Director, Collective Change Lab
Katherine Milligan is a Director at the Collective Change Lab, a think tank that provides practical inspiration, insight, and guidance for attaining transformational collective change. Named a “Top 100 Women in Social Entrepreneurship” by the Euclid Network, Katherine is affiliated with many innovation and entrepreneurship networks, including as a founding member of the Geneva Innovation Movement, an elea Fellow at IMD, an Accelerate2030 Advisory Council Member, an Unreasonable Mentor, a board member of Water for People, and a member of the Learning Partner Group of The Wellbeing Project. She teaches courses on social innovation and entrepreneurship at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies and Fordham University and is the author of 20 publications, articles, and blogs published by International Institute of Economics, Stanford Social Innovation Review, MIT journal Innovations, Forum Agenda, and the Harvard Business School. Previously, she was the Executive Director of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, the sister organization of the World Economic Forum, which supports the largest community of late-stage social entrepreneurs in the world.
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Read on for an exclusive Q&A with Katherine ahead of the Summit:
What does wellbeing mean to you?
To quote Reverend angel Kyodo williams, “There is this place of vulnerability from which truly transformative action must come from…For us to transform as a society, we have to allow ourselves to be transformed as individuals.” To me, wellbeing is that individual transformation that makes societal transformation possible.
Why are you looking forward to being part of The Wellbeing Summit?
I am most looking forward to deepening relationships with other leaders and fellow travellers who are working for a more just and sustainable world.
How does your work connect to wellbeing?
At the Collective Change Lab, our mission is to shift the discourse about how systems change happens based on what we believe, grounded in a fundamental insight that systems do not transform until the people in them do. Transforming systems towards justice and equity means supporting people in the system to change in fundamentally consciousness-altering ways. Inner change, or supporting people to evolve towards a state of inner wellbeing, is an important part of that process.
How do the topics you will explore at the Summit bring you and your audience closer to wellbeing?
Many of the largest systemic issues we face have intergenerational trauma at their roots. But what does it mean to say that there is systemic level trauma? What words do you use and how do you describe it? These are the questions we are asking dozens of social change leaders working in multiple countries. Our goal is to articulate a common language along with a set of symptoms or manifestations of trauma at a systemic level. Hopefully, by weaving together their experiences and insights, we can help shed light on the connection between intergenerational trauma and systems change in a way that’s accessible to other social sector leaders. Because right now, trauma is just not part of the mainstream conversation about social change – and that needs to change.