This post was originally produced for Forbes.
Ajaita Shah, founder of Frontier Markets, a retail distributor of solar powered products in rural India, was born in the United States to Indian immigrants; a part of who she is has always remained connected to her roots. Last year, she was recognized by Forbes as one of the 30 Under 30. Recently, she was recently recognized by Acumen as a world-class social entrepreneur, having been invited to join the SAP Social Entrepreneur Fellowship.
Shah explained the challenges she faced trying to live in two communities at once. A member of the Jain Marawi religious community in New York City, Shah felt the extreme juxtaposition of her life. She lived in a close-knit religious community and at the same time in the larger, increasingly secular world.
“I realized I was meant to be an entrepreneur from college: my senior year of college (2005) was all about working on creating projects which brought me back to India regularly,” Shah said.
She goes on to explain the realities she faced when she started working on her business in earnest in 2009, “Initially, I did not understand what being a social entrepreneur was going to entail – I was merely focused on writing a business plan and then testing a pilot, and determining whether I was correct in my assumptions. I was lucky to have early mentors ready to help in the process and help me understand that in order to make FM work, I will need to invest my own money into the idea– and eventually Frontier Markets becomes my baby, my story, my future.”
The 2009 launch proved, however, to be a false start. In 2010 and 2011, she completely reinvented the business, moving from Andhra Pradesh to Rajasthan, a state with more sunlight and poverty–perfect for her solar power business.
About the same time, Shah’s cultural duality became a central part of her life. Agreeing to a traditional arranged marriage with a member of her Jain community, she began the next chapter of her life as a married woman.
Things improved and she made progress beginning in 2011. “Spending everyday in the field; trying to crack this model,” she says of 2011. “By 2012, I feel like I have achieved something. I grow the company, get more investors, [and] suddenly FM is on the radar of many social impact investors–what we’re doing works. Our philosophy of building last mile retail for solar is working. We start growing, and suddenly, I am no longer an entrepreneur, but a CEO.”
But the cultural duality of her life proved in some ways to be unsustainable. She explained, “2013-2014 was the toughest year for me as social entrepreneur, as a woman leader; managing a company in India is hard. Rules and regulations I do not understand; whom to hire, whom to trust? There are a lot of cultural barriers–though I am Indian, I can speak, read and write in Hindi–I am still very aware of not being a local. I make many mistakes, hire the wrong people, try things and fail – but with a supporting investor group, amazing advisors, and strong partners, I come on top.”
But success with Frontier Markets was balanced by the end of her marriage. She said her mother-in-law come “soap opera enemy” laid down the law. “At the end of the day, the message was clear: if I wanted to be married to him and his family, I would have to give up my dreams and stay at home with them; work as a hobby, not as a career. Speak when spoken to. Live the way you are expected to live, not desire.”
Last year, she notes, was a year of achievements, including the Forbes recognition and more recently the Acumen-SAP fellowship.
“Today, I am free. Today, I am empowered. Today, I have control. Frontier Markets is doing well; we have 225 retail points, have sold 50,000 solar solutions in Rajasthan, [and] I am leading a team of 40 people. FM and I have gotten a lot of recognition for our work. I have a loving and supportive family both in India and the US. I have set up a foundation in the US that allows me to share my experiences from the field, continue to bridge gaps in the energy access space, and also now think even bigger – global,” she concluded.
Frontier Markets received an investment from Acumen and Shah was named an entrepreneur in the SAP Social Entrepreneur Fellowship.
On Thursday, August 20, 2015 at 11:00 Eastern, Shah will join me from India for a live discussion about her work of bringing solar power to the masses in rural India. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.
More about Frontier Markets:
Frontier Markets is a sales, marketing and after-sales service distribution company in Rajasthan. Founded in 2011, Frontier Markets works with local channel partners and field staff to educate, relate, and reach households providing them access to high quality and affordable clean energy solutions. We create solar retail points in the last mile and support them with service centers and after-sales. We work with manufacturers to get the right products to our rural customers. We create women entrepreneurs which is the solar saheli campaign; as well as working with local rural villagers to build presence of solar in Rajasthan. To date, we have sold over 90,000 solar solutions and have created 800 retail points and 500 solar sahelis. Frontier Markets has expanded access to clean energy products including solar and clean cook stoves to its partners on the ground in Rajasthan, primarily, Centre for Microfinance and their NGO partners. We have worked on creating a program to empower women through energy access called Solar Saheli.
More about the SAP Social Entrepreneur Fellowship in collaboration with Acumen:
Acumen and SAP, global business software leader, have collaborated to create the SAP Social Entrepreneur Fellowship to accelerate the growth of social enterprises serving the poor in East Africa and India. Leveraging Acumen’s 14 years of investing in early-stage social enterprises and SAP’s global business and innovation expertise, this unique collaboration will bring together emerging and established CEOs committed to building sustainable, socially driven businesses, creating a more inclusive global economy, and expanding opportunities for the poor to lead lives of dignity and possibility.
Ajaita is the Founder/CEO of Frontier Markets and the President of Frontier Innovations Foundation. Frontier Markets is a rural marketing, sales, and service distribution company providing access to affordable and quality solar solutions to low-income households in India. She has been working in India for 10 years in microfinance and clean energy distribution. She is a 2006 Clinton Service Corp Fellow, 2012 Echoing Green Fellow, 2013 Cordes Fellow, has been awarded the most influential award in Microfinance for people under 30, and Business Week’s 30 under 30 award, and most recently, Forbes Magazine’s Top 30 Under 30’s Social Entrepreneur of the Year. Recently, she has been recognized as the #3 of top 40 women entrepreneurs of India in 2014, and Nasscom Foundation identified her as Women 2.0 of 2015. She actively speaks at conferences for the US Green Business Council, Universities, global forums. She has been an active educator, collaborator, and catalyst in helping scale clean energy access globally. Ajaita serves on the board of Frontier Innovations Foundation, a non-profit focused on last-mile distribution support for clean energy companies. As well as NASE, the National Association for Social Enterprises in India, a network for social enterprises. She is also an advisor to various social enterprises in India focusing on product development for the poor. She is an active member of the UN Practitioner’s Network, Asian Development Bank’s Energy For All Partnership. Ajaita Shah holds her B.A. in International Relations from Tufts University.
This post was originally produced for Forbes.
Joel Solomon of Renewal Funds is not only a leading impact investor but also a leading voice for the impact investing movement. Based in Vancouver, British Colombia, his impact fund approaches $100 million.
Solomon says, “All of us, particularly those involved in the world of investment and finance, have something to offer. Together we have the resources to achieve what may be the greatest ethical and economic shift in human history.”
“The call right now is a big one: we need to reinvent capitalism,” he says with no hint of doubt.
Solomon notes that traditional capitalism needs to be changed, “We need to enable and encourage private enterprise to build the new businesses, technologies and industries that will replace our current methods— many of which are unsustainable at best and wantonly destructive at worst.”
Observing that government can’t or won’t solve big social problems, Solomon calls on financiers to lead the way. “It’s hard to overemphasize the critical role that those who move in the world of finance and investment can play right now. Those who provide capital and incentives for innovation have a crucial part to play in addressing climate justice, species extinction and man-made environmental disasters.”
“Severely diminished government regulation in most jurisdictions means that the shift towards what I’ve come to call ‘clean money’—impact investing, socially responsible investing (SRI), and mission-based activation of investment portfolios— represents the single most potent force for restoring the planet and delivering social equity to billions of people,” he adds.
Given demographic trends, Solomon sees younger investors as a catalyst for change. “Millennial and ‘Gen Y’ investors are demanding that their portfolios—whether self-generated or inherited— be dedicated to mission-based or ethical, sustainable and socially just investments. The Millennials, born between 1980 and 2000, already outnumber Boomers at about 85 million in North America.”
“This is a pivotal time for the rise of clean money— a conscious and pragmatic movement that is still near the fringes but moving very rapidly towards the center,” he concludes.
On Thursday, August 13, 2015 at 4:00 Eastern, Solomon will join me for a live discussion about clean money and impact investing. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.
More about Renewal Funds:
Renewal Funds is Canada’s largest social venture capital firm, with $98 million assets under management. We invest in organic food, green products, and environmental and social innovations. Our investors are individuals, families, foundations, and wealth managers, seeking to align their values with marking money.
Joel Solomon is Chair of Renewal Funds, Canada’s largest mission venture capital firm. With Renewal Partners co-founder Carol Newell, Joel spent eighteen years using integrated capital for social change as an activist family office. He is a Senior Advisor with RSF Social Finance, founding member of Social Venture Network, Business for Social Responsibility, the Tides Canada Foundation, and is Board Chair of Hollyhock. Joel was a founding member of the Vision Vancouver Municipal political party, now running for its third term majority with close friend, SVN member and Tides Canada founding board member Mayor Gregor Robertson. With a Lifetime Achievement Award from SVN, Joel was inducted with Carol Newell into the SVN Hall of Fame in 2012. His 2015 commentary on fossil fuel divestment appeared in The Globe And Mail, Canada’s largest national newspaper.
Solomon is a member of the Social Venture Network.
This post was originally produced for Forbes.
Robert Steven Kaplan , the former Vice Chair of Goldman Sachs, Harvard professor, venture philanthropist, author and regular guest on my show here on Forbes, will see his new book, What Your Really Need to Lead, published on September 15.
In anticipation of a return to the show, Kaplan shared some thoughts with me about his new book.
Kaplan said, “Leadership is one of the most important aspects of our society, yet there is enormous disagreement and confusion about what leadership means, and whether it can really be learned. I argue that leadership qualities are not something you either have or you don’t. Leadership is about what you do, rather than who you are, and it starts with an ownership mind-set.”
Kaplan says, learning to lead involves three key elements:
“Leadership is accessible to each of us, but it requires a process of hard work, willingness to ask questions, and openness to learning,” he adds.
“In the book I really try to demystify leadership and outline a specific regimen that will empower the reader to build his or her leadership skills. You need to ask yourself probing questions, and then take follow-up steps that will help you develop your skills, create new habits, and move toward reaching your unique leadership potential,” he concludes.
On Thursday, August 13, 2015 at 2:00 Eastern, Kaplan will join me for a live discussion about leadership. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.
More about What You Really Need to Lead:
Kaplan is the author of the new book What You Really Need to Lead. In the book, he writes that leaders in business, politics, and life are not naturally gifted: leadership is something that must be learned. The most powerful question anyone can ask in their daily lives is “what would an owner do right now?” If we look at the challenges and opportunities that confront us through this ownership lens, then we become leaders, and act in a way that benefits many people beyond just ourselves. Being a leader isn’t what you are—it’s what you do.
Robert Steven Kaplan is Senior Associate Dean and the Martin Marshall Professor of Management Practice in Business Administration at Harvard Business School. He is also cochairman of the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, a global venture philanthropy firm, as well as chairman and a founding partner of Indaba Capital Management. Before joining Harvard in 2005, Kaplan was vice chairman of the Goldman Sachs Group. He divides his time between Boston and New York City.
This post was originally produced for Forbes.
Andrei Cherny, CEO and co-founder of Aspiration, is creating a whole new model for financial services in America. The idea is to provide the sorts of investment strategies employed by the wealthy to ordinary, working Americans. The strategies include impact investing.
Cherny explains the companies philosophy, “We think of ourselves as a financial firm with a conscience. And there is no reason that needs to be a contradiction in terms.”
“At Aspiration, we are first and foremost in the opportunity business. We want our customers to be able to get economic opportunity for themselves and give it to others at the same time. And that’s what they want too,” Cherny adds.
“Every financial firm out there keeps yelling ‘Trust us!’ We’re the only one that actually trusts them [the customer],” he concludes.
Aspiration allows its clients to choose how much to pay Aspiration for its services, offering that as a sign of trust. Other interesting features of the new model include devoting a portion of profits to charity and giving their clients the opportunity to do the same.
On Thursday, August 13 at 1:00 Eastern, Cherny will join me for a live discussion about his plans for the novel financial services firm. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.
More about Aspiration:
One of the fastest growing online investment platforms, Aspiration offers everyone the type of investment strategies that were once limited to only the wealthiest Americans. Using cutting-edge technology, Aspiration is revolutionizing how financial services are delivered to Americans by successfully pioneering a democratized and purpose-driven investment firm with a conscience and building an unprecedented level of trust with its customers. Aspiration:
- Democratizes access to wealth creation by creating financial and investment products for the middle class, not millionaires. We bring these products directly to the consumer on Aspiration.com, bypassing traditional intermediaries. These products include:
- The “Aspiration Flagship Fund” which guards against the roller coaster of the stock market,
- The Aspiration Summit Account which is a 1% interest, no monthly or ATM fee, FDIC insured checking account, and
- The upcoming Aspiration Redwood Fund which will be a best-in-class sustainable product investing in companies that see better financial returns because of their smart environmental, employee, and governance policies.
- Features a radically pro-investor “Pay What Is Fair” fee structure that trusts customers to pay us what they think is fair — even if it is zero.
- Brings the Toms/Warby Parker approach of getting/giving to financial services by donating 10% of revenue to charitable giving around microloans and mentoring for low-income Americans to start businesses — and serving as a platform for easy giving by customers as well.
Andrei Cherny is co-founder and CEO of Aspiration, a new trust-based investment community that launched in 2014. Aspiration is dedicated to democratizing the financial world by bringing elite investments to everyday investors in a way that marries profit with philanthropic purpose. Andrei brings to this role nearly twenty years of experience as an advisor to some of America’s top companies, the co-founder and president of a media start-up, a financial fraud prosecutor, a bestselling author, a senior White House aide, and a nationally-recognized economic policy expert.
For more than a decade, Andrei provided strategic advice for companies such as Microsoft, Intel, Qualcomm, Bank of America, and American Express both at his own firm and as a Managing Director at Burson-Marsteller, one of the world’s largest communications firms.
Andrei is the co-founder and president of Democracy, a print and online public policy journal launched in 2006 to bring new thinking on the major issues facing America and the world. Today, Democracy has over 300,000 unique visitors a year. Under Andrei’s leadership, Democracy worked with then-law professor Elizabeth Warren to develop the idea of and strategy for launching the push for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau which now promotes fairness for mortgages, credit cards, and other consumer financial products and services.
As a former Assistant Arizona Attorney General, Andrei prosecuted complex financial fraud and corporate crime with a 100% conviction record.
Working in the Clinton White House, Andrei was the youngest White House speechwriter in American history. President Clinton has called him a “critical part of the team” which brought about the economic successes of the 1990s.
Andrei has served as a Senior Fellow at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and at the Center for American Progress. He has written frequently on economic, technology, and business issues for publications such as the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Investors’ Business Daily, and the Financial Times and has appeared on television programs including ABC’s Good Morning America and World News Tonight, CBS’s The Early Show, The O’Reilly Factor, and The Colbert Report.
Andrei’s first book, The Next Deal: The Future of Public Life in the Information Age (2000) examined how business, government, and community life will change to meet the challenges of the 21st century New Economy. The Los Angeles Times called the book “visionary in scope” and the Financial Times reported that The Next Deal had “become required reading” in British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s government. He is also the author of the bestselling The Candy Bombers: The Untold Story of the Berlin Airlift and America’s Finest Hour (2008) on the intersection between the end of World War II, the beginning of the Cold War, the 1948 presidential election, and the Berlin Airlift. It was called like “Stephen Ambrose at his best” by historian Douglas Brinkley and is one of the top 50 highest rated 20th century American histories on Amazon.
Andrei served eight years as an officer in the United States Navy reserve. He graduated with honors from Harvard College and from the University of California Berkeley Law School.
This post was originally produced for Forbes.
Eric Stowe saw a problem in the developing world and did something about it. He saw a need for clean water in the slums and created Splash, a nonprofit organization, to solve the problem.
“While working in orphanages internationally, I became aware of the crucial need for clean water for kids on the periphery in urban areas,” Stowe explains. “Hotels and restaurants had access to clean water, but across the street, children at poor schools and orphanages did not. It was, and continues to be, an easy problem to fix by leveraging economies and infrastructure that already exist rather than re-creating the wheel.”
Stowe’s Splash has some audacious goals: provide clean water to every orphanage in China, every public school in Kathmandu, Nepal and every “child-serving” institution in Kolkata, India.
“We want to put Splash out of business by 2030. Our ultimate goal is to ensure local success happens on its own time, on its own terms, through its own talent, and with its own funding. Charity is a means to that – it cannot be the end,” Stowe concludes.
On Thursday, August 13, 2015 at noon Eastern, Stowe will join me here for a live discussion about his efforts to provide clean water in Urban areas where it is desperately needed. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.
More about Splash:
Splash is a field-leading WASH (Water, Sanitation & Hygiene) organization focused on urban environments and, specifically, the poorest children within them. Splash works with the public, private and social sectors in Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Ethiopia, India, Nepal and Thailand to create lasting and local safe water solutions for orphanages, schools, clinics and shelters.
Eric Stowe is Founder & Executive Director of Splash. He has worked in the international NGO sector for the last 15 years and is much-watched for his leadership in international development, transparency practices, and business-approaches to solving conditions of poverty.
This post was originally produced for Forbes.
The world’s first-ever Development Impact Bond has been issued to support education of girls in India. This proof of concept financing could open a new channel of funding for the international development programs.
Modeled on social impact bonds or pay-for-success programs, the Educate Girls Development Impact Bond funded by the UBS Optimus Foundation will earn its return only if educational outcomes in terms of literacy and numeracy among girls are achieved.
Phyllis Costanza, CEO of UBS Optimus Foundation, explains, “Our aim is to establish a proof of concept’, showing potential donors and investors how development impact bonds can contribute to societal gains while also still offering financial returns.”
“What’s different about the Educate Girls Development Impact Bond is that is 100% focused on the outcomes achieved,” she adds. “It’s not just about getting marginalised girls into school; it’s about keeping them there – and ensuring they make real progress in literacy and numeracy.”
“Investors are increasingly looking for ways to do good with their money and the development community is placing a greater emphasis on results: the Development Impact Bond sits at the nexus of these two trends. If this experiment works, then future impact bonds could go on to create investable solutions for the underserved and those at the bottom of the pyramid,” Costanza concludes.
On Thursday, August 6, 2015 at 2:00 Eastern, Costanza will join me for a live discussion about this innovative new financing mechanism for international development. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.
More about UBS Optimus Foundation:
UBS Optimus Foundation’s vision is simple: a world where all children reach their full potential. To make this a reality, the UBS Optimus Foundation focuses on high-impact, innovative programs that help ensure children are safe, healthy, educated and ready for their futures. The Foundation can increase the reach of donations substantially by leveraging through its global network. And 100% of all donations go to the programs, because UBS covers all the Foundation’s administration costs.
Phyllis Costanza was appointed CEO of the UBS Optimus Foundation in 2011. Optimus is UBS’ in-house Foundation dedicated to helping our clients fund impactful philanthropic programs that improve children’s lives globally. She has been instrumental in reshaping the foundation’s strategy and introducing innovative financing vehicles, like the first Development Impact Bond. Prior to UBS, she was a senior executive and Board Member of the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), a UK-based philanthropic organization, linked to the hedge fund TCI. Phyllis also has more than a decade of experience as a management consultant, and also worked in the public sector as the Manhattan Representative for New York State Governor Mario Cuomo, advising on policy and politics in Manhattan. She holds a Master’s in Public Policy from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Reprinted with permission from Jaclyn Schiff
I’m a podcast nut! I love discovering new shows, and listening to podcasts is definitely one of my favorite ways to learn.
Podcasts are a great research tool as well. When I was looking for speaker inspiration for the online forum I’m producing, The Huddle for Global Change, I relied heavily on my podcast library to help me think of people who expressed themselves really well and had fascinating things to share.
Friends often ask me for podcast recommendations. So I consulted my trusty iPhone and put together some of my favorite episodes for all you global citizens. Here they are in no particular order:
(1) CBC News excerpts 50 hours of conversation with the late Nelson Mandela. The interviews were mostly recorded in the early 90s just after Mandela’s release from prison. → Why listen? Very candid thoughts and insights from the iconic leader.
(2) On Global Dispatches, Georgetown University’s C. Christine Fair discusses her career path. After starting out in the sciences, life events led her to study South Asia. → Why listen? Lots of take aways from the twists and turns on her professional path. Also, brutal honest about sexual harassment in academia.
(3) On The School of Greatness, Adam Braun explains the why, how and what of the Pencils of Promise, the “for-purpose” organization he founded in his early 20s. → Why listen? Get inspired and learn from a remarkable global changemaker.
(4) Author Nina Munk chats with Tiny Spark about the six years she spent reporting on economist Jeffrey Sachs’ Millennium Villages Project. → Why listen? Just because one has a good plan to end extreme poverty and $100 million+ to execute it doesn’t mean it will work.
(5) Water for People CEO Ned Breslin interviews Cameron Conaway, a former mixed martial arts fighter who published a book of poetry about malaria. → Why listen? Amazing lessons on social entrepreneurship and advocacy from a seemingly unlikely source.
(6) The Freakonomics podcast interviews Bjørn Lomborg of the Copenhagen Consensus Center in “Fixing the World, Bang-for-the-Buck Edition.” → Why listen? A clear, informative overview of international development economics and contemporary perspectives.
(7) Back in 2012, This American Life looked at what it is like to be an American living in China. → Why listen? Apparently as a foreigner in China, you have a pretty good shot of getting on Chinese television.
(8) If you’ve noticed an over-abundance of white males in the news media, you’re not alone. On The Weekly Wonk, journalist Lauren Bohn tells Anne-Marie Slaughter how she plans to interrupt that pattern. → Why listen? Learn why it’s a problem that there aren’t more voices in the foreign policy discussion and how that can be changed.
(9) Just before he stepped down as head of USAID earlier this year, Raj Shah looked back on his tenure with the Center for Global Development. → Why listen? Some interesting thoughts from Shah on what’s needed in development and what works.
(10) Canadian astronaut and YouTube personality Chris Hadfield shares lessons from his time in space on Fresh Air. → Why listen? Space and science are cool, and so is Hadfield.
(11) Tiny Spark examines ethical questions in international aid and development through an interview with journalist Emily Troutman. → Why listen? The work might sound noble, but it certainly doesn’t make international development immune from scandal and corruption.
(12) Tom Paulson speaks with Françoise Barré-Sinoussi who won the Nobel prize for her role in the discovery of HIV. → Why listen? Hear first-hand from a scientist-activist who has been at the forefront of the global fight against HIV/AIDS. Also Barré-Sinoussi discusses why she believes an HIV cure is possible.
(13) Bill Gates and some other higher-ups from the Gates Foundation were interviewed on the Nerdist Podcast. → Why listen? Kinda interesting to hear Gates and the other Foundation folks on a less formal media channel.
(14) Canadaland devotes an episode to the story behind the rise of news organization VICE. Through several interviews with early VICE employees, journalist Jesse Brown explores how a Canadian magazine became a cutting-edge global news source. → Why listen? This is essential listening if you love VICE or are a global news junkie.
(15) In an episode of On Being, titled, “Journalism and Compassion,” New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof reflects on his career so far. → Why listen? Kristof is frank about his insights from life as a foreign correspondent and the role of journalism in raising awareness.
(16) Ever thought about working for the United Nations? Slate’s Working podcast got the ins and outs of working for the multinational body from Tony Banbury, the assistant secretary-general for field support. → Why listen? Interviewer Adam Davidson asks great nuts-and-bolts questions.
(17) Jessica Tuchman Mathews, the longtime head of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, is interviewed on Global Dispatches. → Why listen? It’s interesting to hear how coming from a famous family shaped Mathews’ worldview.
(18) Humanosphere speaks with global poverty pundit Charles Kenny who argues that the world is “getting better” according to several development measures. → Why listen? Kenny is one of those rare wonks who is easy to understand and fun to listen to.
(19) Devin Thorpe, a Forbes contributor who covers social entrepreneurship and impact investing, interviews Nancy Hughes, the founder of StoveTeam International. → Why listen? Hear how a trip to Guatemala changed Hughes’ life and learn about the critical need for clean cookstoves.
(20) For a recent weekly show, This Week in Global Health (TWiGH) held a Google+ Hangout with Hans Rosling, the Swedish medical doctor and statistician who is familiar to many thanks to his hit TED talk. → Why listen? Rosling has a knack for making development stats riveting. Greg Martin and the rest of the TWiGH team are a lot of fun too.
(21) Owen Barder hosts a fascinating discussion about what data means for international development on his podcast Development Drums. → Why listen? Thorough and well-informed thoughts from two women on the cutting edge — Claire Melamed, director of the Growth, Poverty and Inequality Programme at ODI, and Amanda Glassman, director of global at the Center for Global Development.
Jaclyn Schiff is the producer of The Huddle for Global Change, a multi-day online forum for changemakers seeking a fulfilling and impactful career in the international arena. Several podcast hosts and guests from this list are participating in The Huddle.
This post was originally produced for Forbes.
My friend and mentor, Ty Bennett is nearly two decades younger than I, but infinitely wiser. He, along with Hall of Fame speaker Chad Hymas and New York Times bestselling author Don Yeager, recently announced the publication of their book, The Two Most Important Days, a parable about finding and living your purpose in life.
While the book targets a broad audience, it will resonate with social entrepreneurs as especially relevant.
“The main idea,” Bennett says, “is to discover what your purpose truly is. When you are driven by passion and living your purpose, your work becomes contagious.”
He adds, “I think for entrepreneurs and changemakers it is important to understand that people don’t buy what you do, they buy what you stand for. Purpose creates movements and builds tribes.”
On Thursday, July 30, 2015 at 4:00 Eastern, Bennett will join me for a live discussion about finding and living your purpose. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.
More about Ty Bennett:
When Ty was 21 years old, he and his brother Scott started a business in direct sales, which they built to over $20 million in annual revenue while still in their twenties. Since that time, he has developed over 500 sales managers globally with sales and leadership in 37 countries. As a young entrepreneur, Ty continues to engage his team’s focus to grow sales. He uses the power of influence and storytelling to get buy-in to the vision of growing their multimillion-dollar sales organization.
With a natural ability to engage and empower others, Ty draws on his experience in the trenches to share real and tangible techniques about the principles of leadership that continue to create his success. The founder of Leadership Inc., who has been featured as one of the Top 40 Under 40, Ty is a young fresh voice providing interactive presentations that are engaging, dynamic and inspiring.
His clients include some of the most recognizable brands in the world such as: Coca-Cola, Subway, Wounded Warrior Project, Blue Cross Blue Shield and Remax. Ty has shared the stage with celebrities, Olympians and world-renowned thought leaders such as President Bush and President Clinton.
Ty’s best-selling books – The Power of Influence and The Power of Storytelling: The Art of Influential Communication – are used in graduate courses at multiple universities including MIT, as today’s version of “How to Win Friends and Influence People.”
June 2014, Ty Bennett received the CSP Designation. At just 32 years of age he is one of the youngest ever to receive the award in the shortest amount of time. Less than 5% of speakers earn the CSP honor.
Ty lives in Utah with his wife Sarah, daughters Andie and Lizzy and sons Tanner and Drew.
This post was originally produced for Forbes.
[Note: I own an embarrassingly small number of Microsoft shares.]
Today, Microsoft is kicking off its launch of Windows 10 with a $10 million give-back campaign. Nine nonprofits have already been chosen to receive a portion of the $10 million and a tenth will be chosen by people using the hashtag #UpgradeYourWorld on social media.
“Giving back and supporting non-profits is a cornerstone of our company culture. Microsoft and its employees collectively give thousands of hours, and donate more than $1 billion each year to nonprofit organizations around the world,” Elisa Willman, Senior Manager Marketing Communications, Corporate Citizenship & Public Affairs for Microsoft, said.
“Microsoft is proud to work with more than 86,000 nonprofits around the world every year to provide them with affordable access to the technology they need to support their work in local communities, and to leverage technology to help them be more efficient, effective and innovative in doing their important work. Whether it is through our software donations, technology solutions for nonprofit problems, or Office 365 Nonprofit, we strive to help nonprofits do more good,” she added.
Dave Forstrom, Director of Communications, Windows, said, “Microsoft’s mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.”
On Thursday, July 30, 2015 at 3:00 Eastern, Willman and Forstrom will join me for a live discussion about the $10 million #UpgradeYourWorld give back program. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.
More about Microsoft:
Microsoft is a services and devices company with the goal to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. We build best-in-class platforms and productivity services for a mobile-first, cloud-first world. We aim to reinvent productivity and business processes, build the intelligent cloud platform and create more personal computing.
Elisa Willman has spent her career at the intersection of philanthropy, marketing and business. Currently Senior Marketing Communications Manager for Microsoft’s Corporate Citizenship & Public Affairs team, she leads global campaigns for the company. Prior to Microsoft, Elisa worked as Executive Director of a high profile children’s charity in New Zealand and as a cause marketing consultant. She has extensive experience in sponsorship and partnerships and enjoys applying her background to cause strategy at Microsoft. When not at work, Elisa is passionate about travel, family adventures and her role as a mentor through the Global Give Back Circle.
Dave currently holds the position, Director, Windows and has been with Microsoft for more than seven years where he focuses on “reimagining Windows” in our constantly changing technological world.
This post was originally produced for Forbes.
Tricia Compas-Markman, an award-winning social entrepreneur, was among those who responded personally to the devastating April earthquake in Nepal.
She reports, “The first day arriving in Kathmandu was a real eye-opener. There was complete devastation everywhere we went with buildings, temples and squares reduced to nothing but rubble.”
She notes that she experienced hope, too, in those early days, “As we walked through Durbar Square, I was impressed by the entrepreneurial spirit of the people there. Among the rubble and temporary tent-homes, women and men had setup shops to sell their goods and wares. The locals were taking ownership and adapting to their current circumstances, and we worked within their communities, not only to train them on DayOne’s Waterbag technology, but also to learn of their needs and priorities. We deployed over 2,500 Waterbags to Nepal – enough for 10,000 people.”
Compas-Markman is the inventor of the Waterbag and creator of DayOne Response, the organization that delivers it when and where needed.
She explains, “I was committed to finding a solution to bring clean water to those affected by disaster in a way that was efficient and portable – an all-in-one device. With the help of P&G’s Purifier of Water powder, we’re able to provide, clean, easily transportable and dispensable water in 10-liter units. It’s amazing to witness how just 20,000 units can affect 100,000 people, and through the grant we received from Toyota, we’re improving emergency response efforts to provide water for hundreds of millions of people around the world.”
On Thursday, July 30, 2015 at 1:00 Eastern, Compas-Markman will join me for a live discussion about her work. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.
More about DayOne Response:
DayOne Response Inc. develops innovative solutions for disaster relief, including patented & award-winning DayOne Purification Waterbag™ — providing complete household water purification by combining the four elements of municipal water purification (collection, treatment, transport and storage) in a 10L backpack. DayOne increases the effectiveness of relief organizations ultimately improving and maintaining quality of life. They value prompt recovery, embrace new technologies, and take pride in saving lives.
Tricia Compas-Markman is founder and chief executive officer of DayOne Response, Inc. Tricia has a civil engineering background with six years’ experience working on water treatment technologies for developing countries, such as Thailand, Nicaragua, and Haiti. As co-inventor of the DayOne Waterbag, her work has been recognized by President Clinton, Tina Brown and Toyota, to name a few. She is a Toyota “Mother of Invention,” Unreasonable Institute fellow, Creativity Foundation legacy prize winner, 2013 Engineers Without Borders Outstanding member, and a Pipeline Fellow investee. Tricia received her BS in Civil Engineering and MS in Civil/Environmental Engineering from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.