Today started out with our choice of break out sessions. My first choice was the “Understanding Open Source Investigations” session led by 2 investigators from The Sentry. While I had so many take-aways, the one I’m most excited to share is that I (and any future Apptivist employees) now have better tools and methods to investigate businesses on their ethics. What does this mean? Basically, if used correctly, I have better methods of ensuring businesses aren’t lying about their social and environmental responsibility. It will help me further filter out marketing manipulations like greenwashing (using “eco-friendly” marketing to trick a customer) and the ”well, we audit“ empty comments.
My second session was “Sudan: In Transition.” The biggest take away from this? The speaker, Shaza Elmahdi, a human rights activist talked about how impactful international support was. Many times, we think, “Oh, we‘re not directly effected by this issue. It’s in Sudan. What can we even do?“ But our mere solidarity is important. By speaking up for the issue and being an amplifier for the people and activist‘s voices who are directly effected, we can be a part of the change, even if it is indirectly.
After lunch and realizing I unfortunately lost my coffee mug back during the first session, I headed to the next few sessions on Congressional relations and lobbying un-caffeinated.
The takeaways: “Relate, Educate, Activate. Follow Up.” Relationships are key in lobbying. This isn’t meant to be a one-off thing. It’s an ongoing dialogue.
The last bit of the day I’ll mention (there was a lot more I’m missing here) is we had a chance to have a Skype call with former United States Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power. What I found so refreshing about this conversation was her candor and transparency in discussing what went right in her time as ambassador (and senior adviser to former President Obama) and what went wrong/what could have been done better. Another takeaway was the casual nature of the call. She was dressed down and had a noticeably messy desk in the background.
It was the kind of messy that reminded me that I don’t have to be perfect to make a difference.
More coming tomorrow!