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 The mission of the "Your Mark on the World Center" is to solve the world's biggest problems before 2045 by identifying and championing the work of experts who have created credible plans and programs to end them once and for all.
Crowdfunding for Social Good
Devin D. Thorpe
Devin Thorpe

Monthly Archives: February 2016

Unicorn Launches Anti-Cancer Campaign With $1M Gift

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Qualtrics, a 2002 startup that since raised a total of $220 million in venture capital in 2012 and 2014 and considered by many to be a unicorn, recently made a $1 million donation to the Huntsman HUN -3.80% Cancer Institute.

While Qualtrics isn’t a social venture, it is interesting to see such an entrepreneurial company embrace corporate social responsibility so enthusiastically.

CEO and cofounder, Ryan Smith, says, “Everyone has been impacted by cancer in one way or another – whether they have fought it or they have a friend or loved one who is fighting. Our goal is to eradicate cancer from the face of the earth. We are honored to partner with Huntsman Cancer Institute to raise funds for cancer research — research that is changing the way cancer is treated, diagnosed, and fought.”

The company didn’t stop with its $1 million donation; that is just the beginning, Smith explains.

Qualtrics and Huntsman Cancer Institute partnered to launch Five for the Fight, a campaign inviting everyone, everywhere to give $5 to the fight against cancer and then to invite five of their friends to do the same. People write on their hand the name of someone who has fought cancer and pledge their $5 to the fight in honor of that person. They then post a photo or video to social media using the hashtag #fiveforthefight, tagging the five friends they are challenging to join the fight against cancer. They then head to to donate.

Smith added that the donation was presented to Huntsman at the annual Insight Summit in Salt Lake City last week, where Nobel Prize-winning scientist Dr. Mario Capecchi joined Smith on stage to present the check to Peter Huntsman of the Huntsman Cancer Foundation.

Smith is serious, it seems, about curing cancer. “When cancer is eradicated, the world will be a very different place. When we look around and see how many children have lost a parent to cancer, or parents who have lost a child to this dread disease or people who have lost a spouse … the list goes on and on. With so many people fighting cancer and so many more impacted by it, we are eager to help in any way we can to support the amazing research being done to fight cancer and to find a cure for it,” he concludes.

On Thursday, February 25, 2016 at 4:00 Eastern, Smith will join me here for a live discussion about Qualtrics’ #fiveforthefight CSR campaign. 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 Qualtrics:

Twitter: @qualtrics

Qualtrics is a rapidly growing software-as-a-service company and the provider of the world’s leading enterprise survey platform. More than 8,500 enterprises worldwide, including half of the Fortune 100 and 99 of the top 100 business schools rely on Qualtrics technology. Our solutions make it fast and easy to capture customer, employee, and market insights in one place. These insights help our clients make informed, data-driven business decisions. Global enterprises, academic institutions, and government agencies use Qualtrics to collect, analyze, and act on voice of the customer, customer satisfaction, employee engagement, 360-degree reviews, brand, market, product concept, and employee feedback. To learn more, and for a free account, please visit

Ryan Smith, courtesy of Qualtrics

Ryan Smith, courtesy of Qualtrics

Smith’s bio:

Twitter: @ryanqualtrics

Ryan Smith co-founded Qualtrics in 2002 with the goal of making sophisticated research simple. As CEO, he has grown the company from a basement startup to one of the fastest-growing technology companies in the world. Qualtrics has more than 8,500 enterprise customers including half of the Fortune 100, 1,600 colleges and universities worldwide, and 99 of the top 100 business schools. In 2012, Qualtrics received a $70 million investment from Accel Partners and Sequoia Capital, the largest-ever joint investment by these two firms. Additional funding was secured in 2014 to support the company’s continued product innovation and rapid international expansion. Insight Venture Partners led this $150 million round of new investment, with significant participation from original investors, Accel Partners and Sequoia Capital.

Ryan was named one of Forbes’ “America’s Most Promising CEOs Under 35” for 2013, is a frequent contributor to The Wall Street Journal and has been featured in Fortune, Forbes, Harvard Business Review, Fast Company, Inc., The New York Times, TechCrunch and USA Today. He has also appeared on CNBC, Bloomberg TV and FOX Business. Ryan is sought after for his business acumen and as such is a frequent guest lecturer at Brigham Young University’s Marriott School of Business and Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.

Dr. Dean Ornish Partners With HealthWays To Expand Impact

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Dr. Dean Ornish, a social entrepreneur at heart, has spent his entire career working improve health through lifestyle changes. Now, he’s partnered with Healthways to implement a program to reverse heart disease without surgery or medication. This radical approach to cardiac treatment is proving the value of collaboration for social entrepreneurs.

Dr. Ornish, who is a familiar name and face in the media, highlights some of the problems with the American health care system. He notes:

  • Most of the $3.0 trillion spent annually on health care in the U.S. is spent on sick care
  • A shocking 25 percent of the adult population, 60 million people, are taking cholesterol-lowering drugs

“My colleagues and I have partnered with Healthways to help create a new paradigm of real health care by addressing the personal lifestyle choices we make that are often an underlying cause of many chronic diseases,” Dr. Ornish notes.

Bob Porter, the Managing Director for the new Dr. Dean Ornish Program for Reversal of Cardiac Disease at Healthways, commented specifically on heart disease, “Chronic disease, and specifically cardiac disease, is a growing clinical and financial crisis in the US and other parts of the world.”

Porter adds, “Through decades of rigorous research, Dr. Dean Ornish has proven that adoption of a healthy lifestyle rooted in four, integrated elements – diet, exercise, stress management, and love and support – can not only prevent the onset of chronic disease but actually reverse the progression of disease process.”

Porter notes that the collaboration between Healthways and Dr. Ornish is spreading the approach across the country to implement the program. This will allow people to “transform their health status and quality of life by reversing their disease.”

Porter points out the bottom line impact of this approach. “There is a direct and dramatic impact on health care costs by averting in many cases the need for medicine, surgery, and other expensive interventions used to treat the effects of chronic disease.”

Dr. Ornish’s program is designed to create lasting change, Porter explains. “The delivery model for the program is unique in that cohorts of 10-15, together, go through 18 four hour experiential sessions during which they “live” the Ornish Reversal Program guidelines. This approach has proven to be highly effective in creating sustained behavior change so that this is more than a program that stops and starts. It is the first stage of a permanent change to a new and healthier lifestyle.”

Ornish explains his vision for what he calls “lifestyle medicine.”

We are empowering millions of people with information and support that help them transform suffering into healing—including coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and early-stage prostate cancer—and helps turn on protective genes and turn off ones that promote prostate, breast & colon cancer. Lengthens telomeres, the ends of our chromosomes that control aging—reversing aging at a cellular level. Lifestyle medicine.

Porter concludes, “Most importantly, this program has proven to transform the quality of health, and life, for the individuals who participate in the program and for their loved ones. Over and over again we are inspired by the stories of program “alumni” who express their gratitude for having been given a second chance at life.”

On Thursday, February 25, 2016 at 3:00 Eastern, Porter and Dr. Ornish will join me here for a live discussion about this partnership and its potential to impact the lives of people suffering from at at risk of heart disease. 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 the Preventive Medicine Research Institute:

Twitter: @DeanOrnishMD

Dean Ornish, M.D., is the founder and president of the non-profit Preventive Medicine Research Institute and Clinical Professor of Medicine at UCSF. He is also a LinkedIn Influencer.

For over 35 years, Dr. Ornish directed research demonstrating, for the first time, that comprehensive lifestyle changes may begin to reverse even severe coronary heart disease, without drugs or surgery. Recently, Medicare began covering his program, the first time that Medicare has covered a program of comprehensive lifestyle changes. He directed the first randomized controlled trial demonstrating that comprehensive lifestyle changes may stop or reverse the progression of early-stage prostate cancer. His current research showed that comprehensive lifestyle changes affect gene expression, “turning on” disease-preventing genes and “turning off” genes that promote cancer and heart disease, as well as increasing telomeres, the ends of our chromosomes which control aging (in collaboration with Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn, awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2009).

Dr. Dean Ornish, courtesy of Preventive Medicine Research Institute

Dr. Dean Ornish, courtesy of Preventive Medicine Research Institute

He is the author of six books, all national bestsellers, including: Dr. Dean Ornish’s Program for Reversing Heart Disease; Eat More, Weigh Less; Love & Survival; and The Spectrum.

He has written a monthly column for Newsweek and Reader’s Digest magazines and is currently Medical Editor of The Huffington Post (45 million unique readers/month).

Dr. Ornish was appointed by President Clinton to the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy and he was appointed by President Obama to the White House Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative and Public Health. He is a member of the boards of directors of the SF Food Bank and the J. Craig Venter Institute. He established an integrative medicine clinic in the Saint Vincent de Paul homeless shelter in SF which will be replicated throughout the country. Dr. Ornish chaired the Google Health Advisory Council 2007-2009.

More about Healthways:

Twitter: @healthways

Healthways is the largest independent global provider of well-being improvement solutions. Dedicated to creating a healthier world one person at a time, the Company uses the science of behavior change to produce and measure positive change in well-being for our customers, which include employers, integrated health systems, hospitals, physicians, health plans, communities and government entities. We provide highly specific and personalized support for each individual and their team of experts to optimize each participant’s health and productivity and to reduce health-related costs. Results are achieved by addressing longitudinal health risks and care needs of everyone in a given population. The Company has scaled its proprietary technology infrastructure and delivery capabilities developed over 30 years and now serves approximately 68 million people on four continents. Learn more at

Bob Porter, courtesy of Healthways

Bob Porter, courtesy of Healthways

Porter’s bio:

Robert (Bob) Porter joined Healthways early in 2013 after a long and distinguished career in health system leadership, predominantly with SSM Health Care. While with SSM, Bob served in a variety of roles including hospital Chief Strategy Officer, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Executive Officer for a 550 bed hospital in suburban St. Louis. In 2002 he moved to leadership roles with SSM’s St. Louis based regional network, serving first as Executive Vice President of Strategy and Business Development and ultimately as President of the 6 hospital, 280 physician network.

Bob’s career has been characterized by a deep commitment to exceptional performance through engagement of staff, physicians and community members in designing innovative solutions centered on the patient experience. He led the development of a “hospital of the future” project for SSM and the resulting facility which opened in 2009 has been widely recognized for its innovative design and impact on performance. He most recently led the ACO development effort for SSM St. Louis, pioneering the design of an integrated platform prepared to navigate the journey from traditional payment to assumption of increasing levels of financial risk. His transition to Healthways was driven by his desire to continue to work toward the badly needed transformation of the US health care system, improving care and reducing cost by focusing on improving well-being.

A frequent speaker and author on a variety of leadership topics in and out of health care, Bob has been an influential player in the movement toward population health management. He holds an MBA and JD from Stanford University, and his proudest achievement is having had the status of “lay affiliate” bestowed on him by the community of the Daughters of Charity in recognition of his work in Catholic health care and in the broader social ministry of that Vincentian order.

At Healthways, Bob leads the growth, development and operation of the Dr. Dean Ornish Program for Reversal of Cardiac Disease following acquisition of Dr. Ornish’ intellectual property by Healthways. Responsible for all aspects of leading this start-up business line including defining and executing sales and market strategy, building the organization structure and team, managing operational performance to achieve customer focused, reliable performance.

LeanOnWe Offers New Model for In-Home Care

As baby boomers age, they will need increasing amounts of health care. They are likely to want much of that care to be in home. Most in home care is not covered by Medicare, however.  This leaves families looking to contract directly with caregivers.

LeanOnWe is a new online platform that places individual caregivers in homes on a anything from an hourly basis to live-in arrangements.

Founder Ron Gold explains the problem, “Our home care system in the US is broken. Everyone knows the demographics of people living longer and choosing to age at home. Unfortunately the agency system is expensive and restrictive when someone is paying out of pocket. Most people would prefer to hire a caregiver privately but there is no good way to screen these caregivers. It is usually a word of recommendation but little else. No transparency on experience, references, background check, etc.”

Ron says he has the solution. “I’m bridging the gap between the agency and word of mouth models. We are matchmakers. At we have a network of caregivers for families to hire privately. We have met each caregiver and verified their experience and references. Then we give them an FBI fingerprint, help them put together a bio and shoot a video.”

“A family still has the advantage of paying less for a caregiver, is able to choose who comes into their home, is able to control the care without a middleman and therefore the caregiver keeps the money and earns 50% more than through an agency,” Ron adds. “But we will also provide the vetting and backup that people go to an agency for.”

“There is so much change going on today in health care. One of the big demands from consumers is the ability to take greater control of ones own home health and wellness. We view home care in that same vein,” Ron concludes.

On Thursday, February 25, 2016 at 2:00 Eastern, Ron will join me for a live discussion about the new platform. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

You can download an audio podcast here or subscribe via iTunes.

More about LeanOnWe:

Twitter: @LeanOnWe

LeanOnWe is a selective network of carefully vetted caregivers for families who want to avoid costly agencies, choose someone who’s a good fit, and direct the care they need. Currently serving the tri-state New York area, LeanOnWe has the highest standards for background and verification checks that include personally meeting all caregivers, fingerprinting, and creating a professional video and profile so families can review personality, experience, training, and interests. Not only do family-employed caregivers earn higher take-home pay with greater job satisfaction, but families who choose LeanOnWe have access to back-up caregivers and guidance from a Customer Advisory Team with first-hand experience.

Ron’s bio:

Twitter: @The_RonnieG

Ron started LeanOnWe after a 25-year career in international equity markets working for both Lehman Brothers and Barclays. At Barclays, Ron, a Managing Director, was one of the most successful equity sales producers while simultaneously managing Barclays’ highly regarded Asian sales teams. Ron’s career at Barclays was cut short by a near-fatal accident in November of 2011. As the survivor of a head-on crash that left him paralyzed with a crushed spine, Ron is someone who needs daily care himself. It was this tragedy that led him to design a far more effective way for families to find, employ, and manage experienced and highly recommended caregivers. LeanOnWe is his way of making an important difference in the lives of people who needcare at home. Ron graduated form the University of Pennsylvania with dual Bachelor’s degrees from the Wharton School and the College of Arts and Sciences, and holds a Master’s in Business Administration from Columbia University. He serves on the boards of several civic and non-profit organizations.

Remember to “join the cavalry” by subscribing to our content here.

Devin D. Thorpe


Insights on Entrepreneurship in Egypt

Venture capitalist Steve Grizzell, founder of InnoVentures Capital, recently returned from a trip to Cairo where he advised the government on the formation of a stronger ecosystem for entrepreneurs. We profiled Steve and his thoughts before the trip and have asked him back to report on the trip.

Steve made three key observations:

  1. Start with the entrepreneurs! During my recent trip to Egypt I looked at the components of an entrepreneurial ecosystem: venture capital, government regulators, experienced service providers and entrepreneurs who know how to start a great business. I asked myself where to start when all of the components of the ecosystem were weak. After I interviewed several entrepreneurs at Startup Grind Cairo the answer became very clear. Enthusiastic entrepreneurs will be able to solve the problems they face in creating a business and the other components are secondary.
  2. Screen for real entrepreneurs to help! I would guess that 90% of the people that I met at the Startup Grind event would never actually try and start a business. Most of the audience were looking for someone to take away all of the risk for starting a business. They wanted the government to provide the business training to help them figure out what kind of business to start. They wanted experienced investors to provide low-cost capital and for the investors to help run the business. Most of the audience were afraid to take the risk and just start their business.
  3. Collaborate and Educate! Bring government, investors, universities, service providers and entrepreneurs together in structured networking events so that they can educate each other. The relationships that are built during networking events are critical in order to build the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Government officials, university faculty and service providers are best educated from direct interaction with entrepreneurs. All three of these sectors can be very helpful to entrepreneurs but not until they actually understand what the issues are from entrepreneur. The venture capital community also needs to be educated by entrepreneurs. Building venture capital professionals is a slow and expensive process. It is important to create a process so that entrepreneurs and investors can learn from each other how to grow successful businesses in an economic environment that is not very supportive.
Steve Grizzell in Egypt with his family, courtesy of Steve

Steve Grizzell in Egypt with his family, courtesy of Steve

On Thursday, February 25, 2016 at 1:00 Eastern, Steve will join me here for a live discussion about his trip and the insights he’s drawn from it. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

You can download an audio podcast here or subscribe via iTunes.

More about InnoVentures Capital:

InnoVentures Capital provides loans of up to $250,000 to entrepreneurs in Utah. The lending criteria we use don’t rely on collateral unlike conventional loans. We understand that information technology and service companies don’t have collateral but are critical businesses for developing a modern economy based on innovation and entrepreneurship. InnoVentures is a part of risk capital ecosystem that is necessary for growing businesses that need expansion capital.

Steve Grizzell, courtesy of InnoVentures Capital

Steve Grizzell, courtesy of InnoVentures Capital

Steve’s bio:

Twitter: @stevegrizzell

Steve’s career is a unique blend of risk capital expertise and international economic development. It began in Indonesia when I realized how empowering it was to the poor to start their own business. In eastern Java, a women’s cooperative helped women launch their own businesses. The unexpected result of this effort were the women seeking out birth control. This was contrary to the conventional wisdom that rural Islamic women would not use birth control. The evidence seemed to point out that once these women had opportunity they made different choices without any incentives from government, NGOs or international aid organizations. I recognized a similar opportunity when I moved to Utah. Young people would become entrepreneurs if they one of their peers become a successful entrepreneur. The question that I asked myself was, “What were the critical components to foster the growth of entrepreneurship” I have explored this question and the efforts to answer it all over the United States and internationally.

Remember to “join the cavalry” by subscribing to our content here.

Devin D. Thorpe

Generation Ubuntu’s Critical Impact

This is a guest post from Julia Lindau, news producer and volunteers for Generation Ubuntu.

There’s a fair chance you know someone in the US living with HIV. More than a million Americans are positive. But you may not be aware your friend, neighbor or colleague has the virus, because medicines like ARVs are widely available and easily accessible in the US, and they allow people with HIV here to live long, healthy lives.

In South Africa it’s a different story. There are more people living with HIV/AIDS there — almost 7 million — than in any other country. Many of them do not have access to the crucial lifesaving drugs that make the disease manageable. That’s especially true for disadvantaged children: orphans, kids whose parents are living with HIV, and children living in poverty.

This is where Generation Ubuntu comes in. The organization improves the health and well-being of children and teens living with HIV in South Africa through a comprehensive care model of health and nutrition, psycho-social support, HIV and life skills education, and community engagement. At Generation Ubuntu, HIV is no longer a death sentence; it is a manageable condition. We enable children to live full, successful and meaningful lives.

Whitney Johnson started the organization a decade ago. She studied abroad in Cape Town and saw a critical gap in HIV services for young people in the city’s townships (slums). No one was helping them; they had nowhere to go to help themselves; and to exacerbate their dire situation, their community often excluded them. Whitney returned to the US to finish studying, but went back to South Africa as soon as she graduated to serve the children who desperately needed someone to champion their cause.

I was Generation Ubuntu’s first fellow in 2009. When I arrived, we served 30 children in the back of a crumbling church with weeds growing through the floorboards. Even with limited resources, I witnessed Generation Ubuntu’s incredible power. Yes, its social workers and caregivers go out into the community to make sure they are reaching the most vulnerable children. Yes, its health and education professionals ensure the kids take life-saving drugs. Yes, the cooks serve a full, nutritious meal to children who may not otherwise eat all day. But what I witnessed at Generation Ubuntu was more profound than that. It gives young people living with HIV a safe, supportive community, and it shifts their mindset from “I’m doomed to live a short, unhappy and sickly life” to “I can do absolutely anything I want because I am strong, smart, and healthy”. Through love, Generation Ubuntu transforms kids. They start believing in and loving themselves.

Today, Generation Ubuntu helps more than 200 kids and teenagers a year. It’s still doing the same incredible work, just in a nicer building with a few more resources. And the impact is clear. Every single child who has regularly attended the program is not only living, but healthy and thriving.

That’s why I’m back, helping the organization 6 years later. I have been involved with non-profits for almost a decade, but none impacts the community it serves like Generation Ubuntu. Saving lives and spreading love — it’s what “Ubuntu” is all about.

Julia A Lindau with Generation Ubuntu child in South Africa OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Julia A Lindau with Generation Ubuntu child in South Africa

About Julia Lindau:

Julia Lindau is a news producer and volunteers for Generation Ubuntu.


If You Took a Photo of Hope, What Would You See?

Photography can communicate feeling, emotion and even information that an infinite number of words cannot. Photographer Sarah Takako Skinner and her partner Marc Raco have created the Hope Is Project to give people who are struggling an opportunity to photograph hope.

The work that people create when they use photography to communicate hope in the face of despair can be both inspiring and informative.

Sarah tries to put words to the struggles people face today. “This is the time and place. Individuals require hope to live. The world needs hope to move forward. In this day of racism, violence, economic woes, intolerance, hunger, environmental chaos, and more, hope is an elusive notion for many. The very old, the outcasts, the terminally ill, the wounded war veterans. But how can we find hope when we need it most?”

Marc explains the program, “Through an innovative photographic concept, people with compelling stories of adversity, along with hope leaders, search for hope and photograph it. Their own ‘self portraits’ are complimented by exquisite portraits by the artist Takako. This journey commonly produces increased hopefulness and self worth along with an expanded view of the world, coupled with artful and inspiring images that show hope through their eyes. Can the simple act of searching for hope result in the very hope one seeks?”

The project is growing beyond individuals to institutions, allowing more people to participate in and benefit from the program, Sarah says. “Igniting a large conversation about hope can motivate people to explore hope in their own lives, and to initiate actions which can improve their own lives and immediate world, which can reverberate infinitely. The project’s work with individuals is expanding to human service and governmental agencies, which reflects the therapeutic and important power of hope in medicine, pain management, mental health and rehabilitation currently being increasingly researched and implemented.”

Marc Raco and Sarah Takako Skinner, courtesy of the Hope Is Project

Marc Raco and Sarah Takako Skinner, courtesy of the Hope Is Project

Sarah’s vision is to ultimately take the program nationwide. “The Hope Is Project is also developing an initiative to share stories of hope nationwide, culminating in uniting America, and sending a message to the world, in an historic and massive display of images of hope,” she concludes.

On Thursday, February 18, 2016 at 6:00 PM Eastern, Sarah and Marc will join me for a live discussion about this unique effort to photograph hope and thereby catalyze more. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

You can download an audio podcast here or subscribe via iTunes.

More about the Hope Is Project:

Twitter: @hopeisproject

Photographer Takako created the HOPE IS PROJECT as a way to understand the nature of Hope and inspire others to find it. Together we can inspire a global conversation about hope, collaborate to create real impact, healing and growth, and participate in meaningful change. With the collaboration of a team of influencers, the project seeks to place cameras in the hands of many people, challenging them to share their stories and capture images embodying hope. This will capture the continuation of Takako’s journey, and can become one of the largest and most influential art exhibits in history — true partnership between art and purpose. It is a project of transformation and impact focused on the understanding, discovery, and harnessing of the power of hope through the vehicle of an inspiring photographic process. The mission is to engage the power of photography along with a process of exploration, story-telling, and self-reflection to widely inspire hope, effect lasting and meaningful change, and contribute to growth and development in fields of social work, medicine, mental health, tolerance, rehabilitation and recovery. As we explore the nature and power of hope with scientists, mental health experts, leading spiritual figures, leaders, agencies and more, the body of images will offer displays of hope, collaborations with those who see hope as an essential resource, and the opportunity to document the journey to educate encourage our audience to explore the nature of Hope with us.

Marc Raco and Sarah Takako Skinner at Exhibit for The Hope Is Project at Social Innovation Week in NYC, courtesy of the Hope Is Project.

Marc Raco and Sarah Takako Skinner at Exhibit for The Hope Is Project at Social Innovation Week in NYC, courtesy of the Hope Is Project.

Sarah’s bio:

Twitter: @takakophoto

Sarah Takako Skinner’s focus is to use the camera lens to find the light that shines through the darkness. The technical nature of her work comes from her BFA in Photography from the University of Washington. There she learned the importance of being critical of one’s own work and to ‘never fall in love with the photograph’.

But the soul of her work comes through her survival from a rare birth defect and later her travels and adventures She can tell stories about Fiji, New Zealand, London, Peru, Madrid and Australia and many more. She can talk you through her work in Paris, backstage during fashion shows, the ins and outs of LA photographing celebrities, or her current city of New York.

And her stories are great. They’re funny, intimate, haunting, sexy tales of excitement, and more often than not, triumph through midadventures. But when the talk is over, to get the clearest perspective of who Takako is and what she means, you simply have to look at her photos. Raw, high-contrast, sharply imagined and beautiful both technically and creatively, it’s Takako’s still images that create the most motion in your mind.

You can see her influences in her approach to her art. Diane Arbus, Francesca Woodman, Guy Bourdin, Robert Frank, Cindy Sherman, Annie Lebowitz, Richard Avedon. These are the risk-takers, the rule-breakers, and the edgy personalities that drive what Takako is accomplishing in her own way.

Takako’s eye for both depth and editing has been noticed – she’s been published nationally and internationally in magazines and recently showed her work at Art Basel, Miami. She’ll smile as she flips you through the pages of photos she took of Steven Tyler at his home in LA; and can tell you with passion how she got sent to jail for her Art when she asked a woman to walk naked down Hollywood Boulevard while photographing her.

Takako also has another side to her work, which has led her to even larger goals. Her current project, the “Hope Is” Project, is about having other people, who have lived oppressed and or adverse lives, search for their hope and photograph it. The mission is to engage the power of photography along with a process of exploration, storytelling, and self-reflection to inspire hope, effect lasting and meaningful change, and contribute to growth and development in fields of social work, medicine, mental health, tolerance, rehabilitation and recovery. The project is receiving national attention for her goal of producing photographs that don’t just show her own perspective, but the perspectives of others who may not have a voice. So even though she has barely scratched the surface of her own potential artistically, Takako is using her own forged path in photography to help others find their voices as well.

Marc’s bio:

Twitter: @racomarc

New York City-based creative entrepreneur Marc Raco is a film/television producer, podcast host, actor, composer and writer, who brings more than thirty years of storytelling and media production experience along with a substantial sales and marketing background.

In addition to his role as Executive Producer for the innovative and bold transmedia project “The Hope Is Project”, Marc has been on the production side of feature and short films, commercials, parodies, infomercials, radio programs and pilot presentations—as director, producer, writer, executive producer, editor, visual effects editor, and/or musical director, winning 8 Telly Awards, amongst numerous other accolades, is the host/producer of the weekly podcast “Monkey Radio with Marc”, co-host and producer of the influential fashion and technology weekly podcast “Fashion Is Your Business”, Chief Creative Officer of Open Source Fashion, and works with menswear brand Ralph and Remington as Content and Story Producer.

As an actor, he has appeared in more than twenty five film projects, network television, commercials, parodies, television pilot presentations, more than fifty staged productions, professional improvisational comedy, and even stand-up comedy. A Rochester, NY native, Marc’s been recognized for acting as Overall World Champion (Men 25+)/multi gold-medalist in the 2005 World Championships of Performing Arts.

Marc has also written, produced, and recorded 70+ musical pieces involving 40+ musicians/singers, including film & stage production soundtracks, a full length CD, and tracks designed/used for Nortel Network’s teleconferencing system. He’s an exhibited portrait photographer, with work on permanent display in the Centennial Exhibit of Rochester Institute of Technology. He has skills in German and Sign languages, and was proclaimed by the Governor of Kentucky as a Kentucky Colonel in 2012.

Remember to “join the cavalry” by subscribing to our content here.

Devin D. Thorpe

Renowned Speaker Offers Tips To Women Entrepreneurs

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

As member of the Motivational Speakers Hall of Fame and a a Certified Speaking Professional, Pegine Echevarria is at the top of her game and the top of her industry. Her multi-million business, Team Pegine, contracts with both the world’s largest companies and governments. Pegine has provided me with some tips to help Latinas and other women succeed as entrepreneurs.

Last summer, I had the opportunity to have dinner with Pegine and later heard her speak. She isn’t ordinary. She isn’t average. She isn’t boring. She is, in her own words, “Feisty, Fearless, Focused, Fun.”

As the head of a multi-million dollar business and with such an track record as a speaker, I asked her for some insights for women who, like her, are running their own businesses or hoping to.

Here are the three tips she gave me:

  1. Exude confidence and credibility everywhere you go. You have 30 seconds to influence others. In business you must exude confidence and believe in yourself to buyers, investors, supporters and advisors. Act “as if.” Know that if you waver people will pick up on it immediately. Practice standing tall, speaking with a smile, asking questions. Always have five questions ready to ask anyone to engage them, assess them, and to be prepared to ask them for introductions, help or advice. Beware of relying on your woman owned status; to gain deals, you need more than that. Your confidence, credibility and competency to deliver is what closes deals.
  2. Be in control of you time and money. Have financial partners come to you. Know your banker, your accountant and your advisers. Know what different financial partners can offer you. Hold financial speed dating days. Invite 5 banks to pitch their services to you. Give them an idea of your business beforehand, inform them they will have 20 minutes and make sure they know that four other banks are coming that day. Have a panel of your advisers. Each should have questions that are important for you to know. Think Shark Tank for bankers/accountants/planners and you are the sharks. You might stay with your old bank or find a new one. Remember this is your business.
  3. Stay steady. Be focused on your company’s vision and mission. You direct your business and your career. The bottom line is that you are the driver and the determinator. You are the one who must take the big risks and be confident that you will thrive. It might take longer than you think, be harder than you think, however you have to think and believe that you can do it, you will do it and no one is going to stop you from doing it. Know people will advise you what to do. However, late at night when things go south (which happens), what happens will be 100 percent up to you. Just own that and be proud that you can do this.

Fortunately, there is more. On Thursday, February 18, 2016 at 2:00 Eastern, Echevarria will join me for a live discussion about these tips and more. 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 Team Pegine:

Twitter: @PegineMotivateU

Team Pegine, Inc. is an award-winning leadership development, training and marketing firm that educates leaders in a diverse world through extraordinary interactive experiences. Team Pegine works with corporations and government as well as military and corporate leaders to engage, train, develop and market, both internally and externally, to women and multicultural leaders.

Pegine Echevarria, courtesy of Team Pegine

Pegine Echevarria, courtesy of Team Pegine

Echevarria’s bio:

Pegine is one of only 8 women and the only Latina inducted into the 58 member Motivational Speakers Hall of Fame (Tony Robbins and Jack Canfield are also inducted). Named 1 of the 100 Global Thought Leaders on Diversity and Inclusion by SHRM (The Society for Human Resource Management). is a leadership, inclusion success expert. Using interactive experiences both in her speeches and large scale live situational exercises, Pegine creates memorable lessons providing leaders techniques that they can use during high stress, high value moments, gaining influence and confidence in a diverse world. Her company,, was named North Florida’s #3 Fastest Growing Privately Owned Company. She is a Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Women in Business Champion of the Year. Hired by Fortune 500, government and the military, Pegine offers clients fresh ideas to leaders to engage diverse markets to help them achieve their goals, presenting her ideas vividly with unusual stories and metaphors, captivating listeners. Politicians, executive leaders, entrepreneurs and Fortune 500 executive hire her coaching service that include role players and live situational exercises to increase their effectiveness, charisma and confidence communicating in a diverse world. Companies use Team Pegine to engage and nurture diverse leaders. Pegine is one of fewer than 700 speakers worldwide to earn the designation of Certified Professional Speaker® less than 1% of professional speakers worldwide hold the designation. The DoD awarded her company the rarely given CPAR rating of excellence for contracts over one million dollars. Pegine thrives on big ideas and big productions. She designed, led and implemented a live simulation leadership cultural negotiation training exercise with 50 role players, 12 villages, with over 12,000 officers participating, from all branches of the military and 12 ally countries. Pegine holds an MSW in group and organizational behavior and has authored several books. Her book “Sometimes You Need to Kick Your Own Butt” was a SHRM Best Seller four years in a row. On the cover of Minority Business Entrepreneur as a “Women in Business Who Rocks” she is also quoted in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Hispanic Business Magazine.

Social Impact Venture Investor Shares Three Insights For Entrepreneurs

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Nancy Pfund, founder and managing partner of DBL Partners, has invested in some of the biggest and most successful social entrepreneurs of our time, having stakes in both Tesla and SolarCity, among others. Pfund shared some insights with me and will share more live.

First, Pfund predicts a transformation of global energy over the next decade.

Over the next 10 years, investing in energy will shift from being dominated by investing in fossil-based large oil and gas companies ,regulated utility monopolies, and gas-powered car companies to including a plethora of clean technology , digital platforms and consumer-driven solutions providers. This transition will be messy, but will result in a 21st century energy industry that addresses 21st century needs of consumer choice, value, sustainability and reliability . It will also bring electiricity and a ticket to the middle class for the 1.3 billion people on this planet without access to electricity.

Second, she anticipates that millennials will cause a shift in the workplace.

As millenials become the largest part of the workforce, they will transform the sectors of recruiting and career building to make it serve their needs of cultural fit, meaning and fulfillment with tools that they own, like video , media and mobile resources. These tools will better address needs of women and minority millenials as well as traditional male career builders.

Third, Pfund says our food supply will undergo radical changes driven both by consumer demand and technological advances.

Agriculture and food are shifting to a sustainable platform that will increasingly put farmers and consumers first, not traditional agribusiness companies and relationships. Big data will empower farmers to build their communities, making better decisions and purchases with a reduced need for intermediaries. This will result in reduced use of natural resources like energy and water and drive down the levels of chemicals and pesticides used in production. Consumers will create strong demand for healthier and less chemical and natural resource intensive food products.

On Thursday, February 18, 2016 at 1:00 Eastern, Pfund will join me for a live discussion about these insights and more that she will offer for social entrepreneurs. 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 DBL Partners:

Twitter: @NancyPfundDBL

Double Bottom Line Venture Capital: We invest for both top tier financial returns and social returns. By social returns, we mean that we work to bring social, environmental and economic progress in the region’s and sectors in which we invest. Portfolio companies include Powerlight (sold to SunPower), Tesla , Pandora, SolarCity, MAIYET, The RealReal, Farmer’s Business Network, The Muse.

Nancy Pfund, courtesy of DBL Partners

Nancy Pfund, courtesy of DBL Partners

Pfund’s bio:

Nancy E. Pfund is Founder and Managing Partner of DBL Partners, located in San Francisco and Palo Alto. DBL Partners is a venture capital firm whose goal is to combine top-tier financial returns with meaningful social, economic and environmental returns in the regions and sectors in which it invests. As a leading player in the growing field of “impact investing”, DBL has helped to reveal the power of venture capital to promote social change and environmental improvement, and Ms. Pfund writes and speaks frequently on this topic. She sponsors or sits on the board of directors of several companies, including; SolarCity (NASDAQ: SCTY) on both the audit and compensation committees, Farmer’s Business Network, Advanced Microgrid Solutions, Off-Grid Electric, Primus Power, The Muse, and, prior to their public offerings, Tesla Motors and Pandora. Ms. Pfund was featured #17 in the 2014 FORTUNE Inaugural World’s Top 25 Eco-Innovators; and is Chair of the Advisory Council of the Bill Lane Center for the American West at Stanford University; a member of the Advisory Board of: the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab); and the UC Davis Center for Energy Efficiency, and a Trustee of the National Geographic Society. She has been a Lecturer in Management at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and the Yale School of Management; and is a C3E Ambassador to the U.S. Clean Energy Education and Empowerment Program, led by the U.S. Department of Energy. She is also a founding officer and director of ABC2, a foundation aimed at accelerating a cure for brain cancer. Ms. Pfund received her BA and MA in anthropology from Stanford University, and her MBA from the Yale School of Management.

Inspiring Capital Actually Trains Leaders to Do This

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.

You can download an audio podcast here or subscribe via iTunes.

More about Inspiring Capital:

Twitter: @inspiringcapital

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 Derick Debevois, courtesy of Inspiring Capital

Nell Derick Debevois, courtesy of Inspiring Capital

Nell’s bio:

Twitter: @nelldd

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.

Remember to “join the cavalry” by subscribing to our content here.

Devin D. Thorpe

Warriors Heart Founders Offer Help To Struggling Veterans

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Every day, an average of 22 veterans take their own lives. This tragic reality motivated Josh and Lisa Lannon and Tom Spooner to do something.

They founded Warriors Heart, an addiction treatment center that provides peer-to-peer solutions to help veterans, law enforcement and first responders who struggle with addiction and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Josh Lannon took the time to explain the challenges that veterans face, what Warriors Heart is doing and what he hopes will come of their efforts.

Lannon says the VA isn’t the answer. “While the VA (Veterans Administration) has good people, they can’t keep up with the needs of veterans after 14 years of war.”

The program, Lannon says, is holistic in its approach. “We are looking at the “whole body” versus sending a warrior to multiple doctors because so many are dealing with multiple issues including addiction, PTSD and MTBI (mild traumatic brain injury).”

Lannon notes that the focus of the effort is to help those who have helped us. “Our facility specializes in serving Warriors. These are the men and women who are currently active and veteran members from organizations that protect and serve the citizens of the United States, e.g, Army, Navy, Marine, Air Force , law enforcement, fire, paramedics, first responders, hospital personnel and civilian warriors.”

Warriors heart relies on senior veterans to share their insights with those who are suffering today. “ Warriors Heart is a community of elder warriors, healers and support staff united in the battle of addiction and PTSD. Together, we serve and support our warriors who are still suffering and their loved ones.”

He notes, “Warrior’s Heart currently has warriors answering hotline calls 24×7, and anyone can call for help: 844-448-2567.”

“The Warriors Heart program is covered by most insurance,” Lannon says. “A Foundation has also been created, Operation Warriors Heart Foundation, and people can make donations to support a warrior in need of financial support for the healing program. This 501(c)(3) will help supplement the cost of treatment and assist in placing service dogs for free to those who deserve the extra battle buddy when returning home.”

On Thursday, February 11, 2016 at 5:00 Eastern, Lannon will join me here for a live discussion about the work of Warriors Heart and the effort to help those who have given so much for us. 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 Warriors Heart:

Twitter: @warriorsheart22

Warriors Heart is providing a peer-to peer based solution to help the over 13 million American Military, Veterans, Law Enforcement and First Responders faced with the self-medicating struggles of alcohol addiction, prescription and drug addiction and PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). With decades of experience in addiction healing, military service and law enforcement, the 3 Warriors Heart Founders are dedicated to serving warriors. Successful Private Treatment Facility Providers, Josh and Lisa Lannon and former Special Forces Tom Spooner (Green Beret, Delta Force Operator and Mission 22 Co-Founder) are leading the team on this special mission of warriors healing warriors. Warriors Heart has also partnered with Mission 22 (established to raise awareness of the fact that that the US has an average of 22 veteran suicides per day). Warriors Heart Founders’ work has been featured by KENS5 CBS CBS -0.21% News San Antonio, FOX 10 News Phoenix and Addiction Pro magazine.

Josh Lannon, courtesy of Warriors Heart

Josh Lannon, courtesy of Warriors Heart

Lannon’s bio:

Twitter: @JoshLannon

Before going into the behavioral health field, Josh apprenticed with his father in the nightclub industry, eventually running the clubs. Under his leadership, it was common to have nightly door counts up to 1500 patrons. His team led the Las Vegas nightclub to be voted the #1 country nightclub, 5 years in a row. Exciting as the Vegas lifestyle was in his 20s, it took its toll. Facing a divorce and being spiritually broken, Josh checked himself into a rehab center – a decision that would forever change his life. In 2001, Josh dedicated himself to creating a career in sobriety and building businesses that are more socially conscious. He retired from the nightclub industry and, together, Josh and Lisa Lannon launched Journey Healing Centers, a private drug and alcohol treatment center. JHC grew to 6 locations with 100 team members. Then in late 2013, Elements Behavioral Health, a leading nationwide provider, acquired JHC. Josh’s continued passion for building businesses that assists those who are struggling from addiction. This is one of the driving forces behind Warriors Heart.

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