Net Impact Staffers Talk About Heroes | Net Impact

Net Impact Staffers Talk About Heroes

If you could spend 15 minutes with any impact hero, who would you choose? We recently asked Net Impact staffers to answer that question, and we love the wide array of people they mentioned. Our list includes a social sector innovator, an artist, a young activist, and a legend. 

Our Heroic Lineup

Kathara GreenKathara Green

If I could spend 15 minutes with an impact hero, it would be Jocelyn Wyatt, Co-Lead and Executive Director at She has pioneered the application of human centered design to global and local challenges.

Under her leadership, launched outside of the box solutions - like drones for last-mile healthcare! - which not only are showing results, but are also prompting others to think beyond the status quo. Jocelyn spoke at the 2013 Net Impact Conference, and I've been inspired ever since!

Rigo Fernandez  

Given the chance, I would love to spend 15 minutes with Edwidge Danticat, activist and author of Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work. When I first read Danticat’s work, I was impressed with the way she successfully navigated her life trapped between two cultures and clearly defined the struggle multicultural individuals face in trying to develop an identity that does justice to all of the worlds they are a part of. 

Today, she’s most often seen contributing to causes that promote literacy among children, such as One Moore Book: The Haiti Series. The characters are intentionally drawn to look like the kids served by the program. Her work has inspired me to help multicultural children build an identity.

Sreya Sengupta 

Malala Yousafzai embodies a fierce determination and brave resolve that is an inspiration to everyone on the planet, not just those of us interested in education or human rights. Malala’s remarkable journey as an activist began when she blogged about her life under a pseudonym in a violence-ridden, Taliban-controlled region in Pakistan. Her courage in advocating for girls’ education and empowerment in the face of constant death threats persisted even after an assassination attempt left her in critical condition. She’s graceful, humble, and generous.      
“The terrorists thought they would change my aims and stop my ambitions, but nothing changed in my life except this: weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage was born.”

Dwight Smith  

When Ruth Wakefield was born in 1903, women were underrepresented in education and business. It would be almost 20 years before women could vote. Ruth earned a degree in nutrition and ran a Massachusetts inn with her husband. One night, she was making cookies and realized she was missing powdered chocolate. Instead of doing without, she found a thick bar of chocolate and chipped away. She mixed in the chocolate with the batter, thinking it would all melt in the oven. Ruth was making the world’s first chocolate chip cookies.

Americans flocked to the Toll House Inn, but Ruth wasn't done. She reached out to Nestle. In arguably one of the most mutually beneficial business deals of all time, Nestle would print Ruth’s recipe on its packages, and Ruth would receive a lifetime supply of chocolate. She left an undying legacy of goodness and happiness. The achievements of heroes differ, but what they share is an unwavering approach to problems. Ruth’s story is one of initiative, insight, and courage. She deserves our recognition as an entrepreneur, pioneer, and inventor. 

Your turn 

Which impact hero would you like to meet? Tell us your pick on Twitter, Facebook, or the comments below!