Most of us believe in justice, but if we’re challenged to change our attitudes and beliefs about right and wrong, that’s a different story. In the Sullivan Foundation’s next Ignite Masterclass, Reagan Pugh of Assemble discusses the topic of “Developing Empathy as a Tool for Social Justice.”

The online class will be held in two sessions on Tuesday, Oct. 6. The first session takes place from 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m. (ET). The second session will be held from 3 p.m.-4:15 p.m. (ET). The sessions are free and open to the public.

Click here to register for the first session and here to register for the second session.

Related: Reagan Pugh builds connections through storytelling

Most people have no desire to change, Pugh says, and outdating hardwiring in our brains causes us to avoid the discomfort of growth. This instinctual desire to maintain the status quo is a direct threat to justice and excuses individuals and communities from doing the hard work of including, respecting and empowering everyone.

But Pugh says we can shift our perspectives, evolve and mature as human beings when we practice empathy and pay attention to the experiences of others.

This Ignite Masterclass session will guide participants through a dialogue on default mindsets, examine how fear prevents us from growth and provide strategies for developing empathy as a tool for justice.

As co-founder of Assemble, Pugh delivers workshops and keynote speeches on personal effectiveness and leadership development around the country. Prior to the launch of Assemble, he was Chief Storyteller for the innovation consulting firm, Kalypso, and guided initiatives on storytelling, culture and leadership development at companies like Nike, Pepsico and Kimberly Clark. Pugh is a past workshop facilitator at the Sullivan Foundation’s Ignite Retreats and has designed leadership courses for Texas State University, Trinity University and Angelo State University.

With its popular Ignite Retreats, usually held twice a year in North Carolina, currently on hold, the Sullivan Foundation is bringing social-change leaders, college students and faculty/staff together through the weekly Ignite Masterclass sessions—and all classes are free. Even better, many participants say it’s the best online event they have ever attended.

Spud Marshall, the Sullivan Foundation’s director of student engagement, leads the sessions. Each one features a mini-lecture from a social innovator about a specific initiative, followed by a chance to network with peers, Sullivan coaches and other leaders in the field.

Additionally, classes taught by professors from across the Sullivan network—as well as some non-Sullivan schools—attend and participate in the sessions. Participating in the Oct. 6 session will be Dr. Anne Stone of Rollins College and her Communications Studies class; Alyson Francisco of Salem College and her Principles of Management class; Dr. Bruce Dorries of Mary Baldwin University and his Civic Leadership and Social Entrepreneurship class; Melanie Bullock Harris of Elon University and her Isabella Cannon Leadership Fellows; Liz Bailey of Elon University and her Exercise and Intervention class; and Valeri Werpetinski of the University of Illinois and her Illinois Impact Incubator participants.

“The Ignite Masterclass introduces you to leaders around the world engaged in social change and helps open doors so you can take the next step on your changemaking journey,” Marshall said. “With more than 50 coaches and speakers joining the sessions every week throughout the fall, bring your curiosity, because you never know who you might meet each week!”

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