Social Impact | From Idea to Enterprise with Suzanne Smith

Social Impact | From Idea to Enterprise with Suzanne Smith

Social Impact | From Idea to Enterprise with Suzanne Smith

Organizations committed to sustainable change bake it into their business model.  There are a host of labels and designations for those that “do good”: conscious capitalism, social impact, social entrepreneurship, BCorp, etc. In this episode, we explore the differences and how they function. Suzanne Smith, founder & CEO of Social Impact Architects and adjunct professor at Pepperdine University and the University of Texas at Arlington unpacks it for us.

Show Notes

“[As a social entrepreneur] You don’t always do things (directly) connected to your bottom line, you don’t always have to get an immediate benefit out of something, because it’s part of who you are and your ethos – baked into your DNA.”

– Suzanne Smith

The nuances of doing good

We hear a lot of labels today around “doing good” in business: conscious capitalism, social impact, social entrepreneurship and more. But what are the differences and how do they function in the business world?

Today Suzanne Smith – an expert in social impact who works with nonprofits, foundations, socially responsible businesses and individuals – unpacks it all. She founded Social Impact Architects back in 2009 with a goal to reshape the business of social change, and she teaches on these topics as an adjunct professor at Pepperdine University and University of Texas at Arlington.

Looking differently at social change

We discuss how social change exists in a middle space between the business world and government where neither has entirely tackled it head-on. Historically, the business sector hasn’t created enough of a market for social change, but in recent years brands look differently at how they engage. Creating change has become much deeper than charity donations and volunteering. With such a surge, it’s important for brands and individuals to rely on research-backed methods and best practices without reinventing the wheel. But it’s also important to not lose sight of what you can uniquely bring to the table.

Social entrepreneurship, charity, conscious capitalism

[8:40] “So the traditional notion of charity is the whole idea of ‘I’ll give a man a fish,’ if we want to use that analogy. Social entrepreneurship changes that narrative and says, ‘You know what, let’s teach a man to fish. Let’s figure out how to do that to scale.’

“We leverage the toolkit that businesses established to create market-based solutions.”

[12:22] “Social innovation is about the idea, social entrepreneurship is about the mindset, and social enterprise is about the business model.”

[21:55] “That’s where I would put the conscious capitalists, those are the people who are hardwired around the idea of, we want to, we want to do a better job of creating social change. But typically, they’re looking at it more from a business practice perspective, it’s part of their ethos.”

The difficulty of effecting social change on a grand scale

[10:58] The danger of starting from scratch: “Leapfrog innovation, which is yes, we want to create change, but we want to give ourselves the best chance at creating impact. So we want to build it on a solid foundation of best practice research, problem, ideation, etc. So that way, we get as much impact as we possibly can from that innovation.”

People are drawn to social change

[30:15] “I consistently look at what I purchase, and I vote with my dollar…if you look at some of the research that’s been done, those companies who perform better time after time, are the ones that are socially conscious. People running those organizations are making more thoughtful decisions, they’re making less decisions that are in the short run, the better decision versus the long run being the better decision.

“Companies have to start thinking about these issues. It’s not just about them creating the product or service anymore… Do their employees have appropriate daycare? Are they moving their employees up in a career pathway?”

Her recommendation to students

[37:40] “Find that thing that they’re uniquely passionate about, marry that with the thing that they are uniquely God-given from a talent point of view,”

Resources mentioned in this episode:

https://socialimpactarchitects.com/

https://www.linkedin.com/company/social-impact-architects/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/suzannesmithtx/

https://twitter.com/socialtrendspot

https://www.instagram.com/socialtrendspot/

https://www.facebook.com/SocialImpactArchitects

Sign up for Social TrendSpotter blog:

https://socialimpactarchitects.com/newsletter-signup/

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Social Impact | From Idea to Enterprise with Suzanne Smith

Owning Your Value | Key Elements for Authenticity and Personal Power

Owning Your Value | Key Elements for Authenticity and Personal Power

There are times in our professional lives where we need to advocate for ourselves. – to take a stand. Recognizing our worth and being able to communicate it isn’t rude, nor is it bragging.  But it can be uncomfortable.  Owning our value supports our authenticity, which liberates our spirit and launches excellent performance.  

Show Notes

When we’re able to own our value, we’re more likely to bring positive contributions to work,

to life, to our communities-  to whatever we care about.

The Power of Authenticity

There are times in our professional lives where we need to advocate for ourselves. – to take a stand. Recognizing our worth and being able to communicate it isn’t rude, nor is it bragging.  But it can be uncomfortable.  Owning our value supports our authenticity, which liberates our spirit and launches excellent performance. Communicating our value is necessary to get a seat at the table. We make the value we bring apparent when we confidently acknowledge and demonstrate it each day – and it also helps us bring our unique advantage to the workplace.

Explore the Eight Elements of Knowing Your Value

This week’s episode is an efficient 13 minutes as I outline 8 elements to help you own and speak your value. These are actions you can take to increase your feelings of power and authenticity in all aspects of life. I’ve created an in-depth, integrated guide for your reflection and to help you develop new habits.   Whether you’re mentoring someone or need strategies for realizing your own impact, you will achieve greater awareness of what you offer and how to communicate it.

Highlights from this episode

[2:30] “Know what you stand for…what you care about and what you’re committed to. These values guide your decisions, your actions and your priorities. Have clarity around your vision.”
[3:30] “Knowing what we stand for keeps us in our lane, focused on what we care about rather than pursuing what others are striving for.”
[6:53] “Track your contributions. These are quote receipts of your good work. I do this daily in my journal to remind myself that I spent my time well, and so I can articulate the deliverables that I’m working on with clients.”
[8:51] “To go along with speaking your value is to practice embodying your value. Embodying your value means that you feel it at your core, and others also feel it and see it in your presence.”
A Guide to Owning your Value:
Clifton Strengths Assessment:
Tilt 365:
Episode 19: Trudy Bourgeois about workforce excellence: https://rise-leaders.com/achieving-workforce-excellence-trudy-bourgeois/
To discuss executive coaching, leadership development program design, and workshop facilitation, please visit:

I specialize in helping leaders and organizations thrive.  Reach out if there’s a way I can support you.

 

 

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Social Impact | From Idea to Enterprise with Suzanne Smith

Silicon Mountain: Finding Multi-Stakeholder Wins in the eWaste industry

Silicon Mountain | Finding Multi-Stakeholder Wins in the eWaste industry

Hillary and Joel Patterson transformed a business opportunity into a passion project.  After designing ERP solutions for clients in the electronic waste recycling industry, they jumped into the fascinating world of recycling, repair and redistribution of the electronics we regularly toss in our trash.   They became SO passionate that they privately funded and produced a documentary, Silicon Mountain. 

Episode 20   | September 15, 2020

Show Notes

 

 

It’s the ultimate win-win-win situation where we help the environment, we help businesses, we help people – the products that are sent off to other countries can help with education. There’s just such a big benefit. I wanted to show what all the opportunities are, and how individuals and companies can make a difference.

– Hillary Patterson, The Vested Group

 

The Unintended Impact of Constant Innovation

Today we use more electronics and gadgets than at any point in history. Electronics are used in everyday life, with people upgrading their phones to the latest model, buying new technology for their companies, homes and more. This raises the question: What happens to the waste? How can we recycle and safely dispose of it? And who might this benefit?

What is Electronic Recycling?

[17:05] “Only 20% of any of the waste in the world gets recycled. So that shows you the potential of growth and the amount that can be gained by just recycling our own devices… “Such a small percentage of what’s out there that can be recycled is actually being recycled… Approximately 400,000 smartphones are thrown away every day in the United States.”

[18:14] There’s $343 million worth of gold in those phones, $46 million worth of silver. If we don’t recycle that, then we have to dig that out of the earth again. The environmental ramifications are obviously ongoing and large – something that we can easily take a big chunk out of.”

[33:31] “They have almost unlimited demand for their products when they recycle and repair these items that come in. Their struggle as [an eWaste company] is getting this stuff.”

What About Data Security?

[20:58] “As long as you’re going to a certified recycler, they have the process in place…as long as you’re using somebody reputable, they’re going to take care of it … because their reputation is on the line as well; they’re going to make sure that that that it’s secure before it’s actually sent to anyone.”

A Circular Economy

[22:47]“It’s taking something that one person has stopped using. And a lot of times people will buy the new iPhone because they want a new iPhone, not because there’s anything wrong with the last one that they have. Instead of leaving it in a drawer, they’re giving it to somebody that can either sell it, refurbish it, and putting it back into the economy.”

Silicon Mountain Documentary

Premier Information:
Date: Thursday, September 17th , 2020
Time: 7pm CST
Streamed through: http://www.siliconmountainmovie.com/

Thank you for listening and reading!  I’ve included links to various resources covered in this episode.  

And remember…Elevate Your Part of the World!

To learn more about Joel and Hillary Patterson and The Vested Group please visit:
Joel Patterson http://www.thevested.com/meet-your-team
The Vested Group http://www.thevested.com/netsuite-provider-the-vested-group
https://www.linkedin.com/company/the-vested-group/?trk=top_nav_home
https://twitter.com/TheVestedGroup
https://www.instagram.com/thevestedgroup/
https://www.facebook.com/VestedGroup/

 

I specialize in helping leaders and organizations thrive.  Reach out if there’s a way I can support you.

 

 

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The Rhythm of a Great Place to Work: Drew Clancy

The Rhythm of a Great Place to Work: Drew Clancy

The Rhythm of a Great Place to Work:  Drew Clancy, President of PCI

Drew Clancy, President of Publishing Concepts (PCI), is a self-proclaimed ‘cultural enthusiast’.  His commitment to the core elements of culture has resulted in year-over-year growth and consistent recognition as a Best Place to Work.  As a third-generation leader, he has brought this near 100year-old family business solidly into the 21st Century through innovation and servant leadership. 

Season 1   |   Episode 09   |   November 12, 2019

Show Notes

 

We inspire dreams and transform lives

PCI’s Purpose

 

A Successful Third-Generation Family Business

Drew Clancy is President of PCI, a midsize, third-generation family business headquartered in Dallas, Texas.  In 2021 they will celebrate 100 years in operation, and like any company that has weathered that much time, they’ve experienced iterations and evolutions. In 1982, Jack Clancy, Drew’s father, breathed new life into the company and gave it a new name: Publishing Concepts, now best known as PCI.  They’re in the business of “helping college, university, and association clients engage their alumni and membership and raise money in order to fulfill their mission of educating our nation’s future leaders”.

Jack Clancy was a ‘dynamo’, as Drew describes in the interview and embodied many first-generation and founder qualities: charisma, high energy, generosity and a preponderance for making all the decisions, and generally keeping tight reigns on the business. These characteristics are needed at start-up but will cripple the business over the long-term.  Note:  PwC has published a very interesting survey on family businesses.  A short video summary can be found here.  

Drew entered the picture in 1995 after his father suffered a heart attack and could no longer bring his formidable energy and presence to the business.  Drew recognized the talent and capacity of the team and brought his own unique approach to leading and managing to PCI.  Essentially, he navigated the company past the ‘founder’s trap’ as described by Dr. Ichak Adizes, creator of the Adizes Corporate Lifecycle, and steered PCI toward sustainability.  And it’s working – PCI continues excellent financial performance, targeting $50M in revenue this year, doubling 2016’s performance. As you hear in the interview, Drew is a self-described “workplace culture enthusiast” and is so passionate about this that he invites anyone to reach out to him for a conversation.

Organizational Culture as a Business Strategy

We spent the bulk of our time discussing Drew’s passion: workplace culture.  He is a strong believer in Servant Leadership and sees creating a thriving workplace as a foundational business strategy.  His orientation is paying off:  PCI has appeared on both Dallas Morning News 100 Best Places to Work and Best Companies to Work for in Texas, nabbing first place in 2015 & 2016.  Even with these accolades, he doesn’t take culture for granted, claiming “you have to work for it every day”.

They have a term for the central elements of their culture, theFIVE:

  • 5 Elements of the core ideology: Purpose, Values, Vision, Goals, Commitment
  • 5 Values: Excellence, Unlock Human Potential, Act with Integrity, Innovate a Culture of Relationships & Fun, Lead with a Servant’s Heart

Structure Will Set You Free:  Rhythms, Rigor and Ritual

A best-place-to-work culture will not happen by wishing for it.  It won’t even happen if you articulate your core ideology (Jim Collins’ term for Purpose, Vision and Values) and hang posters throughout the workspace.  You have to take action.

Drew is keen on the idea that “structure sets you free”. Liberating structures are created to channel individual or group energy toward a specific goal.  James Clear’s book, Atomic Habits, guides individuals to make tiny shifts in daily behaviors that will lead to big results.

At the organizational level,  leaders use liberating structures by setting rhythmic meetings with appropriate agendas to guide actions and increase engagement. Drew outlines the meeting rhythm at PCI that has helped create their award-winning cultural.

Drew’s morning ritual:

Like many successful leaders, Drew has a rigorous morning ritual that he’s been practicing for seven or eight years now.  Last year, he led a book discussion at PCI on The Morning Miracle by Hal Elrod, which helped him fine-tune his own routine (this is also an example of his commitment to Unlocking Human Potential as an organizational value). Here’s his practice:

  • Wake at 5:45a or 6:00a
  • Exercise – push-ups or sit-ups
  • Meditate for 10 – 20 minutes
  • Read the Bible & pray
  • Journal – writing about the 10 personal goals he sets each year

PCI’s Organizational Rhythm:

“Try a lot of things and keep what works”.  This is the advice Drew gleaned from Jim Collins’ epic book, Built to Last.  Here’s what is working for PCI now:

  • Annual Planning – Yearly
  • Monthly Extended Leadership Meeting – Trail Blazers meeting for anyone leading a team, project, product, client relationship, etc. This meeting is focused on growth and learning.
  • Weekly – CEO Council.  This is an L-10 meeting (Level 10 from EOS)
  • Daily Huddle – 10 minutes at 8:30a, called the 10@8:30. See PCI’s agenda here

These meetings share critical information such as metrics (transparency is key), updates, and progress and also keep team members focused on ‘theFIVE’

Helpful Articles:  Discipline Sets You Free; The Right Meeting Rhythm Will Set You Free; CEO’s Roadmap to Alignment

Book:  The Power of Liberating Structures

Courage:  The Final Element

Courage is the third element for creating an enduring culture.  There are times in the life of a leader when decisions aren’t just tough, they may even have a short term negative impact – financially or otherwise.  The leader has to choose whether to take the high road and stay true to the stated values of the company or let something slip by.  These are known as leadership moments and they are opportunities to embody the values that have been espoused.  Actions speak much louder than words.  Which reminds me of the quote attributed to St. Francis of Assisi:  Preach the gospel at all times. If necessary, use words.

Drew Clancy’s actions SHOUT his commitment to the culture at PCI.

After listening to the interview and reading the notes, I wonder what your takeaway is?

Thanks for tuning in!

LeeAnn

 

Download the Transcript

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Visionary Leadership Keeps a 100-Year-Old Mission Relevant

Visionary Leadership Keeps a 100-Year-Old Mission Relevant

Visionary Leadership Keeps a 100-Year-Old Mission Relevant

 

Jennifer Bartkowski, CEO of Girl Scouts Northeast TX

Innovation, strategic thinking, and execution are marks of Jennifer Bartkowski’s  leadership. She invests these talents as CEO of Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas (GSNETX), and in collaboration with strategic partners, is transforming the Girl Scout experience. Jennifer is committed to making Girl Scouting a path to success for all girls. Her passion and visionary leadership are changing the game for GSNETX.

Staying relevant in a constantly changing world is daunting. As organizations age, their appeal often grows stale and without significant revitalization, they risk demise. Jennifer is accomplishing what has eluded countless leaders: she is bringing new life to a century-old organization to meet the demands of contemporary challenges. And she’s doing it while staying true to the Girl Scout mission: To build girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.

Building on the Mission

“We asked ourselves, What else can we do with this strong foundation?  Our answer: we can get girls excited about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). We can get them excited about financial literacy and how it makes more things possible as they grow up. We can teach them about healthy living and healthy relationships and other skills required to be healthy adults. We can teach them about the outdoors. It’s fresh and exciting!

“One of the challenges of Girl Scouting is that we’re 105 years old.  It’s a blessing and a curse.  People know us for cookies, camps and crafts.  We are all of these things and we’re proud of them.  And we’re so much more today – the organization has been going through a real transformation.

“For six weeks of the year, Girl Scouts is cookies.  Every single girl owns their own business where they develop important skills like decision-making, goal-setting, financial management, and business ethics.  This experience creates a powerful foundation to build on.

“We are also camp, which is so critically important today.  This generation of kids is the first to grow up almost entirely indoors.  We have a proven history of teaching leadership at camp better than anywhere else.  (Note:  Girl Scouts founder Juliet Gordon Low purchased land for camping before investing in a physical building.)

“And yes, we are crafts.  Girl Scouts has always been about fun and creativity and we intend to keep offering what the girls enjoy.

We are taking all that is foundational and setting it on its edge.”

Women, Technology and Girl Scouts

In 2010, Texas Instruments (TI), a Dallas-based global technology company, approached GSNETX, asking them to be a partner in solving a business challenge: A significant talent shortage in the fields of technology and engineering is predicted by the year 2020. Girls are less likely to go into technical fields and TI would like to change that. TI has long been committed to diversifying the workforce and has been a champion of developing and promoting women. TI imagined that Girl Scouts could offer years of positive STEM experience all the way through high school, shaping their desire to pursue STEM degrees in college. A K-12 STEM Engineering badge was the first accomplishment of the partnership.

Texas Instrument’s offer also fits with Girl Scouts’ commitment to the development of leadership skills in girls and young women. Their curriculum, driven by the earning of badges, provides experiences that develop confidence, critical-thinking, and problem-solving skills and encourages the pursuit of challenging goals.

The STEM Center of Excellence at Camp Whispering Cedars

The timing was auspicious. Alongside the initiative with TI, GSNETX was taking a strategic look at their physical properties. A decision was made to unite the new STEM initiative with an investment in Camp Whispering Cedars, a gorgeous property in southern Dallas. That is how the STEM Center of Excellence at Camp Whispering Cedars was conceived.

Jennifer’s visionary leadership and passion for girls energized a campaign that cast a wide net across the business, academic, cultural and philanthropic communities. She invited them all to take part in giving local girls from all walks of life fun, hands-on experiences with STEM. The community responded with a resounding YES!  A sample of collaborators joining TI in this innovate effort (so far): the University of Texas at Dallas, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, the Dallas Arboretum, and many very generous donors. Other business partnerships are emerging and they’re eager to make this vision a reality. (Read about Capital One’s boost!)

STEM Highlights at Camp Whispering Cedars:

  • The telescope-equipped Moody Observation Tower is a place for girls to get high above the trees to study astronomy and sleep under the stars. They will also experience themselves as part of something much bigger.
  • Girls will learn underwater robotics when they’re not swimming in the on-site swimming pool.
  • Rockets will be launched, archery skills honed, walls will be climbed and girls will zip-line above the largely un-groomed, wide-open spaces so many kids no longer have access to.
  • A GeoScouting app already guides girls on their hikes through the beautiful escarpment, learning about rocks, plants and the geologic formation of Camp Whispering Cedars.

A Virtuous Cycle

Jennifer, the GSNETX team and their award-winning Board of Directors have created a cycle of contribution and benefit that is acting as a flywheel, reinvigorating itself with each accomplishment.The obvious benefactors are the young women who will experience STEM in an environment that only Girl Scouts can provide: an outdoor, all-girl setting, infused with leadership and life skills. These young women will be primed to follow degree programs leading to a job market hungry for their capabilities.

Local tech businesses will enjoy an enlarged and diversified pool of female talent ready for work for the foreseeable future.

Enrollment in engineering and other STEM-related university programs will increase. The more girls who enter programs with a flourishing peer group, the more will persist and complete their STEM degrees.

The City of Dallas is also a significant benefactor, and Jennifer is “proud to be a part of Mayor Mike Rawling’s Grow South initiative. Girl Scouts is investing $13M in 92 acres of the most beautiful land in Dallas, and we’re happy to be a part of the city’s priorities.”

Also promising is the role Girl Scouts can play in positively impacting race relations. At camp and in many troops, girls are playing, sleeping and learning next to girls of racial, ethnic and religious backgrounds different from their own. Their parents are also interacting with each other for a common goal: to prepare their girls for a bright future.

Innovation in Girl Scouts Delivery: Making the Experience More Accessible

A limiting factor for the number of girls able to participate in Girl Scouting is the number of troop leader volunteers. GSNETX is experimenting with new ways of delivering Girl Scouting: “We’re piloting a partnership with a few DISD elementary schools and exploring possibilities with KIPP schools as well. We’re actually going in and helping the teachers understand the Girl Scouts leadership experience, and enabling them to deliver Girl Scouting to girls at their schools. Those girls are using our STEM Center as a field trip space and becoming Girl Scouts in the process”. Solar Prep, an all girl’s STEAM (A is for Arts!) school in southern Dallas is calling itself a Girl Scouts school. 100% of the students there are Girl Scouts. It’s a new model.

“Finally, we’re piloting a way to make the space available to girls and boys in schools in the southern sector of Dallas for field trips. These schools don’t typically have the revenue to send their students to expensive camps in East Texas. Camp Whispering Cedars is a short bus ride away which gives them access to a 21st century STEM Center and an incredible outdoor space.”

A CEO Exemplar

Jennifer speaks from experience about the impact of Girl Scouting:

“I was a Girl Scout myself through ninth grade and earned the Silver award. Girl Scouting is a long tradition in my family:  my three sisters and I were led by my mother and she was led by her mother.  My daughter is a Girl Scout and I volunteer with her troop. Through Girl Scouts, I got to try new things and have experiences that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. I was the oldest of five kids and we didn’t have a lot of money, so every winter I worked hard and sold cookies so I could go to camp for two weeks on my own. I got to be my own person and meet new friends. As I got older I went on destination trips and got to do really cool stuff.

“Between Girl Scouts and competitive swimming, I learned leadership, teamwork, time management and how to work hard and be competitive. Girl Scouts opened doors for me and I’m passionate about making sure that girls from all walks of life have access to the Girl Scout leadership experience and programming. It can be transformative.

“We’re all on a leadership journey: me, all of our staff, and of course the girls. My entire life and career have led me here, building the skills the organization needs now.  And I’m being challenged to develop new ones all the time!  I believe we are doing this work on purpose. We’re leaving a legacy for the future by building on an amazing foundation for Girl Scouts of the 21st Century and beyond.”

For Reflection:

  1. Is your mission clear enough to guide strategic decisions?
  2. How can your legacy products and services be delivered in new ways that fit the current environment?  Explore out-of-the-ordinary ways that your mission can be accomplished.  (GSNETX paired camping with STEM)
  3. Who are your stakeholders?  How can you partner with them for win-win outcomes? (Consider the innovative partnership between TI and GSNETX)
  4. Do you feel on purpose with your vocation? Are you passionate, engaged and creative in your thinking?