Sparking a Change: Insights from LinkedIn’s Speaker Series discussion with Jennifer Dulski

LinkedIn’s Speaker Series promotes innovative thinking about productivity and success. Recently, Jennifer Dulski spoke about her experiences in making a social impact through her work at Facebook and as president of Change.org.

Anyone can spark change.

Although this sentiment is keen on a hopeful future, there are many people who do not internalize the meaning as deeply as many optimists do. With a world population growing by the billions, conceptualizing how the efforts of one can affect the lives of so many is daunting. But Jennifer Dulski promotes the idea that there is influential change happening all around us, with billions of change makers across the globe. We only need to look around to see it!

Dulski is no stranger to how people make an impact. In her career she served as the head of groups at Facebook and the president of Change.org, She has seen everyday people make extraordinary things happen, simply because they had the courage to turn their ambitions into reality. She believes strongly that “anyone can spark change, no matter where or how small they start.”

The idea that an individual has the power to inspire and drive change can seem overly general and impractical, but there are real-life examples that demonstrate this truth. For example, you may decide not to attend a community planning meeting. Your absence may influence other community members to do the same next time, which can have serious consequences down the road. If enough people skip out on community planning meetings, the result could be that no one organizes the community service events that help to clean up local parks. This could lead to trash building up in the parks, and people will not want to visit anymore. If people stop visiting the parks, the utility of the parks becomes moot. On the other hand, change can be large and lasting. For example, by recognizing a good neighbor’s talent in public speaking, you may encourage them to run for city council. If they win, you have a good neighbor who cares about the community now representing the people. Even if they are not successful, your neighbor may become more engaged in community development and could be inspired to work alongside you to create change!

Anyone can make change — as Dulski encourages her audience to understand. “We can all do something amazing. No matter our demographic, age, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, nationality or otherwise, creating change is a power that we all possess.” She noted three things to keep in mind:

Community is the key to movements. One person can start clapping after a performance, which leads to many more joining in until the crowd is on their feet applauding. As movements are built, the integral part of a movement is having a community that will help to drive it forward. (See more about how to start a movement with this TED talk by Derek Sivers.)

Critics will always spread doubt. “The trolls are inevitable,” Dulski notes. A helpful perspective toward receiving criticism is to see it in two ways: There is feedback about what you are doing and feedback that you cannot control. By focusing on the feedback surrounding your work, you can use that in helping you to grow, without becoming distracted by unhelpful criticism that will prevent you from fulfilling your mission.

Courage is within us to drive our movement forward. Dulski believes that everyone she meets inspires her in some way because they each have their own story. No matter where they are in the world or what sort of work they do, she believes they all have the potential to spark movements and create positive change. “Be courageous in supporting what you believe in and, in turn, your communities will do the same.”

The LinkedIn Speaker Series is open to over 10,000 LinkedIn employees in offices around the world. LinkedIn members can also participate via livestream.

Continue your journey in making a difference in your community by taking our online course Creating and Maintaining Social Enterprises. You can also find out how you can empower your community further by visiting our YLAI Empowers Communities resource page!