Lessons in Leadership: Philip McKenzie, Founding Member, Net Impact Black Professional Chapter | Net Impact

Lessons in Leadership: Philip McKenzie, Founding Member, Net Impact Black Professional Chapter

Lessons in Leadership | Net Impact

“Lessons in Leadership” is a blog series that was launched in March 2021 to highlight the inspiring work of Net Impact’s network of social impact and sustainability leaders. From NI Board Members to Chapter Leaders, you’ll read about how our community is tackling global issues and challenging their industries to create change. If you are interested in being interviewed for the series or to nominate someone you are inspired by, please send an email to blog@netimpact.org, with Lessons in Leadership in the subject line.

Name: Philip L. McKenzie

Role, Company: Cultural Anthropologist/Strategist + Chief Strategy Officer, MediaVillage

  1. NIBPC | What engaged you to become a founding member of the NIBPC?       

The reputation of Net Impact is unparalleled with a history of doing significant work to attract and nurture global leadership around sustainability. Having been focused on issues of justice and inclusion in sustainable spaces, I knew the NIBPC would be a meeting of the minds with the intention to do even more work. There is a unique alignment on mission and focus that I wanted to be part of.

  1. Catalyst for Action | Was there a defining moment in your life/career that made you want to engage in social impact, justice, DE&I work?

I don’t believe there was a defining moment that led me to engage in social impact, justice, DE&I work. Instead, my engagement came gradually as a culmination of my lived experiences and work, both in finance (at Goldman Sachs) and in strategy. It is impossible to separate the issue of justice from the areas mentioned. All of these are connected and flow into one another as our systems are complex in nature. I have seen firsthand how organizations that fail to adequately incorporate these perspectives suffer as a result. I wanted to bring that perspective into everything that I do.  

  1. Seizing the Moment| What do you see as the most pressing challenge in your work and how do you hope to contribute to change?

It is difficult to identify “the most pressing challenge,” as I mentioned the challenges we face are complex and resist simplification to one particular lever or another. I would suggest that one particular challenge is the difficulty, perhaps failure in some cases, to think outside of binary concepts and radically rethink our future. We are still measuring climate, income inequality, and diversity (often boiled down to representation) by standards that don’t hold the capacity for a future(s) we actually want. I believe we need more imagination turned organized movement in order to shift the conversation significantly away from balance-sheet activism that can never hope to solve the problems we face.

  1. Shaping the Future | What motivates you most about the future?

The future isn’t one singular outcome but it is the possibility of viable futures that places humanity and meaning at its center. The future is less a goal than a culmination of present moments so each day is a possibility to shape what is coming next. I believe that we have the capacity to shift our current operating system and I want to play a role in shaping that system.


To connect with Philip McKenzie, visit his website or LinkedIn page, or follow him on Twitter