Henry Timms: Biography highlights
Henry Timms is President and CEO of 92nd Street Y, the renowned cultural and community center.
Full biography of Henry Timms
Henry Timms’ Background
More than 300,000 people visit 92Y annually, and millions more participate in 92Y’s digital and online initiatives. Under Henry’s leadership, 92Y is re-imagining the role of the traditional community center, using innovative programming and new technology both locally and globally.
Henry oversees the organization’s 40+ businesses, including critically-acclaimed performing and visual arts programs; a world-renowned series of talks and readings; a huge range of family and wellness programming; professional development opportunities; and more.
In 2012, Henry founded #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving that was honored with a Cannes Lion at the International Festival of Creativity; the PRWeek Global Award for Nonprofit Campaign of the Year; and the inaugural UJA-Federation Riklis Prize in Agency Entrepreneurship.
Henry also co-founded the annual Social Good Summit, which pioneered a new, inclusive summit model that opened up the critical discussions held during UN week to a much wider audience and led to concurrent gatherings around the world. As an extension of the Social Good Summit, Henry led the team that developed a MOOC (massive open online course) called “How to Change the World,” offered with Wesleyan University; 51,000 students participated in its first year.
Henry’s work has been profiled in publications like the Harvard Business Review, and his most recent thinking with Jeremy Heimans on “new power” was featured as the Big Idea in the Harvard Business Review and by CNN as one of the ten top ideas to change the world in 2015.
Henry is a Visiting Fellow at Stanford University’s Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society and a member of the World Economic Forum’s Network of Global Agenda Councils. In addition to being listed on The Nonprofit Times Power & Influence Top 50 for the past three years, Henry was named the NonProfit Times Influencer of the Year in 2014. Henry has been honored as one of Crain’s New York Business “40 Under 40,” City & State’s 50 Most Influential People in Manhattan and the T&C Top 50: The Top Philanthropists of 2017.
He is a member of several philanthropic committees, including the selection committee for the 2015 CECP Excellence Awards and the Lipman Prize Committee at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Henry serves on the board of Independent Sector and the Nightingale-Bamford School. He is also a fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts (RSA), where he is chair of the nominating committee for the RSA’s Benjamin Franklin Medal.
He is a dual citizen of the U.S. and the U.K., and lives in New York City with his wife and two young children.
Watch Henry in action
This is the cool, clear guide we all need to navigate the Trump era.'
Jane Goodall Institute and a UN Messenger of Peace
'This book will inform and inspire all those wanting to make change . . . and achieve a goal against all odds.'
National Domestic Workers Alliance
''New Power' is both a practical guide and a much needed dose of optimism, helping us understand that the future is ours for the making. A must-read for today's leaders in any field.'
'A useful lens to use when thinking about how business has changed, how to spread ideas or start a movement, or create change. This book challenges all of us to think about the values we hold and how we can all be part of building a more open, equitable, and participatory world.'
'A manifesto for a more humane world'
'The surest sign that I've encountered a big idea isn't what that idea does to my brain. It's what it does to my eyes. When an idea is sufficiently compelling, it changes the very way I see. That's what happened to me when I read New Power.'
Henry's speaking topics
Leadership in the Age of Mass Participation
In the U.S. presidential elections of 2008 and 2016, two very different candidates broke through the political establishment to score upset victories. Though Barack Obama and Donald Trump have little else in common, they both utilized new power - the capacity to mobilize and inspire participation in our hyper-connected world - to overcome the old power of party machines, protocol and reliance on donor rolodexes.
In politics and beyond, including the corporate world, leaders must learn how to not only survive in a world where digital connectivity challenges their influence but also use it to their advantage. Some of today's most successful corporate leaders understand that the capacity to mobilize beyond their payrolls, and to build a larger crowd that will show up for them, has become crucial. New power, says experts Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms, is a current, not a currency - 'and works best when it surges.' Whereas previous leaders may have sought to contain the crowd, successful leaders in the digital era channel it into popular support and brand building. They understand that intensity is now more important than favorability.
But as Heimans and Timms argue, the tools of old power are still necessary to help leaders shape and direct the energy they unleash. In this presentation, they reveal a whole new way to think about leadership - one that relies less on formal authority, and that can inspire unprecedented participation and creativity among employees, consumers and stakeholders.
The Future of Online Engagement: Building the 'Full Stack Society'
The internet was supposed to be a decentralized, democratic space where people could share ideas. This idealistic vision has been tempered by the rise of giant digital platforms that extract value from consumers while often limiting their alternative options. Conversely, the idea of internet freedom itself has become tainted by the rise of 'fake news' and online hate speech. How do we get back to the original optimistic notions of the internet's founders?
Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms offer hope in the form of real stories of how individuals, nonprofits and companies alike are using crowd-sourcing to mobilize popular engagement for good rather than negative purposes, and how we might reimagine the internet in a way that truly democratizes and brings us together, not drives us further apart. In this presentation, the experts provide guidance to organizations of all types on how to recapture the inherent good in digital cooperation - and help build a better world.
How to Navigate and Harness New Power
The digital age has turned the nature of power in our economy, politics and society upside down. New digital platforms and dramatically increased connectivity have given ordinary consumers and citizens unprecedented influence over how leaders and institutions behave, while eroding the authority of more established organizations. So how do those 'old power' organizations - corporations, media, governments - survive and flourish in this new era?
Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms, who literally wrote the book on new power, offer in this presentation a guide to understanding and capitalizing on this seismic shift. Crucially, Heimans and Timms have worked with startups and social movements on one hand and with established institutions and Fortune 100 companies on the other, giving them a unique insight into how old and new power are successfully blended and combined.
They argue how old power - that of formal authority, expertise and exclusivity - still offers important benefits to those organizations which wield it. But new power - the energy and enthusiasm of digitally organized crowds and communities - must be integrated into all aspects of how organizations behave internally and present themselves to the public. This keynote provides concrete examples of how to navigate the changing nature of power and harness its enormous opportunities.
Unlocking Consumer Engagement in a New Power World: How the Combination of Purpose and Participation is Supercharging Brands and Transforming Marketing
Twentieth century marketing - a world of slogans and jingles delivered from on high by big advertisers - is approaching extinction. But what will replace it, and how can brands truly engage and build a connection to their consumers beyond increasingly commoditized Facebook pages and paid social media influencers?
In this presentation, Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms lay out three key elements of the successful new power brand, one that is built to thrive in the 21st century: (Product + Purpose) x Participation = New Power Brand Heimans and Timms show examples, from multi-billion dollar companies, to craft breweries and video game developers, who have figured out how to create a sense of higher purpose among their consumers - and then turn that purpose into action and participation.
This presentation equips innovators, whether startup founders or large corporations, with the tools they need to create a Participation Premium that generates funding for ideas and builds a passionate customer base at the same time.
The Future of Work in a New Power World
The 20th century model of work prized employees' ability to know their place within an elaborately structured and managed organization. In exchange, workers were rewarded with job security and a pension. But in a world guided by the 'new power' values of disruption and mass engagement, managers are increasingly finding they must contend with workers who offer frank feedback, demand to be heard and want to feel - and participate - like start-up founders.
The companies promoting such engagement tend to outperform those that stick to rigid hierarchy. Navigating the challenges of new power in the workplace has become a critical issue for corporate executives, especially those trained in the era of old power. But Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms offer specific examples of firms that deliver recognition and opportunity to workers hungry for feedback and participation while maintaining sensible structures of decision-making.
By combining these elements of old and new power, managers can effectively attract and retain young talent in a fast-changing world. This presentation can also look at the broader picture of how the shift to new power and the rise of the gig economy will impact the job market and the social safety net, as workers face not only greater recognition but less security.