The NationSwell Summit Focuses on Solutions

The NationSwell Summit Focuses on Solutions

Earlier this month I attended the dynamic NationSwell conference in New York City, and came away more committed than ever to doing the bit of justice work I do here at Black Enterprise—helping families understand the nuances of education from preschool to higher education, so they can maximize its benefits in their lives and those of their children.

The daylong conference had a kind of electrical energy about it. There are a lot of good people doing good things to solve some of our nation’s most intractable problems—and we in the media need to report on this more.

Dynamic, inspiring speakers like Brittany Packnett of Teach for America and John King of the Education Trust; as well as Anu Partanen (author of The Nordic Theory of Everything), Lux Narayan (co-founder and CEO of Unmetric), and Kamili Wilson (vice president of Enterprise Initiatives at AARP) spoke hope into the room.

(Equity panelist: Brittany Packnett, John King, with moderator Nick Ehrmann, founder of Blue Engine. Image: Photos by Adam Schultz)


Jill Ford, head of Innovation and Entrepreneurship with the city of Detroit, made the Motor City’s serious problems seem manageable. Things are really bad, but good people are effecting change.


(Well-Lived Life panelists: Anu Partanen, Lux Narayan, and Kamili Wilson, moderator. Image: Photos by Adam Schultz)


Here are the calls to action, from NationSwell, that came out of several of the panels (name of the panel is in quotation marks):

  • “The Well-Lived Life”: Find your flow and your community. Focus on service and giving back. Consider what’s most meaningful and fulfilling to you in a potential 104-year lifespan (!) and start doing those things now.
  • “Navigating the Land of Opportunity”: Get your hands dirty, reach out to the world around you, get proximate, and help bridge the class divide.
  • “Community Resurgence: Onwards + Upwards”: Meet people where they are. Empower the real leaders in your community to do what they do (they may not be your elected officials). Break down barriers to entry. Run the experiment. Give credit.
  • “Building Companies for Impact”: Leverage business to create the kind of world we all want to live in. Listen to those around you to learn, not just to respond.
  • “Equity and Opportunity for All”: Get real and be political. If you are “woke,” also make room for those awakening. Fight for something (truth, love, and equity) and not just against injustices.
  • “Climate Innovation: Charting the Course”: Mobilize to solve big problems. Support those who are working on pressing environmental issues.
  • “The Way Forward”: Join Gov. Hickenlooper’s call to invest in national service. (Gov. Hickenlooper gave the summit’s keynote address.)

For more about NationSwell, visit its website.