32 minutes | Aug 23rd 2020

487: Saying Yes to Big Challenges, with Elizabeth Cousens

Elizabeth Cousens: UN Foundation Elizabeth is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the United Nations Foundation, leading the Foundation’s next generation of work to support the United Nations. She is a diplomat and thought leader who has worked on the frontlines of peace processes, played an influential role in UN policy innovations from peacebuilding to the Sustainable Development Goals, and helped build public-private partnerships to solve global challenges at scale. Before joining the Foundation, Elizabeth served for several years at the U.S. Mission to the UN in New York. She was Principal Policy Advisor and Counselor to the Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations and later served as the U.S. Ambassador to the UN Economic and Social Council and Alternate Representative to the UN General Assembly. In this conversation, Elizabeth and I discuss the short and long term goals of the UN Foundation. In addition, we explore how Elizabeth’s team raised $200 million in the face of COVID-19, how she works with impatient optimists, and the importance of leading with kindness. Key Points The COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund has raised over $200 million for relief efforts. Leaders should work to lead with kindness in every sector. Many high-performing leaders are natural impatient optimists, always pushing for change. COVID-19 is front of mind for most of us, but we cannot let it override our organization’s strategic goals. Resources Mentioned COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for WHO Elizabeth Cousens Has Raised Over $200 Million for the World Health Organization (Mostly) in Her Pajamas Related Episodes Leadership in the Midst of Chaos, with Jim Mattis (episode 440) How to be Diplomatic, with Susan Rice (episode 456) How Great Teams Find Purpose, with David Burkus (episode 481) Discover More Activate your free membership for full access to the entire library of interviews since 2011, searchable by topic.