As my colleagues can attest, I have complained a lot during my nearly six years as president of the Hewlett Foundation about what I see as the pathologies of philanthropy—criticizing everything from the difficulty of collaborating with other funders, to the colonization of philanthropy by business school dogma, to the incessant pursuit of shiny new objects. There is one complaint, however, that I want to retract, namely, that philanthropy focuses too much on individual leaders and builds cults of personality around them.
That one, I’ve decided, is fine.
At first, as a newcomer to the sector, I wasn’t sure what to make of this need to create philanthropic rock stars. I believed that more humility was warranted, that the work is done by grantees and foundation staff, not CEOs, so we should lay back and let others do the speaking. But now that I’ve grown into my role as president, I don’t think I need to be so unfailingly polite and retiring.
As part of this new approach to leadership, I’ve decided to use the device that all great 21st century leaders use to share their vision: Twitter. Here’s a taste of what you can find on my timeline:
As you can see, the Twitter experiment didn’t work out, but you can always catch me on Insta.