Transforming social services with Gord Tulloch and Sarah Schulman

Aug 26, 2020

As dedicated social intrapreneurs, Gord Tulloch and Dr. Sarah Schulman have devoted their careers to supporting marginalized people. Currently Director of Innovation at posAbilities, Gord has performed many roles in the social services, both in system building and system delivery. He’s worked in policy analysis, management, front-line care, and education.

Sarah, who holds a DPhil in social policy from Oxford University, where she was a Rhodes Scholar, is a founding partner of InWithForward, an international social design organization whose teams have produced award-winning and scalable interventions.

We are so thrilled to be working with Gord and Sarah on their forthcoming book, The Trampoline Effect, about repurposing social services to assist people in realizing their full potential. Read on to learn more about Gord and Sarah and their important work.

What is your book about?
Our book is about trying to repurpose social services so that they function not only as safety nets, but also as springboards that help people realize their full potential. We share stories of people in, or on the periphery of systems, as well as from organizations struggling to rethink their approaches to services.

Although our social welfare system can be transactional, colorless and rigid, we propose a series of “stretches” that we believe will result in more human flourishing and, over time, can lead to a fundamental shift in the way this system thinks and behaves.

What three words best describe you?
GORD: Kind. Philosophical. Wholehearted.

SARAH: Passionate. Driven. Expressive.

Whom do you most admire?
GORD: No one in particular, though I frequently find myself admiring people in their many admirable moments.

SARAH: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, for her integrity and steadfast commitment to values.

What is the last book you read?
GORD: The Sixth Extinction, by Elizabeth Kolbert

SARAH: The Invention of Yesterday, by Tamim Ansary

What is your personal motto?
GORD: If I had to pick something, it would be along the lines of “Stay curious” or “Be humble.”

SARAH: I often find myself sharing an Albert Einstein quotation: “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” As a kid, advocating for anti-tobacco legislation, I used the same line in all of my speeches: “The change of one simple behavior affects other behaviors, and thus changes many things.” I still hold that to be true.

What phrase or expression do you use the most?
GORD: “It’s complicated.”

SARAH: “Let’s add some delight!”

Where do you find inspiration?
GORD: In acts of courage, kindness and vulnerability. And in people, ideas, conversation, books.

SARAH: On the streets, with the most marginalized people, whose grit, honesty and resiliency is often nothing short of remarkable. I am always left humbled.