Lunch Keynote: Mario Morino
Relentless: Investing in Leaders Who Stop at Nothing in Pursuit of Greater Social Impact
Mario Morino, Author, Leap of Reason: Managing to Outcomes in an Era of Scarcity America, believes we need a fundamental rethinking in the nonprofit and public sectors to solve our most pressing social challenges. The cruel irony is that supply of funding for nonprofit and government services is diminishing at precisely the moment when the demand is soaring. To rise to mitigate these challenges, nonprofit and public-sector leaders will need to build on what they’ve already accomplished. In the midst of dramatic structural shifts, our society will only be as strong and successful as our institutions, and they will only be as successful as the talent that leads them.
Mario started off his presentation by stating, “You have a tremendous opportunity for you nation.” Mario continued to provide some background to his personal life, and growing up in the 1950’s. Mario described a common theme across America, how his hometown of Detroit, the memories that he has, have transformed into a different city, which is now a landscape of baron manufacturing plants.
Mario laid out a challenge to the audience, “How do we ensure that the children of our country have a chance?” Mario says this is the core of the American dream. Mario stated, “The resources we need are not in place to solve problems.” Mario believes government needs to empower innovative high-powered institutions to solve problems.
Government organizations need to focus on the right thing, and as Mario states, “Far to often we settle for mediocrity.” Mario reminds us that not all programs are inherently good, some actually do harm for the public good, and these programs need to weed them out.
Mario describes the ways government is changing, the need for increased services with reduction of services, and the challenges facing my generation. Often I was taken back to a presentation that I gave last week to George Washington University, and the Great Myth of the Millennial Generation, that we can’t live better than our parents. It’s a myth. We can, and as Mario stated, with versatile leaders, who are highly effective, motivated and work hand-in-hand across sectors, we can solve some of the most pressing challenges of our generation. Mario continued to provide some strategies to help us solve some of the challenges:
- Need more than program funding
- Need more than capacity building grants
- Need to change allotments for overhead and contract structures for grants
- Business leaders, funders, provide strategic advice and council
- Finding Talent and Keeping Talent in Government
- Provide Fellowships for Talent
“I commend you are in public service,” stated Mario. Mario challenged the audience to accept what it means to be high performers, and to forget the challenges, “Strive to be the very best you can be, and be unrelenting about it.” That is what Next Generation of Government is about, a reaffirmation of what it means to be a public servant, and a challenge to do more and be a change agent that our nation desperately needs.
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