Richard DiPilla is an inspiring entrepreneur and an impressive marketing specialist. He is the Founder of LinkedIn Global Goodwill Ambassadors, where all thoughts are welcome and shared in an online community. His valuable words can be appreciated from many angles to help direct those on a job-hunt to feel positive and driven towards achieving their goals.
1. Please tell us something about yourself.
A. Like many people of my geneation in the United States my parents were second generation European immigrants. The values instilled in me were acceptance, tolerance, a strong work ethic, and a sense of pride. Life is also a great equalizer in the paths we each chose. Along my path I lost my father when I was just 4 years old, married and was a father when I was still in my late teens, worked as many as five jobs at one time to provide for a young family, plowed and juggled an eduction and work path, lost my mother and a sybling, and ultimately found that life itself is our true education. The truth is I’ve made many decisions that in hindsight I would have changed, but I’m equally certain I would have lost the opportunity of the life lessons those ill-decisions provided.
2.What inspired you to start this wonderful Global goodwill ambassadors mission?
A. I recognized the great power of social media as a means of interaction and self education. After joining LinkedIn I was at a time when I wasn’t looking for employment and not in a career where I needed it’s direct business applications. I instead saw the platform instead as a means learning about people. A little over five I made a connection to a person in the area of the world that had been widely painted as intolerant or even radical. What I remember was my surprise at hearing the loving humanitarian work this person was doing, and my equal surprise in my mis-understanding that their are people in countries painted by our media as in a negative way, who are doing great works. I decided to highlight this person and use the social media forums I had built to get a different kind of messages out about a person, a nation, and it’s people. Amazingly, I was inundated with positive responses and messages.
Soon I was flooded with other requests from people asking to highlight people in their countries. I started reading profiles of my connections to find people who were going above and beyond their employment to help humanity. Over five years later I have embraced the help of some wonderful people in almost 170 countries around the world. From that single first Global Goodwill Ambassador we have highlighted 7000 and growing every day. The basic tenets of GGA are no bias, no hate, and no solicitation. All three combined provide a safe harbor for people on social media, to know that a group.of people exist, have chapters in their country, who are structured with a Country Chair and Directors, and who work on all good causes that align with the sustainable development goals. There is and has never been any monitary requirement. The no solicitation portion also prohibits designated GGAs from.asking for monetary contributions from each other. What is does do is serve as a collective of like minded individuals worldwide. Cause groups create think tanks for sharing strategies for Educators, Lawyers, Gender Issues, Youth Advocacy, Veterans Advocacy, Refugee Issues, Human Rights, and any cause you can think of. The magic of Global Goodwill Ambassadors is power and value of the human spirit to speak freely about issues they face or recognise and work together to find solutions.
3.What are the prerequisites required for this role of GGA?
A. Although we are constantly adjusting this, I always want this to be open to anyone who has a good heart and has confirmed humanitarian work. From the early years where I was handling all this on my own, I now have a full global board, a nomination vetting system through our website (www.globalgoodwillambassadors.org); a strong Executive President, Lisa Jones, and a tremendously dedicated group.of Chapter Presidents, Directors, and Ambassadors. Our Ambassadors are named without bias. There are no restrictions, no caste, gender, socio-economic, cultural , religious, or traditional, restrictions.
4.Describe a time where you managed a specific challenge and were proud of how you acted and made it possible.
A. It’s unfortunate that in a group so open and welcoming, that there are always people who mis-represent their intent and try to utilize their title designation for personal gain. I do understand that many of these people come from countries that create too much emphasis on superficial achievements and titles. I have made equal number of bad choices but I am also glad that the other times I’ve designated people on my own instincts has turned people’s lives around.
5.Tell us about successful and significant organisational change that you’ve led. How did you lead people through this change?
A. Ultimately, we are all 100% volunteers. Our commodity we produce is Goodwill and we pay in personal satisfaction and personal pride. It’s akin to running one of the largest global corporations in the world with no income and no assets.
As we have grown it has been imperative to add layers of organizational structure to accommodate 200 to 300 requests we recieve daily to be named a Global Goodwill Ambassadors. Processing over a hundred thousand requests a year and designating roughly 3 to 5 % of those requests requires a very diplomatic process . I treat everyone in a respectful.manor. Our team leaders follow that lead in explaining to people why they are not being named at this time.
In other times, people get through who need to be advised that once they break our code of ethics ( agreed upon at the time of nomination), you will no longer be considered a GGA in good standing.
I know your question referred to change. For my ability to lead a global.body with so many unique subsets, I view that change as evolution. A Global foundation like ours never closes or shuts down. We have no common holidays. We span every time zone. We listen to any language, we accept all religious affiliations equally, and require co-existence. Once studied it’s my hope that many institutions, organizations, and public and private entities, will find a treasure trove of useful information in what we are accomplishing with Global Goodwill Ambassadors.
6.Tell us about a time when you were involved in the decision-making process that, without your intervention, a project might have failed or had a less good result?
A. I’m not certain that I fully believe that I am that intergral to anything within GGA beyond my early years. Back then it was tenacity, now it’s my passion. When people see they also feel.passion. Passion, belief, conviction. I feel blessed to find something in my life that powerful. Through my lead, I see decisions being made every day by people names from 170 countries every day. A collective has no ‘supreem leader’ . Instead it’s a perfect democracy with the power to correct itself and mend it’s ills.
7.How have you encouraged your team to achieve results – and how have you addressed under-performance?
A. I work hard to encourage the team and the entire organization to identify the results they feel we should achieve. I don’t mean to avoid a very common and rational.question that is asked of any existing organization commonly known. The Global Goodwill Ambassadors are truly a unique social experiment. Fighting off strong, intelligent leader’s ego driven suggestions is not an easy task. Remember that these are good people. They are coming from a positive ego approach in their suggestions, but nonetheless, ego, has the kind of side effects that are detrimental to any leaders. Find passion in people and see the difference that makes in achievement of goals.
8.How do you deal with criticism and can you give examples. A.I’m human. It hurts. Since I expose myself to a world body, I am ‘lucky’ enough to get critism every single day. I have been accused of being so many things. ( I sell data. I sell people. I’m running a scan. I’m this, Im that. Fill it in and the lovely people on social.media have accused me and therefore GGA of being it. I’m not a sociologist, or a psychiatrist. When you do something on social media, just expect the you will be bullied. The larger you get, the more the critism. I have a responsibility to GGA as it’s founder. I stay focused on all the good we are doing and the lives of people we are changing. Then I store the critism in a metaphorical vault and move forward in making our world a better place.
9.When have you had to deal with conflict in your team? What did you do to help resolve the situation?
A.Since our organization is in perpetual evolution, conflict is also perpetual. Teaching leaders to embrace conflict as the potential agent of change as well as reviewing data where we may have dealt with similar conflicts, is our existing methodology. My role is to often remind our people that this is a regular part of a growing organization. It is not personal despite how personal it feels. When solutions can include a compromise from conflicting parties and a set time of evaluation for each approach has been very successful and often leads to a progressive change that includes elements of each conflicting suggestion.
10. What was your biggest achievement or something that you are proud of?
A. Aside from being a proud father and now grandfather, Global Goodwill Ambassadors is hands down my largest achievement. I’m watching in real time countries at war and ambassadors from those same countries fostering friendships and comeraderie. I held fast in the early years when people of a certain religion would associate with anyone in the world except people of another religion. I didn’t hesitate to say. ” You are not welcome if you harbor any bias in any way”. Not surprisingly, although disappointing, people left the organization. Rather than persist in any person bias, I continued to reach out to find people from theses religions who were more tolerant. These little victories to me represent diplomatic and significant nuggets of hope. Other versions of providing a social place for people who have no other friends, no family, are disabled, have never been recocnized for anything in their lives, all combine to make my heart full.
11. Last but not the least, any specific message to the society you want to convey?
A.There is more than hope for society. In order to change there needs to be an input of energy. Big injections of energy, ( war, upheaval, jhaid, rebellion, ) none of these will come anywhere near the achievements of a process of unification. All conflict is ceded in historical norms and traditions. Each new generation has the ability to say ‘no more’. ” I love you father and mother but we will marry who we love, not who you feel is best”. No longer will.our company discriminate against women or anyone. This will be a process. It can’t be forced, but it needs to be participated in. Leaders need to encourage these changes. We cannot rest. There is nothing more important we can accomplish in any given day then to offer comfort or aid to someone less fortunate. The cumulative affect of more people doing more good will set an example to others. If we need to have any addiction in life, this should be it. I challenge everyone to add this trait to who they are in life. It’s never to late to start. Hey, if you do reach out. It will be our priveledge to designate the new you, a Global Goodwill Ambassador.
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Originally published at www.chicagotribune.com