20130514_200428Giselle Malina, recently accepted the Dell Social Innovation Challenge Champion Award on behalf of DFA. According to the organization, the 2013 Leadership Activation Awards were given to “leaders who’ve gone above and beyond in activating and mentoring their students and participating in the DSIC community.”

How was the experience of accepting the Dell Social Innovation Challenge Award for DFA?

Accepting the champions award for DFA at the Dell Social Innovation Challenge was incredible. It was awe-inspiring to see all these entrepreneurs and innovators being recognized for their ideas, and it was even more amazing to see that DFA was being celebrated alongside them.  It struck me then more than ever exactly how important and impactful DFA had become as an organization.

What was one of your favorite moments there?

My favorite moment at DSIC was when they announced this years winners and awarded them their prizes ranging anywhere between $10,000 and $60,000. In that moment, what was just an idea took one giant step towards becoming a reality. For that second, I think every person in the crowd felt truly hopeful and optimistic about the future. It confirmed that anybody of any age, from any country could make a difference in the community and the world.

Did you learn anything from the experience?

I definitely learned a lot- but one of my major takeaways was just how many amazing entrepreneurs are out there. The five DCIS finalists were just a small selection of the ideas that are constantly emerging, and it was really inspiring to see so many creative and innovative up-and-coming projects. Our generation really is a generation of change-makers.

How did people seem to respond to Design for America?

Everyone at DCIS was amazingly supportive of and excited by DFA. Many were eager to suggest potential projects or schools where they wished there could be a DFA studio. They seemed to understand the usefulness of DFA as a tool for social change and  their support was invigorating. It was exciting to see DFA out there among the best and brightest.