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Paul Schmitz
Schmitz is the author of Everyone Leads: Building Leadership from the Community Up (Jossey-Bass); CEO of Leading Inside Out; Senior Advisor to The Collective Impact Forum; and a fellow at Georgetown University's Beeck Center for Social Innovation and Impact.

Entries by Paul Schmitz

Travel in a Changing Cuba

(2) Comments | Posted June 1, 2016 | 3:30 PM

Entering a Communist totalitarian state, I expected more militaristic security personnel at the airport. Instead, we were warmly welcomed to Cuba by the female immigration and security agents wearing uniforms that included shorts and patterned fishnet stockings. It was the first of many surprises, mostly pleasant surprises, we experienced in...

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GOP Candidates Respond to David Bowie's Death

(3) Comments | Posted January 15, 2016 | 4:03 PM

Millions of fans in America and around the world have been mourning the loss of David Bowie. His new album shot to the top of iTunes and "Heroes" was the most played song on Spotify. Fellow artists have called him a genius and a great collaborator. Friends and acquaintances described...

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Nonprofits: Equity Must Begin Within

(1) Comments | Posted August 27, 2015 | 4:45 PM

There has been increasing buzz about "equity" and "racial equity" in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors and among cross-sector collective impact efforts. This is a good thing and our nation's persistent and rising racial and economic disparities demand it. Many groups are applying an "equity lens" to look outward at...

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What I Learned About Leadership From Addiction Recovery

(6) Comments | Posted April 27, 2015 | 12:07 PM

After recently leaving my job after two decades, I have had time to reflect on my leadership journey. The recent loss of an important early mentor has focused that reflection on something unexpected -- how much my recovery from addiction shaped my approach to leadership and social change. In fact,...

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The Problem With Restroom Libertarianism

(1) Comments | Posted February 13, 2015 | 10:35 AM

I have long found men's public restrooms as the most useful rejoinder against libertarianism. In the most private of public spaces, men's selfish impulses rule to the detriment of common good. The last thing we need is to de-regulate these spaces further by discouraging hand-washing as Senator Thom Tillis recommended...

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Why I Was Arrested Standing Up for Dontre Hamilton in Milwaukee

(85) Comments | Posted December 22, 2014 | 10:23 AM

This weekend I spent 24 hours in jail for protesting the death of Dontre Hamilton, the unarmed man shot 14 times by a Milwaukee police officer in a downtown park. I am compelled to write about my experience to share why I chose to join this protest and...

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How Change Happens: The Real Story of Mrs. Rosa Parks & The Montgomery Bus Boycott

(7) Comments | Posted November 28, 2014 | 12:23 PM

Many of us grew up in school learning the story of Mrs. Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott as a neat, tidy story of individual heroism. Mrs. Parks, a seamstress tired after a hard day at work courageously sat down, a young preacher, Dr. Martin Luther King, charismatically stood...

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Educating Reformers and Activists: Dr. Howard Fuller's Powerful Example and Lessons

(1) Comments | Posted November 3, 2014 | 3:24 PM

When I speak to groups on leadership, I close by stating that every leader should be able to articulate the what, why, and how of their leadership. The "what" is their mission for the change they want to make in the world, the "why" is the life experiences and lessons...

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The Culture of Collective Impact

(4) Comments | Posted October 22, 2014 | 12:48 PM

"It took a lot of time to build trust. People had distrust for years. You can't undo that in a few meetings"

"They don't invite people like me to their tables. I went to a meeting and it was all clearly dominated by the same folks who have all the...

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Honoring Dr. King the Man, Not the Icon

(0) Comments | Posted January 20, 2014 | 6:46 PM

Dr. Martin Luther King was a transformational leader who inspired our nation and bent the arc of history toward justice. When we remember Dr. King only by his greatest victories and quotations, however, we do a disservice to him and ourselves. The iconic King teaches us incomplete lessons about leadership...

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The March Was More Than a Speech

(0) Comments | Posted August 27, 2013 | 5:40 PM

It has been heartening to see the real history of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom emerge in the run up to the 50th anniversary today. It is important that social change agents heed that history, and understand the difference mobilizing people support a cause and organizing people...

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Richard Murphy: A Powerful Example of Servant Leadership

(2) Comments | Posted April 10, 2013 | 4:11 PM

The ancient Chinese philosopher Laozi said that "A leader is best when people barely know he exists; when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves."

Last month, New York City and our nation lost such a leader, Richard Murphy, whose...

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Reading Through the Presidents

(37) Comments | Posted February 18, 2013 | 10:58 AM

Happy Presidents' Day. While I usually write about bottom-up leadership, I also have long been fascinated by the presidents.

Several years ago, on a conference call, I heard an older colleague talk about how he had been reading all the presidents' authoritative biographies in chronological order. At the time, I...

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MLK's Leadership Lessons for Us All

(0) Comments | Posted January 21, 2013 | 8:33 AM

This weekend, millions of Americans served their communities and made commitments to volunteer to make a difference in their communities and for the causes they care about over the next year as part of the Inauguration's National Day of Service. Commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King's birthday, his quote,...

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The Rewards of Diversity and Inclusion

(0) Comments | Posted December 18, 2012 | 12:24 PM

In the course of giving more than 100 speeches this year for my book, Everyone Leads, I met countless people who reinforced my belief about the incredible leadership talent often left untapped in our communities. Two who most inspired me were Monte Allen and Bob Littman from Cincinnati,...

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Binders Full of Everyone

(0) Comments | Posted December 7, 2012 | 4:05 PM

Demographics are indeed destiny, and America is changing. Consider that last year was the first in which a majority of babies born in the U.S. were non-white, and that the year by which people of color become a majority of the population is now projected to be around 2040.


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Teaching Children Philanthropy

(15) Comments | Posted November 21, 2012 | 3:47 PM

I ask for money for a living, so I believe it is important to be a giver, too. My organization, Public Allies, identifies talented young adults who have a passion to make a difference and helps them turn that passion into a career working for community and social change. We...

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The Real Challenge for Collective Impact

(3) Comments | Posted September 27, 2012 | 4:54 PM

Collective Impact has become a hot topic in the nonprofit world. Many communities have begun pursuing Collective Impact strategies, and defining existing efforts as Collective Impact. With the rapid adoption and replication of this model, it is also attracting critics questioning whether this is just a new fad. As one...

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Leave No Young Adult Behind

(2) Comments | Posted June 8, 2012 | 8:40 AM

Recent headlines have drawn attention to the dire state of employment for young people in America today. The Associated Press recently reported that half of those under 25 years of age with a bachelor's degree -- or 1.5 million people -- are jobless or underemployed. But things are...

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LGBT Youth: We Need You

(3) Comments | Posted May 15, 2012 | 12:44 PM

I was very pleased last week when President Obama announced his support of marriage equality for gays and lesbians. The president's words -- though historic -- came after North Carolina (following many other states) passed laws to restrict marriage rights and legislate inequality. The fight for our nation's founding promise...

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