Inspiring Capital is all about changing business as usual. By consulting and developing leaders who aspire to integrate profits and purpose, they hope to drive impact.
Nell Derick Debevoise, Founder and CEO, says, “Less than 30% of the American workforce is engaged in their work. This lack of purpose results in frustration, mental health challenges, and is even linked to physical symptoms, including Alzheimer’s and heart disease. Furthermore, people aren’t most efficient when they’re not engaged, so people aren’t reaching their full potential.”
She notes, too, that “companies are losing money to the cost of disengagement (turnover, inefficiency) and sacrificing the potential productivity and innovation of inspired employees. The ultimate cost of this is to society at large, which needs organizations functioning at their best and most responsible to generate prosperity and well-being.”
Inspiring capital addresses this lack of engagement by helping companies develop a greater sense of purpose, starting with an emphasis on purpose-driven leadership. Nell explains the initiative:
We gather groups of like-minded professionals who recognize the potential of identifying and working toward their unique purpose in the world. Our experiential learning programs provide these groups with:
1) coaching exercises to identify their personal values, strengths, and priorities,
2) knowledge and information about how business principles and models can be used to address social and environmental problems, and
3) connections to peers as well as experts engaged in social change work at a variety of organizations, who may become mentors, employers, clients, or colleagues.
Inspiring Capital provides real world experience. “In addition to this workshop-style experience, IC participants have the chance to do a project for one of our client organizations. This project is an opportunity to get hands-on experience, work within the social sector, and develop the track record and connections they need to secure a permanent position that generates positive impact for the world,” Nell adds.
Nell sees a variety of long-term benefits resulting from her work. She notes that their alumni will help to build a more sustainable economy, “As Inspiring Capital engages thousands, eventually millions, of professionals looking to apply their skills to a pursuit with positive impact, we will contribute to a regenerative economy that creates prosperity and well-being for all.”
She also sees civil society benefiting from Inspiring Capital’s work, “For nonprofits, IC professionals will facilitate more efficient operations by diversifying their revenue beyond government or grant funding, and thereby serving more of the beneficiaries who need them more effectively.”
“IC professionals working in the corporate world will understand the true long-term risks of their activities to the environment and society, and be able to mitigate those risks, or even transform their activities to be additive rather than harmful. Further, they’ll understand how to partner effectively with social sector organizations in their community, contributing unique corporate resources (not just money) to enhance the work of those organizations,” she continues.
Nell sees their alumni as the future leaders of a growing social enterprise ecosystem. “IC professionals will be the senior operations, strategy, and finance professionals that social enterprises require to overcome their dual challenges of generating adequate revenue to be a viable business, AND catalyzing the social change that is their purpose,” she concludes.
Inspiring Capital is currently running a unique Pitch for People competition for social enterprises, yielding free consulting services for prizes.
On Thursday, February 18, 2016 at noon Eastern, Nell will join me for a live discussion about Inspiring Capital and its work to change the world. 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 Inspiring Capital:
Inspiring Capital’s experiential learning programs develop leaders for the New Economy. By providing a structured and thoughtful pathway to inspiration and a resulting project related to social change, IC helps professionals identify opportunities with meaning. These programs are currently targeted at women re-entering the workforce, and our summer program engages MBA and undergraduate students. Social venture, nonprofit, foundation, corporate strategy, and other purpose-driven organizations benefit from IC’s consulting and talent placement services as clients.
Nell is the founder and CEO of Inspiring Capital, which accelerates the integration of profits and purpose by aligning talented business professionals and high-potential, purpose-driven organizations. She is passionate about translating insights from business and entrepreneurship to drive social change. Nell works according to her belief in the power of networks and interdisciplinary approaches. She speaks about this work alongside in diverse settings including the 2015 Global CFA Institute, Harvard, Columbia, and Yale social enterprise, High Water Women, and iRelaunch conferences. Nell is an adjunct professor of impact investing at New York University. She helped John Mullins, Associate Professor at London Business School, research The Customer Funded Business (Wiley, 2014).
Before establishing Inspiring Capital, Nell was the founding director of Tomorrow’s Youth Organization, a US not-for-profit that has facilitated social and economic development for over 9,000 women and children in the Middle East since 2008. She has studied psychology, education, and entrepreneurship at Harvard, Columbia and London Business Schools, and Cambridge University, as well as informal ‘classrooms’ in 49 countries. Nell speaks English, French, and Italian, as well as some Arabic, Brazilian Portuguese, and Japanese. She is grateful for the opportunity to live and work in New York to contribute to the shifting approach to business and social change in this city, and beyond.