Melanne Verveer: “What Keeps Me Going is The Passion to Make a Difference”

The former US Ambassador for Global Women’s Issues on what gives her energy.

When you have the opportunity to ask some of the most interesting people in the world about their lives, sometimes the most fascinating answers come from the simplest questions. The Thrive Questionnaire is an ongoing series that gives an intimate look inside the lives of some of the world’s most successful people.

Thrive Global: What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed?
Melanne Verveer: Reflect on the blessing of another day and see what’s happening in the world.

TG: What gives you energy? 
MV: Being able to do socially productive work in the company of good people. What keeps me going is the passion to make a difference — to have a sense of purpose.

TG: Name a book that changed your life.
MV: A book that influenced me was reading “Cry, the Beloved Country” by Alan Paton as a youngster. It opened my eyes to social injustice, the power of forgiveness and hope — an awareness that that has stayed with me.

TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.
MV: My favorite quote is Robert Kennedy’s appropriation of George Bernard Shaw’s “Some people see things as they are and ask why. I dream things that could be and say, why not.” I have found this quote motivating since I was a teenager.

Melanne Verveer is the former US Ambassador for Global Women’s Issues and is currently the Executive Director, Georgetown University Institute for Women, Peace & Security.