Inspiring Capital’s Takeaways from SBSI Conference

Inspiring Capital’s Takeaways from SBSI Conference

Inspiring Capital was thrilled to attend Duke University Fuqua’s School of Business’s annual Sustainable Business and Social Impact (SBSI) conference on February 7. It was an action-packed day filled with amazing keynote speakers and panelists! Overall, we’ve come away with a sense of awe at the challenges our colleagues are working to overcome, and a staunch desire to continue our mission of helping these companies achieve purposeful impact.

The Brand of You - Creating Memorable Moments

The Brand of You - Creating Memorable Moments

The brand of you is no longer about the unique training and accomplishments that you bring to your work. It is about the experiential exchange that you bring to the relationship. In today’s market, four behaviors can make you more memorable and strengthen your personal brand statement.

The Secret to Hiring, Developing and Retaining Emotionally Intelligent People

The Secret to Hiring, Developing and Retaining Emotionally Intelligent People

Emotional intelligence explains 58% of success across all jobs, making it the strongest predictor of performance at work. So it’s no surprise that the most thoughtful employers, like Google, are not only hiring for its component parts of social and personal skills, but also training their employees to get more emotionally intelligent. Here's 3 tools for hiring, developing and retaining emotionally intelligent people. 

New Year, New Us: Inspiring Capital’s Updates and the Social Impact Sector

2018 is a big year for us, our team is expanding and the social impact sector is growing rapidly! It seems that people are finally catching on -- integrating profit and purpose is the only way forward.

The Purpose-Productivity Link: The Secret to Keeping Employees Engaged

The Purpose-Productivity Link: The Secret to Keeping Employees Engaged

Anyone who’s worked at a nonprofit, or interacted with nonprofit staff, understands the difficult conditions of their work. They – generally speaking – lack basic resources in terms of technology, equipment, professional development and management as a result of inadequate bandwidth and/or capacity. And yet, nonprofit staff are among the most dedicated, hard-working, engaged and motivated workers in the workforce.This engagement can be explained by the power of purpose.

Mission Statements First; New Year’s Resolutions Second

Mission Statements First; New Year’s Resolutions Second

New Year's Resolutions can often seem disjointed and random. They are missing a key point; What are they laddering up to? What is the overarching goal of these additions to your life routine? This is where your personal mission statement comes in...

Aspirationals Can Make or Break Your Company

Aspirationals Can Make or Break Your Company

Learning to engage with aspirationals as employees will empower companies to hire talent that can provide social and environmental impact, which in turn, results in a healthier and more sustainable economy.

The Circular Economy: A Way to Tackle the Triple Bottom Line of Businesses and Realize a more Sustainable Future

The Circular Economy: A Way to Tackle the Triple Bottom Line of Businesses and Realize a more Sustainable Future

Inspiring Capital recently hosted a panel discussion on the hot topic of the circular economy. Increasingly this concept is gaining traction as big corporates like Nike and Unilever endorse it. However, for many, it is still an unfamiliar concept.

3 Reasons why NOW is the time to Align your Business Skills with Purposeful Work

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3 Reasons why NOW is the time to Align your Business Skills with Purposeful Work

The business world has everything to gain by supporting the social impact movement, and the rest of the world has everything to lose if we don’t. Three reasons why now is the time to get involved in the social impact sector. 

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The Power of Projects

The Power of Projects

Particularly when starting a new initiative, or adding a function to your team, defining work as a discrete, time-limited project forces clarity around what you want done. It’s too easy to hire a ‘Sales Manager,’ or ‘Growth Analyst,’ or ’Social Enterprise Associate,’ without REALLY defining what that person will be working on. Which sets everyone involved up for frustration and failure. 

TOP TIPS FOR TRANSITIONING INTO THE PURPOSE DRIVEN WORKFORCE

The job market as we know it is changing, rapidly. Organizations need to be much more agile and so they’re looking for employees to be more so too.

Are Pro Bono Volunteers "Worth It"?

Are Pro Bono Volunteers "Worth It"?

Without oversimplifying the situation to "you get what you pay for," there are compelling reasons to consider investing capital (yes, real, financial capital) in trained professionals. They should be paid for achieving projects that are either critical to the sustainability or growth of your organization or that are nuanced enough to require an expert opinion that may not necessarily align with the acumen of even your most helpful board member.

Reflections on "Remote" Work

When I found out that I would be working remotely this summer, my first thought was, “excellent, now I can work from home and wear pajamas every day.” My second thought was, “Why would I move 400 miles south to sit at my computer by myself?” I quickly realized I was wrong about both of these points.

Re-Inspired Reflections: Nancy

With diverse career experience across sector and industry, Nancy wanted to be sure that her transition from corporate to social purpose work was a deliberate and well-aligned next step. To do this, she needed support in learning about the array of options in this new sector, and determining the type of organization and role that would be the best fit. Finally, she needed more information to figure out how to package and communicate how the contributions she made in the corporate sector could benefit a purpose-driven organization.

Finding more than one way to create impact

Andres is a second year MBA candidate at Harvard Business School.

Andres is a second year MBA candidate at Harvard Business School.

There are lots of systems that help us get to the outcomes we want. In the social sector, it is common to hear the concept of “Theory of Change," a methodology to plan, develop, and evaluate the change an organization wants to make in society. First, the organization identifies the impact they want, decide on the “outcomes” and “output” of your activities, and choose the “inputs” you need to perform those activities.

Looking at it from a broader perspective, this approach isn't very different from the methods each of us use to make decisions about our personal and professional life. When we want to achieve a particular goal, we each identify the steps we'll need to reach to get from point A to point Z.  However, complexity and challenges appear as multiple "Zs" become priorities...so what happens when we want more than outcome at the same time?

For me, my new desired outcome has become finding impact in my professional life. With this in mind, this summer, I am testing a new approach.

For years, I have been interested in bringing development opportunities to those who are less fortunate in our society. I built that commitment growing up in Latin America, a region with massive income inequality and significant social problems; and where it’s impossible to ignore that there is much to be done. However, I had always seen this commitment as a longer-term goal, or as a side activity to a full-time job in a traditional industry.  Business school has shown me that this does not necessarily need to be the case. The topics of social enterprise and social impact are gaining significance in the business world as more students, entrepreneurs, and companies are interested in getting involved in the sector. Because of this, I decided that I would use my summer internship to test the waters to see if I could change my professional impact approach.

Choosing what to do within the social sector is not easy. Many of the organizations in this space do not have internship programs as companies do in more traditional industries. They often don’t have the resources to actively recruit on campus. However, the Inspiring Capital Fellowship program enters and aligns business school students and high-potential, purpose-driven organizations from the social sector. Not only can you work in one of these organizations for the summer, but you are also given time and space to interact and learn from professionals in a variety of roles and functions. Both elements give you the tools to develop new skills and consider your next step in the social sector.

This summer, I am working with Medtronic Labs, a young business unit within Medtronic, a global healthcare solutions company focused on biomedical engineering. Their goal is to launch businesses that transform healthcare for underserved patients in emerging geographies by bringing locally-appropriate services, solutions, and products to market. It has been a great experience to work in a place where, for example, their product development program requires new products not only to meet the expected financial outcomes, but that also must prove they are useful in closing a gap in healthcare provision for a specific market. This is even more interesting when you remember that it is happening within a multinational for-profit company with 80,000+ employees.

There is more than one way to create an impact. My experience this summer with Inspiring Capital and Medtronic Labs is proving that. I am still working on deciding how it’s going to be my theory of change, but I’ll get there.

Re-Inspired Reflections: Stephanie

When Stephanie's family relocated to the NY metro area, the first challenge she faced was trying to tap into a network that could offer her the chance to connect with organizations whose needs were a mutual fit for her skill set. The second challenge was finding the flexibility she required to develop relationships with multiple organizations before committing to a full time position. Stephanie came to Inspiring Capital's Re-Inspiration Program in search of a network and a job seeking platform, and after completing the training sessions, she took on a consulting project with one of IC's nonprofit clients, leveraging her previous work experience toward a 6-week market assessment for them.

IC Launches 2017 Summer Fellowship

The start of June marks the official kickoff of the fourth summer of our MBA fellowship program.

From June through August, our fellows will work with 17 of the nation's most innovative and inspiring social impact organizations to help accelerate their integration of profits and purpose. 

This year, we'll be running our first MBA fellowship cohort in North Carolina's Research Triangle, alongside the fourth NYC cohort, allowing us to serve 17 fabulous clients across both geographies and beyond. Learn more about each of our consulting partners, and come meet them at our summer events in both locations.


For more information about our summer fellowship or consulting work, please email alex@inspiringcapital.ly.

Savvy Cooperative wins 2017 Pitch for People

 
The 2017 Pitch for People entrepreneurs and judges

The 2017 Pitch for People entrepreneurs and judges

 

On May 23, we convened fifty impact investors, social entrepreneurs, and members of Inspiring Capital's network community at Lyrical Asset Management for our Second Annual Pitch for People competition. 

Six finalists competed for the opportunity to work with a fellow from Inspiring Capital's summer MBA fellowship on a strategy, finance, or operations to help accelerate their impact and growth.

Last year's winner, Marci Lobel-Esrig of SilverBills, shared the "catalytic" experience of working with her fellow, Niki, and described how much the consulting support had allowed her organization to develop over the past year.

This year's winner, Jen, last year's winner, Marci, and Inspiring Capital CEO, Nell

This year's winner, Jen, last year's winner, Marci, and Inspiring Capital CEO, Nell

Guests gathered in small groups for interactive question-and-answer sessions with the social entrepreneurs, allowing for direct feedback on the ventures, and for guests to hear the judging thought process in action.

Our judging panel brought diverse and deep experience working with startups and social enterprises, and included our gracious host, John Jonson, Managing Director of Lyrical Partners, Rafi Musher, CEO & Founder of STAX Inc., and Samira Salman, CEO & Founder of Salman Solutions. 

Congratulations to the 2017 winner, Savvy Cooperative, which was selected for its demonstrated need and capacity to absorb IC's consulting talent, as well as the viability and potential for its model to make lasting social impact and address a market gap.

 


See Savvy's pitch in a video from founder Jen Horonjeff here:

 
 

Check out the world-changing models of the 5 finalist ventures:

 

Localized connects people around the world with experts from top companies and diaspora professional associations who share language and cultural context. 


After weddings or special events, Repeat Roses repurposes leftover blooms for donation at nursing homes and hospitals to deliver joy. Then, the flowers are composted and the containers are recycled to reduce waste.


Kheyti implements low-cost farming solutions that help small farmers increase yield and predictability of produce. We combine these technologies with end-to-end support to give these farmers a seamless path towards income increase. We have developed a “Greenhouse-in-a-box” – an affordable, modular greenhouse bundled with full stack services that uses 90% less water, grows 7 times more food and gives farmers a steady dependable income.


Five One Labs is a start-up incubator that helps refugees and conflict-affected entrepreneurs launch and grow their businesses in the Middle East. Launching first in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, we aim to empower individuals to rebuild their lives and livelihoods and to contribute to the economic growth of their communities.


Shea Yeleen empowers shea butter cooperatives owned by women in rural Ghana by providing a living wage, skills training, and financial literacy through the sale of high-quality unrefined shea butter products around the world.


Congratulations to all of our Pitch for People competitors! 

The Number One Secret to Job Hunting: Weak Connections

The Number One Secret to Job Hunting: Weak Connections

Thanks to technology like LinkedIn's new easy-application feature and the hundreds of job matching platforms, applying for a job is easier than ever. Once you've identified your interest and potential alignment, submission is only a few survey questions, a resume upload, and a click away. However, the abundance of tools making jobseeking easier are not necessarily making it more effective. In fact, it may be harder than ever before to differentiate yourself from the thousands of other online applicants, as seen in this article about a jobseeker who actually built a bot to troll postings and create customized applications to thousands of jobs at once. Spoiler alert: even his customized and thorough solution didn't work, because his materials still weren't being read.

Taking the Social Impact Plunge

On the first day of orientation at Columbia Business School, our Dean delivered a speech that I am sure is approximately the same speech rattled off at Business Schools around the country.  Step 1) Inflate the incoming students’ egos: “best and brightest” references abound. Step 2) Convince new students that [insert school] has the best resources and network in the world. Step 3) Pull the two together and end with a charge like “you are the future leaders of business,  now go change the world.”