OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign up, Login or Learn more

Social impact leadership development for visionary humans in innovative companies and rural communities.

Use of unique personal & sustainable development to train driven women to be the source of change for themselves & their communities.

Photo of Saren Stiegel
0 4

Written by

Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

Our world is currently seeing the disastrous impact of lacking socially-innovative leaders. Symptoms include the rise of intersecting gender and racial wage gaps, staggeringly low employee engagement rates, and stagnant rates of sexual harassment. Meanwhile, organizations are spending hundreds of millions of dollars on human development and enforcing sexual harassment trainings that are proving to be fruitless.

The only proven solution to moderately heal discrimination is to hire more women. Yet, far too many women lack effective leadership training, especially in rural developing communities where new models of leadership are needed most.

Glow Effect’s project idea is to virtually partner corporate executives and rising rural leaders for a cross-cultural experience in co-creating leadership training, dignified work, and community development. We will train and coach women from the highest offices of big tech to the poorest, underserved communities of Nepal to pioneer cultural transformation within and between communities.

The Executive Track begins with a team program aimed at healing deeply-rooted inclusion issues through social impact skills training and video conferencing with rising rural leaders. Following programs dig deeper in practical personal, leadership and community growth, culminating with fundraising and service-travel to co-create the week-long social impact intensive with rural rising leaders.

The Rural Track also begins with a team program, also aimed at building the social impact lens of rising rural leaders, intersecting with the executive team via video conferencing. After months of team-building and mentorship, ten of the 140 rural leaders are chosen for a week-long social impact intensive, co-created with the culmination of the executive track. Our blended community votes for three top initiatives to be awarded zero-interest loans, paid back to the rural learning centers.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

Our participants and direct beneficiaries are rising rural leaders in Nepal ages 18-35 and rising corporate executives in America ages 25-35 seeking personal and community change.

RURAL BENEFICIARIES: Through the engagement of corporate teams, we are able to impact the growth of rural communities through our 2018 rural community partners, READ Nepal.

EXECUTIVE BENEFICIARIES: We target innovative leaders in Human Resources, Diversity & Inclusion Departments or senior-level managers looking to retain or grow their rising leaders.

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

The Glow Effect operates at a unique intersection of two categories:

- Equitable, Social Impact Leadership Development - Our approach uses cross-cultural video conferencing to highlight ethnic, religious and gender differences as our very source of making a difference in the world, starting in our families and communities. Unlike many other Diversity & Inclusion and human development initiatives, we take a long-term, holistic approach to growth.

- Sustainable Global Development - Instead of reaching the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals through skill-training or micro-financing, our solution sees female empowerment as a systematic challenge being addressed through role-modeling, leadership training and mentoring.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Early Adoption: I have completed a pilot and analyzed the impact of that pilot on the intended users of the idea. I have begun to expand the pilot for early adoption.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

Glow Effect is a social enterprise that offers experiential programs and events to measurably raise the leadership capability of rising change-agents in companies and communities. We believe that when diverse humans from the developed and developing worlds co-create human-centered initiatives, individual leadership capacity - and consequently communities - grow. http://gloweffect.com

Expertise in sector

  • 3-5 years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered non-profit.
  • Yes, we are a registered social enterprise.
  • Yes, we are a registered company.

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

After launching a successful women's coaching business, Founder Saren Stiegel realized that female empowerment is incomplete when singularly focused on the developed or developing worlds. Glow Effect’s business model expanded to partner rising leaders co-create local and global change. We saw that when radically diverse leaders exchange stories and resources, they learn the skills and emotional intelligence to better their own lives, and consequently their communities.

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

Rural developing communities lack access to resources, and with any aid often become charity dependent. Social inequity can result in violence across class, race, & ethnic lines. Consequently, the very leaders these communities need to bridge peace & prosperity are too easily lost in the cycle of intergenerational poverty.

Corporate communities are influenced by a small group of C-suite level executives, often serving the companies’ bottom lines. Focusing on profits over humans creates cultural breakdowns, manifesting as lack of engagement, high turnover, and sexual harassment. Executives, distracted by their unhappiness, accept the status quo and raise families mirroring a scarcity culture.

By bringing together key change-agents across vastly different communities to culture-shock a new vision of leadership - through conversation and practical action - there will be a ripple effect of culturally-responsive, systems-thinking leaders worldwide.

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

For this project, our 2018 rural partner is READ Nepal, who supports 66 learning centers & almost 2 million villagers across the country. READ selected 140 rising rural leaders from ten of its centers to engage in the program.

To secure the 20-40 person executive team, we are currently discussing corporate partnership with Google, Legal Zoom & Facebook.

In 2015-2017, we partnered independent executives with Ugandan community organization, Association for Rural Women Professionals. Through a similar virtual programming model, the diverse team co-created the Glow Effect Center for Women and Girls in Kasaali, Uganda. Executive graduates have since started numerous for-purpose initiatives, including a Ugandan learning center initiative, Boston’s first non-profit law firm, ACT Just, & an Ernst & Young leadership training program. The Glow Effect Center in Uganda has also seen great success - graduating 50 women who report increased confidence & income, & decreased domestic violence.

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

- Executive leaders in big technology companies are among the highest-scoring and diligent professionals in their well-educated communities.
- Rising rural leaders are selected by Glow Effect’s partner community centers specifically because of their passion for community leadership.
- Working with rising leaders assures widespread impact of our approach.
- Understanding of both corporate and developing community needs.
- Our team’s unique skills and passion for the work.

Geographic Focus

Big technology companies based in the United States and rural communities in Nepal.

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

The program will be completed over a 24-month period. Executive & rural tracks happen concurrently:

Executives complete 3-4 programs over a year:
-IGNITE, 3-month team program
-ASPIRE and/or LEAD, 3-month personal programs
-EXCHANGE, 3-month service-travel program

Rural leaders complete 3 phases over a year, with another year for loan repayment:
-IGNITE, 3-month team program
-IMPACT Mentorship over 3 months
-IMPACT Intensive, 1-week training, awarding loans to be repaid over a year

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No

0 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment