Day Two – Discussing Social Change and a little R&R

The Pink Flamingos of Necker Island

After being wowed by yesterday’s inspirational leaders and what they had to say on a range of topics spanning capitalism with kindness, sharing knowledge and wealth, and working for the common good while addressing social issues – I woke up this morning wondering how anything could compare – but then the day kicked off with Marina Abramovic.

Marina Abramovic is one of the world’s leading and most innovative performance artists who is currently a personal mentor to Lady Gaga.  She is a unique and powerful force in the art world today and much of her ethos of life and art focuses on the power of humanities, arts, science and technology combined with the boundaries of the mind.

Her experiential art includes long observational emotional works, and is comprised of a series of exercises designed to heighten participants’ awareness of their physical and mental experience.  Over the course of Abramovic’s career, she has dedicated herself to experimenting with these exercises on her own and now seeks to create an environment where others can do the same.

Next up was Jacqueline Novogratz, the CEO of Acumen, a non-profit venture capital fund that raises charitable donations to invest in companies, leaders, and ideas that are changing the way the world tackles poverty.

Acumen is an incredible business for good organisation that in their words “serves as a moral compass for the kinds of leaders we hope to be and to reflect the values of leadership required in an interconnected world”.  She humbly told us of her, and her team’s efforts delivering healthcare and energy to the poor. It was both a moving and motivational speech and I certainly recommend you read her book, “The Blue Sweater”.

Prior to the Acumen Fund, Jacqueline founded and directed The Philanthropy Workshop and The Next Generation Leadership Programs at the Rockefeller Foundation. She also co-founded Duterimbere, a micro-finance institution in Rwanda.

To end the session, Sir Richard Branson interviewed Jane Tewson, Marina Abramovic, and Jacqueline Novogratz about the challenges of being women in terms of the journey they’ve been on and they certainly gave him a run for his money.  They are three amazing women.

In the evening we were treated to an amazing musical performance from child soldier turned activist turned hip hop artist Emmanuel Jal in the bar of the main house. He had Sir Richard Branson and the rest of us dancing on the tables. This was followed by an amazing BBQ on the beach next to the flamingos, capped off by Sam Branson singing us a few songs.

And with that I’m off to bed after another awe-inspiring day.

Good night,