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Social Innovation & Social Entrepreneurship
(504) 247-1963

Center for Engaged Learning & Teaching (CELT)
310 Richardson Building
6823 St Charles Ave
New Orleans, LA 70118
Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship at Tulane University

Work on Purpose

Identify Career Paths that are Right for You, and Good for the World.

The Work on Purpose program inspires and equips students to realize their unique way to make a social impact—be it as a nonprofit or social business employee, an artist-activist, an effective board member, a high-impact volunteer, a social entrepreneur, or in any number of other potential roles. This workshop curriculum leverages life and work lessons Echoing Green's social entrepreneurship Fellows to provide inspiration and frameworks to support a wide spectrum of young people seeking to make the world a better place, and in a way that is uniquely right for them.


Thursdays 12:30 - 1:45 PM
Taylor Center, 2nd Floor of Flower Hall

Register for each session below

Lunch provided for registered participants

Thursday, February 5
Family Influences

Register here at least 24 hours in advance
Uncover conscious and subconscious messages you receive about work and how those messages shape the way you approach your career.

Thursday, February 12
Moment of Obligation

Register here at least 24 hours in advance
Discover the social problems you most want to address and your priorities in addressing these social problems.

Thursday, February 19
Take Perspective….Someone Else's

Register here at least 24 hours in advance
Discuss how to create solutions that are right for the communities you are trying to serve.

Thursday, February 26
Winding Paths

Register here at least 24 hours in advance
Step onto your purpose path, even if the breadth of the social issues you want to help address seems overwhelming.

Thursday, March 5
Out of Whack

Register here at least 24 hours in advance
Recognize when your heart and head are not aligned or when you're not doing work that leads you toward your purpose.

Thursday, March 12
Taking Care of You

Register here at least 24 hours in advance
Figure out how to sustain yourself while working on the issues that matter deeply to you.

Thursday, March 19
Transforming Challenges into Strengths

Register here at least 24 hours in advance
Recognize clues within your personal challenges that help point to your purpose.

Thursday, March 26
Heart + Head = Hustle

Register here at least 24 hours in advance
Identify work that aligns your heart, the issues that matter most to you, and your head, the unique gifts you can contribute.

Thursday, April 9
Know What You've Got, Know What You Need

Register here at least 24 hours in advance
Identify your gifts and surround yourself with people whose gifts complement your own.

Thursday, April 16
Fear Means Go

Register here at least 24 hours in advance
Confront your fear of failure, a central barrier emerging professionals face when pursuing their purpose.

Thursday, April 23
Hustle Statement

Register here at least 24 hours in advance
Develop your own personal purpose statement.


For more information, please contact:

Rebecca Otten
Assistant Director, Social Innovation
Center for Engaged Learning & Teaching (CELT)
Tulane University


 The 10 principles of “Work on Purpose” can be divided into three categories:

Right for You: Principles in this category illustrate ways in which participants can identify their personal purposes. They encourage participants to reflect on what choices will bring them fulfillment.

    Heart + Head = Hustle. Find ways to work from both your heart and your head, collapsing the divisions between these two aspects of yourself in your work as often as possible.

    Know What You've Got—Know What You Need. Uncover your unique contribution to the world. Develop the skills, strengths, contacts, experiences, insights, or education you still need, or prop yourself up by surrounding yourself with people whose gifts complement your own.

    Mine Your Past. Understand how you became the person you are today. Identify what fulfills you at your core, and what always has, so you can design a life and work that is meaningful to you.

Good for the World: Principles in this category illustrate ways in which participants can identify their public purposes. They encourage participants to explore the impact their work will have on the world and identify the social and environmental issues that move them most.

     ________ is What Matters. Fill in the blank. Choose the social problems that matter most to you, recognizing that your answer may change over time, and prioritize addressing those social problems.

    Act on Moments of Obligation. Identify and seize the moments in which you have been, and continue to be, moved to take responsibility for making the world a better place. Then turn that feeling into concrete action.

    Take Perspective…Someone Else’s. Cultivate a deep curiosity about the world and actively seek to understand other populations, perspectives, models, and disciplines. Interdisciplinarianism is critical to innovative thinking, as it allows you to see connections and patterns where those who stay within a silo cannot; and understanding perspectives of those affected by social problems is absolutely essential for high-impact, culturally competent work.

Be Bold: Principles in this category illustrate ways in which participants can develop the strength and drive to take action in order to pursue their personal and public purposes. They encourage participants to develop the boldness and the spirit of risk-taking that will launch them down their purpose paths.

    Fear Means Go. Distinguish between healthy fears and the kind of barrier fears that stem from your insecurities. Your barrier fears are signals that you need to GO…not away from that which scares you, but toward it.

    Gall to Think Big. Give yourself permission to try out smart, untested tactics, models, and ideas, even if you aren't certain you'll succeed. After all, failure is one of life's greatest learning tools and can be proof that you are thinking big.

    Think Like an Entrepreneur. Move through your life and your career with an entrepreneurial spirit. Founding your social impact career will take the same focus, energy, and positivity that you would apply to starting a new business, organization, or project.

    Bold Immersion. Become an expert in the work you are most drawn to. Get to know all of the relevant people, organizations, research, books, and articles. Surround yourself with those who are as excited to understand the field as you are. Study. Volunteer. Immerse yourself!

What do we mean by Work?  
Echoing Green defines work as something much larger than a job—it’s not just your 9 to 5 (or 8 to 6, or midnight to morning). For us, work is the intersection of how you self-identify (for instance, as an artist or a changemaker) and how you spend your time (for instance, writing books or working with children).

Your work includes your purpose projects, your volunteerism, your board participation, your creative endeavors, and anything else that defines you or takes up a substantial portion of your time. It is what you get paid for—and what you don't.

What do we mean by Purpose?
In The Path to Purpose, William Damon, a leading scholar of human development and professor at Stanford University, condensed the many definitions of purpose put forth over the course of human development research and proposed the following abbreviated definition:

Purpose is a stable and generalized intention to accomplish something that is at the same time meaningful to the self and consequential for the world beyond the self. At Echoing Green, we add the following line to this definition: “in service of making the world a better place.” This is what Damon calls “noble purpose.”

Why do we define purpose this way? It’s not just because Echoing Green is in the business of solving the world’s biggest problems. It’s also because we have found that those who have the deepest, most powerful senses of purpose are driven by how their lives and their work benefit others, which incidentally benefits them as well.

What can Purpose do for You?
People are happier and healthier when they are pursuing work that is meaningful, and especially when their work has a positive social impact. In fact, doing altruistic deeds lights up the same reward centers in your brain as when you eat chocolate or have sex! By contrast, research shows that many of the other things people pursue to make themselves happy, such as fame, fortune, and good looks, do not lead to greater life satisfaction or well-being.

Research performed by Princeton University’s renowned psychology scholar Daniel Kahneman supports these findings. He reports that the importance of being engaged with something you find absorbing, challenging, and compelling—especially if it is a valued contribution to the world beyond yourself—is an important predictor of happiness.

No wonder so many people want a sense of purpose! Research from Net Impact’s 2012 survey of 1,726 workers and college students about to enter the workforce found that 72 percent of surveyed students stated that having a job that makes an impact was very important or essential to their happiness, and more than half of workers surveyed said the same. Meanwhile, 61 percent of the Millennial Generation reports being “worried about the state of the world” and “wants to make a difference.”

And yet, few people actually have purpose. In a study by sociology professor Barbara Schneider and education policy expert David Stevenson, which followed 7,000 American teenagers from eighth grade to college, researchers found that the vast majority of young people are “motivated but directionless.”

Work on Purpose exists to inspire and equip people to create purposeful and socially impactful lives, using our network of social entrepreneurs as examples of individuals who have achieved lives and work with meaning.


Additional Information

About Echoing Green
Echoing Green unleashes the next generation of talent to solve the world’s biggest problems. Echoing Green is a nonprofit global social venture fund that identifies, invests in, and supports some of the world’s best emerging social entrepreneurs—society’s change agents. Because we believe human capital is the most important asset class, and understand the difficulties faced by social innovators who challenge the status quo, Echoing Green invests deeply in these next generation change agents as well as works to create an ecosystem that supports and celebrates social innovation as a high-impact strategy for social change.

Since our founding in 1987, Echoing Green has provided more than 500 emerging social entrepreneurs working in forty-nine countries with $31 million in start-up funding, customized support services, and access to our global network of champions. These next generation social innovators have gone on to launch, and now lead, some of today’s most important social enterprises. For example, Echoing Green was an early funder of the founders of Teach For America, City Year, College Summit, Freelancers Union, SKS Microfinance, EarthRights International, and hundreds of others around the world.

About Work on Purpose
Over our twenty-five year history, Echoing Green has come to believe that in order for today’s emerging professionals to build careers that are both right for them and good for the world—whether as a social entrepreneur, a social intrapreneur (someone who innovates from within an institution), an artist, or whatever it is that fulfills their own unique purpose—they must take a very different approach from that of previous generations. To succeed in a hyper-competitive market, emerging professionals must found their career as one might found an organization.

We talked with hundreds of young and emerging professionals and discovered that there was no shortage of altruism among them, but the spirit of boldness we knew to be necessary for them to succeed was not common. In our conversations, we also learned that young people needed something else: clarity. They struggled to identify their unique niches in the ecosystem of social change work, and they lacked the resources to help them focus. What’s more, student advisers, career counselors, and others who worked with emerging professionals lacked resources to help them.

With this in mind, in 2011 Echoing Green launched the Work on Purpose program, a proven competency-based model designed to help people identify their purposes and develop the boldness to create careers that align with them. The cornerstone of the Work on Purpose program is this curriculum, as well as our training for faculty and staff at colleges, universities, and nonprofits serving those curious about creating a career with social impact. Other program features include the Work on Purpose book, online platform, on-the-ground workshops, and keynote presentations.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000