Scott Harrison is the Founder and CEO of charity: water, a non-profit that works to bring safe and clean drinking water to people in need in developing nations. Upon learning more about the millions of people in this world without access to clean drinking water while volunteering on the coast of Liberia, Harrison turned his full attention to the global clean water crisis and started charity: water as soon as he returned to the States.
Today about 660,000,000 people aren’t drinking safe and clean water. Scott Harrison and his team believe that number should be zero.
Scott Harrison spent 10 years as an event promoter in New York City. He recalls that on the outside, his profession looked very glamorous. On the inside however, he calls it “miserable and soul-sucking.” After liquidating all of his possessions he decided to travel and “help the poor.” While abroad, he saw first hand some of the millions of people on this earth who go without clean water everyday. So, Harrison came back to the States with a plan for change.
“In this decade of decadence, I’d become the worst person I knew,” reminisces Harrison. “Spiritually bankrupt, morally bankrupt, emotionally bankrupt. I was looking for the opposite of my life. And I really found it.”
Charity: water has now funded over 19,000 water projects in 24 different countries; they will serve over 6 million people. Harrison says that what he learned during his experience as a former club promoter in NYC gave him the skills and confidence to believe that he could actually affect change in the world.
“If you’re really passionate and enthusiastic,” Harrison says on being a successful entrepreneur, “you can get people to follow you.”
Harrison says the number one lesson he’s learned along the way is to stay true yourself and your core values. He says he’s proud of the fact that even when opportunities arose that would have compromised their values, charity: water and Harrison have stayed true to themselves completely.
“Our values here are around respect, integrity, generosity, passion, excellence is a value,” says Harrison. “And you know, never losing sight of those.”
For further speakers related to social welfare and social justice, check out our Top Speakers in Social Justice list!