Unifying Leadership: Building on Common Ground with Katie Harbath and Michael Slaby

On this week’s episode of World Reimagined, we explore the responsibility and role of leaders in polarizing times. Listen wherever you get your podcasts.

We don’t often think about common ground as a forum for disagreement. But the most productive discourse often requires first identifying a shared set of goals, facts, or ideas. How can today’s leaders help build an environment of mutual understanding, respect and productive disagreement in an increasingly divisive world? What role does technology and the internet play in helping people find and create common ground? 

In this episode, Host Gautam Mukunda speaks with two digital strategists about the role of commonality in productive dialogue and debate and the impacts that technology has had on building common ground. Katie Harbath was Facebook’s Public Policy Director before founding Anchor Change, a consulting firm dedicated to upholding democracy and stopping the spread of misinformation around elections. Michael Slaby, author of For ALL the People and Chief Strategist at Harmony Labs, was the Deputy Digital Director and Chief Technology Officer during Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.

I feel we do have that commonality of wanting to make sure that the internet is a space that can help to raise voices that wouldn’t otherwise get to be heard, that can increase access to the democratic process, and can get more people involved.

Katie Harbath

The nature of how a company believes what its responsibility and relationship is to community, what their responsibilities are for leadership — that’s not just a soft positioning, values-based conversation — that needs to be a more fulsome understanding and a more multi-dimensional, quantifiable understanding of what a successful company means.

Michael Slaby

Follow @GMukunda on Twitter or email us at WorldReimagined@nasdaq.com

Books Referenced on World Reimagined Season 2 Episode 8:

For ALL the People: Redeeming the Broken Promises of Modern Media and Reclaiming Our Civic Life by Michael Slaby

Guest Information for Unifying Leadership:

Katie Harbath is a global leader at the intersection of elections, democracy, and technology. As the chief executive of Anchor Change, she helps clients think through their civic engagement online. She is also a nonresident fellow at the Atlantic Council and a fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Center.

Previously, Katie spent 10 years at Facebook. As a director of public policy, she built and led global teams that managed elections and helped government and political figures use the social network to connect with their constituents.

Before Facebook, Katie held senior digital roles at the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and the DCI Group, as well as multiple campaigns for office.

She is a board member at the National Conference on Citizenship, Democracy Works, and the Center for Journalism Ethics at the University of Madison-Wisconsin.

Michael Slaby is a world leader in digital strategy and technology and how they drive organizations and companies. Michael Slaby is chief strategist at Harmony Labs working on accelerating media reform and transformation. Previously, he founded and was head of mission of Timshel—a social impact technology company. He was a fellow at the Shorenstein Center at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Michael helped lead the Obama for America campaign as chief integration and innovation officer in 2012 where he oversaw all technology and analytics, and as deputy digital director and chief technology officer in 2008.

Michael is the author of For ALL the People — his first book on the relationship between media, technology, and our civic life. He has served as an advisor and board member to initiatives including the United Nations, the U.S. State Department, I AM ALS, Rhize, Bright Pink, I Am That Girl, and LiveStrong and was named to Crain’s Chicago 40 Under 40 and Tech 50. He is a graduate of Brown University and currently lives in Rhinebeck, New York, with his much more awesome wife, Lydia Hill Slaby.