Monisha Kapila, founder and CEO of Washington, D.C. and San Francisco-based nonprofit, ProInspire, will join us at Upswell in Los Angeles this November. Monisha has been recognized as an American Express NGen Fellow and holds a number of other sector accolades. She founded ProInspire in 2009 to help individuals and organizations achieve their potential for social impact.
Q: In a few sentences, tell us who you are – what drives you, what you’re working on, and why you’re inspired to make the world a better place.
MK: I am the Founder and CEO of ProInspire, a nonprofit that develops leaders at all levels for the social sector. I believe that leadership and equity are key to the systems change needed to maximize social impact. Our team at ProInspire is working on many things, including developing a competency model that focuses on leadership and equity, piloting new leadership programs, a brand refresh, and preparing for our 10-year anniversary in 2019! Equity in the Center, a project of ProInspire, just published Awake to Woke to Work: Building a Race Equity Culture.
Q: What’s your favorite thing about the physical space you work in?
MK: We recently moved our office to WeWork by the White House. Our entire staff is in one open office, and there are many different spaces for meetings, calls, etc. The WeWork office has many interesting nonprofits, and I have had one celebrity sighting – former Attorney General Eric Holder was in the office a few months ago for a video shoot. My favorite thing about working there is the cold pressed coffee and five different types of milk!
Q: What motivates you?
MK: I think a lot about leadership – who has the opportunity, resources, and support to lead. So often, leaders in communities don’t get the support they need to drive change. And most nonprofit organizations underinvest in leadership at all levels. That is why it is important to center race equity – who has influence over social impact work and resources is critical to drive results. I have personally been learning a lot from the youth leaders fighting against gun violence. From young activists in Ferguson, to the March for Our Lives, they motivate me to think differently about the change I want to see.
Q: What excites you most about Upswell?
MK: I am excited about an experience that goes beyond a traditional conference and really creates space for deeper connections. So often we get focused with our heads down in our own work. This opportunity to connect with leaders from across the country in a human-centered away is pretty unique, and is critical to truly advance our field.