Michele L. Sullivan: Asking for help is a strength, not a weakness
Michele L. Sullivan is known for her sustainable and collaborative approach to philanthropic investing. Full bio
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that we remember so vividly.
was when I was entering kindergarten.
and by golly, it was my time.
with a warm welcome,
little cubbyholes, don't we --
until class starts."
and plopped down like I owned the place,
with blue shorts.
I didn't think he was talking to me.
Let's just play. We're happy.
and about a minute later,
in a white shirt and a pink skirt,
why do you look so different?"
Again, let's just play."
all around the circle I was in,
and they were all looking at me.
it would be "OMG" or "WTF."
that I went in with that morning
before I went home,
outside of the circle.
like nobody could see me.
another child's curiosity,
that the real world was not built
both literally or figuratively.
as you can probably tell,
through our lifetime.
with a mental illness,
with their gender identity,
or what I go through.
walk in someone else's shoes,
a new way of giving of ourselves.
what it's like to be you
what it's like to be me.
or chase your dreams,
in each other's shoes,
of giving of ourselves.
different than most people,
I was on equal footing with,
I excelled in the classroom.
I discovered as I grew older
to do a physical job.
of everyone for employment,
an advanced university degree,
What am I going to wear?
who I've known all my life
the building you're going in has steps."
about how am I going to get there?
and got in and had a great interview.
for the day and that's OK.
challenge that day was the interview,
without getting run over.
in certain situations:
I travel quite a bit.
for all of us these days.
run through security, get to the gate.
Did I get my upgrade?
I don't run through anything.
the personal patdown.
that my parents said I was born with,
"By the way, my scooter weighs this much,
to the door of the plane."
the city where I'm traveling to
in case mine gets broken on the way.
it's a little bit different.
to put my bag up, and they graciously do.
get up and walk on the plane,
it knocked and I answered.
I can't reach the lock."
and the door flies open.
that he was sitting right across from me,
as much as I am?"
not talking about it publicly, I am.
our families, sports, work,
someone put your bag up.
with that embarrassment,
in certain ways.
I start to talk to the agent.
about their culture and so forth,
getting up the steps."
while we waited for the flight,
for both of us that day.
and wished me well,
to remember that experience more
and there was a bit of hesitation.
my friends, my colleagues
that we all have a support system.
of other people's support systems.
in our own successes,
in other people's successes,
every single day.
that we help each other,
placing people in silos
that you cannot see.
those experiences together
I mentioned earlier in my stories.
courage and understanding,
on only what you can see.
Reviewed by Joanna Pietrulewicz
ABOUT THE SPEAKERMichele L. Sullivan - Social innovator
Michele L. Sullivan is known for her sustainable and collaborative approach to philanthropic investing.
Why you should listen
Michele L. Sullivan has held various globally influential leadership positions at Caterpillar during her 29-year career. She currently is Caterpillar's Director of Corporate Social Innovation and President of the Caterpillar Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Caterpillar Inc.
Throughout Sullivan's career, she has dramatically grown the reach, influence and impact of each role. Her time with the Caterpillar Foundation is no different. She has taken the Caterpillar Foundation from a transactional Foundation into a global and strategic Foundation. She has moved the Foundation from Corporate Social Responsibility into Corporate Social Innovation. This strategy places the human need first, not as an afterthought of profit. Sullivan is well known for her global expertise and sustainable and collaborative approach to philanthropic investing.
Sullivan strongly believes monumental and sustainable change in our largest global challenges can only happen through partnerships and collaboration between public, private and non-profit entities. This strategy resulted in the Caterpillar Foundation's transformation into one of the most influential corporate foundations and, ultimately, the launch of the Foundation's collaborative impact platform, Together.Stronger.
Determination and resilience have been present throughout Sullivan;s life. She endured many years of orthopedic surgeries and other challenges. She provided leadership starting in the Little Prairie Chapter of Little People of America as a teenager. She was named by Inside Philanthropy as one of the 50 most powerful women in philanthropy and she served as a US delegate to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. She is a member of the ONE board of directors and chairs the Greater Peoria Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Advisory Board. She earned her MBA from Bradley University, and she is the first woman to be President of the Caterpillar Foundation.
Michele L. Sullivan | Speaker | TED.com