Fall 2016 Intersection Quarterly Review 2016 - Page 15

15 Interview with Kathy Calvin of the UN Foundation Kathy was made CEO by the Un Foundation Board in 2009 and President in 2013, which has been instrumental for advancing support for the UN mission as well as an advocate for public and private sector partnerships to bring about solutions to issues plaguing the world. As the President and CEO of the foundation, Kathy works to bring about the inclusion of women into all sectors and opportunities across the globe. To work at the helm of the foundation advocate of the UN and connects people, ideas and resources from all over to help the UN on its many humanitarian missions. George: Kathy, describe if you may citizen, and he wanted to make the UN Foundation’s unique that possible. mission and your work within the It’s unique and the UN international community. calls us at various times to help them and we take that seriously Kathy: You know, it is a unique and we’re honored to be able to mission and it took a unique guy, share that name with the UN and Ted Turner, to recognize that there do that. We try to be like Ted was a need for a UN Foundation. It Turner, innovative and bold, and didn’t exist in 1997 when he had using the power of communication the bold audacious idea to make a to tell the story about what the UN billion, with a “b,” dollar does around the world. contribution towards the UN. At the time he did it, it was George: That’s certainly one before Bill Gates and Warren Buffet incredible commitment and and audacious philanthropy, Sean certainly Ted Turner’s vision and Parker and all the people who have boldness is something that I think come since to make a really big we all on the planet now appreciate difference with their philanthropy based on all of the impact you have by thinking big and impacting a made in such a relatively short major institution, and what he period of time. I do really find it wanted to do was to help the UN interesting that you say his goal by ensuring that the U.S. always was to be innovative and bold, and paid its dues on time and in full, so so is the UN Foundation. Going off we do UN lobbying. of that inspired you to join the UN He wanted to make sure Foundation? that lots of partners from all sectors could work with the UN and Kathy: Well, I hadn’t worked in the enhance the effectiveness around non-profit sector and when Ted the world. He really believed that and the former president Tim Wirth average individuals, whether you’re invited me to join, I thought, “Wow. a world leader or a billionaire or a 9 What do I know? What could I year-old kid could get involved with bring?” making a difference as a global I’m not a foreign policy expert, but in the end what inspired me was that I could see something big was happening in the non-profit sector. It was really becoming the place to be ... lots of innovation, lots of exciting opportunities to engage and make a difference. I thought the UN was the biggest brand around and would be a really interesting place to try to promote the partnership idea which was just becoming an idea at the time, about 15 years ago. Lastly, I realized that one of my strengths and assets is that I’m pretty good at translating. At AOL I translated the new internet world to non-techies. When I was in politics I translated the candidates views to voters. I love that I can help translate what the UN does on a daily basis to save lives and keep girls in school and ensure refugees have assistance. Those are very important things to be able to tell people about, so I love that opportunity to help change the world by helping translate what’s going on and coming up with ideas and opportunities for people to be part of it.