Creating an Inclusive and Innovative Community

An inclusive community works as a team to offer resources and works hard to improve the quality of life of its members.”
Jess H., Summer Search Philadelphia alumna.

Last month, the Summer Search community gathered together to discuss and answer the central question: How do we create an inclusive and innovative community?

This conversation was led by Summer Search Philadelphia, who re-imagined their annual event to meet the moment and the movement of 2020, reflecting the desire for all of us in the nonprofit, private, and government sectors to pursue profound and sustainable change.

The format of the discussion was a Charrette, a meeting in which all stakeholders in a project attempt to resolve conflicts and design solutions, featuring voices of Philadelphia students, alumni, board members, staff, and key business leaders.

Summer Search Philadelphia student and alumni speakers: Amarion, Jess, Sianni, and Cesar.

Here are some highlights from this unique conversation. You can also watch our full Charrette here.

Amarion, a Summer Search Philly high school student, says “bringing in new voices and eyes” is crucial to creating an inclusive and innovative community.

Cesar, an alumnus, calls for us all to create an environment where [people] can “love each other, be there for each other, and support each other.”

Summer Search Philadelphia students and staff at a Fitness Event for new sophomores with Outward Bound, from 2019.

Sianni, also a high school participant, shared that she believes an inclusive and innovative community looks like Summer Search: “I think they are the perfect example of accepting one another, no matter their differences. They always make you feel welcome and at home, from start to finish. They instantly make you feel comfortable, like you belong, and you are important.” 

Kamira, an alumna, answered the question in a truly innovative and fun way, saying, “Different kinds of people make up better innovation, the more we come together is a better conversation.”

For our keynote conversation, we were honored to be joined by Vanessa Smith, Senior Vice President, Global Go-to-Market, ServiceNow. “Companies can lead by example — walk the walk, not just talk the talk,” she explained.

Smith also talked about the importance of fighting for changes in systems, why being a sponsor is important to improve outcomes for future generations, and how something as simple as listening can impact change.

Sylvia Watts McKinney, Summer Search Philadelphia Executive Director, closed out the conversation by looking forward at what Summer Search is developing.

“I invite you to share in our vision by joining our Championing for Justice and Equity initiative. This initiative will allow participants to have space to network with like-minded individuals, educational organizations and companies to share ways in which we can assist our next generation to thrive.”

Visit summersearchphleads.com to get involved. We’re grateful to our community for leaning into these important conversations with us.


Watch our complete Virtual Charrette conversation:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s