George Greenidge is pursuing a Ph.D. in sociology from Georgia State University, with emphasis on race and urban studies. He has vast experience in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors—most recently as president of the Boston Empowerment Zone, a federally funded initiative focused on improving distressed communities, and as founding executive director of the National Black College Alliance, which provides mentors to college and high school students across the country. The list goes on. So why is he currently pursuing a Graduate Certificate in Disruptive Innovation and Entrepreneurship? The nonprofit arena is an incredibly competitive space. The more technology he can use to reach new audiences, the better.
“I’m going to have to be very creative and innovative in these fiscally challenging times,” Greenidge said. “The skills I build through earning the certificate will enable me to better serve communities, particularly communities of color.”
Through an Innovation Studio course, Greenidge has learned about technologies he’d never heard of before, like Miro, an online visual collaboration platform. But the most impactful part of the Innovation Studio class is the opportunity to bounce ideas off a diverse mix of people. Greenidge’s passion project involves helping talented minorities become economically self-sufficient, by connecting them with career resources and networking opportunities. Because the Innovation Studio provides a safe space to explore his aspiration, Greenidge has gotten a lot of great advice.
“Some of my classmates come from the healthcare field. Others are in tech. They’ve had various experiences in work and life,” Greenidge said. “They offer so many different approaches to solving problems.”
Even though he’s only halfway through his first semester, Greenidge has been forced to think way outside of the box. In his Innovation, Creativity, and Imagination course, Greenidge and a few other classmates are developing a framework for using shipping crates as a live/work/play solution for creative professionals.
Notice a trend? Greenidge’s career revolves around improving people’s lives. His next move likely will involve a foundation or community development.
“Right now I’m looking at diversity, inclusion, and belonging, and I consider that pretty disruptive to our basic economy,” he said. “I can’t wait to try new things and change societal problems.”