Courtney Spence on Why Momentum is Fundamental to Understanding Success

In Chapter 5 of 16 in her 2011 Capture Your Flag interview, non-profit founder and executive Courtney Spence answers "Why is Momentum Fundamental to Understanding and Measuring Success?" She notes how her non-profit, Students of the World, is learning to better understand past performance and translate it into milestones framing future strategy. Spence is founder and executive director of Students of the World, a non-profit that partners with passionate college students to create new media to highlight global issues and the organizations working to address them. Spence graduated with a BA in History from Duke University.


Erik Michielsen:  Why is momentum fundamental to understanding and measuring success?

Courtney Spence:  You know, when you talk about success, you talk about, you know, where you were before and where you are now, and it’s sort of a measurement over a period of time.  For us, we’ve had a lot of momentum in this last year, and so I can look back to where I was, and I’m constantly doing this every, you know, month of the year, sort of a benchmark, at like something that I look back to whether it’s, you know, the conversation we had a year ago, whether it’s Christmas, whether it’s the Clinton Global Initiative.  You have this sort of annual benchmarks that I’m, you know, consistently hitting. 

And something that I have been able to appreciate is where – over the course of the last year, you know, where we were and where we are now, and our, you know, confidence in what we’re doing.  And I say ‘our’, because I think it’s the whole team, but really, you know, for myself, the confidence in what we’re doing, the belief that we really are going somewhere pretty great is not where I was even a year ago.  So, I’ve felt like I’ve just been sort of pushed along a little bit which has been great.  It has really helped to – helped me to appreciate how far we’ve come and the successes that we’ve had to date.