Impact At Scale

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Paul Schmitz Innovator Social Impact Beeck Center

Social Innovator Paul Schmitz Arrives at Georgetown

by Andrea Arzaba (@andrea_arzaba)

An energetic entrepreneur, an avid activist and a Bob Dylan fan, Paul Schmitz is the Beeck Center’s first Innovator in Residence. This fall, he will lead a series of lectures and activities related to leadership and social innovation, available for the Georgetown community. During his residency, Paul will also serve as a strategic thought partner to the Beeck Center, helping develop the Center’s course offerings.

As a member of President Obama’s Transition Team, Paul helped create the first Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation at the White House. He is also the former CEO of Public Allies, an organization that has helped build 5,000 community leaders across 23 different states in the United States.

Paul is the author of Everyone Leads: Building Leadership from the Community Up”. In his book, he shares his courageous journey through addiction and recovery, barely making it through high school and then gradually finding his path to success. Paul emerged victorious from his struggles and went on to become a nationally recognized non-profit leader and a presidential advisor.

“I received a lot of help while I was going through difficult times, and I feel the responsibility to pay it forward,” he told us at the Beeck Center, while preparing to lead his first seminar last Thursday evening. With a purple bowtie, a blue and white squared shirt and a welcoming smile, Paul explained that for him there was no better reward than seeing people achieve things they could have never dreamed of.

Leadership for Social Change Seminar

Paul will teach 5 more leadership seminars through December. His seminar, Leadership for Social Change, will guide students to explore examples of leadership drawn from business, academia, community organizing and social movements. Students will also discuss issues of personal and systemic power and privilege, identify barriers that limit engagement and participation of marginalized groups, and consider strategies for proactive inclusion.

“The sessions will be highly interactive and international, we are expecting to have people from different countries with various perspectives,” he said.

As part of his first visit to campus, Paul facilitated a retreat for the GU Impacts program. On a Saturday morning, Paul and 10 students gathered for a guided reflection to draw lessons learned from the group’s experiences working in communities in Latin America and Africa.

Outside of the seminar, Paul will be available to meet with students. During his office hours, he will talk to students about their ideas and visions for social change, as well as help them design and develop careers in the social sector.

The next seminar sessions will be held on: October 8 and 22, November 5 and 20; and December 3, from 5-6:30 at the Beeck Center.

To make an appointment with Paul Schmitz or to RSVP a seat in any of his sessions, please send an email to:

Also follow us at @GUimpact and join the conversation through #DriveImpact.

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