When I was a senior in high school my mom handed me an article that would change my life forever. The article was from the Washington Post (have to stay loyal) and was about a twenty three year old college dropout named Elliott Bisnow who had launched a company called ‘Summit Series‘ with a few of his buddies.
Summit Series began back in 2008 and was based on a very simple premise: use fun and relationship building activities to bring together the next generation of leaders in business, activism, philanthropy, and social movers and consequentially tackle the world’s biggest problems. The 2011 Summit at Sea saw a thousand people drop $3500 each to attend the invite only experience. This year, the boys took them 650 lucky leaders to Lake Tahoe. No stuffy lectures and conferences, instead, go shark tagging with some new friends or roam the streets of Miami on a scavenger hunt. The Summit attracts heavy hitters like Russell Simmons (found of Def Jam Records) and Sir Richard Branson (Virgin Mobile, Records, Airways, etc) who share stories of their experiences in business and act as guides to the younger members of the Summit.
The Summit is as much about creating relationships and friends as it is about solving global problems. In fact, the organizers Elliot Bisnow, Jeff Rosenthal, Brett Leve, and Jeremy Schwartz believe that creating friendships are the best way to do business and to change the world. The philosophy has worked as Summit Series is now a must-go for anyone interested in doing good for the world while having a blast figuring out how. Summit Series has held four summits and has a lot to show for it. In 2009, they raised over one million dollars for charity, just a year after launching! The four founders have been invited to the White House, have invested in ten social startups, currently support ten non-profits, and started four social initiatives with four separate partners. Beyond what Summit Series is doing, the people fortunate enough to attend the events have gone on to form and invest in projects with other people they met at the event.
And the guys in charge are living the twenty-something year old dream. They never stay in a location for more than two months, they are all best friends, and they all love what they do. Among the four of them, they have connections to some of the most powerful people in the world including Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and Peter Thiel (Initial Investor in Facebook and PayPal). The four Summit Series Gurus live their philosophy as much as they preach it, they work hard, they have fun, and they do a whole lot of good.
Summit Series is demonstrating how people can do business, taking it from something impersonal to something very personal. Furthermore, Summit Series has a benevolent agenda, and is showing how business can be used for social good. Lastly, Social Summit is a reminder to its attendees, its admirers, and anyone interested, that fun is not something to be left by the wayside. Instead, fun is crucial to creating change through the way it connects people and the projects it creates. Summit Series is changing the way the youngest generation of worldchangers do business, do relationships, and do good.