What we learned from Stephen

For the past four years of his leadership of McConnell, Stephen Huddart championed the creation of 12 Lessons – yearly reflections on what was learned (and unlearned) by the Foundation and partners. On the occasion of his departure, we offer nine lessons for nine years – pithy truths we have learned from Stephen about being in the world and making it more inclusive, sustainable and resilient. 

These illustrations and short aphorisms were created based on insights shared by numerous current and former staff, Trustees, and friends and partners of the Foundation. They distill and bring alive some of what we have learned and experienced as we worked with Stephen.

We invite you to add further reflections and messages for Stephen in the form at the bottom – they will join him on the next leg of his journey. Bon voyage, Stephen!


Begin every conversation with: “How are you?” Empathy is the water for growth.



Genuine interest in others initiates positive social change. Curiosity is contagious. Curiosity is a catalyst.



Good ideas have legs. They run, sprint, climb, walk — showing the way forward.



A leader with an open mind can live with the discomfort of pushing on a closed door and finding only the unknown.



Allow the possibility of miracles to happen.



In overlapping social circles, everyone is welcome to borrow strategies and inspire each other.



Keeping focussed on a brighter future helps us advance, even as we take just small steps  forward each day.


With foresight we can be ready to face the inherent risk of going where we have never been before.



When we work together with common purpose, it is like a parade for everyone of all talents, backgrounds and passions.



To find out more about Sam Rowe, whose nine illustrations helped bring this to life, visit his website.