“My story starts with a near drowning when I was 15 years old. This experience clarified in my mind the urgency to make an impact while we can,” begins Tony Loyd, the podcaster who produces “Social Entrepreneur.”
He continues, “As an adult, I was successful by many standards. I was an executive with a handful of Fortune 500 companies. However, at times I was conflicted. Some of the companies that I worked for had a powerful mission, but a toxic work environment. Other companies had a wonderful environment with great camaraderie, but their mission was not producing the kind of world I want to live in. I have been asked by these companies to lobby for causes that went against my values.”
He explains how he made the leap to podcasting, “In late 2013, I had a crisis of conscious. I began to write a series of blog posts called ‘My Jerry Maguire Moment.’ Through writing, I began to clarify my thoughts. It was then that I really understood the power of business to do good in the world. I left my corporate job and began to explore my options. I mentored early stage social entrepreneurs through a program at the University of Minnesota called Acara. I began to write a book. I was interviewing experts for the book and I realized that these interviews would make a good podcast.”
Tony didn’t start out in his career on the top of the pile. He says, “I was born in Arkansas in fairly simple circumstances. In high school I graduated 250th of 259. As a younger man, I drove a truck and worked as a janitor. I did not obtain my college degree until my mid-thirties.”
He went on to have a brilliant career, which he describes in more modest terms, “However, I made some good decisions too. I worked hard, read positive content every day and boldly led teams to create value for some large corporations. I really specialized in leading teams in times of transformation. So, having earned my executive role the hard way, it was difficult to walk away from that life. It was quite the lucrative life. In order to begin again, I had to walk away to nothing. No job. No team. No financial security.”
“I am not alone. Let me explain,” he says. “I honestly believe that there are only two forces in the world: fear and love. At this point in history, technology magnifies whichever of these two forces we choose to focus on. If you want to find examples of fear, you don’t have to look far. Technology delivers reasons to fear to our inbox and our social media streams. Self-serving individuals are finding ways to magnify that fear and to exploit our fear. It seems that fear is growing by the day.”
He acknowledges that there is reason to fear. “Yes, our problems are larger than ever before: climate change, social injustice, shortages of clean water and more. By the time we hit the year 2050, we’re going to have to more than double our global food production. How are we going to do that without destroying the planet?”
On the other hand, he notes, there is reason to choose love. “However, technology also allows us to express love in ways that were never before possible. Breakthrough technologies are making new realities possible. Global communication allows positive ideas to spread quickly around the world. People can find ways to help like never before in history.”
“As for me, I choose love. I believe there is a massive tribe out there who is also choosing love. Because I am interviewing standard bearers of love, people are attracted to the podcast, Social Entrepreneur. I am not alone. It feels to me like there is a great awakening.”
The data seem to suggest that love is the right course. “Several times since we launched, Social Entrepreneur has been #1 in four New & Noteworthy iTunes categories simultaneously. That is not something that I have accomplished. I cannot put myself at the top of these categories. That only happens if people are subscribing, rating and reviewing the podcast. Our audience has grown by an average of 80% per week for every week since we have launched. In the end, love wins,” he concludes.
On Thursday, January 7, 2015 at noon Eastern, Tony will join me here for a live discussion about his journey. 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 Social Entrepreneur:
Social Entrepreneur is a podcast for aspiring and early-stage social entrepreneurs, and for those who want to make an impact on the world. Three times per week we interview social entrepreneurs, founders, investors and thought leaders. We hear the stories that led them to becoming change makers. We talk about the grand challenges in the world and the solutions that they are creating. The guests give advice for early stage and aspiring social entrepreneurs. We always end each episode with a call to action. If you’re ready to change the world, join us.
Tony has provided leadership to Fortune 500 and mid-size organizations for over 25 years. He has extensive experience working with senior executive leaders to direct global initiatives that align talent solutions to corporate goals. Through his innovative approaches, he has enabled his clients to achieve significant improvements in processes, productivity, quality, and customer satisfaction while reducing costs and improving bottom line results.
Tony is currently the Host of Social Entrepreneur where he spends his time with changemakers who are making an impact on the world.
Before launching Social Entrepreneur, Tony worked with global brands such as Buffalo Wild Wings, Medtronic, Diversey and John Deere. He has conducted strategic planning, led organizational design, created talent management strategy and conducted high potential development workshops. Tony created the learning strategy and led the start-up and operation of two world-class corporate universities. Tony has directed the development of up to 120,000 personnel in sixty countries. His breakthrough ideas enabled companies to dramatically increase worldwide training participation, while transforming the training organization from a cost center to a revenue neutral operation.
Prior to his work at John Deere, Tony was a Human Performance Improvement consultant, working with customers as varied as the US Department of Energy, AT&T, Alcoa and the State of Colorado.