Day 3: Intro

Plenary Session | Stage 1

Host: SDG Action Zone

Concerted and impactful action requires determined efforts to mobilise the masses beyond a moment of inflection. As the SDG Action Zone turns it’s attention to partnerships of all shapes and sizes, the conventional and unconventional, from the long-standing institutions and multilateral arrangements through to the emerging and creative forces that are joining the ‘good fight’, this opening session will delve into what and is truly needed for lasting impact in the face of barriers to action. How do we reach beyond the bubble to enact change in behaviour, change in priorities and make that change stick? How can we speak truth to power in an age of misinformation and harness the power of media to reach beyond the bubble? How can we tell the stories needed to move broader constituencies to action and keep them involved? How do we break through the noise of facts, figures and counter-arguments in a busy online world to reach people where they are in a way where the message means something to them?


This session will bring together leading story-tellers and communicators to have a frank debate about what is needed to transform this moment of global upheaval into a moment of movement building to create the world we need.


Zinhle Essamuah
Host and Correspondent on NowThis News
Zinhle is a correspondent and the host of “KnowThis,” NowThis’ daily news show that gives a quick, but detailed rundown of all the trending news you need to know — from politics to viral news videos — on Facebook Watch and Instagram. Zinhle also covers breaking and long-form news stories around the country with a focus on the politics and culture beat — interviewing politicians from Bernie Sanders to celebrities like Serena Williams. Recently, she released a report on Black Maternal mortality in the COVID-19 era that grossed 3M views in less than one month. She continues to report on underserved communities amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2017, Zinhle opened NowThis’ Washington, D.C. bureau, championing on-the-ground live coverage of major protests, and reporting on the history-making candidates throughout the 2018 election. Zinhle is informed by a deep well of experience as a multimedia cinematographer, editor, and filmmaker, with her debut award-winning documentary film on the Black Lives Matter movement screened across the U.S., Canada and Europe. She is a recipient of a Gracie Award for her filmography. Zinhle’s incisive reporting and hosting skills have earned her the opportunity to speak at high-profile events across the country, most recently as moderator of the first Intergenerational Town Hall at the United Nations. Follow Zinhle on Facebook @zinhleessamuah, Instagram @simplyzinhle, and Twitter @simplyzinhle.
Solitaire Townsend
Co-Founder, Futerra

Solitaire has been a passionate change-maker for over 30 years. As co-founder of Futerra she advises governments, charities and brands including Google, IKEA and the United Nations on imagining a better future, and making it happen. With Futerra offices in London, Stockholm, New York and Mexico City she admits that making the world a better place is a damn good business plan. You can watch her TEDx talks online and read her in the Guardian, Huffington Post, Forbes and more often as @GreenSolitaire. Solitaire was named ‘Ethical Entrepreneur of the Year’ in 2008 and more recently was Chair of the UK Green Energy Scheme, a member of the United Nations Sustainable Lifestyles Taskforce and a London Leader for Sustainability. Her new book The Happy Hero - How To Change Your Life By Changing The World is out now.

Georgia Arnold
Senior Vice President of Social Responsibility at Viacom International Media Networks, Viacom
Georgia Arnold is Senior Vice President of Social Responsibility at Viacom International Media Networks and the Executive Director of MTV Staying Alive Foundation. Ms. Arnold was instrumental in establishing the MTV Staying Alive Foundation in 2005, and was appointed Executive Director in October 2007. MTV SAF is a US & UK charity, set up to tell stories to change lives, creating movements with purpose to improve young people’s health and well-being globally. As part of this, Ms Arnold conceived and created the multi award-winning MTV Shuga – a 360-degree mass-media HIV prevention & SRH edutainment campaign with proven impact. Since 2017, Ms Arnold has been the co-Champion of ‘Fusion’, Viacom’s ERG on Cultural Diversity.
Melinda Arons
Senior Vice President of Social Impact, Participant Media
Melinda Arons is SVP of Social Impact for Participant Media, where she is instrumental in helping build campaigns in support of the company’s social impact strategy that address the most important issues of our time. Arons started her career at Fox News and spent twelve years at ABC News as a producer for Good Morning America and Nightline, where she ultimately became the Chief Political Producer and Senior Producer. While at ABC she won a Peabody and was nominated for multiple Emmys ® . In 2013, she joined Facebook to help build their Media Partnerships team, and left in 2016 to join the Hillary For America presidential campaign as the Director of Broadcast Media. Since the election, Arons has consulted for the International Rescue Committee and for Lincoln Square Productions, the long form unit of ABC News. She attended Georgetown University.
Tatiana Fahie
Girl Up Teen Advisor
16-year-old advocate for gender equality, community development, and climate change. Born in Manhattan, New York City but raised on the beautiful island of Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. Since primary school, Tatiana has been an active member of her school, church, local and global community. She joined the BVI Red Cross as a youth volunteer in 2015. During her time in East Side Middle School in Upper East Side, post-Hurricanes Irma and Maria, her Student Council committee (Hurricane Irma Relief) donated $600 to the BVI Red Cross' rebuilding project. Later that year, under Tatiana’s leadership, the Hurricane Irma Relief Committee donated school supplies worth over $50,000 to the BVI Department of Education. Since her return home, she founded the first Girl Up chapter in the British Virgin Islands. Simultaneously, presiding over the InterAct Club of her International Baccalaureate school: Cedar International School. Girl Up’s Board of Teen Advisors are the heart and soul of Girl Up. They are passionate changemakers who together spread and fuel Girl Up’s work ensuring the initiative stays authentic to the mission and brings the voice of this new generation to the forefront. Teen Advisors are central to all Girl Up decision-making by advising on strategy and offer guidance for our movement to advance global gender equality.
Natasha Mwansa
Journalist and Health Advocate
Natasha is the youngest recipient of the Global Health Leaders award worldwide awarded by the World Health Organisation in recognition of her work towards adolescent health for over six years and after her awe striking speech on what young people want during the opening of the 72nd World Health Assembly. She is also a recognised world leader by the 5Oth World Economic Forum as one of the top 10 young people under age 20 making global impact. Born on the 3rd of May, 2001, Natasha is a powerful and influential Zambian 19 year old girl who speaks out on issues affecting the health and well-being of young people. She is the founder and the Executive Director of the Natasha Mwansa Foundation, a foundation that aims to see a world in which Young People are heard, valued, healthy and given the opportunity to share power with stakeholders and influence decisions made over them. Additionally she is a health, women and young people’s rights activist and advocate. She is also a Women Deliver 2018 Young Leader. Additionally, her work has led her to sit on the African Union Commission’s Youth Advisory Board, she was picked as the United Nation’s Population Fund’s Youth Ambassador and she is a Social Accountability Monitor and a second year student at the University of Zambia. Her goal is to be the voice to the voiceless and equip them to realise that they too have a voice and ought to be heard.
September 24, 08:00
08:00 — 08:45EST(GMT-4) (45′)


| Host: SDG Action Zone |, Georgia Arnold (Viacom), Melinda Arons (Participant Media), Nadira Hira (Master of Ceremony), Natasha Mwansa (Journalist and Health Advocate), Solitaire Townsend (Futerra), Tatiana Fahie (Girl Up), Zinhle Essamuah (NowThis News)