Leading Boldly

Leading Boldly: Emerging Leaders on the Frontlines for Social Change

There has been a heightened awareness and a greater sense of urgency of the need to address the inequities laid bare by a cascade of crises in recent years. This has highlighted the work of leaders on the frontlines for social change. Leading Boldly, The USC Center on Philanthropy & Public Policy’s new series, focuses on emerging leaders who are working on an array of issues and varying approaches to create a more equitable society.

Four remarkable leaders, whose life experiences give them inspiration and strength, share their personal stories and reflect on their leadership journeys with Fred Ali, the retired President and CEO of the Weingart Foundation and a former nonprofit leader. The interviews are inspired by the words of Booker T. Washington: “Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.”

Leading Boldly Press Release 2022

The series is underwritten by
Bank of America and the Weingart Foundation.

Desmond Meade - Leading Boldy

Desmond Meade, President, Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, shares his leadership journey and discusses his greater motivation beyond the work, overcoming addiction, homelessness, and incarceration to embrace a calling to work in service of others. Desmond speaks on the power of philanthropy to advance opportunity and justice as well as the need to support and trust in the transformative ideas of leaders on the frontlines of social change.

Greisa Martinez

Greisa Martinez Rosas, Executive Director, United We Dream, shares that a series of life experiences compelled her commitment to social justice; crossing the Rio Grande River at seven years old to growing up in the South as an undocumented and queer youth. Greisa discusses strategic alliances to resist race and gender oppressions, using her voice as a truth-teller and teaches us that investing in emerging leaders like herself is our hope for a more equitable future.

Phi Nguyen

Phi Nguyen, Executive Director, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta reflects on the leadership challenges she has faced during a period of increasing anti-Asian racism and violence. Phi offers hope, using her platform boldly and responsibly, leading within her organization, and offers insights to philanthropy – going beyond the grant, trusting your grantees, and providing unrestricted funding – while stressing that more needs to be done to understand and support Asian American communities.

Jennifer Bailey

Reverend Jennifer Bailey, Founder and Executive Director, Faith Matters Network channels her early life experiences of isolation and marginalization into a ministry of belonging and healing. She discusses her work centered on creating communities of belonging and healing the healers. Jennifer challenges the use of the terms such as “young” and “emerging”, – reminding us that leaders have moments of awakening at different points in their lives and to invest in people regardless of age or stage of development.


Weingart Foundation
Bank of America