Personality of a GreenHouse innovator

Tania Del MattoSt. Paul's GreenHouse

In the summer of 2013, half a dozen staff, students, and I got together in a board room, and we were tasked to identify some key words that best describe the personality of a GreenHouse innovator.

The task was simple. We were given a page of 50 personality traits. Pick the words that resonate. Don’t overthink it. Just go with your gut.

Some words stood out more than others: Collaborative, community-oriented, ethical, action-oriented, inspiring.

Most of us had a dozen or so words circled on our page and we were asked to combine our lists and pair it down to our top three.

Bold, innovative, purposeful – these were the three words we decided to go with in the summer of 2013. These are the words that best describe a GreenHouse innovator.

I look at these words at the start of every day. The exercise serves as a reminder of what we are building here at St. Paul’s and who we are building it for.

As we expand and deliver our programming to more GreenHouse innovators and the growing list of pressing social and environmental problems they are seeking to solve — I can’t help but feel that there’s a fourth word that we need to include and perhaps it’s the most important word of all.

That word is 'courageous.'   

It takes courage to take on a big problem, to confront uncertainty, to act in accordance with one’s beliefs.

It takes courage to stand amongst your peers, your family, your friends and say:

I have an idea for change,

I want to bring this idea into action,

I want to make a difference in people’s lives. 

I want to have a positive impact on society. 

Taking action on an idea for social change takes courage, no question. It also takes resources and support. It takes having access to the right people, whether they be mentors, advisors, or potential collaborators.   It’s about building those relationships.

It takes a community to raise an idea. That’s why we are here today: To celebrate the courageous GreenHouse innovators that want to change the world and to celebrate you  the members of this community that support them.


- This posting is an excerpt taken from the opening remarks given by Tania Del Matto, GreenHouse Director, at the GreenHouse Social Innovation Showcase on December 3, 2014

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