Leading Together 2021 - Fireside Chats

Fireside Chats

Disrupting the Narrative: The Power of the Story

Tuesday, June 15 | 2:50-3:30 p.m.

Moky MakuraHow do you change the narrative of a continent that has been entrenched in people’s minds for hundreds of years? The story of Africa is one that is often told by outsiders through frames that no longer serve this dynamic and evolving continent. Storytelling is a powerful way to shift narratives, engage philanthropy, help us understand why we should care, and inspire us to act.

Moky Makura is passionate about storytelling and equally who is telling them. As Executive Director of Africa No Filter, an innovative new donor collaborative initiative that seeks to change the narrative about and within Africa to one that is more nuanced, authentic, and locally driven, Moky works with researchers, the media, and artists to interrogate African narratives, and empower storytellers and platforms to create more authentic narratives.
Mary Thomas
Moderated by Shaheen Kassim-Lakha, this Fireside Chat will give you a better understanding of why disrupting the narrative through storytelling helps philanthropy make a more positive, lasting, and meaningful impact for everyone.

Moderator: Shaheen Kassim-Lakha, Director of Strategic Partnerships, The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation

Speaker: Moky Makura, Executive Director, Africa No Filter

Transformational Leadership

Wednesday, June 16 | 12:30-1:10 p.m.

Wes MooreDuring this inspiring Fireside Chat, New York Times bestseller and former CEO of the Robin Hood Foundation, Wes Moore, will share his inspiring life story and perspective on how philanthropy can help address poverty.

Wes led the Robin Hood Foundation to one of its strongest years in the anti-poverty group’s 33-year history in 2020 – raising over $230 million as the organization filled a critical role in response to the pandemic.
Mary Thomas
With Mary Thomas moderating, Wes will share how he transformed Robin Hood by restructuring and refocusing the grantmaking portfolio, executing relief efforts in response to COVID-19, expanding the organization's role through policymaking, and launching several initiatives — including a national partnership and the Power Fund to increase support for nonprofits led by people of color.

Moderator: Mary Thomas, Chief Operating Officer, The Spartanburg County Foundation and Robert Hett Chapman III Center for Philanthropy

Speaker: Wes Moore, Former CEO, Robin Hood Foundation


A Blueprint for Transformation and DEI: The Ashley Stewart Story

Wednesday, June 16 | 3:20-4:00 p.m.

Moky MakuraThe remarkable transformation of Ashley Stewart, one of the country’s largest brands serving Black women, is a story about how trusting relationships make us all better. Under the leadership of then chairman and CEO, James Rhee, Ashley Stewart overcame impossible odds to bring the company out of facing liquidation through individual and enterprise-wide innovation and multi-stakeholder engagement.

Shelby BrownHear James Rhee, a son of Korean immigrants and the self-described “least qualified CEO”, share the story of an unlikely friendship between himself and a predominantly Black female employee group who placed their mutual trust in each other, learned from one another, and then proceeded to quietly shock the world.

Moderator: Shelby Brown, Interim Chief Operating Officer, Council on Foundations

Speaker: James Rhee, John H. Johnson Endowed Chair and Professor of Entrepreneurship, Howard University & Former Chairman/CEO, Ashley Stewart


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