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.
On Monday we hosted our January Kickoff event, ushering in the new year with IC veterans as well as many new faces. Our purpose-driven crowd included impact investors, B Corps, nonprofits, venture capitalists and more, perfectly illustrating the diverse nature of the spectrum of impact. Meaning, there are more ways than one to a make an impact on this world. Whether you are working on the frontline of a non-profit or at a bank, there are always ways to connect the dots and see how you and your role can play into a better future.
But without further ado, let’s introduce you to our team, and in doing so explore the impact we’re making at Inspiring Capital. First up is our newest team member, Deb!
Deb Lewison Grant, Director of Programs
Deb is the most recent addition to the Inspiring Capital family. She’s thrilled to be a part of such a dynamic team of changemakers and is eager to bring her experience to the program management role. For the past 8 years, Deb has served as the Executive Director of a NYC based nonprofit that created food literacy curriculum and teacher/staff wellness for underserved schools in NYC and beyond. Before that, Deb was a teacher and educational researcher. She earned her doctorate from Teachers College, Columbia University where she studied the authenticity and transformational impact of classroom conversations. These words resonate at IC where we are looking to change the nature of the conversation about social impact, offering a variety of programs at the intersection of the nonprofit and for profit space.
Eyra Dzakuma, Social Impact Consulting Manager
Eyra is also brand new to IC, but has experience in international development, supporting entrepreneurship and consulting work in markets abroad. At IC Eyra is focusing on cultivating consulting opportunities with impact-driven organizations so as to help them accelerate their growth and impact. She’s looking forward to connecting with organizations and finding out some of their pain points, so that IC can help them move forward.
For any organizations or social enterprises thinking about financial sustainability or for anyone working at a nonprofit thinking about earned income strategies, talk to Eyra and she’ll match you with a business professional consultant that can help your organization reach your strategic goals for the year.
Nia Gough, Women’s Program Associate
Nia runs the Women’s Re-Inspiration Program, which is now in its 8th iteration, having produced 80 fabulous alumni already! Nia continues to add to and fine-tune the program, and she’s excited for 4 cohorts this year, the first one beginning next Tuesday. The Re-Inspiration program furnishes women with the skills, connections, knowledge, and confidence to pursue careers within the social sector and/or use their experience for social impact. Each cohort benefits from direct exposure to social impact organizations; the upcoming sessions will be hosted by Acumen, Davis Wright & Tremaine, and Incandescent. Guest speakers also hail from fantastic organizations like, Encore, Per Scholas & Food Fighters!
Tadd Wamester, Director of Organizational Learning & Transformation
Tadd recognizes that the workplace is rapidly evolving, and that we are in a period of significant disruption. Technology is changing how (and where) we do work, employee needs (as well as the cost of real estate) are supporting the shift towards flexible work and workplaces. But one of the most relevant shifts (to IC) is the confirmation of what we have long known: workers, especially millennials, want their role and the company they work at to value purpose and have meaning. At the same time, individuals are feeling more confident in their prospects as a job seeker, and eyes may be wandering.
In conversation after conversation with employers across the country, Tadd has noticed organizations competing for the same top, purpose-driven talent. Employers know that much of their workforce is disengaged, not optimized, potentially looking elsewhere for career development and growth, but organizations are sometimes so far off the mark, that they don't know where to start. But Inspiring Capital’s got this!
We know through our consulting work that contributing business skills to social impact organizations or specific causes motivates, engages, and develops employees. Skills-based volunteerism, strategic board membership, and internal diversity & sustainability initiatives can motivate and stretch employees to become their best self. This area of expertise at IC enables Tadd to help employers cultivate more productive and inspired employees through our Inspiring Workplace Program, Impact Hackathons, and the upcoming Inspiring Professionals cohort.
Anthony Koh-Bell, Intern
Anthony first learned about Inspiring Capital at a summer entrepreneurship program where Nell was speaking about IC. She helped him think through his own project that connected marketing professionals with nonprofits for short-term consulting gigs. Almost two years later Anthony found an opportunity to become a part of the IC family. He’s interning here for a month before heading back to his spring semester at Middlebury College. This month he’s been using his knowledge as a rising junior to help perfect our undergraduate fellowship, thinking about programming and marketing ideas in particular. If you know any undergrads who are interested in hands-on consulting experience in the social impact sector then let us know. They’ll get to work alongside our MBAs, which Maddie can tell you more about!
Maddie Elkus, Recruitment & Operations Manager
Maddie has been all over the US recruiting MBAs from the country’s top graduate business schools. So far we’ve had some awesome applicants, hailing from Harvard, Columbia, and Berkeley, amongst other great schools. We’re also proud to announce that the number of applicants for our Social Impact Fellowship increased by 88% this year! Looks like a lot of people are excited to be at the forefront of the social impact industry. Each MBA Fellow will get to work on a project sourced by Eyra; project topics range from conducting impact assessments to brainstorming earned income strategies for nonprofits. And we can’t forget the National Parks Business Plan Internship that Maddie also recruits for. These lucky candidates get to spend their summers in some of America’s most beautiful National Parks. Spoiler alert, their schedules can and have included sunrise surfing before working on financial models in the afternoon!
Bernadette Hopen, Branding & Community Manager
Our podcast episodes aim to ask the hard questions in the social impact field - we love candid and controversial conversations! In fact, whether the topic is earned income, impact investing, workplace politics, diversity, or consumerism, we promise to get under the skin of the subject and dig deep. Make sure to find us on the Apple Podcast app or the Google Play store, subscribe, and rate us!
The second major announcement is the re-launch of our Community membership. This membership aims to provide a continuous stream of education and opportunities in the social impact field. Curated weekly content, members only networking events, discounted fellowships are some of the benefits! And in June, we’ll be launching our online membership platform, which will allow you to tap into all of our resources - white papers, curated content, courses, guided activities, online networking & more! From now until then, Bernadette is welcoming early adaptors to be part of shaping the community. We are offering all of you access to sign up to become a founding member now -- your annual membership won’t then begin until June when the platform is up. That means that you’ll have 17 months of IC membership status for the cost of one year. Our fellowship alumni get all of the benefits and features mentioned, but at an even more discounted price.
Georgia Sherwin, Digital Marketing Associate
Georgia is project lead of Inspiring Capital’s plans for a new website, which will go live in June 2018 - just in time to celebrate IC’s five year anniversary! She is excited to be streamlining user flows, adding new features, and in particular integrating a community platform so that Bernadette’s grand membership plans can come to fruition! Ultimately, Georgia’s aim is to ensure that the new IC website better reflects what we are all about!
Georgia is also working hard on content creation. At IC we continue to write weekly blog posts on hot topics in the social impact sector -- keep your eyes peeled for articles on emotional intelligence, the circular economy, B Corporations & more! If you don’t already follow us on social media, please do -- LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook & Instagram. We are constantly sharing the latest news in the sector and offering our own thoughts on what’s going on, don’t miss out!
And finally, Nell!
Nell Derick Debevoise, Founder & CEO
Nell has been developing and leading Inspiring Capital for four and a half years now, and each year the demand and need for IC’s vision only seems to grow stronger. IC’s unique, hybrid approach to learning and consulting results in various offerings, but at the core of each offering is the same, clear message -- we power purposeful growth. This is fundamental to Nell's personal mission, which is to connect divergent ideas and people in a way that helps people discover work that they find fulfilling, which is what we need to heal the world! If you want to hear Nell’s weekly musings, you can read her articles for Forbes here; she writes on the social impact sector, career transitions & more! Or if you don’t know her founding story, listen to episode one of our podcast and hear how she was inspired to start IC after ten years in the nonprofit sector.