Effecting Change with Edie Weiner

February 19, 2016

Edie Weiner

Don't miss Edie Weiner at the Simmons Leadership Conference!

Edie Weiner, president and CEO of The Future Hunters, is one of the nation's most influential practitioners of social, technological, political and economic intelligence-gathering.

What do you consider your most daring career move?

Without a doubt, it was starting my own company. Back in 1977, that was not a common thing for a 28-year-old woman to do. And then, within 2 years, I was the youngest woman elected to a major corporate board, and became pregnant. The number of “firsts” started to multiply, and I realized that, by heading out on my own, I was able to make a lot of my own rules and break a lot of exciting boundaries.

If you could choose one way women could support other women on their path to success, what would it be?

Make connections between and for them! Introduce great women to other great women. Introduce younger women to older. Introduce interesting women to each other. And then never feel jealous if they like each other so much they get together a lot without telling you. There’s no way you can go to every event your friends go to, but you are there in spirit and soul if you’re the one who introduced them to each other. Making new acquaintances should not just be additive. If you find other people, especially women, they should meet, then your influence and your returns are multiplied over time. Never keep others to yourself. Share them with as many people as seems appropriate. It’s just like giving money. Somehow, if you are generous, the universe returns it to you many times over!

What major issue or current event do you think women should focus on to effect change?

Finding solutions for all of the unemployed, underemployed, and disillusioned young men here in the U.S. and abroad. Nothing destroys the fabric of homes, communities, lives and the economy as much as disaffected young men with nowhere to develop their talents, interests, economic independence and civil responsibility. This is a women’s issue! Women, even with the obstacles they encounter, can be strong and supportive. But young men, challenged by war, displacement, poor economic prospects and biased justice systems pose a significant challenge to their mothers, wives, girlfriends and children. They are attracted to fiery idealism and quick payoffs. Crime, violence, drug addiction and terrorism increase, and communities are torn apart. We will have unprecedented refugee problems everywhere fueled by climate change, wars and economic collapses. Anthropologists have long known that as go the young males, so goes the civilization. We have to find productive ways to engage our youth, and promising paths for their futures.

If you could dine with anyone present or past, with whom would you dine and what would you ask him or her?

I think it would be Leonardo Da Vinci. I am fascinated by a person who could be an artist, sculptor, musician, poet, biologist, engineer and science fiction writer/imaginer. The notion of “The Renaissance Man” has always influenced me. All my life I have striven to be the Renaissance Woman: artist, dancer, musician, author, designer, social entrepreneur, mother, academic generalist and futurist. I would ask Leonardo about the ways in which he thinks— his thought processes — and how he sets his priorities. I’d ask him about how his fields of understanding overlap and influence each other. I would ask him what he really would have liked his legacy to be. And finally, I would ask him to tell me his favorite joke.

Fill in the blank: People would be surprised to know that I...

...grew up in foster homes, played the guitar and wrote about 50 songs before I was 25 (none published, just for fun), spend free weekends at my house in Pennsylvania doing masonry and building ponds (I’m really blue collar in my blood) and that I value a great sense of humor and generosity over intellect.