It’s an honor to be among the 30 alumni recognized this year by Southern California Leadership Network. Congratulations to my fellow graduates and special thanks to SCLN for demonstrating your own outstanding leadership. Our community needs you more than ever.
Thirty alums across 30 years. What a privilege it is to be included in such a diverse and dedicated group.
That 2017 is also my 30th year in business adds even greater personal meaning. It’s been a long career. On reflection, what I treasure most about it has been the chance to help bring the purpose of my organizations to life and partner with people as committed as I have tried to be to making the world a better place, especially for those in need.
What made this possible? Peter Drucker liked to ask, “Are leaders born, made or self-made?” While he leaned toward self-creation as an answer, my own experience has been more mixed – a combination of how I’m wired as a person (thanks, Mom and Dad), the leaders who took an interest in my development, and what I was able to create when preparation met opportunity.
I would not have gone through one SCLN program, let alone two, if it wasn’t for Tony Buzzelli, my former managing partner. I’ll always owe him for that generosity, which came at a time when I was eager and — more importantly — ready to expand my impact.
The program gave me an inside view of a region I thought I already knew. Turns out, I still had a lot to discover, and it was great to go for that ride with peers from every sector who were as interested in connecting and learning. SCLN was my first network, and it inspired me to look beyond the walls of my firm and engage the community on a new level.
What followed was a period of professional growth for which I will always be thankful, from co-founding LA Community Leaders to joining the California Volunteers Commission to helping USC conduct the first survey of veteran need in L.A. These and other opportunities progressed one after the other, beginning with the door SCLN opened 12 years ago.
Today, as national director of Grant Thornton’s office of Corporate Social Responsibility, I have the privilege of working with and learning from great leaders such as CEO Mike McGuire and organizations like Impact 2030, which in partnership with the United Nations, is leveraging corporate volunteerism in support of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Grant Thornton is a founding partner of this initiative, and stepping onto the U.N. grounds for the first time, I was conscious of the fortunate arc of my career, which had its start in L.A. and through myriad influences and experiences had brought me to that place to represent my firm.
SCLN was part of that journey, and still is.
David Porges (LLA ’05, LSC ’07)
Director of Corporate Social Responsibility