Q&A with Eric Nee

By: Niki Shadrow Snyder

  1. NS:  Tell us about yourself and what you do?  EN:  I’m the editor in chief of Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR), a media organization at Stanford University that publishes a magazine, online articles, webinars, podcasts, and convenings. We use these different media to bring together leaders of social change organizations from around the world to share their ideas, research, experiences, and learnings.
  2. NS:  How did you personally move the needle in 2020?  EN: Despite Covid, in 2020, I helped SSIR reach more than 2.5 million social innovators across the globe, a record number. 
  3. NS:  How did you deal with the stress in the world in 2020?  EN: I was one of the lucky people who did not lose their job. In fact, my workload increased in 2020 and I have been working from home since the second week of March. The way that I have handled the stress is to take frequent breaks, get out and walk for an hour almost every day, and say “no” to new projects almost as often as I say “yes”.
  4. NS:  Do you have any advice for your younger self?  EN: I would advise my younger self to pay as much attention to creating and nurturing friends as I do to working and building my career.
  5. NS: What did you do in 2020 that you’re most passionate about?  EN:  I’m most passionate about helping us reach agreements with partners in Japan, Mexico, and the United Arab Emirates who will publish SSIR in Japanese, Spanish, and Arabic, joining our existing partners in China and South Korea.
  6. NS:  What was the worst part of 2020 for you?  EN: My son (Alex Nee) celebrated his Broadway debut last winter in “A Christmas Carol,” only to suddenly have his acting career put on hold until well into next year.
  7. NS:  What was the best part of 2020 for you? EN: In the spring, I completed two years of hormone therapy for stage four prostate cancer, and I am still cancer-free. 
  8. NS:  What does success mean to you? EN: Success for me means being healthy, having a loving family and close friends, and having a meaningful job.
  9. NS:  What causes are important to you?  EN: There are so many causes that are important, but two that stand out for me are creating an equitable economic system so that everyone has a job with sufficient pay and benefits to provide for a good standard of living, and creating an environmentally sustainable society so that we stop climate change and protect natural ecosystems.
  10. NS:  Do you think the world right now needs to be influenced by what they can get or what they can give in the middle of this pandemic?  EN: I believe that the most important thing that people can do during the pandemic is to give. That doesn’t have to be money. It could be the gift of time by volunteering at a food bank, the gift of kindness by being nice to people you meet and work with, the gift of caring by wearing a mask and maintaining distance from others even if you don’t think you will get Covid, and the gift of being humble and listening to others instead of thinking that you have all of the answers.