Join us at the Atlantic Council April 23, 2024, at 6:30 p.m. for a conversation with Michael Sheldrick on his new book From Ideas to Impact: A Playbook for Influencing and Implementing Change in a Divided World. This book has garnered endorsements from influential voices in policy and advocacy, including Jane Goodall, Idris and Sabrina Elba, Mia Mottley, and Kevin Rudd.

As Co-Founder of Global Citizen—an international education and advocacy organization with the mission to end extreme poverty worldwide—Michael Sheldrick has worked with governments, businesses, foundations, the artist community, and everyday citizens to distribute over $40 billion around the world over the past decade. Now, in From Ideas to Impact: A Playbook for Influencing and Implementing Change in a Divided World, he delivers an inspiring and insightful discussion on how to implement social impact by driving policy change.

This book reveals key characteristics of successful policy entrepreneurs – visionaries bridging the gap between promises and real-world outcomes. They are practical implementers who put impact first, resisting the urge to pursue the instant dopamine boost that comes from simply winning arguments at all costs. They are connectors and networkers who build diverse coalitions and broker win-win solutions to address our current implementation crisis.

At its core, this uplifting book instills hope that change is achievable despite our divisions. It showcases how individuals at all levels pursue systemic policy change through united voices, cooperation, and solidarity. Sheldrick equips readers with the tools to craft impactful narratives that can inspire countless more success stories, reinforcing the idea that we are not prisoners of fate and that actual change begins with us.


Michael Sheldrick
Global Citizen

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Michael Sheldrick is a policy entrepreneur and co-founder and chief policy, impact and government affairs officer for Global Citizen.

He leads Global Citizen’s campaigns to rally support from governments, businesses, and foundations to get the world on track to end extreme poverty. He is a policy entrepreneur and has worked on campaigns globally with artists such as Beyoncé, Coldplay, Idris and Sabrina Elba, Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus, Priyanka Chopra, Rihanna and Usher, as well as and world leaders including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Barbados’ Prime Minister Mia Mottley, former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and former Australian Prime Ministers Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd.

He has co-produced some of the world’s largest social impact campaigns and events such as the annual Global Citizen Festival in Central Park, New York, the Guinness World Record-winning virtual concert One World: Together At Home, and the centennial celebration of Nelson Mandela (Mandela 100).

As well as reaching millions of people in over 150 countries, these campaigns have helped secure more than US $40 billion towards local and regional organizations providing access to lifesaving medical treatment, sanitation, education, equity and empowerment, and climate residency efforts. Amongst other awards, One World received Guinness World Records for most money raised for charity by a remote music festival.

M. Sanjayan
Chief Executive Officer
Conservation International

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Dr. M. Sanjayan is a conservation scientist and chief executive officer of Conservation International, an organization working primarily in the Global South to secure nature for humanity.

Sanjayan joined Conservation International in 2014 as executive vice president; he was named chief executive officer in 2017. Since his arrival, he has led two landmark capital campaigns totaling $2.7 billion; the development of critical scientific tools, including the irrecoverable carbon atlas; public-private coalition-building for massive forest restoration efforts across the globe; and the launch of a pioneering blue carbon project in Colombia, as well as the multilateral Blue Nature Alliance, which aims to protect 18 million sq. km of ocean over five years. Previously, Sanjayan served as lead scientist for The Nature Conservancy.

Born in Sri Lanka and raised in West Africa, Sanjayan brings a unique perspective to his work, which has attracted media coverage from The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, and Outside Magazine. He has testified before the US House of Representatives and appeared on The Today Show, The Late Show with David Letterman, CBS This Morning, and Fareed Zakaria GPS. Most recently, TIME named Sanjayan to the inaugural TIME 100 list of climate leaders, noting his ability to forge powerful partnerships for environmental protection and restoration.

Sanjayan has hosted more than a dozen award-winning documentaries from PBS, BBC, National Geographic, Discovery, Showtime, and Vox Media. His latest series, Changing Planet, debuted on PBS in 2022. This unprecedented reporting effort shines a light on how climate change is affecting six of Earth’s bellwether biomes — and how indigenous and local communities are meeting these challenges with inspiring ingenuity; a new episode will air every Earth Day for the next seven years.

Sanjayan holds a master’s degree from the University of Oregon and a Ph.D. in conservation biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz. His peer-reviewed scientific work has appeared in Science, Nature, and Conservation Biology. He has been a visiting researcher at UCLA, a distinguished professor of practice at Arizona State University, and a fellow at the Aspen Institute. Sanjayan also serves as a trustee for The Earthshot Prize and a climate advisor for the Clinton Global Initiative.

Sanjayan lives in Washington, DC, with his wife and daughter. He enjoys spending time fly fishing in Montana, or birding, cycling, and diving around the world.

Alexandria J. Maloney, MPA
Black Professionals in International Affairs (BPIA)

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Alexandria J. Maloney currently serves as the president of Black Professionals in International Affairs (BPIA) and as a visiting lecturer at Cornell University. Alexandria is a foreign affairs professional with nearly a decade of social impact experience. By 31, she was named one of the “Top 100 Most Influential People of African Descent” and a “Forbes 50 Champion” for Black and Brown communities for her leadership in building ecosystems to educate, prepare, and empower an organic reach of over 60,000 underrepresented professionals. Most recently, she founded the Madam Ambassador Exposure Program in partnership with the Arlington, Virginia, Chapter of the Links Incorporated and the BPIA Colin Powell Leadership Institute to prepare mid-career professionals for the senior ranks. Her past public service experience includes the US Department of Defense, the White House Initiative for HBCUs, and various political campaigns.

Ms. Maloney holds a B.A. in international affairs from John Cabot University, M.A. in International Studies from Morgan State University, and an MPA from Cornell University. She is a member of the Truman National Security Project, the European Leadership Network, the Council on Foreign Relations Young Professional Program, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated. Her expertise and interest span a host of foreign affairs, defense, intelligence, diplomacy, racial justice, diversity and inclusion, and public engagement matters.

Kizito Byenkya
Advocacy Director: Opportunity Coordination
Open Society Foundation

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Kizito Byenkya is the advocacy director of opportunities coordination at the Open Society Foundations, based in Washington, DC. Previously, he served in a range of roles at Open Society, including director of campaigns, where he helped lead and implement a new mechanism to organize and accelerate impact on advocacy, US policy advisor for Africa, as well as a program officer with Open Society’s Human Rights Initiative. For the latter role, he led a global grant-making portfolio on engaging new allies—inside and outside the human rights movement. Byenkya continues to foster new tools and networks to safeguard activism, advance meaningful participation, and defend civic space. He has also served as co-director of Open Society’s Washington office.

Before Open Society, he worked at the International Foundation for Electoral Systems and co-founded an online forum for innovative writing and discussion on Africa’s development challenges. He holds a master’s degree in international development from American University’s School of International Service, and a bachelor’s degree in international affairs from the University of Georgia.

Virtual opening remarks

Sabrina Dhowre Elba
Artist and UN Goodwill Ambassador

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Sabrina Dhowre Elba is a CEO, model, and activist. Born in Vancouver, Canada, and of Somali descent, Sabrina was appointed UN Goodwill Ambassador for IFAD in April 2020 and has since dedicated herself to the challenges faced by rural women and girls.

Sabrina also works with various civil society organizations, including Farm Africa, Conservation International, and the European board for Global Citizen.

Sabrina received a TIME 100 Impact Award and The Crystal Award from World Economic Forum.

Moderated by

Ida Abdalkhani
Chief catalyzer & founder
Ability to Engage, Inc

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Ida is the chief catalyzer & founder of Ability to Engage, Inc. (A2E), an award-winning boutique consultancy. A2E helps people feel understood by developing brand marketing communications and strategies, product ideas, and consumer research that connect on a deeper level. The A2E team also develops and facilitates innovation sessions, strategic meetings, and team effectiveness workshops. Clients include start-up companies, international government groups, and some of the world’s largest and most respected companies such as Clorox, ConAgra Foods, GSK, L’Oréal, McGraw Hill, Ogilvy, PepsiCo, Pfizer, Procter & Gamble, and Red Bull.

Ida’s business acumen and journey from corporate, to backpacking, to entrepreneurship and teaching have led to her being featured on the cover of Ohio State University’s (OSU) alumni magazine, named a “52 Young Professionals to Know” in Columbus, Ohio, a P&G “40 Under 40” awardee, an OSU “Early Career Achievement” recipient and “Top Professor in Entrepreneurship” in the nation. You may have also seen her work as a Tone Networks expert, PBS show consultant, and Vistage International speaker.

Ida has taught both graduate and undergraduate courses in creativity & design thinking and marketing strategy at the University of Michigan and the Ohio State University. She has served on various boards including, the executive team of the Global Board of Directors, Procter & Gamble (P&G) Alumni Network; Global Board of Directors, P&G Alumni Network Foundation; Advisory Board Member, Marketing, Key Bank Ann Arbor, Michigan; Board of Trustees, Ohio Business Week; and Global Board of Directors, Women Presidents’ Organization. She has also been a member of Forbes Agency Council, an invitation only organization for senior-level executives in successful PR, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies and holds seven patents across the US and Europe.

She co-hosts the Learnings from Leaders podcast, her TEDx has been viewed over 280,000 times, and she has authored and been featured in various publications from Prentice Hall to Young Money magazine. As a certified Laughter Yoga instructor, she also enjoys getting people to find their “inner child” through laughter.