As I dig into my own research on organizations changing lives for the better, it’s only fitting this month’s UN theme be Human Rights. Uniformly, I find the businesses and charities championingnhuman rights (through economic inclusion, physical safety, or personal autonomy) and thriving put one thing at the forefront of their work.
What better way to move the needle on the world’s challenges (like human rights violations) than to remember our own humanity? The more founders embrace who they are, and infuse
themselves into their work, the more traction and attention their work gets.
It’s easy to see why that’s the case. Humanizing our work builds culture and it’s culture that creates loyalists and communities invested in our success. The social capital that comes with community investment beats out tote bags and hashtags any day.
As you put your own solutions out into the world I challenge you to take the more “humane” approach to business by remembering a few things:
Lean Into the Messy
In the world of decks and pitches, there’s a ton of pressure to have all of the answers and execute. Thing is, you’ll never have all of the answers. Even worse, if you preoccupy yourself with finding answers you’ll miss some pretty interesting problems.
Move yourself and your team away from the need for certainty, and embrace the humanity of evolving. Curiosity is one of the best ways to explore empathy, and empathy is how you get to
the root of a successful solution.
Build in a student mindset and I promise you’ll start to see new ways of integrating clients, engaging beneficiaries, new solutions to thorny problems, and identify growth opportunities that fit who you are and who you serve.
Talk About Yourself
Don’t mistake this for prattling on about yourself endlessly. What draws people into adopting, supporting or not protesting solutions is understanding your relationship to, and passion for, the problem. Why is the problem so important to you and your team? How are you touched? What have you experienced?
Talking about your interest(s) in the problem creates transparency, trust, and humanizes it for the listener.
People move when they are moved.
Chunk the Persona
So listen up, we have all read the same twenty or so startup books with the same advice and mantras. So when you copy and paste these into your pitches, donor materials, or projects they tend not to stand out because we have all seen it before.
Even worse? When we co-opt based on the lens of another there’s almost always incongruency between who we say we are and what we do.
Make it easy, and be yourself. Infuse your values, mission, and vision in all that you touch. If democratic and inclusive discussion are paramount to you, your legal business structure should reflect that. If you support wealth-generation and equity, your supply chain should reflect the local economy. If you want to fundraise in a way that builds wealth and equity, really think about venture capital versus a crowd-funding approach.
If we look at a list of your dreams, mission, and vision then look at your business operations, model, and recruiting there should be alignment between the two.
Own Your Impact
The research is in, and it turns out we as humans like to be liked. There are a number of historical and anthropological reasons for this, but the bottom line is it’s uncomfortable to be different. Which is why there’s a gut inclination for some impact organizations to apologize for not fitting neatly into boxes the philanthropic, corporate, or venture create. Either squeezing themselves in or erasing their distinctive nature.
But projects solving the world’s largest challenges are complex and messy because the WORLD is complex and messy. Organizations moving the needle understand this and embrace it.
The next time you feel the need to apologize because someone doesn’t understand why you do what you do, fight the urge to apologize and translate instead. How does your business model
educate and promote more charitable behavior? What are the economics behind inclusion and mental wellness?
Don’t shrink when confronted, expand.
Create Your Own Definitions
I’ll end with saying, not everyone’s dreams will be your dreams; nor should they be. There are milestones startup media heralds as indicative of “success.” Thing is, those milestones may not work for you and what you’re doing. Organizations solving the problems others haven’t dared touch, such as human rights violations, must define for themselves what success looks like…for them.
I truly believe running a business, charity or project should never require we co-opt someone else’s experiences or discard any parts of our own. The best way to have a positive impact and move us all into forwarding change will come when you embrace that you have a perspective and experience that no one else has had or will have again. Use that to your advantage and see how much progress you make.
Impact Hub Houston thanks Erin McClarty for authoring this piece. Erin is a mix between a business coach, attorney, impact architect, and vision doula. She helps people run businesses, foundations, initiatives, and movements that are unique to the founders. In doing her work, Erin works to carve out spaces that are the truest of expressions of who they are, allowing them to heal themselves while they heal their communities. Learn more about Erin and the services she offers by clicking here to visit her website.
June has been filled with celebration at Impact Hub Houston!
Did you hear? We are excited to partner with Houston Exponential for a summer pop-up! Stop by to say hello!
We launched the Impact Hub Houston Community Membership this month! We’re working to offer you more programs to learn from, more events to connect at, more storytelling to inspire you, and new virtual and physical spaces to empower your networking and coworking! Learn more at https://houston.impacthub.net/membership — if you’re ready to take our relationship to the next level, apply to become an Impact Hub Houston Community Member, today!
Before June flies by, be sure to connect with the Impact Hub Houston fam on Friday, June 28:
Houston: The day is here. We are officially launching Impact Hub Houston as a nonprofit organization to inspire, connect and empower the Greater Houston area’s changemakers, social entrepreneurs and impact supporters; and make Houston a role model for how the world solves its most pressing issues!
We have a few exciting announcements to share, but first, we want to let you know…over the past few months, our Launch Team has dived deep into discussion around who we are, who we aim to serve, how we want to create and amplify impact, and what we want to implement and offer to do so. Those conversations led us to be more intentional about the language we use, because language shapes how we think — and how we think shapes what we do.
Acknowledging that, we refined our Vision and Mission to more accurately represent the change we wish to be in the world:
Our Vision: To make Houston a role model for how the world solves its most pressing issues.
We have heard time and again how other cities are building strong innovation ecosystems, from Chicago to Cincinnati to Detroit. Guess what: Houston is, too! We will shine a spotlight on our own city and elevate the people, businesses, and organizations who have been pioneering progress under the radar. While we champion an inclusive impact-driven innovation ecosystem, we will partner with more organizations across the region to collaboratively transform Greater Houston into a model that the rest of the world aspires to learn from and become.
Our Mission: To inspire, connect, and empower changemakers, social entrepreneurs, and impact supporters with mentorship, sponsorship, meaningful content, thought-provoking talks, hands-on learning opportunities, and vibrant community conversations. To create inclusive and equitable environments where people plug in and actively advocate for each other. To deepen and strengthen relationships among stakeholders to build an innovation ecosystem where people collaborate across organizations, cultures, identities, geography, and generations. As a member of the Impact Hub global network, we support people who are developing solutions aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Through our collective experience, we’ve found that the kind of support that changemakers and entrepreneurs need most take the forms of guidance, connections, funding, and advocacy. We’ve shaped our mission to directly address those needs while making sure that we hold ourselves accountable to meet people where they are and foster stronger understanding, engagement, and support across the diverse communities of Houston.
Through that lens, we are pleased to announce the following programs and collaborations we’re working on to deliver on our Vision and Mission:
– Social impact firm Generation Titans collaborates with Google, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, Envolve Entrepreneurship, Common Impact, and the Soze Agency to generate resources for enterprise solutions
– Event on March 9, 2019 coinciding with the SXSW Interactive Festival
WASHINGTON, Feb. 19, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Generation Titans, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, Google, Envolve Entrepreneurship, and the Soze Agency are proud to launch the inaugural Titan Generator at Google Austin on March 9, 2019. This day-long event will serve as a collaborative immersive program for start-up businesses led by entrepreneurs of color. Social movement organizations—March for Our Lives, Color Of Change, United We Dream, and the International Indigenous Youth Council—will participate as advisers. The initiative seeks to align support for 50+ new businesses to generate business solutions.
Currently, high-potential entrepreneurs, particularly those from under-represented communities, must navigate a maze of obstacles in search of resources. In response, the Titan Generator is convening business and social movement leaders to facilitate pledges of support – from start-up finance and pro bono benefits to hands-on mentorship and story amplification.
“We want to work together within the social impact ecosystem to provide pro-bono assistance and deal flow for entrepreneurs of color. We’re working to pull together a diverse mix of investors and service providers who are seeking to scale social impact at pace. We see the Titan Generator event as a dynamic business accelerator,” stated Jessica Lynch, one of the three founding partners of Generation Titans.
Against the backdrop of the SXSW Interactive Festival, the Titan Generator will take place just a few blocks away from the Austin Convention Center at Google’s downtown office. “Google is excited to welcome the Titan Generator to our Austin office. The work they do to support local entrepreneurs across industries and backgrounds is phenomenal and speaks to our goal of creating access and opportunities for everyone,” said Lauren Lambert, Head of External Affairs – Google Austin.
“Robert Kennedy called young people ‘the world’s hope’, and we are thrilled to bring together leading young activists, entrepreneurs, and students who embody that message. These young leaders inspire us all to carry on my father’s legacy of advocating for a more just and peaceful world,” said Kerry Kennedy, President – Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights.
Nestor Ruiz, Digital Organizer at United We Dream, the largest immigrant youth-led network in the country added: “Immigrants, including those who are undocumented, are resilient and resourceful entrepreneurs. We’ve built lives here, started businesses and we continue to find the means to thrive despite the political environment. We are pumped to be part of Titan Generator, working with organizations that share our vision for all immigrant people.”
David Hogg of March for Our Lives stated: “We strongly believe that multiple resources and partners need to be involved in stopping gun violence in America. We can’t wait to brainstorm solutions and work on real plans of action.”
Envolve Entrepreneurship, which provides multiple resources and facilitates an award program for start-up businesses, has pledged dedicated mentors post-event for up to four new ventures led by entrepreneurs of color.
Christopher R. Upperman, CEO of Envolve, mentioned: “Our culture promotes a spirit of collaboration, and we are enthusiastic to join efforts in tackling gaps in the entrepreneurship ecosystem. The Titan Generator experience is exactly the type of innovative approach our diverse communities and founders of color need. Together, we aim to agitate the status quo in the hope that it will accelerate opportunities, and as a result of this partnership, Envolve pledges mentorship and more to come!”
Common Impact, a national nonprofit that connects corporate volunteers to impactful nonprofits through skills-based volunteerism, will support the Titan Generator by providing social entrepreneurs with tools and resources to engage pro bono support for their efforts. Danielle Holly, CEO of Common Impact, explained: “We are thrilled to apply our nearly 20 years of experience building capacity for the social sector to support these social entrepreneurs as they tackle some of the most pressing issues our society faces. Our work has long supported nonprofits in making progress on important social and equity issues for our communities and we are excited to apply our expertise in leading skilled volunteer programs to amplify the diverse perspectives and scale the impact that these social entrepreneurs are poised to make.”
The Titan Generator curated experience will include:
A creative art / tech activation designed by the Soze Agency that explores the rich history of social movements and entrepreneurship in communities of color
A Dream Studio, or facilitated, hackathon-style session, with activists, entrepreneurs, funders, and influencers breaking down challenges and forging new pathways for collaboration
“Fist Bump Moments” of real-time pledges that connect resources and build relationships post-event
“The Titan Generator is pairing activists and entrepreneurs to build a better future,” said Joshua DuBois, CEO – Gauge, a partner of the event. “We created Gauge to ensure that the voices of diverse communities are heard when decisions are being made that impact them. We look forward to participating and providing next-gen market research services for the event.”
Generation Titans worked with several key partners nationally, such as DivInc, to source nearly 200 entrepreneurs of color as potential participants. “DivInc is proud and excited to be partners with Generation Titans in Austin. We share the same mission of creating meaningful access to essential resources and opportunities for underrepresented entrepreneurs. We are all hands-on-deck to achieve the mission and the Titan Generator is a key effort toward that mission!” said Preston L. James II, Co-Founder & CEO – DivInc.
The Titan Generator aims to be a catalyst for a broader coalition of support and action. Generation Titans is still seeking additional funding, amplification, and pro bono support from partners who are working to deliver resources more equitably to diverse entrepreneurs.
Want to help? You can:
Amplify: If you’d like to use your platform to signal boost underrepresented voices, engage influencers, and amplify stories of founders of color with great solutions, then sign up to provide amplification.
Support Pro-Bono: If you’d like to roll up your sleeves and provide strategic and skills-based supports (e.g., planning, HR, IT, marketing, financial approaches, etc.) to founders of color, then sign up to provide pro bono support.
Fund: If you’d like to provide direct funding support (any level) for individual and / or collaborative solutions, then sign up to provide funding support.
We just ask that you fulfill your pledge within two months of the Titan Generator.
To participate, go to http://j.mp/2EipHHy.
For more information about the Titan Generator and how to get involved as a resource provider during the event, please email [email protected].
The event will benefit from the support of numerous partners, including Impact Hub Austin, Impact Hub Houston, the Austin Justice Coalition, Gauge, In My Shoes, DivInc, Blnded Media, Roanhorse Consulting, Camelback Ventures, Valor Up, and University of Texas at Austin – Inclusive Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
About Generation Titans
Generation Titans is a social impact firm with a race and equity lens. Its mission and client work focuses on developing authentic community engagement strategies, boosting inclusive investments in support of social entrepreneurship, and mobilizing human capital as a force for change. For more information on Generation Titans and the Titan Generator, please visit www.generationtitans.com
About Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights:
Led by human rights activist and lawyer Kerry Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights has advocated for a more just and peaceful world since 1968. We work alongside local activists to ensure lasting positive change in governments and corporations. Whether in the United States or abroad, our programs have pursued justice through strategic litigation on key human rights issues, educated millions of children in human rights advocacy and fostered a social good approach to business and investment. For more information on Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, please visit www.rfkhumanrights.org.
About Envolve Entrepreneurship:
Envolve Entrepreneurship (Envolve) is a 501(c)(3) organization that strives for a global society where all business owners can prosper and grow. Envolve focuses on helping diverse individuals and underserved communities access funding and support services to pursue their business dreams. With offices in the USA and Greece, Envolve is committed to cultivating the global entrepreneurial ecosystem through education, resources and awards. Envolve was founded by the Libra Group, and for more on its efforts to spur entrepreneurship, please visit www.envolveglobal.org
About the Soze Agency
The Soze Agency is a worker-owned cooperative, made up of entrepreneurs, activists, storytellers, artists and strategists. Guided by three core values: compassion, authenticity and equity, they create immersive pop-up experiences, expansive social movements, strategies for the future and high-profile, large-scale public events. For more information on the Soze Agency, please visit www.wearesoze.com.
About Common Impact
Common Impact is a national nonprofit that works to build a society in which individuals and businesses invest their unique talents towards a shared purpose: strengthening the local communities in which we live and work. Founded in 2000, Common Impact has partnered with Fortune 500 companies and hundreds of the country’s leading nonprofit organizations to create this transformational change through skills-based volunteering. Learn more about Common Impact’s services, impact, and clients at www.commonimpact.org.
The Titan Generator event will take place on Saturday March 9 at Google Austin (PRNewsfoto/Generation Titans)
We’re proud to announce that we’re working with the Houston Health Department to help HOU win the IT’S TIME TEXAS #CommunityChallenge! Aligned with the #GlobalGoal of Good Health and Well-Being (SDG3), Houston’s participation in the challenge is part of the ongoing #GoHealthyHouston initiative supported by the office of Mayor Sylvester Turner:
“When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, our motivation to keep on a healthier track can fade as the weeks pass. That’s why we at the Houston Health Department encourage you to participate in the 2019 IT’S TIME TEXAS Community Challenge. The statewide competition helps you create healthy habits while competing against other communities for bragging rights and grant money.
The Challenge runs January 7 to March 3, 2019 and it’s free to participate. Here’s how it works:
Take healthy selfies whenever you’re eating healthy or participating in a physical activity — use the hashtag #CommunityChallengeHOU and #GoHealthyHouston so we can track it! You can upload seven selfies per day for 200 points each.
Connect your FitBit and/or use the site’s fitness tracker to earn points throughout the day.
Watch the living healthier video lesson and answer a few questions for 200 points.
Host a community event for 250 points. It must be a free, public, fitness-focused event for the entire community to enjoy.
Your community leaders also play a huge role in the Challenge. Elected officials, school representatives, businesses and organizations can earn points by signing pledges and participating in other activities.
In addition to earning bragging rights over our fellow Texas cities, *the five winning communities will receive funds to put toward future health-related projects.*
Help us get Houston on the path to better health — grab a glass of water and sign up to get started!