I am excited to be the new CEO of Common Purpose Germany. I have been with the organisation for 8 years now and owe a lot to all my colleagues, to my local Advisory Board and to my predecessors in this challenging role. I am most grateful to have such a talented team who works so hard for our cause.
At Common Purpose, we endeavor to bring together leaders who are as diverse as possible - bridging gaps and crossing boundaries. However, in Germany, visible leaders are not always very visibly diverse: as is the case in many Western countries, they tend to be white, male, (upper) middle class and no younger than 50.
And although this demographic is changing in many sectors of our society, it is not changing in all sectors - and it is certainly not changing quickly enough! In the private sector, I still dream of the day that meeting a Private Wealth Manager at a leading German Bank does not mean the same as meeting a white, male, middle-class Private Wealth Manager.
My aspiration for our work at Common Purpose Germany is to change this "bourgeois diversity"; to help contribute to a culture which is inclusive of all kinds of people and backgrounds. But the big questions for me is: was lockt die Menschen aus dem Haus (what lures them out of their house?) What will bring people together? What could their common vision be? What might their doubts be? Who are the people, self-confident and mature enough, to really engage in cross-sectoral, cross-gender, cross-generation, cross-boundary debate? What will inspire them to commit to making a real difference?
At Common Purpose, we often talk about a city's central square, the figurative 'civic space' that we need to re-occupy; the place where, traditionally, all citizens of a city meet, discuss and engage. The health and happiness of a city nearly always depends on how diverse, energetic and full of people this civic space is. At a recent team meeting we talked about the concept of bonfires. I am convinced that Common Purpose has a key role to play in finding and staging "bonfires" that will bring people out of their homes, into another space that is still warm and comfortable, yet where they cannot know whom they will be meeting, where they will discuss new ideas and develop diverse relationships. By bringing people together we, at Common Purpose Germany, hope to provide a platform for change where leaders can examine old ideas and spark new ones in the process.
The first one of these bonfires will be a master class in Berlin in September open to all Common Purpose participants and Alumni. We will be asking what 'quality of life' will look like in 30 years from now, and so what can leaders do now to ensure that they contribute to it in a positive way. If you are interested, please contact Common Purpose Germany