Meet Ashoka Fellow Kevin Kirby & Trend Spotter Jim Sturdevant
We are thrilled to welcome Kevin Kirby, co-founder of Face It TOGETHER as an Ashoka Fellow. He is building the infrastructure for a chronic care model of addiction recovery that engages communities and employers alike, breaks down silos between the two, and de-stigmatizes this age-old disease.
In a one-on-one interview with Ashoka published on Forbes.com, Kevin shares how he came to realize he is no different from anyone else, where his sense of purpose comes from and how the idea for Face It TOGETHER came about.
It would have taken us a few more years to find out about Kevin’s work in Sioux Falls, SD had it not been for a serendipitous phone call from Trend Spotter Jim Sturdevant. People often ask us if they can nominate their founders or nominate themselves. Here is proof that you absolutely can!
Let us know if you have a social entrepreneur or a trend you’d like to bring to our attention. We’re always eager to learn!
Q & A WITH TREND SPOTTER JIM STURDEVANT
Jim is Director of Strategy at Face It TOGETHER and serves as a Board Member of Face It TOGETHER Sioux Falls. He shares his leadership passions as an adjunct professor at the University of Sioux Falls Vuchurevich School of Business.
What social issue most motivates you and how do you make change in your community?
I have always been motivated to help remove barriers that keep people from fully using their gifts. As a manager in the federal and private sectors for 34 years, I focused my passion on improving work environments for employees. I worked to create and nurture employment practices that helped people to grow and thrive. Also, I enabled other managers through leadership workshops, mentoring, and coaching. Last year, I earned a Doctorate in Leadership, with an emphasis on transformational leadership. I am now a leadership consultant, and I teach leadership and organizational development at a university.
How/when did you start engaging with Ashoka?
I started engaging with Ashoka just a few months after I began working with Face It TOGETHER. At that time, the Face It TOGETHER team was coming to understand that their vision and mission were primarily about broad social change, and not only about change in the addiction treatment and recovery fields. We began to study the field of social entrepreneurship. We began reaching out to social entrepreneurship organizations. Ashoka rose to the top of our list.
Where did you meet the Fellow you nominated?
Kevin Kirby and I have lived in the same community our entire lives. While I knew of Kevin for decades, I finally met him in May 2012. That meeting coincidentally occurred when I began consulting and teaching. I was introduced to Kevin as a potential client, and I immediately became a passionate supporter of Kevin and his organization, Face It TOGETHER.
What struck you most about his work?
Courage. Courage to tackle what I believe is our nation’s largest and most complex social problem. Courage to tackle it in the face of massive, deep-rooted institutional and societal barriers. Addiction to alcohol and other drugs is a chronic disease that can be difficult to identify—-even difficult to define. It is shrouded in stigma. People with the disease often experience fear and shame, and many avoid seeking help. Those who seek help from health providers most often receive acute care rather than chronic care. Face It TOGETHER is working to change hearts, minds, and systems across all community sectors. The Face It TOGETHER model brings value to employers, health providers, and whole communities. Braced with enormous courage, Kevin is leading a social movement—not unlike the civil rights movement. It’s about transformational leadership.