An Edge On Empathy

June 19, 2013

Young Rider at Instride Therapy in Nokomis

Young Rider at Instride Therapy in Nokomis

Roxie Jerde, our president and CEO at the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, recently shared a fascinating article by George Anders, business author and contributing editor at Forbes.

According to Anders, the number one job skill in 2020 will be empathy.

Anders considers the 20% projected growth over the next seven years in occupations like personal financial planners, health care workers, tutors, etc. and draws an important correlation to the ability of each professional to understand or experience the thoughts and emotions of others.

Spend just 5 minutes reading his article here.

Hopefully, here in the social sector we’re already pretty darn good at this. Most of us are extremely empathetic as we consider the experiences of those we are serving and how to best advance our missions in the community.

I hope we’re extra sharp at empathy when it comes to donor relations.

Does empathy have a place setting at the head of the table when we sit down with our board members, co-workers, and potential nonprofit partners in the community? We may still have a bit to work on in those areas.

Overall we have a real edge as employees and volunteers working in the fields of philanthropy and social good. Is there a market for us to share our “empathy edge” with others?  I think so. We have a lot to offer beyond the essential services we provide to increase the quality of life in communities all over the world.

Let’s build our empathy reserves to sharpen the essential human element in today’s work and to lead the way for others in what may soon be the most in-demand job skill. Some would agree that it is the most important skill in our work now.

-Susie Bowie
Community Foundation of Sarasota County



One Response to “An Edge On Empathy”

  1. laurabreeze Says:

    Thanks Susie & Roxie. Empathy seems to be a hot topic right now. I also enjoyed the give-and-take between Paul Bloom in the New Yorker and on NPR (“The Case Against Empathy”):

    …which was then followed by Michael Zakaras in the Huffington Post:

    With empathy,

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