Kate Roberts on Facebook and the New Lottery of Life

Children have a 3 in 10 chance of being born into abject poverty. PSI’s vice president for corporate marketing Kate Roberts writes in the Washington Post how it is important to ensure that the world does not miss out on game-changing innovators just because bad luck in the lottery of life. Kate uses the example of young entrepreneur Mark Zuckerberg, creator of Facebook, as an example of a young person’s innovative spirit unleashed on the world.

IT School @ Winneba Open Digital Village, GhanaMark Zuckerberg, for example, is preparing to take Facebook public in an IPO that couldvalue the company at roughly $100 billion. The monetary value, however, is dwarfed when one considers how this social networking site has altered the course of humanity. (Disclosure: The Washington Post Co.’s chairman and chief executive, Donald E. Graham, is a member of Facebook’s board of directors.)

Facebook was an undeniable force in electing the United States’ first African-American president in 2008. Users of Facebook and Twitter, among other social networking platforms, helped fan the flames of a revolution that spread like wildfire across the Middle East and ultimately changed the futures of Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya. Social media users have raised millions in donated funds for victims of natural disasters, and the platforms have exposed—through photos, video, and first person accounts— inequities around the world.

What’s different at Davos

The following post is by Karl Hofmann, President and CEO of PSI, and originally appears in the Washington Post Davos Blog.

There were two promising agendas discussed at this year’s World Economic Forum, where global finance and business leaders rub elbows every January, with some social entrepreneurs and NGOs like mine thrown in the mix.

First, the population taboo was broken.

At panel discussions around the planet’s 7 billion population threshold and environmental sustainability questions, participants are slowly but steadily finding ways to talk about an issue that for too long has been considered off-limits in gatherings like this.

Meeting the unmet need for modern contraception on the part of women around the world is understood to be important, vitally important, to the trajectory the world’s population takes during the next several decades.

Are we heading toward 8 billion by mid-century? Or 10.5 billion? Not only is that difference significant, it is also something we can do things about. Demography is not destiny, necessarily. Nor is a planet with more than 10 billion inhabitants inevitable.

Davos ‘dates’: The power of partnership for global health

The following post is by Kate Roberts, Vice President – Corporate Marketing, Communications and Advocacy, and originally appears on the Washington Post Davos blog.

The 2012 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland has concluded.  Today, I returned to Washington, put away my snow boots, and began the process of sorting through hundreds of business cards.  It was an exhausting week, but I landed at Dulles energized by the collaborative ideas and commitments generated at this year’s Forum – particularly with regards to global health.

Davos is a bit like corporate speed dating. As a representative for my global health nonprofit, PSI, I sat down for numerous 30 minute “dates” with corporate leaders from around the world. Like any first date, each was an opportunity to evaluate if/how a partnership would work – Do we have similar or complementary interests? Are our values the same? We both came to the table interested in increasing our bottom lines.  For organizations like PSI, that line is measured by health impact and lives saved.  For corporations, the bottom line is opening new markets, developing a new consumer base, and being a good global neighbor.

At the end, it was profoundly clear that we could achieve both goals by working together.