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Social Entrepreneur

Updated 8 days ago

Business
Non-Profit
Government
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Social Entrepreneur exists at the intersection of profit and purpose. We tell positive stories from underrepresented voices, focused on solutions.

Read more

Social Entrepreneur exists at the intersection of profit and purpose. We tell positive stories from underrepresented voices, focused on solutions.

iTunes Ratings

137 Ratings
Average Ratings
131
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0
0

Love it!

By Gisele_Oliveira - May 12 2017
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Amazing. Well done podcast. Helpful really.

Well Done!

By HenryLopez@TheHowOfBusiness - Mar 09 2017
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Great show Tony! Enjoying the format and your interview approach and style. Thanks!

iTunes Ratings

137 Ratings
Average Ratings
131
6
0
0
0

Love it!

By Gisele_Oliveira - May 12 2017
Read more
Amazing. Well done podcast. Helpful really.

Well Done!

By HenryLopez@TheHowOfBusiness - Mar 09 2017
Read more
Great show Tony! Enjoying the format and your interview approach and style. Thanks!
Cover image of Social Entrepreneur

Social Entrepreneur

Updated 8 days ago

Read more

Social Entrepreneur exists at the intersection of profit and purpose. We tell positive stories from underrepresented voices, focused on solutions.

Rank #1: Top Twelve Popular Podcasts 2018, Elisa Birnbaum

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In the Business of Change features stories of changemakers who use the power of business to address society’s most pressing problems.

Note: Between now and the end of the year, we’re counting down the top twelve popular podcast interviews of 2018. It is a people’s choice award, determined by the number of downloads. This interview originally aired on May 24, 2018.

Elisa Birnbaum is the publisher and editor-in-chief of SEE Change Magazine, a digital publication of social entrepreneurship and social change. You may recall her interview from June 2017. Elisa has a new book out, In the Business of Change: How Social Entrepreneurs are Disrupting Business as Usual.

The book highlights how social entrepreneurs are using business savvy to create change in their communities. Elisa tells stories from a wide range of sectors, including employment, food, art, education, and social justice. Each chapter focuses on lessons learned and measurable impact. The book provides practical tips for starting and scaling a social enterprise.

Social Entrepreneur Quotes by Elisa Birnbaum:

“It’s part storytelling and part lessons for those who want to start their own social enterprise.” @ElisaBirnbaum @SEEChangemag

“It’s for the average person who wants inspiring storytelling.” @ElisaBirnbaum @SEEChangemag

“Look at all of this amazing work being done.” @ElisaBirnbaum @SEEChangemag

“I wanted to provide a broad spectrum of people doing things in different sectors.” @ElisaBirnbaum @SEEChangemag

“The book has actually been on my mind for a long time.” @ElisaBirnbaum @SEEChangemag

“It’s good to tell stories in different medium.” @ElisaBirnbaum @SEEChangemag

“You want to get these stories out there in as many ways as you can.” @ElisaBirnbaum @SEEChangemag

“This was a lot more strategic.” @ElisaBirnbaum @SEEChangemag

“There were a couple of chapters that ended up changing.” @ElisaBirnbaum @SEEChangemag

“You have to be flexible.” @ElisaBirnbaum @SEEChangemag

“Social entrepreneurs are taking a bigger role in systems change.” @ElisaBirnbaum @SEEChangemag

“I didn’t start writing until I had a contract.” @ElisaBirnbaum @SEEChangemag

“I had a book on my mind for many years.” @ElisaBirnbaum @SEEChangemag

“People don’t get to see the grit, the passion, and the work that goes into it.” @ElisaBirnbaum @SEEChangemag

“These stories, I find so inspiring.” @ElisaBirnbaum @SEEChangemag

“I enjoyed the process more than I imagined I would.” @ElisaBirnbaum @SEEChangemag

Social Entrepreneurship Resources:

Dec 14 2018

23mins

Play

Rank #2: One Million New Change Creators, with Adam Force, Change Creator Magazine

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Change Creator is a platform for motivated social entrepreneurs who are ready to create solutions to the world’s problems.

What would it take to produce one million new change creators per year for the next 10 years? That’s the question that Adam Force, Amy Aitman, and Keisuke Kubota of Change Creator Magazine sat down to answer. The result of that question is a new strategy.

Change Creator Magazine is a multimedia platform empowering forward-thinking change creators and established enterprises to drive social progress. Their mission centers around three of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). They focus on SDG 1, No Poverty; SDG 6, Clean Water and Sanitation; and SDG 7, Affordable and Clean Energy.

According to Adam, “People want to make a living doing something that matters, aligning their capital to values.” Adam thinks of Change Creator Magazine as an ongoing form of mentorship. They interview social entrepreneurs and global icons to learn about their strategies, how they get their ideas, and how are they scaling. Some examples of notable figures featured in the magazine are Tony Robbins, Dale Partridge, Ariana Huffington, and Guy Kawasaki.

Based on reader surveys, Change Creator Magazine is changing technology platforms, creating an improved reader experience. The magazine uses responsive text for mobile and desktop. Also based on this feedback, they are featuring more stories of every day social entrepreneurs.

“There is so much more we want to offer people in to help them along their journey,” Adam says. To take on additional changes, Change Creator is launching a crowd funding campaign. This will allow them to create new educational and consulting offerings. They will be able to offer virtual summits, speaker series, and online courses.

Social Entrepreneurship Quotes

“They want to make a living doing something that matters to them.”

“One of our key values is collaboration.”

“The magazine is an ongoing form of mentorship.”

“We extract these insights and we put them in the magazine.”

“We’re doing the heavy lifting and saying, here are the strategies.”

“Our focus is listening to our audience and giving them the interviews they can’t anywhere else.” Amy

“We want to put out awesome content that has value.” Amy

“The more you dig through, the more value you find.” Amy

“What are we providing people to give them the outcomes they’re looking for?”

“We’ve developed a crisp vision called our brand network.”

“We have six new channels that we will be rolling out.”

“Phase one is crowdfunding to start development of the next program.”

“Our point is building a community.” Keisuke Kubota

“We want to create 1,000,000 change creators a year for the next 10 years.” Amy

“Really put yourself out there to build relationships.”

“Don’t think that just because you put a strategy together that if it doesn’t work your done.”

Social Entrepreneurship Resources:

Sep 25 2017

25mins

Play

Rank #3: Launch, Scale Up, and Make a Difference, with Kathleen Kelly Janus

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Kathleen Kelly Janus is the author of Social Startup Success: How the Best Nonprofits Launch, Scale Up, and Make a Difference.

Kathleen Kelly Janus grew up in a family that cared about social causes. “My family cared about volunteering, and spent our weekends volunteering at soup kitchens,” she explains. “But they also cared about the organizations, and supporting the conditions so that nonprofits can not only survive, but can thrive.”

Kathleen studied the law at UC Berkley. After graduating, she worked as an attorney. In 2004, she cofounded a nonprofit, Spark. Spark makes it easy for young people to give to women's causes. At their first fundraising event, Kathleen and her cofounders watched in amazement as attendees formed a line around the block. That first night, they raised $5,000 for an organization in Rwanda. As word spread about Spark, their revenues doubled every few months. By the third year, they were ready to hire their first Executive Director. But that is where their fundraising plateaued.

“Just at the point when we were poised to take the organization to the next level, we hit a wall,” Kathleen says. “We couldn’t get over this hump of $300,000 – $500,000 in revenue.” As a lecturer at Stanford University’s Program on Social Entrepreneurship, Kathleen heard stories of organizations that had overcome the plateau in fundraising. She saw examples of success among her friends.

“That is the question I’ve been studying for the past five years,” Kathleen explains. “What does it take for nonprofits to succeed, and particularly in those early stages? What does it take to get over that hump?”

Kathleen used what she knew from her own startup experience. She worked with her students to research hundreds of articles on best practices. She surveyed thought leaders and interviewed hundreds of successful social entrepreneurs. Based on what she’s learned, Kathleen has written a new book, Social Startup Success: How the Best Nonprofits Launch, Scale Up, and Make a Difference. She lays out five key strategies of successful nonprofits:

  • Testing Ideas
  • Measuring Impact
  • Funding Experimentation
  • Leading Collaboratively
  • Telling Compelling Stories

Social Startup Success describes specific methods for executing each of these key strategies.

Social Entrepreneurship Quotes from Kathleen Kelly Janus

“We were operating month-to-month, trying to make ends meet.”

“In Silicon Valley, I saw these organizations that were taking off.”

“What were organizations like Kiva doing differently than we were doing at Spark?”

“What was allowing them to take their organizations to the next level and to maximize their impact?”

“That hump is something a lot of organizations are facing.”

“Of the 300,000 nonprofits in the United States, two-thirds of them are $500,000 and below in revenue.”

“A lot of them have proven ideas that can work in communities around the world.”

“Every organization is going to have a different threshold.”

“By sustainable I mean, are you able to operate in such a way that allows you to focus your energy on the impact?”

“Every one of these organizations had these very early periods of illumination before they went out to raise money.”

“They were very careful about testing it early on.”

“The best social entrepreneurs fall in love with the problem, not the solution.”

“Organizations that measured their impact from the start, tended to scale more quickly.”

“Always be thinking about the impact and measuring that.”

“The organizations that are most successful are the organizations that have a much more distributed leadership culture.”

“Go work for someone who has been successful before you.”

“You don’t have to reinvent the wheel.”

“A lot of the best organizations have executive coaches.”

“We all have the capacity to make a difference in the world.”

“We all need to think about how we can support our nonprofits.”

“Pick a cause. Pick a nonprofit organization, and go out there and make a difference.”

Social Entrepreneurship Resources:

Jan 08 2018

24mins

Play

Rank #4: Five Steps to Easily Tell Your Story and Build Your Brand, with Matt Scott of 180⁰ of Impact

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Matt Scott asks if there is an easier way to tell your story and build your brand.

You have a message to share – a message that is as unique as you are. You want to tell the world, “This is who I am, and this is what I’m building.” You recognize the power of storytelling, but these things take a lot of time, right?

And, there are so many options! Write a blog. Share a live video. Podcast. The choices of how and where to tell your story are limitless.

Maybe you’re like Matt Scott. He wants to know if there is a way to easily and efficiently share your story. Matt is the Manager of Storytelling and Engagement at SecondMuse, a certified B Corporation. He is also the founder of 180° of Impact, a project to celebrate 180 people dramatically improving our world through their work.

Matt recently sent a question through my “Ask Me Anything” page, where you can ask about business, productivity, personal growth, or anything else. Here’s the question Matt asked:

Knowing how limited the time is for social entrepreneurs, what is one tip for a lower-effort way for someone to build their brand and tell their story; to build a community and build their audience?

In this episode of Social Entrepreneur, Matt and I go over five steps to easily tell your story and build your brand. Here they are:

  1. Know why you want to tell your story.
  2. Know what story you want to tell.
  3. Know your strengths.
  4. Know your audience.
  5. Know that you’re going to be OK.

Let’s look at these one at a time.

Know Why You Want to Tell Your Story Know the Impact Are You Trying to Achieve

Let’s face it. When it comes to sharing your story and building your brand, there are so many choices. Knowing what impact you are trying to achieve will inform your decision of how and where to share your story.

Are you going to use social media such as Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn? Are you going to share your story through a third-party website, such as Medium, YouTube, Apple Podcast, Stitcher, Soundcloud, or Spotify? Do you need to build your home base – your domain name and website?

There are also a lot of choices to be made when it comes to media. Are you going to share your story in text? Will you microblog, write in short form, or write a long form story? Will you share an audio file? Should the audio be a podcast or just a simple recording on your website? Or, do you want to share using video? Should you post a pre-recorded video, or stream your video live?

With all these choices, knowing the outcome that you’re trying to get to will inform your decision. Want to change people’s minds? Sending a single tweet probably isn’t going to accomplish this goal. Want to build excitement and engagement? You must decide if a long-form blog post is going to do that. Know why you’re sharing what you are sharing.

Why Will Sustain You

When you know why you do what you do, it will sustain you over a long period of time. When it comes to brand-building, it takes time. Even Oprah wasn’t the Oprah we know today when she first started. It took years for her to perfect her craft and build her brand. This work is a long slough. If you’re going to stick to it, you’re going to need a big ‘why.’”

Know What Story You Want to Tell First, Edit

You are a complex person. You don’t easily fit into one label or even a handful of labels. So, part of telling your story and building your brand is deciding what part of your story to include and what to leave out. You may be a daughter, sister, mother, and aunt. You might be a dog-owner, marathon runner, guitarist, and puzzle master. So, one of the first choices you’re going to have to make is, what part of my story am I going to leave out? Editing is a master skill when it comes to telling your story quickly and efficiently.

Be Congruent

A second reason you need to clarify your story is, you want to be congruent between the story you’re telling, and how you tell it.

If, for example, the brand you are building is mellow, almost Zen, then mimicking the style and delivery of Gary Vaynerchuk is not going to work. If you’re offering financial services, adding a bunny Snapchat filter to your picture might not be the best strategy.

Be the Source

This week on Sally Koering Zimney’s podcast This Moved Me, neuroscientist Carmen Simon talked about the importance of source memory. Source memory is the ability to recall where or when something was learned. This provides a powerful context for the content of the memory. According to Carmen, “Source memory is as critical as content memory.”

Here’s what’s interesting. When I wanted to tell you about source memory, the first thing I thought of was my friend Sally, her podcast, and her guest, Carmen. That is what locked the memory in my brain – the source.

And, because I associate this knowledge with Sally and Carmen, I now attribute this knowledge to them. It raised their brand awareness in my mind. And, it caused me to see them, especially Carmen, as subject matter experts. The next time I want to know more about neuroscience, I’m probably going to look for something written by Carmen Simon.

This is what you want. By being the source of information, you create a quick association for others. That is why it’s important to narrow your focus and be congruent.

Know Your Strengths Find What Makes You Comfortable

This third point gets at the core of Matt’s question about how to quickly and easily tell your story. By finding the media that works for you, you can reduce resistance and increase flow. When it comes to finding the best way to share your story, ask yourself these two questions:

  • What overwhelms me?
  • What makes me feel free?

Every person I work with has a favorite media format for sharing their work. For some people, the thought of sitting down with a blank computer screen and writing a blog fills them with dread. While others love being able to thoughtfully compose their thoughts in writing before sharing.

Others love the spontaneity of sharing live video. With a little bit of planning, they find that they can think on their feet more easily than sitting still and writing.

Whether you prefer to write, speak into a microphone, or appear on video, do what works for you. It’s important to start with what you have and improve as you go. If the media is tripping you up, find a new media. There are so many choices.

Learn to Stretch

Once you find your comfort zone, don’t be afraid to experiment with new media choices. Not all consumers want to read blog posts, just as not all consumers want to watch videos (more on that later). By experimenting with new outlets for your message, you’ll introduce yourself to new audiences.

Trying new methods and media will stretch you outside of your comfort zone. But, as author Susan Jeffers says, sometimes you have to “Feel the fear, and do it anyway.” You might even be surprised by how much you enjoy it.

Know Your Audience

In the first three steps, we’ve been focusing on you, the author of the content. But, to build your brand, you must focus on being of service to others. Here are two important questions to ask about your audience:

  • Where do they hang out?
  • How do they want to consume content?
Where Does Your Audience Hang Out?

The fastest way to reach an audience is to go where the audience already exists. If you’re fishing, go to the lake, not the desert.

Where does your audience hang out online? For example, if the content you’re sharing is for business people, you may want to focus on LinkedIn instead of Instagram. Or, if your content is for 18 – 24-year-olds, you may wish to hang out on Snapchat.

If there is a conference on your topic, can you become a guest speaker? Or, is someone running an online summit about your topic? Or, perhaps you can start your own online summit. Find out where your audience is and go there.

How Does Your Audience Want to Consume Content?

When you create content for your audience, you want it to be in their preferred format, even if it’s not your preferred format. For example, I’m not a huge fan of Twitter. Twitter can be a haven for trolls. A few years ago, I almost gave up on Twitter. But, I surveyed my audience and found out that many of them love Twitter. So last year, I redoubled my efforts on Twitter, and as a result, I grew my following by 380%. Now, Twitter is one of my primary sources for connection. I even met Matt Scott through Twitter.

Remember that, storytelling and brand building isn’t about you. It’s about your audience. If you want to be of service, share your story where they are in a way that they want to consume your content.

Know That You’re Going to be OK

When it comes to sharing your story online, there are so many choices; it can all be a bit intimidating. If I could give you one piece of advice it is this: Just start.

When I started writing this post, I brainstormed several key pieces of advice:

  • Know the right equipment for sharing online and learn how to maximize their use
  • Know the rules for each social media outlet
  • Know how SEO works, etc.

But, when I force ranked these pieces of advice against one another, in the end, the most important thing I can tell you is, it’s going to be OK. If you share a live video and your dog starts barking; if you find a typo in your blog post; or if you post a video and suddenly realize that your hair is sticking up in a particularly peculiar way, know that it is all going to be OK.

Perfection Prevents Connection

Last week I was in a meeting with the very talented voice actor, Sue Scott. Sue is working on a fun podcast project, which I can’t wait to share. During the meeting, she said something that stuck with me. “Listeners want to connect to the host.” As a podcaster, I find this to be true. I love receiving unsolicited messages from listeners who tell me how much they enjoy getting to know my guests and me.

One of the best ways to break down the wall between podcaster and listener is to show up authentically. People want to know that you struggle with the same things they do. They want to know that your life is imperfect. As the saying goes, “perfection prevents connection.”

My Cringe-Worthy Moment

Here’s an example. Last April, I received an email from a listener who told me that I mispronounce the word “entrepreneur.” I tend to drop the second r…so I say “äntrəPAˈnər” instead of “äntrəPRAˈnər.”

I want you to picture this. The name of my show is Social Entrepreneur. I say the name of the show probably five times per episode. I also created promotional audio where I mispronounced the name of my show. Over the last 2 ½ years, I have mispronounced the word entrepreneur around 5,000 times. Ugh!

At first, I was horrified. I went into a shame spiral. But eventually, I made this video where I confessed what a massive error I had made. The funny thing is, I think it brought a lot of my listeners closer to me. People reached out and told me about their own cringe-worthy moments.

When you show up as authentic and vulnerable, people find their way into your story.

More About Matt Scott

Thanks to Matt Scott for asking this question. Matt just launched a new podcast called 180º of Impact. You can find it on iTunes, Stitcher, or other podcast apps. Be sure to check out his video interviews at Lets.Care.

If you have a question, submit it at https://tonyloyd.com/asktony. I’ll do my best to respond to every question. Your question might even make it on to a future episode of Social Entrepreneur.

Social Entrepreneur Quotes from Matt Scott:

“It is my journey to learn from people who are making a positive difference.” @MattScottGW @LetsYouCare

“The WHY is something that weaves itself into my conversations.” @MattScottGW @LetsYouCare

“The first step is why do you want to tell your story? The second is, why would anyone want to hear your story?” @MattScottGW @LetsYouCare

“It’s important to know why, for the simple reason of staying motivated.” @MattScottGW @LetsYouCare

“When my dad passed away early last year, that’s something that’s continued to drive my work.” @MattScottGW @LetsYouCare

“It’s crazy how much grief ties into people’s stories and the work they do to make an impact.” @MattScottGW @LetsYouCare

“It’s important to not get tied up in the numbers.” @MattScottGW @LetsYouCare

“The way for me to more effectively tell their stories was to have conversations.” @MattScottGW @LetsYouCare

“It’s going to be OK if you are authentically approaching your work.” @MattScottGW @LetsYouCare

Social Entrepreneurship Resources:

Aug 27 2018

37mins

Play

Rank #5: Use Your Business Skills to Make a Direct Impact, with Kate Hayes, Echoing Green

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Direct Impact is Echoing Green’s experiential leadership development program for mid-career professionals.

You know the statistics about boards of directors. According to a survey by Deloitte, 90% of board members believe that retired CEOs are the most effective board members. Yet, they admit that limits the diversity of thought and perspective. More and more, boards seek input from younger board members with a diverse perspective. But where do they find board-ready younger candidates?

At the same time, private sector companies are looking for ways to develop their top talent with experiential, hands-on learning for 21st-century skills. Skills such as self-awareness, empathy, curiosity, communication, and humility are necessary to operate in a highly ambiguous marketplace. To develop these skills requires real-world, hands-on experience.

How can mid-career professionals learn necessary skills while contributing to society in a meaningful way? That is the mission of Echoing Green’s Direct Impact program. Direct Impact trains mid-career professionals to serve the impact community through board membership.

Kate Hayes is the Director of Direct Impact. “Echoing Green has always engaged business professionals in our work,” Kate explains. “When I joined, we were looking at the field and thinking about developing new programming to engage this population” In other words, how can working professionals become engaged in social good?

“We saw a few things happening. Board governance was quickly becoming a hot topic. The data shows that boards are not diverse. They are not fundraising well. And overall, they are, by and large, ineffective.

“We also saw that the next generation of those under 40—those we most wanted to engage in some way—were not represented. While boards offer an incredible opportunity to make a massive impact on a nonprofit, few training programs exist, and those that do, do not focus on what leadership and partnership really mean. We knew there had to be a better way.”

So, how could Echoing Green build a bridge between young talent and board service? That’s where their Direct Impact program came in. Direct Impact trains mid-career professionals to use their skills in social enterprises through board service.

How does it work? According to Kate, “In each cohort, we bring together a diverse group of private sector leaders for an immersive training experience. They begin and end with a three-day retreat; participate in two evening workshops; and attend a site visit, with one of our Fellows in the U.S. or abroad. Upon completion, graduates move into our board matching process, where we seek to place them with one of our nonprofit Fellows.”

Direct Impact is based in four key areas: leadership development, strategic governance, philanthropy, and fundraising, and understanding social entrepreneurship. “We provide support as they take on these new leadership positions. We provide support and training opportunities to our Echoing Green Fellows as they develop their boards and work to engage their board members in a meaningful partnership. We are re-imaging what exceptional board leadership looks like and providing the tools to make it happen.”

According to alumni of the program, Direct Impact makes a big difference, providing both leadership development for their careers and a chance to serve the greater good. Echoing Green measures qualitative data for the program. Measures include increased self-awareness, empathy, curiosity, communication, storytelling skills, and humility. They also measure continued engagement with Echoing Green after the program. “We are an early-stage program,” Kate explains, “so we are still working to define this long-term. We are very interested in how our alumni influence the social change ecosystem from their positions within the private sector.”

However, as Kate admits, the impact can be restricted by to the number of people Echoing Green can accommodate. “Our cohorts are small. While we know it is important to go deep, we are constantly thinking about how we can transform the entire field of board governance and leadership. We rely on a ripple effect from our alumni to reach into the boards they serve on, and the places they work.

Still, Kate has high hope for Direct Impact. “Our goal is to build our thought leadership, to begin changing the narrative around board leadership at a broad level.”

Upcoming Opportunity to Participate in Direct Impact

Echoing Green will start accepting applications for their winter cohort on September 6. The program is a two-month cohort experience comprised of two three-day retreats and an immersive multi-day site visit with an Echoing Green Fellow organization.

After the initial eight-week orientation, participants move into a board-matching process. Kate says “This is a highly curated process where we’re working with them one-on-one to help find a great match for them to join within the Echoing Green network.”

There is a fee for the program. For more details, see Echoing Green’s website.

Social Entrepreneur Quotes by Kate Hayes  

“Only 16% of board members are under the age of 40.” @kdahayes @echoinggreen

“What boards are seeing is, they need to engage the next generation of leadership.” @kdahayes @echoinggreen

“You need to have a diverse set of individuals to have meaningful conversations.” @kdahayes @echoinggreen

“There’s a lot of work we’re doing to reimagine what board service looks like.” @kdahayes @echoinggreen

“It is a leadership opportunity to put their skills to use in a really big way.” @kdahayes @echoinggreen

“We need that diverse group of creative problem-solvers.” @kdahayes @echoinggreen

“Boards don’t reflect the communities they serve, by and large.” @kdahayes @echoinggreen

“Leadership development is the through-line of everything we do.” @kdahayes @echoinggreen

“We started to see people show up at work in a different way.” @kdahayes @echoinggreen

“Know that you can make an impact, no matter what your career is.” @kdahayes @echoinggreen

“Everybody has a role to play.” @kdahayes @echoinggreen

“We’re not going to move the needle on these big social issues until everybody shows up.” @kdahayes @echoinggreen

Social Entrepreneurship Resources:

Aug 20 2018

26mins

Play

Rank #6: The Future of Philanthropy, with Janet Mountain, Michael & Susan Dell Foundation

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The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation’s mission is to transform the lives of children living in urban poverty through better education, health, and family economic stability.

Janet Mountain has been the executive director at the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation for the last 15 years. Their headquarter is in Austin, Texas, but their work spans the globe.

Their work focuses on making a meaningful difference for children and families in urban poverty. When you think about pathways out of poverty, the work includes areas such as education, college success, job placement, and financial coaching. Janet describes the work this way: “The work we do at the Foundation is about creating and accelerating human opportunity.” But, that’s a big task. According to Janet, “No matter how hard the work gets it is always worth it when it comes to children living in urban poverty.”

The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation is creative in using financial services such as grants, debt, and equity. But their work does not end there. They also provide hands-on services and consulting.

One of the foundation’s recent publications is A Philanthropist’s Guide to the Future. One important aspect is that it is important for foundations to constantly audit the work that they are doing to ensure that it is both achieving measurable results but also that the work is evolving with the environment. What the report revealed is that money is certainly an important component in making a difference. However, it ultimately doesn’t solve problems. It is the humans that are involved in applying those resources that change human lives.

The foundation uses eight social impact principles that guide their work.

  1. If it looks easy, look closer. The only way to solve the surface-level challenge is to address what’s happening underneath. Use your passion and skills to dig deep and find the roots of the problem.
  2. Take the risks your challenge deserves. Our greatest challenges require doing some things differently. Push the boundaries and be willing to take risks where others won’t.
  3. Stay the course. Behaviors change slowly. Time is often the most important investment you can make. It’s going to take more than one try to make an impact, and it’s going to take more than one success to make a difference.
  4. Money alone doesn’t solve problems. Money doesn’t solve problems, people do. A combination of talent, ideas, resources, and execution is the only way to create solutions that last.
  5. Invest in people. Collaboration among unlikely partners amplifies impact. Find people who challenge your thinking and invest in them.
  6. Measure mindfully. Evidence is the only way to know whether you’re making a difference, but not all data is created equal. Always measure, but be smart about what you measure, and how.
  7. If it doesn’t work, tell everyone. Your outcomes, both good and bad, are opportunities for others to learn and do better. We all win when we learn together.
  8. This is worth it. No one ever said that creating lasting change was easy. The work ahead is incredibly challenging. When you see the real-world impact your work has made, you’ll know the effort was worth it.
Social Entrepreneurship Quotes from Janet Mountain

“No matter how hard the work gets, it really makes it worth it.”

“Our work is focused on making a meaningful difference in urban poverty.”

“The work we do at the Foundation is about creating and accelerating human opportunity.”

“Money doesn’t actually solve problems: humans do.”

“We, as a foundation, are very hands-on in our giving.”

“As long as you’re doing charitable work, the range of organizations can be very broad.”

“The report is an outcome we didn’t start with.”

“We have to make sure our work is achieving measurable results.”

“We all need partners in this work because it’s really, really hard.”

“When something doesn’t work that’s truly the most crushing part of this work.”

“Measurement is the only way to know if what you’re doing is making a difference.”

“If it doesn’t work it’s not something we should brush under the rug.”

“That change won’t happen in 5 or 10 years if we’re not doing things in the moment to push that change.”

“Remembering the fact that it is going to take more than one try to make an impact is an important mindset.”

“Activities don’t actually change lives. It’s the outcomes that change lives.”

“Be ready to stick with it and stay the course.”

“Time is often the most important investment that you can make.”

“It’s going to take more than one try to make an impact.”

Social Entrepreneurship Resources:

Book: Crazy Good Advice: 10 Lessons Learned from 150 Leading Social Entrepreneurs: http://tonyloyd.com/book

Aug 28 2017

24mins

Play

Rank #7: Celebrating the Gifts of Femininity, with Amy Stanton and Catherine Connors, The Feminine Revolution

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The Feminine Revolution is a new book that boldly declares, feminine values are powerful.

Run like a girl. Fight like a girl. Throw like a girl. Author Catherine Connors notes, “If you finish any sentence with ‘like a girl,’ it’s rarely a positive one.” And yet, as she and co-author Amy Stanton have discovered, in today’s volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world, feminine qualities can be superpowers.

Connor and Stanton explore the gifts of femininity in their new book, The Feminine Revolution: 21 Ways to Ignite the Power of Your Femininity for a Brighter Life and a Better World. Chapter by chapter, they dare women to be emotional, own their intuition, and show their weaknesses. As the title implies, “Tapping into your femininity in a meaningful way can truly change your life,” says Stanton.

This book guides women and men through an understanding of the power of feminine virtues. “It’s not just important for women and girls to be in touch with those values, but it is for boys and men as well,” explains Connors. “While writing this book, I had both my daughter and son in mind.”

The Feminine Revolution is about more than women’s equality. Equality starts with women recognizing their unique strengths. According to Connors, “If we want to get to an equal world, we have to start with ourselves.”

“Who thought that crying could be described as powerful?” Stanton adds. “Being mothering can be powerful.” Chapter by chapter the authors take on taboo topics such as being agreeable or being controlling. They show how, in a rapidly changing world, feminine traits are leadership traits.

A Unique Femininity

Amy Stanton’s journey to this book started several years ago. Stanton is a business leader who specializes in marketing to and building brand for women. She leads a woman-owned business. And yet, she was struggling with what it meant to be authentic and sensitive at work, while also being a powerful leader.

As her thoughts formed, she gave a TEDx talk. “I wouldn’t encourage anyone to go and watch it,” she laughs. Still, the seed of an idea was there. She knew she was on to something and she knew she was not alone.

A mutual friend introduced Stanton to Catherine Connors. Connors describes herself as a writer, an entrepreneur, an activist, and a mother. She blogs at the website Her Bad Mother. Her work includes leadership positions at Disney and Babble Media. She has also published academic research on the place of women and girls in the history of social thought.

When Stanton and Connors met, “We ended up talking for three and a half hours,” Connors recalls. They each had a passion for the power of femininity. They each had a unique, sometimes opposite viewpoint. Instead of being discouraged by their different perspectives, they saw it as a gift. Stanton explains, “We want to spark a conversation among women about what authentic femininity means to each of us.”

As they co-wrote the book, each author took a chapter that made them feel uncomfortable. They leaned hard into what it means to cry or to dance. It was in this discomfort that they learned the most.

That is what they encourage the readers to do. They challenge the readers, “Find the chapter that makes you feel the most resistant and start there.”

The Feminine Revolution is available today.

Social Entrepreneurship Quotes from Amy Stanton and Catherine Connors:

“Tapping into your femininity in a meaningful way can truly change your life.” @amykstanton @femrevolutionbk

“I had both my daughter and son in mind.” @herbadmother @femrevolutionbk

“It’s not just important for women and girls to be in touch with those values, but it is for boys and men as well.” @herbadmother @femrevolutionbk

“This is about celebrating our gifts.” @amykstanton @femrevolutionbk

“If we want to get to a more equal world, we have to start with ourselves.” @herbadmother @femrevolutionbk

“If you finish any sentence with ‘like a girl,’ it’s rarely a positive one.” @herbadmother @femrevolutionbk

“We ended up talking for 3 ½ hours.” @herbadmother @femrevolutionbk

“Feminine values are powerful.” @herbadmother @femrevolutionbk

“Who thought that crying could be described as powerful?” @amykstanton @femrevolutionbk

“Being mothering can be powerful.” @amykstanton @femrevolutionbk

“Some people resist the idea of femininity because they think it’s a step backwards.” @amykstanton @femrevolutionbk

“We want to spark a conversation among women about what authentic femininity means to each of us.” @amykstanton @femrevolutionbk

“I’ve asked myself, what’s the feminine approach? How can I bring grace to this situation?” @amykstanton @femrevolutionbk

“For me, it was me broadly understanding my own femininity.” @herbadmother @femrevolutionbk

“Find the chapter that makes you feel the most resistant.” @herbadmother @femrevolutionbk

Social Entrepreneurship Resources:

Nov 06 2018

30mins

Play

Rank #8: Educational Opportunities for All, with Maimuna Ahmad, Teach for Bangladesh

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Nearly 60 million children in Bangladesh are denied high-quality education as a result of an inequitable system. Teach for Bangladesh is addressing this problem.

Bangladesh is one of the poorest countries in the world, and yet a country of great opportunities. However, those opportunities are not evenly distributed across society.

Many children live on less than $2 per day. They go to school for as little 2-3 hours per day, often in classrooms that can swell to 120 students or more. Of the 17 million children who begin elementary school each year, only around 2 million will graduate from high school.

The teachers themselves are sometimes poorly educated, with most holding a high school diploma or a few years of college at most.

“The education that they’re able to deliver, despite their best intentions, doesn’t really serve the children that they’re trying to help,” says Maimuna Ahmad of Teach for Bangladesh. “This is in stark contrast to high-income schools that are offering a world-class education. We work to bridge this divide.”

Teach for Bangladesh is tackling this challenge through a program modeled after Teach for America. Young professionals are recruited to spend two years at a low-income school in Bangladesh and receive leadership development training along the way.

By taking this approach, Maimuna said Teach for Bangladesh is creating more than just skilled teachers. “They are changing the life trajectory of children in their classrooms while building their own skillsets. They can work as lifelong advocates for equity across Bangladesh,” she explains.

From Student to Teacher

Growing up, Maimuna split her time between Bangladesh and the suburbs of Washington, D.C. While she was in Bangladesh, she was able to attend private schools thanks to her family’s background.

Like many American children, Maimuna’s parents asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up — a question that is not often asked of children in Bangladesh.

“Every day on my way to school, I was passing children in the streets who were begging and selling trinkets,” Maimuna said. “I grew up with an acute understanding that I had been born lucky, and I felt a need to pay it forward.”

Maimuna studied international relations and political science at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts. She was on the path to law school when Teach for America approached her.

She met with a recruiter not much older than her who talked about the injustice that he witnessed in his classroom and realized the opportunity she had to take a stand against the injustice she had witnessed in the educational system.

“That opportunity to put my money where my mouth was and get involved and not just intellectualize about social justice but get in the trenches was really exciting to me.,” Maimuna said.

Maimuna was placed as a high school algebra teacher in Washington, D.C. She calls those two years in the classroom some of the toughest but most fulfilling that she could ask for. All the while, she couldn’t stop thinking about how the injustice she witnessed in the U.S. was similar to what she had seen growing up in Bangladesh.

She thought that the Teach for America might work in Bangladesh, but she wasn’t sure because she hadn’t lived there since was a child. She took some time off after finishing Teach for America to reconnect to her roots in Bangladesh.

While there, she began working for a legal aid organization, but couldn’t get her mind off of teaching.

“Somehow, I kept finding excuses to get back into schools and back into classrooms,” Maimuna said. “I began to realize that there was this incredible need and there was something that really spoke to me about addressing this issue.”

Becoming an Entrepreneur

Maimuna had the drive to become a social entrepreneur, but as a 20-something with a liberal arts education, she didn’t know if she had the skills to back it up. She began seeking advice from friends, family, and other entrepreneurs.

One of the key pieces of advice she heard was that she was never going to be the perfect leader at any given moment. Instead, she was the person who was showing up and choosing to take on the issue — something that mattered far more than management experience.

She also learned that several other countries had successfully adopted the Teach for America model, which gave her the confidence to know that it could succeed in Bangladesh.

Maimuna went to India at the end of 2011 to observe the Teach for India program, where she slept on couches and observed classrooms in Bombay. She realized that the problems she saw in India also existed in Bangladesh and she could play a role in solving them.

She moved to Bangladesh permanently in 2012 and began building Teach for Bangladesh in cafes that offered free Wi-Fi. One of her first realizations was that she couldn’t just lift the Teach for America (now called Teach for All)  model in its entirety; she needed to mold it to fit the situation in Bangladesh.

“The first few months of work was about emerging myself in the context and understanding what the problem was in Bangladesh,” Maimuna said.

She did that by reading, talking to experts, and gathering insight from teachers, students, and parents from throughout the country’s educational system. She also consulted with Teach for All colleagues from around the world to help provide structure to her thinking.

On the financial side, Maimuna started the business with her savings from her time as a high school teacher in the U.S. Teach for Bangladesh received its first grant from BRAC University, one of the largest NGOs in Bangladesh. It was one of the colleges Maimuna visited early on to gauge interest from students in participating in Teach for Bangladesh.

The university’s founder, Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, asked to meet with Maimuna personally. She later found that he was the person who renamed Teach for America as Teach for All. The rest is what Maimuna describes as a “nice bit of serendipity.”

“He had a love and appreciation for the model already and was looking for someone to do this in Bangladesh,” Maimuna said.

In another bit of serendipity, Maimuna’s roommate from Teach for America (also a Bangladeshi-American) had just moved to Bangladesh. She became the program’s first employee in 2012.

The Takeaway

As she looks across the global social entrepreneur landscape, Maimuna said she sees a competition for who can say they are the most overworked and those struggles being praised on social media.

Her advice to young entrepreneurs is to take of yourself and not lose sight of the fact that life is more than work. Exercise, sleep, and healthy relationships are key to long-term success and avoiding burnout.

“In an entrepreneurial pursuit, you are your biggest asset,” Maimuna said. “If you don’t take care of that asset, you are actually shortchanging yourself and those you are trying to serve.”

Even if you never go to Bangladesh, you can still support the work that Maimuna and her colleagues are doing. Teach for Bangladesh is a registered 501c3 in the U.S. and accepts donations through its website at teachforbangladesh.org.

Social Entrepreneurship Quotes from Maimuna Ahmad

“I grew up with an acute understanding that I had been born lucky.” Maimuna Ahmad, @TFBangladesh

“To really bring about a long-term sustainable change, we need to change the way leadership works.” Maimuna Ahmad, @TFBangladesh

“99 percent of students enter school in Bangladesh, but the education they receive is subpar.” Maimuna Ahmad, @TFBangladesh

“I realized the opportunities I took for granted were not there for children all around me.” Maimuna Ahmad, @TFBangladesh

“It was that theme of injustice that really spoke to me.” Maimuna Ahmad, @TFBangladesh

“Children are children no matter where in the world you are at.” Maimuna Ahmad, @TFBangladesh

“I began to realize that there was this incredible need.” Maimuna Ahmad, @TFBangladesh

“I had never fundraised before. I had never managed a team before.” Maimuna Ahmad, @TFBangladesh

“I was adapting this model in a way that felt really authentic to me as a leader.” Maimuna Ahmad, @TFBangladesh

“For decades, Bangladesh has been a hotbed of social entrepreneurship.” Maimuna Ahmad, @TFBangladesh

“We’re all competing to see who can be the most overworked among us.” Maimuna Ahmad, @TFBangladesh

“In an entrepreneurial pursuit, you are your biggest asset.” Maimuna Ahmad, @TFBangladesh

Social Entrepreneurship Resources

Dec 04 2017

24mins

Play

Rank #9: Focus on Purpose, with Meghan French Dunbar, Conscious Company Media

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Conscious Company Media is the first multimedia organization in the country that specifically focuses on purpose-driven business.

Meghan French Dunbar grew up in the mountains of Colorado. She saw early examples of how to run a business. “Both of my parents started and operated their own small businesses and were incredibly supportive of everything my brother and I did,” she explains.

She was driven to succeed from an early age. “I was an achiever. I idolized my older brother and was obsessed with excelling in all sports, especially soccer and basketball. I was always driven to achieve academically as well and saw everything as a competition.”

Meghan also saw the importance of making a difference in the lives of others. She says, “My mother is an occupational therapist and works with kids with severe disabilities. When I was young, my mom took me to work with her often and had me watch children my age who were struggling with very sincere challenges. It planted in me a deep desire to want to help.”

Eventually, Meghan discovered the power of business to do good through her work at the Environmental Defense Fund. And she deepened her sense of purpose while attending Presidio Graduate School.

After graduation, Meghan edited magazines. However, the work did not go well. One evening, Meghan and her friend Maren Keeley talked about an idea for a magazine that focused on purpose-driven businesses. It was a fateful conversation. Three hours after Meghan and Maren had this conversation, Meghan lost her job.

Meghan and Maren decided to launch Conscious Company Magazine. But there was a lot to do. They cold-emailed a list of influencers and, to their surprise, most of the people they approached agreed to be interviewed.

To fund their first run of the magazine, they launched a Kickstarter campaign. They hoped to raise $50,000. Unfortunately, they fell short of their goal. Because of Kickstarter’s all-or-nothing model, after all of Meghan and Maren’s efforts, they received none of the pledged money.

Instead of giving up, they decided to try again on Indiegogo. This time, they succeeded in raising $20,000.

Their first issue of the magazine was picked up by every Whole Foods in the US. “From there, we got the word out by hustling,” Meghan explains. “We sent magazines to every conference we could think of, we attended as many events as possible, we sought speaking opportunities, and did anything we could to tell people about our work.”

Meghan admits that they did not get everything right. “The biggest thing right out of the gate was not focusing more on marketing and sales. We also totally overestimated our growth in the first two years, which threw off our projections.”

Still, they kept moving forward. “We continued to push for distribution in more retail stores and added Kroger, Barnes and Noble, and many more. In 2017, we added events to our product line, and that helped us get the word out even further.”

Conscious Company Magazine has firmly established itself as the authority in the conscious business movement. The brand has continued to grow beyond the magazine. Today, Conscious Company Media is the first multimedia organization in the United States that specifically focuses on purpose-driven business. In addition to the magazine, they produce the annual Conscious Company Leaders Forum and World-Changing Women’s Summit.

The Conscious Company Leaders Forum will take place June 6 through 8 in Scotts Valley, CA.

Social Entrepreneur Quotes by Meghan French Dunbar:

“The path was insane.” @MegFrenchDunbar, @ConsciousCoMag

“This is what I was put here to do.” @MegFrenchDunbar, @ConsciousCoMag

“We didn’t have a lot of money, but we had a lot of love.” @MegFrenchDunbar, @ConsciousCoMag

“I always wanted to help.” @MegFrenchDunbar, @ConsciousCoMag

“They were telling us, don’t even think about going into magazines.” @MegFrenchDunbar, @ConsciousCoMag

“I saw this collaboration between environmental groups and companies.” @MegFrenchDunbar, @ConsciousCoMag

“I was hooked.” @MegFrenchDunbar, @ConsciousCoMag

“I went in open and curious.” @MegFrenchDunbar, @ConsciousCoMag

“It was one of those questions that change your life.” @MegFrenchDunbar, @ConsciousCoMag

“Things unfold if you start taking steps in the right direction.” @MegFrenchDunbar, @ConsciousCoMag

“At that moment, the sky was falling.” @MegFrenchDunbar, @ConsciousCoMag

“It was the gut-check moment for me.” @MegFrenchDunbar, @ConsciousCoMag

“I viscerally remember walking into Whole Foods and seeing our magazine.” @MegFrenchDunbar, @ConsciousCoMag

Social Entrepreneurship Resources:

Apr 28 2018

30mins

Play

Rank #10: Balancing Entrepreneurship with Family and Self-Care, with Dorcas Cheng-Tozun, Inc. Contributor and Author of "Start, Love, Repeat"

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Dorcas Cheng-Tozun is a columnist for Inc.com focusing on startup life at the intersection of marriage, family, and personal well-being. She is also the author of Start, Love, Repeat: How to Stay in Love with Your Entrepreneur in a Crazy Startup World.

“We’re not fully acknowledging the reality of what it means to pursue a business,” Dorcas Cheng-Tozun begins. “There is so much excitement and goodness in it, and yet there is this other side to it that involves sacrifice and some measure of pain.”

d.light is a global solar energy company, delivering affordable solar solutions. When Dorcas’ husband Ned co-founded d.light in 2005, Dorcas was immediately pulled into the startup orbit. She did whatever was necessary to support her husband’s ambition to change the world. This included soldering circuit boards at four-o-clock in the morning.

In 2008, Dorcas and Ned moved to Shenzhen, China to build a manufacturing and operations office for d.light. Committed to the company’s mission, Dorcas served as full-time Communications and HR Director for the company. She quickly felt the pressure and significant personal cost associated with social entrepreneurship. After ten months of working 15-hour days, Dorcas fell into a deep depression. The lack of community and substantial sacrifice was taking its toll, and she knew that they had to make a change.

Dorcas and Ned are not alone in this experience. Entrepreneurs have higher rates of anxiety, depression, and mental illness than the general population. The consequences extend to their families as well, as higher rates of infidelity and divorce occur among entrepreneurs and their spouses.

Dorcas and Ned began instituting simple changes. They established a weekly date night, reached out to mentors for support, and prioritized finding community. Ultimately, they decided to move back to the States for the sake of their family.

Dorcas sought out sources to support her. She believed that her experience as the partner of a social entrepreneur was normal. She was looking for encouragement and a sense of hope that things would get better. Soon, she realized that, of all the books on entrepreneurship, there was almost nothing for family members.

Dorcas started writing Start, Love, Repeat: How to Stay in Love with Your Entrepreneur in a Crazy Startup World in response to that void: “I wanted to paint a really honest picture: There’s the excitement and the glamour, occasionally. Most of the time it’s just a lot of hard work.”

In addition to offering practical advice, Dorcas wanted to tell the story of what it’s like to be with an entrepreneur. She interviewed dozens of couples from the startup world. She wanted to give readers a sense of how “it really stretches us as individuals, stretches our relationships, and forces us to ask really hard questions.”

Start, Love, Repeat explores the realities of such relationships, discussing the added layer of pressure that comes with being a social entrepreneur: “It’s really easy to write off your own health, your own self-care, and your own family. It feels like, in the whole scheme of things, that’s not as important as the hundreds of thousands, millions, tens of millions of people I’m trying to serve.”

In the book, Dorcas examines how this idea extends to partners of social entrepreneurs, admitting that she used to feel a measure of guilt for asking her husband to spend time with her and their young son. In time, she came to understand that such requests were not selfish. In fact, putting the business first in every situation was not sustainable, and if Ned wanted to pursue his dreams long-term, prioritizing his well-being was necessary.

Start, Love, Repeat covers the concept of partnership, which is especially complicated within the context of a startup. Dorcas admits, “It can feel like the entrepreneur’s dreams are superseding that of everybody else in the family, and that can be very frustrating.” She suggests finding avenues that give the spouse or partner a voice in the decision-making process, and establishing priorities and goals together: “As much as you can, be on the same page because … there is so much chaos and uncertainty that comes from the business itself, as much clarity as the two of you can bring to the table...will only help.”

Dorcas equates relationship planning with strategic planning. “It has been very much about making concessions and compromises, and making sure we stay true to what’s most important to us as a family.”

Dorcas urges aspiring entrepreneurs to ask themselves, “How do I make space for my family, my marriage, and myself?” Putting off self-care and family has consequences, and waiting might mean it’s too late. As Dorcas explains, “Your chances of success are that much greater if you have a really good support team around you. They’re only able to support you if you are present to them as well.”

Social Entrepreneurship Quotes from Dorcas Cheng-Tozun

“Startups are gritty and exhausting. Anybody in the entrepreneur’s orbit gets sucked into it as well.” @dorcas_ct

“There’s so much pressure to succeed.” @dorcas_ct

“There is this other side to it that involves sacrifice.” @dorcas_ct

“Show your loved ones that you care about them.” @dorcas_ct

“Sometimes the passion can skew our sense of priorities.” @dorcas_ct

“There are other things in life besides trying to make your business succeed.” @dorcas_ct

“It’s really easy to write off your own self-care.” @dorcas_ct

“It can feel like the entrepreneur’s dreams are superseding that of everybody else in the family.” @dorcas_ct

“Sometimes the needs of the business push our family in a direction that I would not always want us to go.” @dorcas_ct

“It has been very much about making concessions and compromises.” @dorcas_ct

“How do I make space for family and marriage and myself?” @dorcas_ct

“If you keep putting off family and self-care, there are consequences.” @dorcas_ct

“Your chances of success are that much greater if you have a really good support team.” @dorcas_ct

Social Entrepreneurship Resources:

Nov 06 2017

24mins

Play

Rank #11: Top Twelve Popular Podcasts 2018, Matt Scott, Let’s Care

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Matt Scott asks if there is an easier way to tell your story and build your brand.

Note: Between now and the end of the year, we’re counting down the top twelve popular podcast interviews of 2018. It is a people’s choice award, determined by the number of downloads. This interview originally aired on August 27, 2018.

You have a message to share – a message that is as unique as you are. You want to tell the world, “This is who I am, and this is what I’m building.” You recognize the power of storytelling, but these things take a lot of time, right?

And, there are so many options! Write a blog. Share a live video. Podcast. The choices of how and where to tell your story are limitless.

Maybe you’re like Matt Scott. He wants to know if there is a way to easily and efficiently share your story. Matt is the Manager of Storytelling and Engagement at SecondMuse, a certified B Corporation. He is also the founder of 180° of Impact, a project to celebrate 180 people dramatically improving our world through their work.

Matt recently sent a question through my “Ask Me Anything” page, where you can ask about business, productivity, personal growth, or anything else. Here’s the question Matt asked:

Knowing how limited the time is for social entrepreneurs, what is one tip for a lower-effort way for someone to build their brand and tell their story; to build a community and build their audience?

In this episode of Social Entrepreneur, Matt and I go over five steps to easily tell your story and build your brand. Here they are:

  1. Know why you want to tell your story.
  2. Know what story you want to tell.
  3. Know your strengths.
  4. Know your audience.
  5. Know that you’re going to be OK.

Let’s look at these one at a time.

Know Why You Want to Tell Your Story Know the Impact Are You Trying to Achieve

Let’s face it. When it comes to sharing your story and building your brand, there are so many choices. Knowing what impact you are trying to achieve will inform your decision of how and where to share your story.

Are you going to use social media such as Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn? Are you going to share your story through a third-party website, such as Medium, YouTube, Apple Podcast, Stitcher, Soundcloud, or Spotify? Do you need to build your home base – your domain name and website?

There are also a lot of choices to be made when it comes to media. Are you going to share your story in text? Will you microblog, write in short form, or write a long form story? Will you share an audio file? Should the audio be a podcast or just a simple recording on your website? Or, do you want to share using video? Should you post a pre-recorded video, or stream your video live?

With all these choices, knowing the outcome that you’re trying to get to will inform your decision. Want to change people’s minds? Sending a single tweet probably isn’t going to accomplish this goal. Want to build excitement and engagement? You must decide if a long-form blog post is going to do that. Know why you’re sharing what you are sharing.

Why Will Sustain You

When you know why you do what you do, it will sustain you over a long period of time. When it comes to brand-building, it takes time. Even Oprah wasn’t the Oprah we know today when she first started. It took years for her to perfect her craft and build her brand. This work is a long slough. If you’re going to stick to it, you’re going to need a big ‘why.’”

Know What Story You Want to Tell First, Edit

You are a complex person. You don’t easily fit into one label or even a handful of labels. So, part of telling your story and building your brand is deciding what part of your story to include and what to leave out. You may be a daughter, sister, mother, and aunt. You might be a dog-owner, marathon runner, guitarist, and puzzle master. So, one of the first choices you’re going to have to make is, what part of my story am I going to leave out? Editing is a master skill when it comes to telling your story quickly and efficiently.

Be Congruent

A second reason you need to clarify your story is, you want to be congruent between the story you’re telling, and how you tell it.

If, for example, the brand you are building is mellow, almost Zen, then mimicking the style and delivery of Gary Vaynerchuk is not going to work. If you’re offering financial services, adding a bunny Snapchat filter to your picture might not be the best strategy.

Be the Source

This week on Sally Koering Zimney’s podcast This Moved Me, neuroscientist Carmen Simon talked about the importance of source memory. Source memory is the ability to recall where or when something was learned. This provides a powerful context for the content of the memory. According to Carmen, “Source memory is as critical as content memory.”

Here’s what’s interesting. When I wanted to tell you about source memory, the first thing I thought of was my friend Sally, her podcast, and her guest, Carmen. That is what locked the memory in my brain – the source.

And, because I associate this knowledge with Sally and Carmen, I now attribute this knowledge to them. It raised their brand awareness in my mind. And, it caused me to see them, especially Carmen, as subject matter experts. The next time I want to know more about neuroscience, I’m probably going to look for something written by Carmen Simon.

This is what you want. By being the source of information, you create a quick association for others. That is why it’s important to narrow your focus and be congruent.

Know Your Strengths Find What Makes You Comfortable

This third point gets at the core of Matt’s question about how to quickly and easily tell your story. By finding the media that works for you, you can reduce resistance and increase flow. When it comes to finding the best way to share your story, ask yourself these two questions:

  • What overwhelms me?
  • What makes me feel free?

Every person I work with has a favorite media format for sharing their work. For some people, the thought of sitting down with a blank computer screen and writing a blog fills them with dread. While others love being able to thoughtfully compose their thoughts in writing before sharing.

Others love the spontaneity of sharing live video. With a little bit of planning, they find that they can think on their feet more easily than sitting still and writing.

Whether you prefer to write, speak into a microphone, or appear on video, do what works for you. It’s important to start with what you have and improve as you go. If the media is tripping you up, find a new media. There are so many choices.

Learn to Stretch

Once you find your comfort zone, don’t be afraid to experiment with new media choices. Not all consumers want to read blog posts, just as not all consumers want to watch videos (more on that later). By experimenting with new outlets for your message, you’ll introduce yourself to new audiences.

Trying new methods and media will stretch you outside of your comfort zone. But, as author Susan Jeffers says, sometimes you have to “Feel the fear, and do it anyway.” You might even be surprised by how much you enjoy it.

Know Your Audience

In the first three steps, we’ve been focusing on you, the author of the content. But, to build your brand, you must focus on being of service to others. Here are two important questions to ask about your audience:

  • Where do they hang out?
  • How do they want to consume content?
Where Does Your Audience Hang Out?

The fastest way to reach an audience is to go where the audience already exists. If you’re fishing, go to the lake, not the desert.

Where does your audience hang out online? For example, if the content you’re sharing is for business people, you may want to focus on LinkedIn instead of Instagram. Or, if your content is for 18 – 24-year-olds, you may wish to hang out on Snapchat.

If there is a conference on your topic, can you become a guest speaker? Or, is someone running an online summit about your topic? Or, perhaps you can start your own online summit. Find out where your audience is and go there.

How Does Your Audience Want to Consume Content?

When you create content for your audience, you want it to be in their preferred format, even if it’s not your preferred format. For example, I’m not a huge fan of Twitter. Twitter can be a haven for trolls. A few years ago, I almost gave up on Twitter. But, I surveyed my audience and found out that many of them love Twitter. So last year, I redoubled my efforts on Twitter, and as a result, I grew my following by 380%. Now, Twitter is one of my primary sources for connection. I even met Matt Scott through Twitter.

Remember that, storytelling and brand building isn’t about you. It’s about your audience. If you want to be of service, share your story where they are in a way that they want to consume your content.

Know That You’re Going to be OK

When it comes to sharing your story online, there are so many choices; it can all be a bit intimidating. If I could give you one piece of advice it is this: Just start.

When I started writing this post, I brainstormed several key pieces of advice:

  • Know the right equipment for sharing online and learn how to maximize their use
  • Know the rules for each social media outlet
  • Know how SEO works, etc.

But, when I force ranked these pieces of advice against one another, in the end, the most important thing I can tell you is, it’s going to be OK. If you share a live video and your dog starts barking; if you find a typo in your blog post; or if you post a video and suddenly realize that your hair is sticking up in a particularly peculiar way, know that it is all going to be OK.

Perfection Prevents Connection

Last week I was in a meeting with the very talented voice actor, Sue Scott. Sue is working on a fun podcast project, which I can’t wait to share. During the meeting, she said something that stuck with me. “Listeners want to connect to the host.” As a podcaster, I find this to be true. I love receiving unsolicited messages from listeners who tell me how much they enjoy getting to know my guests and me.

One of the best ways to break down the wall between podcaster and listener is to show up authentically. People want to know that you struggle with the same things they do. They want to know that your life is imperfect. As the saying goes, “perfection prevents connection.”

My Cringe-Worthy Moment

Here’s an example. Last April, I received an email from a listener who told me that I mispronounce the word “entrepreneur.” I tend to drop the second r…so I say “äntrəPAˈnər” instead of “äntrəPRAˈnər.”

I want you to picture this. The name of my show is Social Entrepreneur. I say the name of the show probably five times per episode. I also created promotional audio where I mispronounced the name of my show. Over the last 2 ½ years, I have mispronounced the word entrepreneur around 5,000 times. Ugh!

At first, I was horrified. I went into a shame spiral. But eventually, I made this video where I confessed what a massive error I had made. The funny thing is, I think it brought a lot of my listeners closer to me. People reached out and told me about their own cringe-worthy moments.

When you show up as authentic and vulnerable, people find their way into your story.

More About Matt Scott

Thanks to Matt Scott for asking this question. Matt just launched a new podcast called 180º of Impact. You can find it on iTunes, Stitcher, or other podcast apps. Be sure to check out his video interviews at Lets.Care.

If you have a question, submit it at https://tonyloyd.com/asktony. I’ll do my best to respond to every question. Your question might even make it on to a future episode of Social Entrepreneur.

Social Entrepreneur Quotes from Matt Scott:

“It is my journey to learn from people who are making a positive difference.” @MattScottGW @LetsYouCare

“The WHY is something that weaves itself into my conversations.” @MattScottGW @LetsYouCare

“The first step is why do you want to tell your story? The second is, why would anyone want to hear your story?” @MattScottGW @LetsYouCare

“It’s important to know why, for the simple reason of staying motivated.” @MattScottGW @LetsYouCare

“When my dad passed away early last year, that’s something that’s continued to drive my work.” @MattScottGW @LetsYouCare

“It’s crazy how much grief ties into people’s stories and the work they do to make an impact.” @MattScottGW @LetsYouCare

“It’s important to not get tied up in the numbers.” @MattScottGW @LetsYouCare

“The way for me to more effectively tell their stories was to have conversations.” @MattScottGW @LetsYouCare

“It’s going to be OK if you are authentically approaching your work.” @MattScottGW @LetsYouCare

Social Entrepreneurship Resources:

Dec 21 2018

38mins

Play

Rank #12: Live Your Mission, with Tyler Gage, Co-Founder of Runa, and Author of Fully Alive

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Tyler Gage, Co-Founder of Runa, has a new book, Fully Alive: Using the Lessons of the Amazon to Live Your Mission in Business and Life.

Tyler Gage was first introduced to Guayusa in his college years, during a soul-searching trip to the Amazon.

“I was struggling with anxiety and depression,” he explains. Gage experienced “existential anxiety,” even after achieving his life-long goal of being recruited to play soccer at Brown University.

Feeling lost, out of place and like there were deeper parts of himself that he could not understand, Gage embarked on an adventure to the Peruvian forest. He spent time with indigenous elders. He participated in fasting rituals and studied their beliefs.

“I felt like it cracked me open – fully cracked me open - and fully gave me strength, insight, and courage that I never experienced in my life,” says Gage.

Gage says the “insight, strength and connection” he unearthed in his time spent with the indigenous people, ultimately empowered him with the emotional tools to be a successful entrepreneur.

“Hardship is very eminent in every facet of life. I think being a vulnerable, open human, you reach those edges,” says Gage. “The traditions of the Amazon, I feel like, value what can be learned, and power that can come from touching those edges.”

The indigenous community also introduced Gage to Guayusa tea.

“Every morning they get up and the whole tribe sits around the fire and drinks Guayusa, and it’s really the lifeblood of their people.”

After returning to the US, Gage participated in a class where he and a team wrote a business plan for utilizing Guayusa to create livelihoods for native peoples.

Shortly after graduating, Gage and co-founder Dan MacCombie went to Ecuador to pursue their Guayusa-inspired company.

Neither of the graduates had business experience. Consequently, they solely relied on exhaustive community research, the advice of mentors experienced in the industry and their ability to foster relationships with partners and farmers.

In the end, they created a beverage company that utilizes the caffeinated leaves of the Guayusa tree. The company is called Runa.

Today, almost a decade after Gage and MacCombie initiated their startup; the social enterprise supports over 3,000 indigenous Quichua farming families across Ecuador. The US-based company sources all its Guayusa directly from the native farmers at fair trade prices.

When brewed, Guayusa leaves make an organic tea that’s high in antioxidants and offers a steady and invigorating release of caffeine. By utilizing the energizing properties of Guayusa, Runa offers the US market a range of revitalizing teas and natural, clean alternatives to energy drinks.

As a need for Runa’s products increase, so does the need for a flourishing rainforest, as Guayusa trees naturally thrive under the Amazon's canopy of hardwood trees.

“These communities really struggle with one foot in both worlds,” says Cage.

The name Runa means “fully alive” in the Quichua language. The word embodies the Quichua people’s connection to their forest and their ancestors; “an embracing of the fullness of how they can live as human beings.”

“When they see pictures of wholesale shelves with cans of Runa, it’s a very exciting opportunity for them to see part their culture being shared.”

Social Entrepreneurship Quotes from Tyler Gage:

“These communities really struggle with one foot in both worlds.” Tyler Gage, @drinkRUNA ‏

“If you had a choice between cutting down a tree and not having to send your child to school, what kind of choice would you make?’”

“They don’t have many…means to interact with the globalized economy.” Tyler Gage, @drinkRUNA

“Every morning they get up, and the whole tribe sits around the fire and drinks Guayusa.”

“Runa in the indigenous Quichua language means ‘fully alive.'” Tyler Gage, @drinkRUNA

“Being intuitive and being logical, drawing from inspiration from themselves and the community, really embodies the spirit of Runa.” 

“I felt…transformed by the traditions in the rainforest.” Tyler Gage, @drinkRUNA

“Anyone who’s human…is going to experience some sort of anxiety and depression.” Tyler Gage, @drinkRUNA

“Hardship is very eminent in every facet of life. I think being a vulnerable, open human, you reach those edges.”

“The traditions of the Amazon I feel like, value what can be learned, and power that can come from touching those edges.”

“I absolutely never would have started the business if it weren’t for the support and the tools that I learned down there.”

Social Entrepreneurship Resources:

Nov 06 2017

24mins

Play

Rank #13: BONUS Interview, Sally Koering Zimney, This Moved Me

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This Moved Me helps purpose-driven changemakers speak with confidence, clarity, and authenticity so they can create talks that move the world.

This interview contains bonus material where Sally discusses:

  • How she learned to be a speaker and coach.
  • What she got wrong about coaching.
  • Her personal mantra as a coach.
  • How feedback can be a gift.

You can find the full interview here: https://tonyloyd.com/239

Social Entrepreneurship Resources:

Mar 26 2018

8mins

Play

Rank #14: How to Change the World, with Bethany Tran, The Root Collective

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The Root Collective sells comfortable, handmade shoes and accessories that create jobs for people who need them.

Bethany Tran, founder of The Root Collective, knows how hard it can be to start up a business. “Most businesses fail in the first 18 months,” she says. “I think it’s less about money, and more about how much it’s going to rip your guts out.”

Bethany knows something about perseverance. Five years ago, she started a business working with artisans in the poor neighborhood of Colonia La Limonada in Guatemala City. Starting out, she didn’t get it quite right. “When I first launched the business, I tried to do way too much way too soon,” she explains. “I launched with shoes, bags, scarves, jewelry... I was working in Guatemala and Africa.” It was a painful experience. The first 100 pairs of shoes she received did not meet her quality standards. She had to get on a flight and go to Guatemala to confront the artisans she was working with.

“The first 18 months in business showed me the value of the advice I received early on: Do one thing and do it well. I ended up scaling back on the products we sold and stuck with shoes because that's what was working well for us.”

She continues to persevere through challenges even today. “We have struggled through the challenges of working with small artisan workshops. We've had the same quality issues over and over. We've had to let go of relationships that couldn't grow. We've had an empty bank account. I've wanted to quit regularly. Setbacks are a part of growing a business, and I've learned so much about the value of perseverance. Remembering why you started, and why you're struggling through every day is so important to be able to get out of bed each morning and keep going.”

Bethany shares the biggest insight from her business. “Hard is normal. Being able to perceiver through that, that’s how the world changes.”

“Hard is normal. Being able to perceiver through that, that’s how the world changes.” Bethany Tran, @IHeartTRC

A Heart for Service

Bethany grew up in a lower-middle-class family in eastern Pennsylvania. “My parents instilled a strong Christian faith, where loving our neighbor was a key part of that,” she says. “I was very conscious of right and wrong from an early age. Ethics and morals were something that were instilled in me from birth. I equate my desire for justice in the world to that early sense that wrongs needed to be made right.”

Around the time Bethany was 30 years old, she had what she calls “my second quarter-life crisis.” She was a successful marketing executive working on the 40th floor of a building in downtown Philadelphia. “I was miserable,” she admits. When a friend of hers moved to Guatemala to work in La Limonada, Bethany spontaneously volunteered to visit her. “I’m a person who has to sit and process things,” she says. “I’m a processor. I don’t make snap decisions. And the second she told me she was moving to Guatemala, I said, ‘I’m coming to visit.’ It was immediate. I was supposed to go.”

This trip would change her “It was my first time to come face-to-face with extreme poverty,” she says. “When I made my first trip to La Limonada, I realized very quickly that the traditional model of focusing on education was only a part of the solution to poverty. You could educate a kid all day long, but if there was no job for them, nothing would change. The cycle of poverty continues over and over, from generation to generation, simply because if there's no job... the problem hasn't been solved.”

She decided to create jobs by employing artisans and selling products online. She admits that she did not know what she was doing. “I had no background in product development, product design, international development, business administration, or cross-cultural differences. 97% of what I needed to know I learned through doing. It's still a struggle every day.”

To fund her business, Bethany and her husband drained their savings account. “I have a very supportive husband who allowed me to drain our savings account to get this business started. We've managed to stay self-funded for our entire existence, turning a profit every year.”

To get the word out for her new business, she turned to social media. “I looked for existing groups of people who I knew would be interested in our mission and want to be involved and I targeted them on social media through hashtags. This is still a key tactic for us.”

Conscious Consumers Lead the Way

Bethany has tapped into a growing trend in conscious consumption. “We gave a simple story for our customers to tell and share with their friends. Our family of customers LOVE being able to talk about their shoes. They love having that story. They love inspiring other women to be world-changers. Our customers are the only reason we are still here.”

Bethany finds inspiration from her customers. “Watching the light bulb go on for so many women when they realize how much impact they can have with how they spend their money…I've watched families change their entire spending habits to be more conscious of where their money is going. I've watched women change the world. And that is incredible.”

Watching her customers gives her the inspiration she needs to persevere. “The world needs you to solve that problem that keeps you up at night. It won't be easy, but it will be so worth it.”

Social Entrepreneurship Quotes from Bethany Tran:

“We are a footwear company that is dedicated to providing jobs to people who need them.” Bethany Tran, @IHeartTRC

“It was 10 years ago this fall when the wheels started turning.” Bethany Tran, @IHeartTRC

“The gangs were trying to recruit these kids because they were on their own.” Bethany Tran, @IHeartTRC

“If there are no jobs for these kids after they graduate, nothing has changed.” Bethany Tran, @IHeartTRC

“There’s this big hole, and it’s jobs.” Bethany Tran, @IHeartTRC

“I came back from that week, a very different person.” Bethany Tran, @IHeartTRC

“I had left so much of my heart there and just had to be there.” Bethany Tran, @IHeartTRC

“I had made it, according to America’s standards. And I was miserable.” Bethany Tran, @IHeartTRC

“I was sitting in my bed, bawling my eyes out, and thinking ‘I have no excuses anymore.’” Bethany Tran, @IHeartTRC

“I started working on the things I knew I could do from here.” Bethany Tran, @IHeartTRC

“One of my biggest rookie mistakes was, I tried to do everything at the beginning.” Bethany Tran, @IHeartTRC

“Social enterprise wasn’t a common term at the time.” Bethany Tran, @IHeartTRC

“The shoes took off because they were unique.” Bethany Tran, @IHeartTRC

“I had no idea how technically complicated shoes are.” Bethany Tran, @IHeartTRC

“As consumers, we’re controlling the world.” Bethany Tran, @IHeartTRC

“Trillions of dollars are controlled by women.” Bethany Tran, @IHeartTRC

“Humanizing the fashion industry is so important.” Bethany Tran, @IHeartTRC

“It’s easy to know how much something costs you, but do you know how much it cost the person who made it?” Bethany Tran, @IHeartTRC

“It’s less about money and more about how much it’s going to rip your guts out.” Bethany Tran, @IHeartTRC

“For a year and a half, I went through my dark night of the soul.” Bethany Tran, @IHeartTRC

“I’ve learned a lot about what it means to walk through hardship.” Bethany Tran, @IHeartTRC

“In our age of Pinterest perfect, Instagram perfect, everything has to look beautiful and shiny all the time.” Bethany Tran, @IHeartTRC

“Nobody talks about how hard it is.” Bethany Tran, @IHeartTRC

Social Entrepreneurship Resources:

Oct 08 2018

27mins

Play

Rank #15: Used Bikes, Big Impact, with Calla Martin and Mary McKeown, Express Bike Shop

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Express Bike Shop is a learning lab where young people develop the habits and skills for work.

Today might be a good day to ride a bike. In fact, almost any day is a great day to ride a bike. Biking can be fun. It’s great exercise. It reduces your carbon footprint. The environmental impact of manufacturing and maintaining a bike is far below that of a car. The only thing better than a new bike is a used bike. And the only thing better than a used bike is a used bike that provides jobs for young people with a barrier to employment.

Express Bike Shop in Saint Paul, Minnesota is a full-service repair shop that also sells refurbished bikes. Profits from bike sales and repair go towards a youth apprenticeship program. Express Bike Shop is a social enterprise owned by a nonprofit organization, Keystone Community Services.

Bicycles are considered hard to recycle items. When you donate a bike to the Express Bike Shop, they either strip the bike down for parts or build the bike up for resell. Since their inception, Express Bike Shop has collected and refurbished more than 20,000 bicycles. They sell between 500 and 600 bikes per years. Components that cannot be reused are recycled. Each year they recycle between 15 and 18 tons of metal and three tons of rubber.

100% of the revenue from the bike shop is reinvested in youth employment programs. The shop serves as a learning lab where young people learn about work and business. They believe that early work experience is the best predictor of later work experience. They have a saying at Express Bike Shop. “The best work readiness program is a job.

Social Entrepreneurship Resources:

Apr 22 2018

24mins

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Rank #16: The Many Side-Hustles of Sherrell Dorsey, ThePLUG and BLKTECHCLT

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ThePLUG is the first daily tech newsletter covering founders and innovators of color.

What do these people have in common: Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Larry Page, Tim Cook, and Larry Ellison? Yes, these are all icons of the tech industry. They also happen to be white men.

Sherrell Dorsey of ThePLUG says, “Part of my personal and professional growth was staying abreast of what was happening in the news.” However, she noticed a gap in tech news. “The daily business and tech news cycle is filled with the stories and work of white men building the future,” she says. “Rarely are we recognizing the work of black, brown, or female-led companies that are powering our future.”

As Sherrell investigated why this gap existed, the common explanation that read was that there were no black or brown people in STEM. “It was just lazy journalism related to the problem,” Sherrell contends. Working in the tech industry, Sherrell saw first-hand the contribution that people of color made to the field. But where were their stories?

Sherrell’s answer is ThePLUG Daily. She and her team curate some of the best news stories about founders and innovators of color. They also create original, well-written content.

Where Social Justice, Entrepreneurship, Tech, and Journalism Collide

Sherrell Dorsey grew up in Seattle, surrounded by a family of activists and social justice leaders. “Much of my work is inspired by their early commitments to black, brown and marginalized communities being treated with humanity,” she explains. Sherrell’s work would eventually follow in these same social justice footprints. “I remember going to those board meetings where my mom was working on issues. I hated it back then. But now I’m like, ‘Oh my god, she created a monster.’”

Sherrell was also an early entrepreneur. Sherrell’s mother instilled in her a sense of independence. She insisted that Sherrell find a way to earn money to purchase the extras she wanted. From the age of 12, Sherrell gave tap dancing lessons. As she grew up, she took on more and more clients. Eventually, she convinced the studio owner to give her a key to the studio so that she could provide private lessons at a higher price.

She also worked at her aunt’s hair salon. “I got to watch these incredible women who were providing such a tremendous community service,” she explains. “I watched the way they interacted with their clients. I watched the way they ran their operations. It gave me this idea of, wow, I can do whatever I want to do.”

Not only was Sherrell an early entrepreneur, she had an early start in the tech industry. She was an intern at Microsoft while she was still in high school. After college, she spent time working with Uber and Google Fiber.

Sherrell also honed her writing skills. While she was still in college, she launched OBV Media, a multimedia content platform serving a community of eco-conscious multicultural women. She has also contributed to Fast Company, TriplePundit, Black Enterprise, Redox, and others.

Today, Sherrell is a data journalist and entrepreneur. Her interests have come together in ThePLUG and BLKTECHCLT, Charlotte’s only inclusive and immersive tech center.

Social Entrepreneurship Quotes from Sherrell Dorsey

“Having access to resources helped me to have choice and freedom.” @Sherrell_Dorsey @_theplugdaily

“My family supported me, but I had to look outside for influence and guidance on business.” @Sherrell_Dorsey @_theplugdaily

“It’s definitely been a nonlinear path.” @Sherrell_Dorsey @_theplugdaily

“Every decision I made was about, what do I want to learn?” @Sherrell_Dorsey @_theplugdaily

“I learn hands-on.” @Sherrell_Dorsey @_theplugdaily

“I began to explore that through writing.” @Sherrell_Dorsey @_theplugdaily

“I knew I wanted to work with super-smart people and people who would challenge me.” @Sherrell_Dorsey @_theplugdaily

“I stayed on my aunt’s couch for three months.” @Sherrell_Dorsey @_theplugdaily

“I started hacking with a Goodbits account and MailChimp.” @Sherrell_Dorsey @_theplugdaily

“I didn’t have a logo. I didn’t even have a true voice for the publication.” @Sherrell_Dorsey @_theplugdaily

“I wasn’t sure what it was. I just knew this service should be out there.” @Sherrell_Dorsey @_theplugdaily

“I was up at 5 AM putting together the newsletter.” @Sherrell_Dorsey @_theplugdaily

“It really forces you to go back to your original Why.” @Sherrell_Dorsey @_theplugdaily

“Now we’re looking at original reporting.” @Sherrell_Dorsey @_theplugdaily

“We’re very excited about turning data into stories.” @Sherrell_Dorsey @_theplugdaily

“For us, there’s that public interest piece that’s important.” @Sherrell_Dorsey @_theplugdaily

“How do we drive inquiry into how tech applies to our communities?” @Sherrell_Dorsey @_theplugdaily

“I’m starting to understand and respect the purity of what journalism is supposed to be about.” @Sherrell_Dorsey @_theplugdaily

“Persistence, grit, and endurance matters.” @Sherrell_Dorsey @_theplugdaily

“If you feel like you don’t have the skills to take it to the next level, get some help.” @Sherrell_Dorsey @_theplugdaily

“We derive a ton of value from constantly serving our audience.” @Sherrell_Dorsey @_theplugdaily

Social Entrepreneurship Resources:

Apr 09 2018

24mins

Play

Rank #17: Figuring Out Faith in Business and Marriage, with Jessica Jackley

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Jessica Jackley and Reza Aslan are exploring what it means to live in an interfaith family.

The first week of February is Interfaith Harmony Week. Given the heightened friction between religious groups, this celebration of interfaith harmony is crucial. Each year, religious leaders engage in a dialogue based on two common fundamental Commandments; Love of God, and Love of Neighbor.

Jessica Jackley is best known for her role as a co-founder of Kiva.org. Kiva is the first peer-to-peer microlending platform. Anyone who has an internet connection and a credit card or PayPal account, you can go to Kiva.org, browse the profiles of entrepreneurs who need a small loan. These loans are often just a few hundred dollars. You can chip in. You can lend $25 toward that loan need. Over time you get repaid. Since Kiva.org launched a little more than 12 years ago, the site has facilitated over $1 billion in loans. 

Millions of people in developing countries run microenterprises, from a fisher, to a dressmaker, to someone running a kiosk in a small village. For those entrepreneurs, microloans can be an important source of capital to help them to grow and sustain their businesses.

“It’s not as if a lot of folks don’t know how to lift themselves out of poverty,” Jessica explains. “They just don’t have access to the right resources to do so.”

A Strained Relationship with Poverty and Business

“I’d always had a fascination, and a little bit of a love-hate relationship with the idea of poverty and the poor, as it was presented to me by a lot of well-intentioned organizations,” Jessica says. Nonprofits, NGOs, and people who came to her church painted a picture of sadness, hopelessness, and desperation. These stories made Jessica feel guilty, shameful and panicked.

“The role that I was supposed to play was to respond by giving money,” Jessica describes, “letting these organizations go do ‘the real work.’ And then they’d come back and ask for more.

“That pattern of hearing the sad story, respond by feeling awful and freaked out, and then reaching into my pocket to give whatever spare change I had so that I could go on with my life…that wasn’t a cycle that I enjoyed. Unfortunately, it made me feel distanced from people who are living in poverty. It very much otherized them. So, this sort of separation happened early on in my life.” 

When Jessica attended college, she studied philosophy, poetry, and political science. She avoided business classes. “I thought ‘business is bad. Business is about taking, and I want to be one of the givers’…I even thought, ‘entrepreneurs are the worst. They’re the gain leaders for starting businesses.’”

In a moment of serendipity, Jessica’s first job after college was as a temporary employee at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. “I felt like I was sleeping with the enemy,” she jokes. However, she quickly realized that she was surrounded by people who wanted to use the power of business to solve the problems that mattered to her.

In the Fall of 2003, Dr. Muhammad Yunus gave a guest lecture on campus. Dr. Yunus pioneered the idea of microloans. “It was this real ah-ha moment for me,” Jessica explains. “It shifted things. He talked about the poor in a way that didn’t make me feel terrible. It didn’t feel like there was an agenda to have me play this very limited and particular role in this story.”

“It made me think that I could begin my great work in the world the way he had, by sitting down with people and listening to them very carefully.” Jessica reached out to several people, including Brian Lennon, who at the time was running Village Enterprise. Brian gave Jessica the opportunity to come to East Africa and to learn from local entrepreneurs.

Village Enterprise provided small grants to people in poverty. Jessica saw first-hand how small amounts of capital could make a big difference. Many of the people who had received grants were ready to start and grow a business, but they needed microloans.

Jessica returned to the US to share her idea about giving microcredit loans to entrepreneurs in developing countries. She spent many months shopping the idea and gaining feedback. She points to this time as her one small regret. “I took too long waiting for the world to give me permission,” she says. Finally, she partnered with co-founder Matt Flannery, built a website, and returned to East Africa to profile entrepreneurs. In April 2005, Kiva made it’s first seven loans for a total of $3,500. By September of that year, all the loans were repaid. Kiva.org was on its way.

By 2010, Jessica left Kiva.org to launch a new company, ProFounder. ProFounder was a crowdfunding platform for small businesses in the US to raise investment capital. The company folded after a little more than two years. Jessica moved to the Collaborative Fund where she remains a Venture Advisor. Today, she is a Social Entrepreneur in Residence at the University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business.

The Role of Faith in Jessica Jackley’s Journey

Recently, Jessica has been speaking out more on the role that her religious belief system has had on your life. “Some of the concepts, principles, and the practices that were embedded in me at an early age have allowed me to pursue the things that I believe in…I think of entrepreneurship as, you dream things up, you imagine them, and then you make that real. It’s very much a faith-building exercise.”

“I have always felt like my life was tied to something bigger than me. I’ve always felt connected to a higher power.”

However, Jessica worries a little about talking about her faith. “It can alienate some people,” she says. Nonetheless, when she looks back at her work with Kiva.org, she says, “I believe I was called to do that.”

Rather than practicing religion as an exclusive system, Jessica and her husband, Reza Aslan, practice religious inclusion. Reza is a practicing Muslim. He is also a writer whose books include God: A Human History, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, and Beyond Fundamentalism: Confronting Religious Extremism in the Age of Globalization.

“We have an interfaith marriage and an interfaith family,” Jessica describes. They try to expose their children to a breadth of religious beliefs. “We try to do world religions 101 at home. Our little nickname for that is Home Church.” Jessica and Reza also try to instill a depth of spiritual practices such as prayer, meditation, and community.

Jessica admits that they don’t have their interfaith practice perfect yet. “We’re learning as we go,” she says. Jessica and Reza are documenting what they are learning on their interfaith journey, hoping to be helpful to other interfaith families.

Social Entrepreneurship Quotes from Jessica Jackley

“It’s not as if a lot of folks don’t know how to lift themselves out of poverty.” @jessicajackley

“It made me feel distanced from people who are living in poverty.” @jessicajackley

“I thought ‘Business is bad. Business is about taking, and I want to be one of the givers.’” @jessicajackley

“He talked about the poor in a way that didn’t make me feel terrible.” @jessicajackley

“I took too long waiting for the world to give me permission.” @jessicajackley

“I have always felt like my life was tied to something bigger than me.” @jessicajackley

“We have an interfaith marriage and an interfaith family” @jessicajackley

“We’re learning as we go.” @jessicajackley

“The majority of new marriages are interfaith.” @jessicajackley

“Start doing something. There’s always a step that you can take.”

“Pay attention to what is speaking to you.” @jessicajackley

“There are small things you can do every single day to start you on your journey.” @jessicajackley

“Don’t be embarrassed about those small beginnings. Just start doing something.” @jessicajackley

“Pick your thing and commit.” @jessicajackley

Social Entrepreneurship Resources:

Feb 02 2018

22mins

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Rank #18: Find Your Funding, Part 1, Jeff Ochs, Venn Foundation

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The Venn Foundation uses Program-Related Investments in surprising new ways.

This week, we’re kicking off a two-part mini-series how to fund a business that does social good. We did something like this in April 2016. Next week, Cathy Clark is going to be here to talk about CASE Smart Impact Capital, an online resource to help social entrepreneurs figure out how to find the right capital at the right time.

This week, we’re talking to Jeff Ochs of the Venn Foundation. Jeff is an experienced entrepreneur and investor. He invented and commercialized an educational party game that was licensed by Hasbro. He started a successful nonprofit, Breakthrough Twin Cities. And he was the Executive Director of an angel investing network. In each of these instances, Jeff saw the difficulty of getting the right investments to the right startups at the right time.

Jeff explains that today there are two types of capital:

  1. Charitable donations, which support causes we care about with no expectation whatsoever for financial return.
  2. For-profit investments, which are designed to make as much money as possible for investors on a risk-adjusted basis.

“In this current capital system, it is obvious why there is no investment capital available that is willing to accept ‘below-market’ financial terms,” Jeff explains. To meet this challenge, Jeff partnered with Rob Scarlett and Jeanne Voight to launch the Venn Foundation.

Jeff says, “At the highest level, Venn Foundation has a method for using charitable donations, which today we just give away, to make investments. This allows us to create the below-market investment capital that we badly need. Charitable investments have all the same tax advantages of donations, are anchored against -100% financial returns of donations, and allow the precious charitable donation to be recycled over and over again. Venn Foundation is where charity and investing meet.”

Venn is creating a marketplace for charitable investing. They are removing the obstacles that donors face in making charitable investments directly. By opening a special donor-advised fund called a Venn Account, any individual or organization can recommend that their charitable dollars be used by Venn to make Program-Related Investments, or PRIs. Venn can syndicate any PRI among any number of Venn Accounts. Financial returns from these PRIs go back to participating funds for the donors to redeploy into new PRIs or to grant out as desired.

Venn recently made a program-related investment to Binary Bridge. BinaryBridge creates software that helps humanitarians do their work effectively and efficiently. You may recall our conversation with BinaryBridge founder Lori Most.

Who should seek program-related investing? Jeff suggests that business and nonprofit leaders ask themselves, “Is that I’m doing helping advance a charitable cause as defined by the IRS? And if the answer is yes, or maybe yes, the program-related investment tool is something that could apply to you and your goals.”

Social Entrepreneurship Quotes from Jeff Ochs

“If that kind of capital existed, what could we do?” Jeff Ochs, Venn Foundation

“It’s where charity and investing meet.” Jeff Ochs, Venn Foundation

“Today, there is not a market for charitable investing.” Jeff Ochs, Venn Foundation

“If capital behaved differently, what would be possible?” Jeff Ochs, Venn Foundation

“Capital is the lifeblood of our economy.” Jeff Ochs, Venn Foundation

“If we can change the nature of capital, we can change the way our economy works.” Jeff Ochs, Venn Foundation

Social Entrepreneurship Resources:

Feb 19 2018

24mins

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Rank #19: The Terrifying, Magical Life of a Social Entrepreneur, with Emily Hunt Turner, All Square

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All Square is a craft grilled cheese restaurant and training institute that breaks down barriers for those with a criminal record.

A criminal record can be a barrier to employment, housing, benefits, and voting. With barriers to employment and housing, there is a high rate of recidivism. One study across 30 states found that 67.8% of released prisoners were rearrested within three years of release.

Recidivism is a large problem impacting millions of people, including the loved ones of those with criminal records. Nearly one-third of American adults have been arrested by age 23. Arrests fall disproportionately on men of color. One out of every 106 white men is behind bars. Compare that to one in every 36 Hispanic men and one in every 15 African American men. And, it’s not just men who have criminal records. In the ten-year period from 1997 to 2007, the number of women in prison increased by 832%.

The volume of cases in the criminal justice system overwhelms the courts. Defendants are pressured to accept a plea deal for probation or early parole. Many who accept these deals do not realize the full consequences of their future employment and housing options.

Emily Hunt Turner is doing something about this. Emily is an architect, a civil rights attorney, and more recently the founder of All Square. All Square is a craft grilled cheese restaurant and training institute for those with a criminal record. They plan on opening their restaurant this spring. Their name is a play on words, representing those who have paid their debts to society are "all square" and free to move forward unencumbered.

When opened, All Square will be a self-sustaining social enterprise. Profit from the restaurant will fuel the organization. As a non-profit, they will augment their professional institute with grants and individual donations.

Emily grew up in Wahpeton, North Dakota. Things weren’t always easy. Her mother raised her as a single parent. She says that “as a gay woman from rural North Dakota, from a family who has never known financial stability, I have seen and experienced adversity.” Still, she describes her early life as “the most incredibly happy childhood. I was a very happy kid.” Emily describes her mother as “the most inclusive human I've ever known. She was so eccentric in her dress and her manners. She was quite a force and a vision.”

When Emily grew up, studied Architecture at Syracuse University. She became interested in issues surrounding housing. She worked on a documentary film, The Atlanta Way that describes gentrification in Atlanta after the 1996 Olympics. “I learned about some of the troubling practices that took place in the name of clearing housing for athletes. I was beyond troubled. It was shocking to me that this sort of thing could actually happen.”

“What came out of that was, unexpectedly, a passion for housing discrimination and displacement,” Emily explains. Seeing her passion, a professor encouraged Emily to study law. “Keep in mind, Emily says, “this was my seventh year in college.” Nonetheless, Emily remarks  “This led to my law degree and my focus on contemporary housing discrimination through zoning, land-use, lending algorithms, and low-income housing tax credits.”

Emily worked as an attorney for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for nearly five years. “I not only ran into widespread housing discrimination in lending, zoning, and land-use, but I also saw it day-in and day-out in tenant selection policies.” Emily witnessed how those with criminal records are excluded from both public and private housing.

Eventually, Emily realized that she could not change the outcomes from people with criminal records from inside of HUD. “I had no legal remedies for this exclusion. It is basically legal to exclude those with records from housing.”

Emily came up with a business plan. Around a year earlier, she had thought about a grilled cheese restaurant. At the time, she had laughed off the idea. However, she thought, “I want to be part of the solution.” Emily’s solution was to create employment for people with criminal records through a grilled cheese restaurant. She also wanted to create a powerful brand. She landed on the name All Square.

Advice that Shaped her Solution

Before Emily went further, she shared her idea with several people. First, checked in with two groups of people – the formerly incarcerated and experts in barriers to employment. Both groups agreed that creating a restaurant with employment opportunities was a promising idea. However, they added an extra element. They encouraged Emily to go further by creating an institute that would look at the holistic needs of the person, to prepare them to be successful in the work world.

Emily found Edwins in Cleveland, a restaurant and institution employing people with criminal records. She reached out to the owners who met with her and encouraged her. Edwins is a fine-dining restaurant with high overhead. They encouraged her to pursue her fast-casual restaurant idea.

Emily checked in with other restaurateurs she knew. They encouraged her to keep the menu simple to avoid high food costs and labor costs. They also told her, if she was going to pursue this idea, she could not do this part-time while still working at HUD. With this input and the addition of the professional institute, All Square was an idea whose time had come.

Two months after those conversations, Emily resigned from her job at HUD. The next day, she launched a Kickstarter campaign for All Square. This campaign included a six-city tour across the country. The goal was to raise $50,000. They exceeded their goal, raising $60,000.

Challenges and Solutions

Coming off of the success of the Kickstarter campaign, All Square had momentum. However, not everything has gone smoothly. Emily suffered a major personal setback. Her mother, who was such a large figure in her life, passed away only three months after the Kickstarter campaign. “This loss was both grave and unexpected,” Emily says. “The emotional hardship has been devastating; so difficult.” Emily feels lucky to have friends and a fiancé to see her through. “Self-care is critical,” she explained. “I'm still working on getting that piece right.”

Emily has continued to struggle with the business aspects of All Square. Despite the fact that All Square has raised over $140,000 in capital in the last 16 months, she has struggled to access business loans. “I think we're now there with securing our construction loan, but wow, has it been difficult,” she says.

Emily also had a steep learning curve. “I didn’t know the first thing about starting a business when I started this 16 months ago,” she explains. “There are thousands of things I've learned since starting: How to properly structure a nonprofit; understanding social impact investing; understanding the benefits of a hybrid structure; understanding capital markets,” and more. However, she says “I feel like I now have a very strong business foundation.”

Emily says that she is grateful for “the humans that have come into my life and the time/energy those that are already in my life have freely given. It's been just incredible.”

She has a laser focus on just one goal. “Our focus is on our first location on Minnehaha Avenue. Period,” she laughs.”

Emily’s advice to aspiring social entrepreneurs comes from a saying on a neckless she wears. “It always seems impossible until it's done.” But “done” requires more than talk. It also requires collaborating with others, even those with whom you may not initially agree. “Rather than posting articles condemning or condoning certain viewpoints, which I, of course, used to do constantly, find a human in your life with whom you disagree on the subject matter, and see if there's any space for common ground, despite your differences.”

All Square is slated to open in late Spring of 2018.

Social Entrepreneurship Quotes from Emily Hunt Turner

“It felt like people’s lives were being treated like monopoly pieces.” @emilyhuntturner, @allsquarempls

“The law…wasn’t something that had ever appealed to me.” @emilyhuntturner, @allsquarempls

“It was really compelling to work from the inside.” @emilyhuntturner, @allsquarempls

“The biggest thing that I saw that was the criminal record piece.” @emilyhuntturner, @allsquarempls

“You don’t see housing discrimination how you used to – very overtly.” @emilyhuntturner, @allsquarempls

“It’s very strategically written into single-family zoning ordinances.” @emilyhuntturner, @allsquarempls

“I thought, as a lawyer, there’s a way to be part of the solution from the inside.” @emilyhuntturner, @allsquarempls

“Somehow a social enterprise centered on a restaurant and an institute came from all of that.” @emilyhuntturner, @allsquarempls

“What if I became the employer?” @emilyhuntturner, @allsquarempls

“We led by example.” @emilyhuntturner, @allsquarempls

“What if I can be part of the solution in a respectful way?” @emilyhuntturner, @allsquarempls

“Weighing in on social media…just doesn’t feel effective.” @emilyhuntturner, @allsquarempls

“There’s an institute side of it that looks at the human as a whole.” @emilyhuntturner, @allsquarempls

“I will say it was the most terrifying 45 days of my life.” @emilyhuntturner, @allsquarempls

“I was asking people to invest in an idea.” @emilyhuntturner, @allsquarempls

“It was terrifying, and kind of magical.” @emilyhuntturner, @allsquarempls

“I’m the impulsive one in the relationship.” @emilyhuntturner, @allsquarempls

“That helped me to say, if not now, when?” @emilyhuntturner, @allsquarempls

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” @emilyhuntturner, @allsquarempls

“Real things take real time.” @emilyhuntturner, @allsquarempls

“I think law school did for me was really appreciate and value perspectives that diverge from mine.” @emilyhuntturner, @allsquarempls

“I still believe finding common ground despite differences is still possible.” @emilyhuntturner, @allsquarempls

Social Entrepreneurship Resources:

Jan 29 2018

24mins

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Rank #20: Liza Moiseeva: Empowering Artisans Around the World with GlobeIn

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GlobeIn’s Artisan Box fights poverty through job creation and fair wages.

A hand-painted mug from Tunisia. A scarf from Thailand. Cocoa powder from Ghana.

You might not travel to any of those places, but thanks to GlobeIn, you can receive these handcrafted items in your home while empowering entrepreneurs in developing countries around the world.

GlobeIn Co-Founder Liza Moiseeva is an integral part of the company’s operations. While her current role is in marketing, she’s worn many hats over the years to get the business off the ground.

Moiseeva grew up in Moscow, where she says her access to information about nonprofits was limited. She did, however, read about Angelina Jolie’s humanitarian work in celebrity magazines. She originally wanted to work for the UN, but realized that she could have more of an impact as an entrepreneur.

She attended Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia on a swimming scholarship and earned both a bachelor’s degree in international relations and an MBA there. She was one of the first people to bring social entrepreneurship to Moscow when she hosted meetups during trips home on school breaks.

Moiseeva met GlobeIn’s founder Vladimir Ermakov at one of those meetings in December 2012. She was home in Moscow on winter break from her MBA studies at Old Dominion. She followed up with him after the event and worked her way into a role in marketing and social media at GlobeIn.

The company originally thought that it would be “Etsy for developing countries,” Moiseeva said, but the 1:1 customer to order ratio proved to be a logistical challenge and lead to long order delivery times.

“It was not a great experience in the age of Amazon when everyone wants instant gratification, Moiseeva said. “We started curating a themed experience with really highly curated products. We were really picky.”

Moving to a subscription box model allowed the company to scale more quickly and leverage marketing opportunities that come from the “unboxing” phenomenon on YouTube. Those influencers have helped to GlobeIn grow its customer base.

Moiseeva used her marketing expertise to help GlobeIn transform from “tchotchke” items to products that add value to their customers’ lives. Packing those items in a subscription format helped the company take off because it allowed for a curated experience and provided subscribers with the thrill of receiving new items each month.

GlobeIn’s subscribers also receive a brochure with every delivery that tells the story behind the artists who created the items in that box. They’ve found that customers enjoy these stories almost as much as the products themselves.

“It’s this really personal connection between you and the maker,” Moiseeva said.

GlobeIn works with the Fair Trade Federation to onboard new artisans and has established a base of operations in Oaxaca, Mexico. Moiseeva and her colleagues also keep on top of trends and identify areas where their artisans can fill gaps in the market.

One such example was a hanging wall organizer they saw on Pinterest. One of their artisans in Peru made a fair-trade version that’s now available on the site.

“The most interesting way for us to find artisans is to come up with an idea of a product and go back to our contacts and ask them ‘Can you artisan make this?’”

Beyond providing steady employment for artisans, GlobeIn works with communities around the world to improve access to everything from business training to healthcare. They track the social impact for every product they sell by asking partners questions about how many artisans they employ and how many family members each person has.

Looking forward, Moiseeva said GlobeIn hopes to continue growing its subscriber base so that the company can provide more opportunities for its artists around the world.

She also encourages consumers to educate themselves on fair trade and ethically sourced products, then pass that knowledge along to others.

“There are so many ethical fashion brands out there right now. Shop mindfully.”

Social Entrepreneurship Quotes from Liza Moiseeva

“This is the way to solve global issues — through successful businesses that are built not only for the sake of making money but also for the sake of solving any given social problem.”

“I was one of the first to do social entrepreneurship in Moscow.” @Lithaca, @GlobeIn_World

“If I just sat there in Norfolk enjoying myself and not trying any new things, nothing would have happened.” @Lithaca, @GlobeIn_World

“I never thought that I would be watching unboxing videos and sending boxes to YouTubers.” @Lithaca, @GlobeIn_World

“Exceptional customer service goes a long way.” @Lithaca, @GlobeIn_World

“It’s this really personal connection between you and the maker” @Lithaca, @GlobeIn_World

“Through the subscription box model, we are able to place really huge impactful orders with artisans.” @Lithaca

“I don’t feel bad about selling to people because every sale creates more jobs for the artisans.” @Lithaca

“Product first, mission second.” @Lithaca, @GlobeIn_World

“Our products have to be able to compete with traditional businesses. No one will buy our products just because they are fair trade.”

“Customers are extremely educated now so it’s better to be transparent and honest.” @Lithaca

“Establish your business model and your pricing right away..” @Lithaca, @GlobeIn_World

“Shop mindfully.” @Lithaca, @GlobeIn_World

Social Entrepreneurship Resources:

Oct 09 2017

23mins

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