Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles I've been spending a lot of time traveling around the world these days, talking to groups of students and professionals, and everywhere I'm finding that I hear similar themes. On the one hand, people say, "The time for change is now." They want to be part of it. They talk about wanting lives of purpose and greater meaning. But on the other hand, I hear people talking about fear, a sense of risk-aversion. They say, "I really want to follow a life of purpose, but I don't know where to start. I don't want to disappoint my family or friends." I work in global poverty. And they say, "I want to work in global poverty, but what will it mean about my career? Will I be marginalized? Will I not make enough money? Will I never get married or have children?" And as a woman who didn't get married until I was a lot older -- and I'm glad I waited -- (Laughter) -- and has no children, I look at these young people and I say, "Your job is not to be perfect. Your job is only to be human. And nothing important happens in life without a cost." These conversations really reflect what's happening at the national and international level. Our leaders and ourselves want everything, but we don't talk about the costs. We don't talk about the sacrifice. One of my favorite quotes from literature was written by Tillie Olsen, the great American writer from the South. In a short story called "Oh Yes," she talks about a white woman in the 1950s who has a daughter who befriends a little African American girl, and she looks at her child with a sense of pride, but she also wonders, what price will she pay? "Better immersion than to live untouched." But the real question is, what is the cost of not daring? What is the cost of not trying? I've been so privileged in my life to know extraordinary leaders who have chosen to live lives of immersion. One woman I knew who was a fellow at a program that I ran at the Rockefeller Foundation was named Ingrid Washinawatok. She was a leader of the Menominee tribe, a Native American peoples. And when we would gather as fellows, she would push us to think about how the elders in Native American culture make decisions. And she said they would literally visualize the faces of children for seven generations into the future, looking at them from the Earth, and they would look at them, holding them as stewards for that future. Ingrid understood that we are connected to each other, not only as human beings, but to every living thing on the planet. And tragically, in 1999, when she was in Colombia working with the U'wa people, focused on preserving their culture and language, she and two colleagues were abducted and tortured and killed by the FARC. And whenever we would gather the fellows after that, we would leave a chair empty for her spirit. And more than a decade later, when I talk to NGO fellows, whether in Trenton, New Jersey or the office of the White House, and we talk about Ingrid, they all say that they're trying to integrate her wisdom and her spirit and really build on the unfulfilled work of her life's mission. And when we think about legacy, I can think of no more powerful one, despite how short her life was. And I've been touched by Cambodian women -- beautiful women, women who held the tradition of the classical dance in Cambodia. And I met them in the early '90s. In the 1970s, under the Pol Pot regime, the Khmer Rouge killed over a million people, and they focused and targeted the elites and the intellectuals, the artists, the dancers. And at the end of the war, there were only 30 of these classical dancers still living. And the women, who I was so privileged to meet when there were three survivors, told these stories about lying in their cots in the refugee camps. They said they would try so hard to remember the fragments of the dance, hoping that others were alive and doing the same. And one woman stood there with this perfect carriage, her hands at her side, and she talked about the reunion of the 30 after the war and how extraordinary it was. And these big tears fell down her face, but she never lifted her hands to move them. And the women decided that they would train not the next generation of girls, because they had grown too old already, but the next generation. And I sat there in the studio watching these women clapping their hands -- beautiful rhythms -- as these little fairy pixies were dancing around them, wearing these beautiful silk colors. And I thought, after all this atrocity, this is how human beings really pray. Because they're focused on honoring what is most beautiful about our past and building it into the promise of our future. And what these women understood is sometimes the most important things that we do and that we spend our time on are those things that we cannot measure. I also have been touched by the dark side of power and leadership. And I have learned that power, particularly in its absolute form, is an equal opportunity provider. In 1986, I moved to Rwanda, and I worked with a very small group of Rwandan women to start that country's first microfinance bank. And one of the women was Agnes -- there on your extreme left -- she was one of the first three women parliamentarians in Rwanda, and her legacy should have been to be one of the mothers of Rwanda. We built this institution based on social justice, gender equity, this idea of empowering women. But Agnes cared more about the trappings of power than she did principle at the end. And though she had been part of building a liberal party, a political party that was focused on diversity and tolerance, about three months before the genocide, she switched parties and joined the extremist party, Hutu Power, and she became the Minister of Justice under the genocide regime and was known for inciting men to kill faster and stop behaving like women. She was convicted of category one crimes of genocide. And I would visit her in the prisons, sitting side-by-side, knees touching, and I would have to admit to myself that monsters exist in all of us, but that maybe it's not monsters so much, but the broken parts of ourselves, sadnesses, secret shame, and that ultimately it's easy for demagogues to prey on those parts, those fragments, if you will, and to make us look at other beings, human beings, as lesser than ourselves -- and in the extreme, to do terrible things. And there is no group more vulnerable to those kinds of manipulations than young men. I've heard it said that the most dangerous animal on the planet is the adolescent male. And so in a gathering where we're focused on women, while it is so critical that we invest in our girls and we even the playing field and we find ways to honor them, we have to remember that the girls and the women are most isolated and violated and victimized and made invisible in those very societies where our men and our boys feel disempowered, unable to provide. And that, when they sit on those street corners and all they can think of in the future is no job, no education, no possibility, well then it's easy to understand how the greatest source of status can come from a uniform and a gun. Sometimes very small investments can release enormous, infinite potential that exists in all of us. One of the Acumen Fund fellows at my organization, Suraj Sudhakar, has what we call moral imagination -- the ability to put yourself in another person's shoes and lead from that perspective. And he's been working with this young group of men who come from the largest slum in the world, Kibera. And they're incredible guys. And together they started a book club for a hundred people in the slums, and they're reading many TED authors and liking it. And then they created a business plan competition. Then they decided that they would do TEDx's. And I have learned so much from Chris and Kevin and Alex and Herbert and all of these young men. Alex, in some ways, said it best. He said, "We used to feel like nobodies, but now we feel like somebodies." And I think we have it all wrong when we think that income is the link. What we really yearn for as human beings is to be visible to each other. And the reason these young guys told me that they're doing these TEDx's is because they were sick and tired of the only workshops coming to the slums being those workshops focused on HIV, or at best, microfinance. And they wanted to celebrate what's beautiful about Kibera and Mathare -- the photojournalists and the creatives, the graffiti artists, the teachers and the entrepreneurs. And they're doing it. And my hat's off to you in Kibera. My own work focuses on making philanthropy more effective and capitalism more inclusive. At Acumen Fund, we take philanthropic resources and we invest what we call patient capital -- money that will invest in entrepreneurs who see the poor not as passive recipients of charity, but as full-bodied agents of change who want to solve their own problems and make their own decisions. We leave our money for 10 to 15 years, and when we get it back, we invest in other innovations that focus on change. I know it works. We've invested more than 50 million dollars in 50 companies, and those companies have brought another 200 million dollars into these forgotten markets. This year alone, they've delivered 40 million services like maternal health care and housing, emergency services, solar energy, so that people can have more dignity in solving their problems.