GOALs Live! with SDG Talks Podcast Hosts

GOALs Live! with SDG Talks Podcast Hosts

Tune-in to learn how to communicate sustainable development to a global audience!

On Saturday, September 26th, the SDG Students Program hosted a webinar on communicating sustainability and social impact! Kevin Sofen and James Armour, hosts of the popular SDG Talks Podcast, shared their perspectives on building effective communication skills. The event was streamed publicly through SDSN Youth’s Facebook, with a Zoom roundtable discussion between several students and our hosts following the main event. With over 625 views on Facebook, their message will continue to reach students in the weeks to come.

Kevin Sofen is currently the Business Development Manager in the water and fire technology divisions at W.S. Darley & Company, overseeing product development, market strategy, and emerging technology. In 2016 Kevin launched www.Wristsponsible.com, a social enterprise focused on raising financial capital and social awareness for water projects aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). James Armour is currently working in Copenhagen as the Head of Secretariat for the International Cleantech Network, a global alliance of cleantech clusters from around the world working together to accelerate the uptake of clean technologies. James recently graduated from the University of Copenhagen where he completed his masters degree in Climate Change, which combined natural and social sciences to examine its causes and effects, how we can mitigate its onset and adapt to it.

Kevin and James shared the story of how their side-hustle, the SDG Talks Podcast, grew out of the UNLEASH 2019 conference with the mission to maintain the spirit of action for changemakers to share ideas, best practices, and stories. Coming together from across the world, they have found a way to bring awareness to key issues through asking the right questions about development projects. By holistically understanding development problems and visualizing potential solutions, the podcast allows insightful information to be highly accessible. Other tips for maintaining social impact included building a strong social media presence.

In the roundtable discussion following the main event, students got to ask questions directly to Kevin and James in two separate breakout sessions. The conversations ranged from practical lessons of finding a work-life balance to approaching water development projects at the community level. While solutions for sustainable development exist, Kevin and James expressed the importance of working with local leadership in the context of the situation ‘on-the-ground’ to fit very specific needs. The most important intangible in development is trust between those bringing a solution and the members of a community, engaging with as many people personally. “You’re only as good as your next conversation,” shared Kevin as he encouraged students to feel confident in reaching out to people for collaboration as well as fundraising. Key advice for social impact included being persistent, staying proactive, and adapting your message to fit your audience personally. In terms of fundraising, one successful method is to make a pitch focused on the donor - telling a project’s story in a way that paints the problem clearly and outlines what kind of impact the donor will receive.

You can listen to the SDG Talks Podcast here. Connect with Kevin and James on LinkedIn. You can find the presentation slides here. To rewatch the livestream, go to this link.

The event was chaired by:

Sharif Kazemi, Deputy Project Lead of Programming for the SDG Students Program

Isabelle Seckler, Project Officer of Education for the SDG Students Program

About the SDG Students Program:

The SDG Students Program is an initiative of SDSN Youth that aims to engage students in higher education in the global effort to achieve the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, as well as empower them with the knowledge, skills, and pathways to action to be effective agents of change today.

The SDSN Youth Live! webinar series occurs at the end of each month to showcase high-level career experts in sustainable development. The events are publicly streamed through Facebook. Senior professionals offer excellent insight into key topics of sustainability and share action points for youth engagement.

The GOALs Live! webinar series occurs in the middle of each month. Pursuing Global Outlooks & Local Stories, we connect practitioners of sustainable development directly with our student network. In addition to being streamed through Facebook, these events are followed by private roundtable discussions with members from the Global Assembly of SDSN Youth.

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