Amy Clark of Ashoka on 2011 and What’s to Come in the Year Ahead

Speaking of identifying talent and channeling it to the right parts of the movement, Ashoka has also been a champion of cultivating what it considers to be the core skill of empathy. Can you discuss how you have seen empathy shape the sector?
We kicked off our empathy work in the United States formally in 2011 – a key area of work for us in this country and globally.


In looking at the 3,000 social entrepreneurs in Ashoka’s community, we saw that empathy was a common denominator, a core skill across the community. For us, empathy is not just the ability to feel what someone else is feeling, but to act on that understanding with conviction and creativity, to problem-solve effectively while holding self-interest and the interest of others in a healthy and productive tension. It is therefore a foundational skill for social entrepreneurs and changemakers, whether you’re engaged in education or health or reforming markets.