The People Helping People Podcast is here to give you inspiration on how you can get involved and make a difference... exploring culture, social change, travel, social entrepreneurship and cool projects making an impact.
Maxime Dücker's Our Good Brands Connecting You with Impact
When Maxime Dücker arrived in Melbourne, Australia, she found inspiration in the thriving world of social & eco-focused enterprises seeking to change the world. So, she set out to wield her marketing and branding expertise to create change and launched Our Good Brands as an entertainment hub for brands and worldwide consumers to make better decisions.
Our Good Brands
With topics around sustainability, ethical living, ethical consumption, and eco-friendly trends – Our Good Brands is a platform that raises awareness and shares stories of many amazing brands and the people behind them. With so much news focused on the negative, Maxime took the approach of providing uplifting habits and insights into how we can incorporate sustainability into our everyday lives, keeping in mind that we all live busy lives.
To be honest, I used to be slightly skeptical about the impact a single individual can make. The effect from a single individual appears insignificant against the sheer volume of people and the magnitude of damage caused through massive consumption.
But Maxime shared her own experience on how people genuinely want to leave the world a better place, and how the conversation changed from being non-existent when she started to be commonplace today. She ran an eco-friendly air-BnB, complete with information about what she was doing. The biggest surprise was how often people would share all the things they were doing in their life to make an impact. And they would be excited to learn what else they can do.
As you grow, you incorporate uplifting practices into your own life – others see this, and get inspired. So, as you work on yourself, you connect with communities that are doing this same work, and together you lift each other up – this change that you’re doing ripples out and touches many others, and it magnifies to the point that significant change occurs.
And this change can start small. (And even better when it does, because small changes that are easy to make part of your life will pave the way for further, more impactful changes. You climb a mountain one step at a time.)
Maxime points out that it makes such clear sense to solve social and environmental problems by using the mechanism of business because a solid business can not only magnify the impact but displace other business which is causing harm… and in the process give consumers an easy means to create change by choosing where they spend their dollars.
Not sure where to start? Listen to the podcast, packed full with great insight. Check out Our Good Brands and the eco-guides, or follow them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or YouTube. Need even more help with branding your social enterprise? Reach out to Maxime through her branding agency Four PPineapples.
Dalia Kamar’s Global Interactions Bring Perspective for Developing a Purpose-Driven Enterprise Community in the Middle East
Dalia Kamar established her work in Egypt as she develops entrepreneurs to maneuver barriers. No matter if the barrier is geographic or linguistic, Dalia worked to empower entrepreneurs of the Middle East to flourish in their own communities. She is not opposed to global interactions and details her own global experience. Being open to finding serendipitous opportunities helped Dalia connect with diverse entrepreneurs.
She started off with her experience attending an American University in Cairo, Egypt. At this place she involved herself head first into engaging the rising trend entrepreneurs during that time. Eventually, Dalia found herself interning with RiseUp, which led to larger roles in different initiatives. Throughout her early work, Dalia focused on helping the initiative’s gain exposure and bringing resources to accelerate growth.
Beyond growth, Dalia noticed the absence of the Arab voice in the entrepreneurship discussion of a region that is predominantly Arab. She commented on the lack of content on business topics, such as funding, provided in the Arabic language. Working around this particular barrier exposed the limits and gaps of content delivery not catering to the region. Dalia shared her thoughts on an important result of connecting people, especially role models and mentors, in the region: “...being part of a community that's trying to accomplish the same thing and being able to get feedback in ways that you really relate to.”
Dalia spoke about her involvement with Rustic Pathways during an immersive summit geared towards youth. She explained that the summit gives an atmosphere of learning, messing up, and learning from your mess-ups. She shared her surprise at being invited; she attended the summit years ago as a participant. Dalia reflects on the lessons of creativity, developing ideas, and how we gain from every interaction in our life.
Turning to entrepreneur trends, Dalia emphasized the process of tangible, measurable, and actionable impact. She expressed her thoughts of being able to manage that impact while scaling the business. Trends can create guidance, but knowing how to apply what you need to yourself is powerful. Learning to adapt is even more powerful. Dalia explained the lesson in being agile:
“I think your constant state of being should be just being agile and adaptable, because I think if you're too set in your ways, not even in a business setting, just in a life setting, if you were too set in your ways, and you're not really able to absorb the changes around you, then you'll be a really unhappy person.”
Dali is trying new things herself as she works with Equitie, an advisory and an investment firm. The initiative guides strategic decision-making, including product market fit, financial modeling, and raising finance for the companies around the Middle East. Equitie has a global network of investors for their diverse entrepreneurs to unlock market opportunities. Dalia explained details related to funding in capital from her experiences in the entrepreneur space considering the strategy and structures working today.
If you would like to learn more, you can visit FOUNDERSMEDIA, Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn.
Open Eyes Project with Anna Alaman
Anna Alaman spoke with us about her work in responsible and sustainable tourism through the Open Eyes Project. Anna was determined to build a social enterprise in India and focused on tourism. She shared the experiences that led her to establish the project, including lessons on “learning while doing” and the differences between “having the academic point of view and also the practitioner point of view”. From her experiences, she was able to help change tourism in India for the last 11 years.
Tours are usually disconnected from the heart of the local people. Open Eyes Project relies on the authentic connection with the communities to create holistic experiences of the country and culture. Anna explained how the initiative integrates new aspects to reflect the social enterprise’s values; like bringing in more female tour guides and being inclusive of people with disabilities.
Finding an alternative to “normal” business is a strength for the Open Eyes Project. Tourism is usually held in-person, but COVID-19 placed a stop to in-person gatherings. Anna shared how the team could not believe the pandemic lasted for over a year and added that dealing with the pandemic felt like starting from scratch again. I felt it was a great example of the way clarity about your purpose can foster the flexibility to adapt to what life throws. Being rooted in purpose, and understanding what you're about, allows you to adapt to create your impact in a different way and shift.
Open Eyes Project took years to refine the businesses methods used in their initiative today, and are still refining. Anna explained that it took many years to fully understand the balance involved with creating impact and having sustainable revenue to maintain a sustainable business model. In social enterprise, both the impact and profit are hugely important factors that indicate whether a social enterprise is truly fulfilling the intended purpose. Anna also shared that figuring out the correct way to communicate with the target audience developed over the course of three to four websites.
Anna reflected on the community being part of the business model and emphasized that they cannot be outside of the business model. Initiatives would not exist without communities. From this idea, the conversation bloomed into the real-life story of why Open Eyes Project’s consumers trust the initiative. Tourists see the impact of spending their money with the Open Eyes Project by the interactions with the communities that are part of the tours. This is intentional and has been woven into the fabric of the experience so that the impact is clearly felt.
Towards the end, we discussed pushing past the hurdle of getting something up and running. Anna’s take is an insightful mix of personas and life experiences. A world beyond the hurdle may include recreating around older narratives your mind lived with. Anna acknowledged a common thread in going past limits: “I can see there is more success for those who are open to really learn by doing.”
If you would like to learn more, you can visit Open Eyes Project and RegenLab.
Connect with her through Instagram, Facebook, or LinkedIn.
If you speak Spanish, check out Anna's free course to give you the clarity and structure you need to start a social enterprise: http://bit.ly/2Nf7Rfy.
Book mentioned on the podcast: Building Social Business from Muhammad Yunus
Read Full Transcript
Adam: [00:00:00] Welcome to People Helping People, the podcast to inspire greater social change and give you ideas on how to take action. I'm your host, Adam Morris. And this month we are focused on providing you with tools to sharpen your creativity, gain insight,
GiveBackHack’s Emily Stuhldreher Suggests Social Enterprises Focus on Small Prototypes Followed by Feedback
Emily Stuhldreher shared insights into getting social enterprises up and running after years of work with GiveBackHack. There’s an entire community of social enterprises in Ohio that connect to GiveBackHack, including previous guests and myself. Emily talked through a lot of what it takes to build and validate the ideas we start with when embarking on the road of social enterprise.
Our conversation started with updates on how the initiative is operating. Emily shared the transition of connecting with the community virtually. Last year, GiveBackHack held the event virtually for the first time. Participants were still able to build together and feel a team harmony. I also attended, so we discussed some ideas that we saw at the virtual GiveBackHack.
When beginning a social enterprise, understanding the issue as an experience builds a foundation for the idea. Emily reflected on GiveBackHack over the years, noting the most successful ideas have experience or know someone with experience related to the issue. Emily called for social entrepreneurs to understand and challenge assumptions about the problem they are approaching. Sometimes, idea development requires learning about more lived experiences, then, circling back to your idea to integrate perspectives of the people with the experiences.
Emily gave a lesson of the importance of feedback, the MVP (minimum viable product), and the design thinking process. She cautioned about the effort and losses associated with not confirming the needs of the community you engage with. This shifted into a discussion on social enterprise being a model where teams need to validate ideas and validate impact. Emily explained an approach to actively validating ideas by sharing the journey of previous GiveBackHack participant Renter Mentor. The initiative connects residents needing low-income housing with the landlords that will rent to them.
Most of the impact social enterprises create by forming scalable small impacts. Emily expressed her thoughts on individual commitment to impact. She is a system change advocate but also emphasized her belief in the “... one-to-one impact you can have as a person by living your life as a person who's passionate about impact and cares about helping others.” Emily then gave insight on ways engaging with the impact community can help develop our scalable shared impact.
In fact, scalable shared impact can lead to recognizing gaps in problems. There may be an angle or perspective of the problem that is not being fully addressed. That gap becomes an excellent opportunity to assist the community. Emily spoke about Upchieve, a 24/7 high school tutoring initiative, to illustrate the point of identifying issue gaps.
Winding down, we discussed finding volunteer opportunities to stay in touch with communities. People living in Columbus may want to start with Point app, Columbus Gives Back, and BESA as resources for volunteering. You can start by engaging with people, then developing small prototypes to get feedback from stakeholders of the problems. Repeat this process to continue optimizing the impact you bring.
If you would like to learn more, you can visit GiveBackHack, their Instagram, LinkedIn, or Twitter.
Social Psychologist Lynette Cook Reveals How to Move From Hopeless to Fearless
Lynnette Cook spends this episode discussing the Rootstrike program Hopeless to Fearless. We have a history with the initiative from our previous episode with Rootstrike’s Dave Parker. Through the program, frontline and mid-level professionals can use practical tools and resources to navigate challenging circumstances. We discussed the Nova membership looping informative experts, impact, and policy. Then, we returned to the origin story of Hopeless to Fearless developing into its current state.
Lynnette and Dave crossed paths as being part of the local community. The collaborative work really began when Dave participated in the psychology of creativity speaking series hosted by Lynnette at Ohio State University. The speaking series was meant to help students get in touch with the use of creativity in ventures. Lynette explained thoughts on creativity being in the nonprofit space:
“Creativity is about new and unique and seeing solutions where nobody's seen that before, and I can't think of a better definition for what nonprofits do.”
From the speaking series collaboration, Hopeless to Fearless emerged. Lynnette continued by sharing the interactive approach to communicate the core characteristics of the program. She told us about how creativity goes beyond arts and sports. Creativity is tied to the way people maneuver life; like finding an alternate route for your commute when a road is blocked.
People can begin to cultivate change even when roadblocks and limits may seem to fill a life. Lynnette explained that people can be innovative and get around feeling restricted while in supporting roles at work or in teams. Part of empowering yourself to be innovative is exercising mindfulness. Engaging in mindfulness focuses on being aware rather than controlling. Recalling a personal story, Lynnette shared a conversation with a colleague reflecting on Washington D.C. experiencing the storming of the Capitol.
Following her recollection, we expanded the conversation into priorities and self-care. Taking care of yourself contributes to you being in the best place to create change. Besides mindfulness, Lynnette also recommended for people to become familiar with Carol Dweck’s concept of a fixed mindset versus a growth mindset. Lynnette explains that people can shift from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset. She emphasized that “...conceptually, your brain changes all the time; with every experience that you have, your brain changes.”
Building these new changes takes time, which taps into the paradox of refining skills. Strengthening skills is a combination of innovation and grit. Lynnette gave her thoughts on the paradox existing; the place where you weigh whether to try something new or persist. With finding that balance, peer support can be a way for people to stay grounded. Lynnette shared the impact the peer-to-peer component in Hopeless and Fearless brings as fellow members bond through watching each other navigate their experiences.
A majority of our entire discussion dealt with mindset. I asked Lynnette to share more about positive psychology, and then we followed up with three examples of gaining clarity in your journey.
If you would like to learn more, you can visit: Rootstrike Labs, instagram, facebook, linked-in, or twitter. Also, check out Lynnette's company, ARNOVA.
Bestowed Essential’s Callee Ackland Knows Making a Choice Brings Entrepreneurs Closer to Clarity
Callee Ackland discussed how her commitment to a zero-waste lifestyle developed into Bestowed Essentials and Hippie Haven. Interest in sustainable products came to Callee in 2016 after a purchase of hand-made soap. From then on, Callee stayed mindful of the ingredients and sources of the skincare she used in her daily life. She gave herself one year to develop her soap-making business full time, which is now Bestowed Essentials.
A sustainable lifestyle was a standard to Callee who grew up in places that gave her a different relationship to sustainability than people growing up in other parts of the country. Once she watched Netflix’s A Plastic Ocean, her approach towards her business and life shifted. We briefly discussed why audiences should be aware of companies and sustainability, such as the marketing tactics trying to transfer responsibility away from larger brands. Consumers have power in how and where they consistently spend their money.
Callee brought attention to the fact that everyone can participate in change. She reassured that everyone’s best effort can look different. If you decided to bring your own bags for groceries, and your neighbor switched to more sustainable brands, both impacts compound. Callee shared that “...every one of these different actions does add up.” Continuing on, Callee explained her observations on why recycling is part of the pollution problem, the purpose of mutual aid, and knowing how to make a change in your own community.
South Dakota’s community is one of the main influences of Hippie Haven, a retail store & community space with seemingly endless opportunities for social impact. One of the opportunities is a donation drop-off for the indigenous-led organization Camp Mniluzahan. Callee shared insight around the organization’s efforts in the community being an example of mutual aid.
Callee’s community connections are also the reason she went from selling her products in the back of her van to being stocked in 200 stores. Even more so, she reminisced on the lesson that entrepreneurs don’t need to do everything alone, and shouldn’t try to. She explained how the business eventually scaled enough to require a second level of management, and how she deals with managing people while being a visionary.
During the pandemic, Callee’s ventures experienced disruption, but found ways to pull through. Callee shared what it’s like being the recipient of grants from Stacy's Rise Project and the Spanx by Sara Blakely Foundation. Besides assistance, Callee found discipline and adapting useful in her journey, and we both spoke on the grit that comes with a lack of resources.
Hippie Haven is also the name of Callee’s podcast. A major part of the podcast is to speak about sustainability topics in plain English that is accessible for the general public. Soon the podcast grew into much more, but it’s all part of Callee’s approach to impact. She gave advice about her approach and shared she’ll be adding the nonprofit Zero Waste Business Alliance as part of her impact.
If you would like to learn more, you can listen to the podcast, visit the store, browse the product line, or connect on Instagram, Facebook and youtube.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Great Local Podcast
Awesome stuff happening in CBUS!