Chris Worman, Director of Program Development at www.TechSoupGlobal.org has been working in civil society since 1998. Chris began in community development, communications and fundraising for a variety of U.S.-based NGOs such as the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis where he was a part of the $130 million ‘New Guthrie’ Capital campaign team. Though an incredible learning environment, Chris left at the end of the campaign to explore a wider range of roles on smaller teams; first with a neighborhood children’s mental health service then later with Special Olympics. While at Special Olympics, Chris began his first serious data and technology projects, launching several online fundraising and community building platforms before facebook made it so easy. As the systems reached maturity
Chris, raised in Botswana, felt his international upbringing pull on his professional self and began to look at opportunities abroad. Chris arrived in Romania in 2006 thanks to Peace Corps and by late 2007 had started the country’s first community foundation and a national platform for more of the same. Over the next 5 years Chris started a variety of civic-engagement-through-philanthropy processes designed to create alternative and enabling power structures for citizens in post-democratic societies. Always intrigued by social enterprise, Chris started several in fields ranging from alternative tourism, to biogas, to retail as a source of income for the Foundation.
Watching the rise of social media and considering its potential to radically rebalance and democratize civil society, Chris leapt at the serendipitous opportunity to bring TechSoup into Romania in 2009. Through TechSoup projects of Chris’ design (primarily the ReStart Challenges), more than 4 million citizens in Romania, Czech Republic and Slovakia, Serbia, Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina have been exposed to an intensely local dialog about the role of the citizen in nominal democracies. More than fifty web or mobile sites for online to offline action have been generated and the process is being modeled with new topical foci across the region.
In his current role, Chris has moved to Warsaw where he will coordinate more of the same, try to build global alliances for tech and social change, and continue consulting on how to best accelerate web-based social leadership from beautiful ideas to usable apps. In his spare time, Chris is a trainer, facilitator, mentor, erstwhile writer, and consultant for organizations ranging from Microsoft, The Aspen Institute, National Democratic Institute and the Erste Bank to Transparency International and sits on the boards of several start-up social enterprises you haven’t heard of yet. He doesn’t tweet much but you can find him at @ChrisWorman or on linkedin at http://linkd.in/ZPGJ19.