20/20 Visionaries-To-Watch: Hanna Gebredhin & Lisa Shalett

20/20 Visionaries to Watch - Lisa Shalett and Hanna Hanna Gebredhin

We intended to highlight the 2020 Visionaries to Watch much earlier in 2020, but we found it wise to hold their feature until it felt right to release.

When you think of the word vision, you almost immediately associate that word with sight, your sensory ability. It is something required to turn a thought into innovation. To have vision doesn’t specifically mean the ability to see something physically, but rather an intention or inclination to create change.

At the beginning of 2020, OBVIOUS had intentions of using our vision to create new stories, highlight new outlooks, and continue offering the cutting edge content that our viewers have grown to love over the years.

What started out as a promising new decade quickly turned into a dark age of disorder as COVID-19 became a global threat that altered all of our realities.

Amid the pandemic, the masks of American “justice” started to show themselves more clearly than ever before as an uprising from the Black Lives Matter movements called out the wrongful murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others at the hands of police brutality.

One thing was sure: It clouded our vision.

There needed to be some refocusing of what matters and what messaging #TeamOBVIOUS could provide to its audience that would resonate with something optimistic and hopeful.


The world has now spent more than half of the year enduring the stress of these trying times, yet we can still look towards the people making a difference as a means of inspiration.

There’s no doubt that the individuals selected in this article showcase a tenacity and touch of creativity that has shown the potential for greatness in their lives and for others.

They’ve used their heart and motivation to strive for change and create space for new generations to learn from them.

It is with great honor that OBVIOUS Magazine presents: The 2020 Visionaries To Watch.

20/20 Visionaries: Hanna Gebredhin & Lisa Shalett, Co-Founders of The bluePrint, Inc.

Why is it essential to “disrupt” the non-profit sector in the way you’re positioning bluePrint to do?

Three issues stand out to us in the non-profit industry:

1. Fundraising efforts have been largely monopolized by mega non-profits, an endeavor they’ve allowed to overshadow their actual bottom line real impact.

2. As wealth is increasingly concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, donations to community-based non-profits are declining.

3. The lack of emphasis on financial sustainability towards community non-profits’ efforts.

bluePrint believes social issues have to be addressed at the community level, and each community has its own personality there is no such thing as a national, one-answer solution.

We seek to empower marginalized non-profits that are as much a part of their community as longtime residents with first-time endowments and financial stewardship and sustainability assistance to be part of their community’s solution.

What would be your wish for social impact entities to achieve in the next decade?

With the mostly homogenous (aka “white”) makeup of many non-profit boards looking nothing like the diverse people who benefit from their services, there’s a disconnect of “what should work” and “what will work”. People at the local level have a better understanding of the idiosyncratic and nuanced social issues that plague their communities more so than these boards.

We hope to see larger non-profits loosen the reins on their often disillusioned vision of impact and transfer their resources to empower marginalized grassroots non-profits. Taking it a step further, we would love to see non-profit boards look like the people they serve!

By allowing them and especially the next generation to be involved in the decision-making process and construction of a solution, we will be undoubtedly setting off a domino effect of measurable impact.

bluePrint’s ultimate wish is to see more community non-profits achieve a financial sustainability level and independence from constant fundraising.

We believe an element to a non-profit’s peace of mind is tied to having an endowment that allows them to have their money, making them money through sound investment & budgeting. A lot of them have never experienced that type of security… it’s about time they do.

What words of encouragement would you give to the next generation that will follow in your footsteps?

We feel like the next generation has taught us more than we could ever teach them they are so much more socially aware and confident in their convictions! What we live by is always staying focused on and in tune with your purpose.

When you start a path towards purpose, don’t assume it’s never changing it will adjust at various points. Most times, those adjustments are meant to bring you greater peace in the long run.

Sometimes, you will know exactly what you should be doing, while other times, your purpose can be elusive and nearly nonexistent. Just make sure to check in with your purpose from time-to-time and that it is leading you to- wards greater peace.

What strategy would you suggest to anyone and their ventures directly impacted because of COVID-19?

We can not be defeated. This is a time to redouble our efforts to communicate with our ecosystems of partners to not only support each other but also harness our creative juices for workarounds.

Photo Credit: The Client Agency

View the entire 20/20 Visionaries List here.


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