Excited about the new Office of Social Innovation at the White House, I called the White House switchboard asking for Cheryl Dorsey (I had read that she was part of the transition team on social entrepreneurship). The switch board operator couldn’t find her name and couldn’t find anything listed under, “Office of Social Innovation.”
She was very nice, took my name and number and said she would get back to me. Last night, during a President’s Day Party with my lots of screaming kids in my family, my cell phone rang from an ‘unknown number.’ I answered and it was the White House operator explaining that the Office of Social Innovation was under the purview of the Domestic Policy Council and here was their number.
I phoned them this morning, but did not receive the same sunny, helpful treatment that the White House switchboard offered. I was somewhat sternly reminded that I did not have any information on this because there had been no official releases on it. I explained that there is an entire community of entrepreneurs, policy leaders, and philanthropists desperately wanting to hear more. She was tight lipped.
Trying to play ignorant (which sometimes works), I explained that I was just an academic/blogger who writes and researches on social entrepreneurship and that this is great, cutting edge stuff that the Obama White House is working on.
Whether a blogger or a journalist, I was told coldly, I should be calling the press office not the Domestic Policy Council. Good day sir, in other words.
Well, I did get one name during the call as to who was working on the creation of the Office of Social Innovation. I did a little research on this person (they have quite a nice Capitol Hill pedigree) and I will be calling on them in the next day or so. I hope they will be happy to hear from me.
Perhaps I will also try to the press office, but its not always easy for entrepreneurs to just do as they are told. But who knows, maybe I’ll find a friend or two over there? Gotta keep an open mind.