America’s Business Council’s annual Continuity Forum is based on the premise that continuity, when applied to environmental initiatives and social impact, is exemplified through sustained efforts to improve the greater good. The event gives stage to 40 of the most determined and creative social entrepreneurs. Rollins’ SESi department sent 7 students including Shelby McGuire to attend this year’s conference in Coconut Grove, Florida. Here are her reflections.
I have never heard such insightful speakers, I have never met such ambitious people, and I have never learned quite so much such a short periods of time in my life. Attending the America’s Business Council’s annual Continuity Forum was one of the best academic and personal growth experiences I’ve had.
I think one could safely say that the theme of the forum was “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams”. In every single entrepreneur who presented, the same sense of dedication and confidence was palpable. These entrepreneurs have huge dreams, they want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, end hunger, and ultimately save the world. Their challenges are daunting but there they were, every one of them, fearlessly proclaiming their solutions. The future, I am certain, is truly theirs.
I had the pleasure to meet many of these ingenious people, however, one woman in particular sticks out I my mind. Her name was Daphne Nederhorst and she is the director of an organization called “Sawa World”, which means “equal world” in Swahili. She has made great strides in ending poverty in Africa and now looks forward to bringing her organization to South America. She is a very short little woman, but she has an amazingly large personality and spirit. When I was speaking with her she asked me what my plans were and I told her about my CGIU Commitment to Action. She then gave me a piece of advice I know I will treasure for the rest of my life. She said, “If you want to achieve your dreams, be prepared to feel uncomfortable all the time, but don’t let that stop you.” I know, in my life, I have let fear stop me, but I know that if I truly want to accomplish anything, I must persevere through fear.
To me, the most inspiring speaker was the very first one, Kofi Annan. He reminds me of a wise old owl, perched far above the world, looking down on the actions of people, watching and understanding. I hope one day to understand the world as he seems to. One of the greatest troubles I have is in understanding my men act the way they do. I feel as if I’m always struggling to find that deeper understanding, that underlying truth. Kofi Annan lays out the problems and solutions of the world in a way that gives me hope for a better future.
I feel extremely privileged to have been able to experience this Forum and have innumerable meaningful experiences beyond those that I have mentioned. I am particularly excited to apply the many lessons I learned to my CGIU Commitment to Action Project. I feel like I now have a clearer understanding of the way to present, organize and measure a social business and its progress. I hope to use this knowledge to give this project more life. However, beyond just this project, I know that the things I learned there will benefit me throughout my life.
From Astor, Florida, Shelby McGuire is majoring in International Relations and minoring in German and Economics. On campus, she shows her love for community service and music through her participation in JUMP and Wind Ensemble and her position at the OCE.
Shelby’s interest area is Politics and Civic Involvement. “Democracy is what makes our country wonderful, but it only works if the people get involved and take the initiative to keep it that way.”