Spotlight: Kristen Engberg

Kristen long

What drives you?

The reward of seeing people truly fulfilled by their sense of purpose.

How do you define social entrepreneurship?

I don’t. We mainly work with social innovators and to me, that is someone who has thoroughly  assessed a problem, and understand what systems and solutions are currently in place. He or she has ideas and a plan for building off what currently exists in a fundamentally different way that will offer some kind of breakthrough.

Biggest SocEnt trend you have seen in the last 5 years?

I have experienced two trends. Firstly, what I see with Millennials is a huge emphasis on the social/emotional aspect of working in the social impact space. They are very identity driven. Social change is not always their primary motivation, it is to live a good life and be a good person. It has influenced the nonprofit world in an interesting way. Back in the day, it was more about crusading, shouting at people and sacrificing yourself for your cause. The more recent change has affected how we treat each other in the sector.

Secondly, I am happy to see that the impact space has started increasing transparency about vanity metrics: The number of Facebook likes or lowering overhead to twelve percent does not tell us much about the impact a social organization achieves. Professionals in this sector are increasingly willing to confess it or call it out, and admit it’s distracting from real impact. Five  years ago people were all about data, because it was new that we had so much of it. Today, it’s about relevant data.”


Apart from her experience as consultant and manager at various organizations like Greenpeace USA and Human Rights First, Kristen says about her background: “I have more than 25 years of experience in trying to get and keep people engaged in social causes. From receptionist to CEO, funder and consulting firm – I have been supporting organizations in different roles to figure out what conditions make  innovation happen. Beespace was a great opportunity to shape something, bring forward what I have learned and support the next generation of nonprofits as they are shaping up.”



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