SIE CoLab Founders Linda Alexionok and Bruce Manciagli
met through a common commitment to students and social impact.
They quickly hit it off, often talking for hours about the limitless potential
of the emerging field of social innovation & entrepreneurship.
Eventually, they decided it was time to formally partner
in the creation of the SIE CoLab
(Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship Collaboratory)
and generate transformative synergy as they collaborate
with other individuals, organizations, and networks
to deepen, operationalize, and scale
the Adaptive SIE Framework for Systems Change.
Together, they bring over seven decades of work across the
nonprofit, private, and public sectors as well as deep training & experience
across social, economic, political, cultural, educational, and environmental domains.
Linda and Bruce envision the SIE CoLab as serious in intent
yet playful in creation and implementation.
They share a deep passion for nurturing and activating human potential,
particularly among our young, emerging leaders.
This is about young people.... the gift of the present moment with them
and the promise of their future.
They've inherited a world in which our systems urgently need a reset.
We can't let them down.
As Kahlil Gibran so eloquently wrote:
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
On Children ~ Kahlil Gibran
Who Are We?
Co-Founders: Linda Alexionok & Bruce Manciagli
Communities across the nation are facing complex social and economic problems -- from health care and income inequality to climate change, housing, social justice and others. Linda believes that the solutions to these problems do not rest in any single program, organization or public/private sector. Rather, it takes a commitment from a broad group of important stakeholders dedicated to solving problems through social innovation and entrepreneurship. Her experience in both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors, coupled with her time in the classroom, reaffirms this belief. Social entrepreneurship, banking and finance, and human development have been connecting themes through most of Linda’s career in business, education, nonprofit management and social entrepreneurship. Linda’s background uniquely positions her to mobilize multi-sector stakeholders to co-create coordinated and innovative strategies for addressing complex social and economic issues at the practice, policy and system levels.
Linda began her career as an elementary school teacher. Her expertise in curriculum and innovative learning methodologies was soon shared beyond the classroom through teacher workshops and conferences.
An unexpected and chance encounter led to her journey into banking and finance. After many years of work and mentorship, supported by professional and high-learning education and training, Linda rose through the ranks to leadership positions, culminating in serving as president of a community bank. During her tenure in banking, Linda played a critical role in Tallahassee’s unprecedented growth. She helped launch numerous start-up businesses, led community economic development initiatives and gave financial guidance to hundreds of new residents and businesses.
Embracing an “Adaptive Framework” to the field of Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship gave Linda a distinct perspective during her tenure as President of Voices for Florida. In this role she led a talented and dedicated team through a new practice model that successfully built a “network-based delivery system” of trauma-competent care and treatment practice models to serve the needs of child sex trafficking victims. Known as The Open Doors Outreach Network, the hallmark of this model is transforming hierarchical decision-making, program development, and improvements to a more horizontal process in consultation with researchers, practitioners, and ongoing feedback from the people being served.
Currently, Linda serves as Co-Founder, with colleague Bruce Manciagli, of the SIE CoLab, a dynamic entity focused on realizing the potential of the Adaptive SIE Framework for Systems Change through field-building, high-impact & immersive learning, adaptive leadership development, capacity-building, and accelerating promising ideas and ventures.
Over her decades of service and leadership, Linda was recognized by the American Institute of Banking as “Banker of the Year,” was a nominee for the Tallahassee Chamber’s “Small Business Advocate” and “Leadership Pacesetter” awards, and received the “Women Putting Their Stamp on History Award” from Tallahassee Community College as well as the "Inspire Award" from the Florida State University Alumni Association.
Linda was a gubernatorial appointee and chair of the Florida School Readiness and Early Learning Coalition of the Big Bend. She has also been recognized as the 2007 Florida Champion for Children by the Early Childhood Association and was named to the 2010 Advocate Hall of Fame by the Florida Family Child Care Association. She has served in a board leadership role for many nonprofit organizations, including Girl Scouts, American Heart Association, United Way, Chamber of Commerce, FSU’s College of Education Alumni Board, and the Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare Foundation. She remains an active board member of FSU’s College of Communication and Information.
For nearly 8 years, I worked with Linda in a variety of capacities as an Apprentice, colleague and as a collaborative partner. During this time, she consistently challenged me to think of new and innovative approaches to address complex problems to create positive change for Florida's most vulnerable children.
Robyn Metcalf, MSW, MPA ~ Open Doors Statewide Director, Voices for Florida
Bruce’s career has focused on developing the capacity of individuals, organizations, and communities to more effectively address social and environmental challenges and catalyze system transformation. His work in Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship (SIE)—spanning local, state, and international contexts—includes co-founding social enterprises (one of them a national award winner); helping to strengthen and scale a statewide network of high-impact nonprofits; facilitating and funding cross-sector/collective impact partnerships; cultivating SIE ecosystems in higher education and in Indonesia; and leading social innovation initiatives across a diversity of issues, from education to trauma and from civic engagement and youth leadership to fair trade and the environment. Bruce has raised millions and granted tens of millions of dollars to engage communities in creating lasting social value. As Social Entrepreneur in Residence in Florida State University’s (FSU) College of Social Sciences & Public Policy (Interdisciplinary Social Science Program), an affiliated faculty member in FSU’s Jim Moran College of Entrepreneurship, and Director of SIE@FSU for seven years, he served as lead architect of FSU's SIE ecosystem. Based on decades of practice and study in the field of SIE, he articulated and developed the Adaptive SIE Framework for Systems Change, which provides the theoretical framework for the SIE CoLab's practice model. He continues to collaborate with colleagues across campus and the community to grow the university’s and Tallahassee’s larger innovation & entrepreneurship ecosystem.
Bruce's academic training and professional experience are rooted in social innovation & entrepreneurship, international & community development, political theory & interdisciplinary social sciences, and the social foundations of education. It is the latter that compels him to place as much emphasis on how and why people learn as what they learn. He was awarded an FSU Transformation Through Teaching Award in 2017 and a University Teaching Award in 2019.
Bruce has long-standing ties to Indonesia. He grew up overseas, living 18 years across five continents, and first visited Bali as a young boy in 1975—its people, landscape, and culture captivated him. After graduating from Princeton University in 1988, he lived in Salatiga, Java for one year, teaching at Satya Wacana University and exploring this vast archipelago. It was at Satya Wacana that he met his wife, who is from the island of Sumba, where they were married in a traditional ceremony and where his family makes regular trips. Their daughter, who recently graduated from Duke and currently works with Storycraft Lab in Washington DC, is very close with all of her cousins in Indonesia. In partnership with the Bali Institute, he developed and led FSU’s Bali Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship Immersion program, which has been included in the Forum for Education Abroad’s Curriculum Toolbox as representative of best practices in education abroad. In 2019, he partnered with the Bali Institute to prototype and launch the Indonesia Changemakers Fellowship, now known as Makadaya, which trains and supports young emerging leaders in Indonesia who are committed to addressing urgent social and environmental issues in their communities and across the archipelago through an SIE framework. Bruce serves as a Global Advisor to the Bali Institute.
He is Co-Founder, with colleague Linda Alexionok, of the SIE CoLab, a dynamic entity focused on realizing the potential of the Adaptive SIE Framework for Systems Change through field-building, high-impact & immersive learning, adaptive leadership development, capacity-building, and accelerating promising ideas and ventures.
Bruce is just a total joy to work with. Always! He's that rare breed of professional who never seems to be thinking "what's in if for me?" He is always giving of his time and insights. As well, he brings a perfect balance of theory and practice to his work, always focusing on innovation and impact. Huge gratitude for all you have done to help me in my own changemaking journey, Bruce!
Greg Van Kirk ~ Ashoka Globalizer Fellow, World Economic Forum "Social Entrepreneur of the Year for 2012,” co-founder of Project X, principal designer of the award-winning and globally-applied Micro-Consignment Model.
Q & A with Linda & Bruce
Designed (& video-recorded) by Mairyn Harris-Jones
Tell us a little about yourself.
Hi, my name is Linda Alexionok. former teacher, banker, public policy and nonprofit manager – now living my dream, working with Bruce as one of the Co-founders of the SIE CoLab.
A fun-fact about me is that I love all forms of public transportation. The least being planes and my favorite being trains.
Working with Linda on creating the SIE CoLab is a dream for me as well.
I’m someone who loves to examine the stories we tell about ourselves, both individually and collectively, and the impact those stories have on how we shape and experience our lives and the world around us. The work I’m most interested in, systems change, is—at its heart—about crafting new stories, new mental models, that allow us to re-design systems in ways that lead to different outcomes.
Fun fact: When my wife and I were married on her island, Sumba, in Indonesia, we had about 500 of our closest family at the traditional ceremony and approximately 2,000 family members and guests at the modern ceremony a few days later – and there were still people mad that there wasn’t enough room for them to attend!
What is SIE CoLab to you?
The best way to describe what the CoLab means to me is to think about a traffic circle –where vehicles arrive at the circle from all different directions and, with the help of the traffic circle, guided to their intended direction—seamlessly and without harm.
Like the traffic circle, the CoLab is a place where people, practices, policies and innovation converge and with the support of the SIE CoLab learn how to navigate in harmony towards resetting the value proposition from an unbalanced and ordinary economic value proposition to a balanced and transformative social, economic and environmental value proposition.
Our global community is facing a series of complex and interrelated challenges that require the type of urgent, transformative response we witnessed from the Allied Nations during WW2. Although our mandate today is not about the use of force, it is similar in that it calls for the tremendous activation of human potential, collaboration & innovation at scale.
Our old responses, our old models are not working, and we have a narrow window of opportunity over the next decade to chart a new path forward. The good news is that we have all the tools we need, we just need a framework that allows us to leverage those tools in effective and transformative ways. The field of Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship provides an adaptive framework to do just that.
The SIE CoLab is a vehicle for deepening our understanding of that framework while operationalizing and scaling it in ways that can catalyze and sustain systems change.
What are your hopes for the SIE CoLab?
My hope for the CoLab is for it to become a breakthrough social innovation and entrepreneurship organization committed to building adaptable, sustainable and scalable approaches that become the new norm for how societies can overcome complex challenges and advance equitable opportunities.
I hope that the SIE CoLab can do three key things:
One: Help reset the primary value proposition around which we’ve organized our societies from one in which social and environmental systems are in service to endlessly maximizing economic growth to one in which economic systems are designed to promote social and environmental well-being. In other words, it’s about flipping our system’s value proposition around and putting the horse before the cart or moving our ladder to the right wall - the one that affirms humanity and life.
Two: Inspire a new generation of leaders and help them cultivate the mindset, tools, and adaptive leadership capacity to guide our way forward.
Three: Serve as a friend, partner, and model for countless individuals, organizations, and communities who are already engaged in this work or are ready to jump in. Essentially, to serve as a network of networks and to help facilitate system transformation.
What impact do you aim to have?
The CoLab pursues impact by connecting students in higher-ed with an ecosystem of thought leaders who together foster disruption and changes across many fields--making established systems, protocols and economies obsolete--replacing these with innovative and human-centered practices that result in new systems, robust and equitable economies and protection of the planet.
Ultimately, this is about generational impact; it's the only way we're going to achieve system transformation. While we talk a lot about mental models, which are the greatest point of leverage in the system, impact is where the rubber hits the road.
We’re not naïve to think that how individuals and societies attempt to define and measure social value doesn't have an underlying, inherent socio-political tension. In addition to all of the other pieces, we need to figure out how to navigate that tension and find ways to create balance in a system that is fundamentally complex.
How can passionate individuals & organizations get involved?
Two core values of the SIE CoLab are collaboration and transformation. If you are listening right now and are a Colaborator and/or Transformer, we want to engage with you and ask that you visit our website at www.siecolab.com or follow us on Instagram: @sie.colab. Let’s hear from you!
The SIE CoLab stands for Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship Collaboratory, so collaboration is a core part of our ethos! We’d love for you to reach out to us to share and explore ideas!