Meet 2019 NGen Award finalist Lindsay Torrico
// By Jacqueline Brennan
Once the votes are counted, this year’s winner will be announced at Upswell this November. Here’s a heads up: Selecting just one winner from our six finalists will be tough. Each is an amazing changemaker who has made great strides toward transformative social impact in the communities they serve through collaborative leadership.
To help you make your decision, we asked each finalist to tell you a little bit about themselves, what drives them, and why the work they do is important.
So meet Lindsay Torrico, Director of Policy and Advocacy with United Way Worldwide in Alexandria, Virginia. She is applying multiple approaches to increase civic engagement and help local United Ways advocate not only for the people they serve, but also be empowered to advocate for themselves and to create community-driven solutions.
Q: Who or what inspires you – and why?
LT: I am inspired by our incredible United Way network and the work they are doing to solve the world’s most intractable problems. Whether it’s teen pregnancy in Milwaukee or sex trafficking in Atlanta, their work is grounded in a deep love for their community and a commitment to create a better world.
Q: What does changemaker mean to you?
LT: Changemakers unite people to solve society’s greatest inequities and injustices. They bring people together to fight for a common purpose and drive collective action. They have courage, conviction and determination that is steeped in hope and empathy for their community.
Q: Other than the announcement of the winner of the NGen Leadership Award, what are you most looking forward to at Upswell?
LT: At this time of intense social, political and racial divisions in our country, I am looking to be inspired by stories and examples of how people are helping to heal our communities and combat fear, racism, and violence across our nation. I am hopeful that nonprofits are stepping up to spur the community dialogues and actions necessary to bring our country together.
Q: What is the most personally meaningful action/protest/campaign that you have participated in?
LT: As a new mom, I feel grateful to have helped push our organization towards adopting a stronger, more comprehensive paid family leave policy that includes adoptive and LGBT parents. I worked with a group of mothers to develop a solution that embodies our brand and mission to create better opportunity for all. As nonprofits, we must ensure that our work to improve the world starts with how we treat our own employees. We must represent and reflect the change we wish to see in the world.
Q: In one sentence, how would you capture your core values?
LT: I strongly believe that we must not only fight for people, but with them.
Q: What leadership qualities do you think are most important for emerging leaders in the charitable community or working for social impact to develop?
LT: I think we must lead with humility and authenticity. Emerging leaders must embody courage and grit, but I think understanding that the work is bigger than yourself and openly engaging with others must be at the center of our social impact.