Once a year, the most cutting-edge and committed leaders in ESG, social impact, philanthropy and other select fields gather at the NationSwell Summit to foster invaluable cross-sector connections, to hear about the most exciting and promising ideas and initiatives, to reflect and revitalize, and to glean actionable insights, practices and collaboration opportunities to propel their leadership forward.

NationSwell held its Summit on Thursday in New York; the theme for 2023 was “Better + Bolder.”

Here are the better and bolder quotes and moments throughout the day that will be on our minds, in our hearts, and close to the core of our personal and professional practices of impact.

“The challenges we are working on are difficult, multi-layered and urgent. There is no time to waste, and none of us will be at our best if we’re doing it alone. At a moment that needs our best, how might we stretch further in the direction of the impact we seek?” — Greg Behrman, NationSwell CEO + Founder

“My call to action is a call to arms: Commit to justice as a matter of faith simply because it is the right thing to do.” — Darrick Hamilton, economist, Henry Cohen Professor of Economics and Urban Policy, and the founding director of the Institute on Race, Power and Political Economy at The New School.

“On every single barometer we know what works — yet, it’s not being done. It’s not that people don’t know how to manage their money, it’s that people don’t have money to manage. One’s income is not correlated to one’s intelligence. Your kids & their kids deserve just as much as my kids.” — former Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs, special advisor on economic mobility to California Governor Gavin Newsom.

“Broad-based employee ownership and engagement, while difficult to execute, is wildly promising — it can lead to a radical increase in economic mobility, financial fluency, workforce stability and productivity.” — Pete Stavros, co-head of Global Private Equity, KKR; Founder and Chairman, Ownership Works  

“Regarding social media, it’s important to remember that 80% of tweets come from 10% of users. And that 10% tends to be much more extreme than the average American.  We naturally interpret these frequent, loud voices as being mainstream but if you look at surveys of what matters most to Americans across political lines, you actually find broad agreement.  So let’s take the time to talk to each other, particularly folks you wouldn’t normally talk to, because that’s the only way we’re going to understand each other and make progress.” — Pete Stavros,

“We’re in a burning building. We all have to get out. I might hit the ground before you, but you are right behind me. It’s not about being an ally because it affects you too… that’s why the term ‘allyship’ doesn’t quite capture it. You’re not doing this to help me. Your own life is at stake. Injustice makes everyone sick. If your proverbial boot is on my neck, your humanity is at stake too.” — Ruha Benjamin, author of “Viral Justice,” Princeton Professor of African-American Studies, NationSwell Book of the Year Award recipient.

“Be better and bolder by investing in the microscopic. People may not see it, but they will feel it.” — Ruha Benjamin

“Better and Bolder means not limiting ourselves in any way possible. It means constantly innovating, exploring, and creating new radical solutions by incorporating diverse perspectives. In this moment, we have to take that first step into the unknown. We have to ask ourselves “What would a world without a climate crisis look like?” And then we also have to consider these three questions: what does that mean to me? what does that mean for those most impacted by the crisis? And how can we make that future a reality?” — Thea Gay, NationSwell Fellow, youth climate activist

“Social impact at scale rarely happens overnight. Years of everyday decisions made by organizational leaders operating incrementally and independently reach a certain threshold — and can get stuck, often due to lack of capacity and broader insight. Our Collaboratives take the baton at that point of impasse, help identify shared opportunities and create the space for collective action to break through.” — Amy Lee, Chief Strategy Officer, NationSwell

“Refugees aren’t looking for a handout. These are the people fighting to stay alive, fighting for the futures of their families… these are the people you want working at your organizations.” — Hamdi Ulukaya, CEO + Founder, Chobani; Founder, the Tent Partnership for Refugees

“We all remember where we were when we heard something, watched something, or experienced something that changed our lives. The arts — and the extraordinary artists behind them — are the beating heart of our culture. They make us better, and they make us bolder. The catalytic inspiration and perspective they provide are essential for any leader.” — Anjali Ramasunder, NationSwell Vice President of Programming and Events

In the days to come, we will share more insights, reflections, photographs, and video from the NationSwell Summit. For more information, visit our digital hub.