BIG BETS: How Large-Scale Change Really Happens

Discover a blueprint for impactful change with BIG BETS. Join MCF president and CEO Dr. Carmen Rojas, author and President of the Rockefeller Foundation Dr. Rajiv Shah, and CEO of the Workers Lab Adrian Haro as they discuss this playbook for at-scale efforts to change society for the better and the confidence that comes with embracing a “big bet” mindset.

November 8, 2023
12 pm PT | 3 PM ET

This event is part of our MCF Book Club: Reading for a Liberated Future series. The MCF Book Club shares the ideas of leaders who encourage us to imagine how we can radically transform our democracy, economy, and society.

Big Bets: How Large-Scale Change Really Happens

Rajiv J. Shah is no stranger to pulling off the impossible, from helping vaccinate 900 million children at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to a high-pressure race against the clock to stop the spread of Ebola. His secret? A big bets philosophy—the idea that seeking to solve problems rather than make incremental improvements can attract unlikely partners with the power and know-how to achieve transformational change. Part career-sweeping memoir, part inspirational playbook, Big Bets offers a master class in decision-making, leadership, and changing the world one bet at a time. Shah animates his strategic insights with vivid behind-the-scenes stories, memorable conversations with household names that helped shape his approach to creating change, and his own personal growth as an Indian-American from an immigrant family looking for a way to belong. He distills his battle-tested strategies for creating change, arguing that big bets have a surprising advantage over cautious ones: a bold vision can attract support, collaborations, and fresh ideas from key players who might otherwise be resistant. Throughout the book, Shah traces his unlikely path to the Rockefeller Foundation across a changing world and through some of the most ambitious, dramatic global efforts to create a better world.

Featured Participants

Dr. Rajiv J. Shah

Dr. Rajiv J. Shah is the president of The Rockefeller Foundation, a global institution dedicated to enhancing human well-being worldwide through innovative approaches that address critical issues, including health, nutrition, sustainable food systems, energy access, and economic mobility. His distinguished career includes serving as the administrator of USAID, where he transformed the agency's operations, secured bipartisan support for significant legislation, and led responses to major global crises. Dr. Shah released "Big Bets: How Large-Scale Change Really Happens," a book that presents a new model for achieving transformative change, drawing from his extensive humanitarian work. He has also founded Latitude Capital, held a role at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and has a rich academic background. Dr. Shah's impact reaches far and wide.

Adrian Haro

Adrian Haro is the CEO of The Workers Lab. Prior to joining The Workers Lab, he built a career in progressive politics, government, and public affairs. He worked as a field organizer on Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, served as a confidential assistant at the U.S. Department of Education, and finally worked as the speechwriter to U.S. Secretary of Labor, Hilda L. Solis. Additionally, Haro worked at Civitas Public Affairs Group and had a brief but beloved stint in Hollywood working with acclaimed Latino entertainment executive, activist, and entrepreneur, Moctesuma Esparza. Haro holds a degree in rhetorical studies and political science from California State University, Long Beach.