Hello, gang! It's Spiffy, back again on Planet Earth with an eye on entrepreneurs making the world a more equitable place! I have another great interview for you this week. Today, I’m excited to cruise around with Dan Egol, the co-founder and executive director of IDEAS Generation. Let’s see what he is doing to make a positive impact in the world.
Spiffy: Thanks for joining me, Dan! Tell me, what challenge is IDEAS Generation addressing?
Dan: Happy to be with you, Spiffy! IDEAS Generation's mission is to connect, support, and elevate the next generation of leaders and communities advancing IDEAS: Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Access, and Social Justice. We are a global network of leaders collaborating to make our workplaces, schools, and civic spaces places where everyone can thrive.
Spiffy: Sounds like a wonderful goal to me! What motivated you to take on this challenge?
Dan: Great question, Spiffy. Growing up in a multicultural home with ties to Cuba and Israel, I learned from an early age the importance of building bridges across cultures and identities. As a gay man, I also experienced how societal norms and systems don't work for everyone. Over the course of five years working at Cook Ross, a consulting firm focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion issues in organizations, two co-workers and I identified a gap in our field: the absence of a space for next-generation (Millennial and Gen-Z) leaders to come together and build our collective capacity to advance IDEAS in our organizations and communities.
Spiffy: In what way is your team at IDEAS Generation working towards a more equitable world?
Dan: We at IDEAS Generation are consciously working towards a more inclusive, diverse, equitable, accessible, and socially just world in the following ways: creating a community of practice for leaders and advocates of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI); incubating and accelerating IDEAS leaders through innovative professional development programs; elevating new voices through co-created, experiential content and thought leadership; and cultivating IDEAS-centered organizations through comprehensive consulting and implementation partnerships with nonprofits and social impact organizations.
Spiffy: Amazing! Tell me about a recent milestone by your team. What impact does that make?
Dan: Since May of 2020, our team, programs, and community have been growing steadily. Just this past month, we onboarded two new full-time colleagues, bringing the size of our team up to five. We've also now crossed the 700-person threshold in our community in terms of membership numbers. We offer four programs: Plenaries, Healing Circles, Roundtables, and The Dream in Me, which is an annual fellowship program for young Black leaders that are collectively helping our community build the connections, opportunities, and resources needed to make our mission come to life.
Spiffy: Congratulations on those achievements! If you would, please also share an experience when you faced failure and didn't give up. What did you learn from that experience?
Dan: At IDEAS Generation, every day presents new challenges for me, because I'm still doing so much for the first time. Whether it's not clearly communicating expectations or needs, being slow to ask for help, or not balancing competing priorities, I regularly experience failure at work. That said, I see them as learning opportunities that both remind me that I'm human and encourage me to ensure that my relationships with colleagues, board members, and community members are centered. They remain the connective tissue that allows us to be resilient when challenges arise.
Spiffy: Thanks for speaking with me today, Dan—it’s been an honor!
Dan Egol grew up passionate about social justice, community building, and global affairs—interests that have taken him all over the world. In addition to being the executive director of IDEAS Generation, Dan loves to cook, travel, read, struggle to complete crossword puzzles, play volleyball, and visit Havana and Israel. (Nominated by Ladderworks LLC. First published on the Ladderworks website on July 1, 2022.)