors. They do marketing to get the word out. They plan and design all the programs. They share the stage with their speakers. And most important, they throw great parties of course! This year the number of attendees swelled to over 1,000.

But here is what's most important. These kids are walking the talk. They are our future leaders who are globally connected and aware. They are entrepreneurs who understand what it takes to make the world a better place through social change. As a woman in her mid-40s, I feel I have much to learn from these 20 year olds. Bad economy, no jobs, whatever. These kids will hit the ground running, design a better future, and participate in solving the world's biggest problems.

If these kids are our future leaders, I think this world has a shot at re-invention and rebirth. Let's make sure we keep those pathways and opportunities open for them so they can succeed.