Back to News Mount Hosts Anima Leadership Conference On Philanthropy and Social Entrepreneurship

Mount Hosts Anima Leadership Conference On Philanthropy and Social Entrepreneurship


Ryan Cummins, CEO of Omaze, Delivers Keynote Address

Riverdale, N.Y. – The College of Mount Saint Vincent hosted the Anima Executive Leadership Academy on global philanthropy and social entrepreneurship June 19-21. The conference was founded through a partnership between Mount Saint Vincent, Soulful Impact, LLC, a leadership development consultancy, and ONE HUNDRED, a marketing organization created by Changing Our World, Inc., a philanthropic consulting firm specializing in fundraising, corporate social engagement, and research and analytics.

Mount President Charles L. Flynn, Jr. kicked off the event with a welcome address. Ryan Cummins, co-founder and co-CEO of Omaze, a cause marketplace that raises money for charity by offering the chance to win once-in-a-lifetime experiences, provided the keynote address. Seminars included self-evaluation of leadership style, an overview of the current global philanthropic landscape, and learning how to optimize career growth and networking opportunities through Anima-style leadership. The intimate 15-member group also engaged in spiritual centering exercises. Speakers included Jonathan Atwood, Unilever’s Vice President of Sustainable Living and Corporate Communications, North America; William Campbell, president of Sanoch Management, a consulting and investment firm; Brian Crimmins, managing partner of ONE HUNDRED and CEO of Changing Our World; and Nina Aversano, Ph.D., Chair and Assistant Professor of Management at the Mount.

“The passion of the attendees exceeded my expectations,” noted Michael Hoffman, founder and chairman of Changing Our World and a former member of the College’s Board of Trustees. “I knew the experience would be raw and transformative, but it blew me away even more than I could imagine.”

“Anima translates to ‘soul’ in Latin,” said the Leadership Academy’s co-director Deirdre Gaughan, senior advisor to Mr. Hoffman. “We wanted to create an opportunity for leaders of all backgrounds to discover what it means to lead in a soulful, present way.” To be a leader in accordance with the Anima model, Ms. Gaughan continued, is to be authentic, strategic, omnipresent, intentional, and aware of otherness, that is, the value of remembering the world outside the self. A key component of Anima leadership is a simple principle: leading by the Golden Rule. “Treating everyone as they wish to be treated can allow an organization to thrive because everyone is achieving the fullest potential of their vocation,” Ms. Gaughan said.

The conference concluded with attendees’ presentations on their leadership style and goals. “Being here helped me remember the importance of never settling, whether it’s about a career or anything else,” said Kayla Colyard ’17, who received her master’s degree in International Development and Service from the Mount in May. A former community outreach coordinator for the American Red Cross in New York State, Ms. Colyard discussed the value of finding like-minded peers who appreciated her desire to travel and help others. “I grew up in Pawling, New York, which is a very small place,” Ms. Colyard said. “I was eager to expand my horizons and discover new experiences.” She taught English in Thailand and backpacked throughout Southeast Asia, experiencing six different countries in a year. “It’s important to stay true to what makes you happy,” she said.

In addition to returning next summer, the Anima Executive Leadership Academy will also come to the Mount campus this fall for a one-day event. Mr. Hoffman said groups will continue to be intentionally small to foster a close-knit sense of community.

About the College of Mount Saint Vincent
Founded in 1847 by the Sisters of Charity, the College of Mount Saint Vincent offers nationally recognized liberal arts education and a select array of professional fields of study on a landmark campus overlooking the Hudson River. Committed to the education of the whole person, and enriched by the unparalleled cultural, educational, and career opportunities of New York City, the College equips students with the knowledge, skills, and experiences necessary for lives of professional accomplishment, service, and leadership in the 21st century.