David Gershon, founder and CEO of Empowerment Institute, is one of the world’s foremost authorities on behavior-change and large-system transformation, and applies this expertise to issues requiring community, organizational, and societal change. His clients include cities, government agencies, large organizations, and social entrepreneurs. He has addressed a wide diversity of issues, ranging from low carbon lifestyles, livable neighborhoods, and sustainable communities to organizational talent development, corporate social engagement and cultural transformation. Over the past thirty years the empowerment programs he has designed have won many awards, and a major academic research study described them as “unsurpassed in changing behavior.”
David used this empowerment proficiency to organize at the height of the cold war, in partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund and ABC Television, one of the planet’s first major global consciousness-raising initiatives—the First Earth Run. Building on his background as the Director of the Lake Placid Olympic Torch Relay, he used the mythic power of relaying a torch of peace around the world to engage the participation of twenty-five million people in sixty-two countries, the world’s political leadership and, through the media, an estimated 20 percent of the planet’s population in an act of global unity. Millions of dollars were also raised as part of this event to help UNICEF provide care for the neediest children of the world.
Gershon is the author of eleven books, including his recently published Social Change 2.0: A Blueprint for Reinventing Our World, winner of the 2009 National Best Books Award, and Low Carbon Diet: A 30 Day Program to Lose 5,000 Pounds, winner of the 2007 “Most Likely to Save the Planet” Independent Publisher Book Award. He co-directs Empowerment Institute’s School for Transformative Social Change which empowers social entrepreneurs and change agents from around the world to design and implement cutting edge social innovations. He has lectured at Harvard, MIT, and Duke and served as an advisor to the Clinton White House and the United Nations on behavior change, community empowerment and sustainability issues.