Superpowers For Good--Skills to Leave Your Mark on the World

Devin Thorpe

Devin Thorpe hosts changemakers who share the work they're doing to make the world a better place and the superpowers that enable their social impact. devinthorpe.substack.com

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Listen now | After Alex Died of Cancer, @lemonadeliz Raised $200 Million to Save Other Kids - @AlexsLemonade Get full access to Superpowers for Good at devinthorpe.substack.com/subscribe

Nov 24

16 min 10 sec

Devin: Abhi, what do you think of as your superpower?Abhi: Devin, I have no idea... What is my superpower? Something I’ve heard often is actually the ability to have these kinds of open, hard, vulnerable conversations with people and see that turn into something meaningful for the other person and myself.“Just because this person is wearing a hat that has the opposite message of what I believe doesn’t mean that we can’t have a meaningful conversation,” says Abhi Nangia, founder of BetterWorldEd.org. “As I learn about this person’s story, there’s a chance that I’ll start seeing this person differently.”That philosophy, incorporating empathy and respect for another’s innate humanity, underlies Abhi’s vision for education. He believes you can teach math, reading, writing and science in a way that also guides students to appreciate people whose lives are different than their own.The BetterWorldEd.org program is built around wordless videos introducing students to a person in a place or circumstance different from their own. For instance, one video features Shantanu in India, who makes and sells chai tea. The wordless video provides an intimate look at his daily life, smiling, laughing, talking to customers and listening to music. It provides students with an opportunity to step into his world briefly.Based on the video, written narratives then provide teachers and students with a structure for considering math and literacy lessons. Those lessons stick close to traditional lessons for teaching those concepts, but the context is profoundly refreshing. Abhi saw a problem with conventional approaches to education. “Show me the experiences we’re having where kids are really learning to wonder about each other, to care about each other. Practicing that in school is really not happening at any kind of scale with any kind of depth,” he observed.The videos are intended to help address that educational gap while keeping teachers and students on track with the fundamentals. Abhi believes the shift can be genuinely transformational, helping students and ultimately humankind cope with climate change, social upheavals and global health. “If we want to have a shot at actually addressing all of these huge, massive systemic problems, it’s going to take everybody working together.”Abhi’s superpower, reluctant as he is to acknowledge it, “the ability to have these kinds of open, hard, vulnerable conversations” is fundamental to his work. How to Develop Authentic Communication As a SuperpowerIt isn’t hard to see how Abhi’s rare ability to build trust and rapport that gain him and his team access to people’s private lives is critical to BetterWorldEd.org’s success. “We make these stories about people all over the world, and we have video footage of people brushing their teeth, [or] praying in a situation where they’ve never let anybody into that room with them to pray,” he said.At the same time, it appears that Abhi didn’t set out to develop this skill. Perhaps it grew out of his humility. As our conversation about his superpower concluded, at my invitation, he encouraged the audience to connect with him, adding this explanation:And just to note on the superpower thing to remember, I feel like for me, I don't even know if it's a superpower, it's something I'm just trying to do better. And so for whoever is listening, if we do connect, I would love to work on it together, too. I'm no expert. I feel like I'm far from understanding how to do this really well. So I would appreciate people helping me figure this out better, too.His open nature makes every day, every minute, a teachable moment for him. He’s also learned that to help people reveal themselves authentically, he must be willing to do the same. And he regularly does. “Is it weird that I’m open to having a two-hour discussion with somebody I just met at a cafe about some of the hardest things going on in my life?” His unusual willingness to share openly gives others license to respond similarly. He and his team have learned to rely on this approach. One aspect that has become a formal part of their approach is to avoid any hint of ulterior motive. Their goal as a team is just to learn about a person. Abhi says, “We just live it.”“We just have these conversations and dig into the things, and with each other and with the people we’re making stories about to the point that just naturally keeps growing. And it’s contagious.”So, as you seek to build your authentic communication skills, remember that practice is essential. Abhi says, “The only way to cultivate this kind of superpower is to just keep doing it even when it’s uncomfortable.”If you work at it, authentic communication could become a superpower that enables you to do more good in the world. Get full access to Superpowers for Good at devinthorpe.substack.com/subscribe

Nov 23

27 min 46 sec

Devin: What is your superpower? What do you think of as that singular strength that helps you to be so incredibly successful?Jill: You know, I have a really good friend, Marion Fredman, who told me once when I was a young leader at my first nonprofit Museum of Children’s Art, she said, “Jill, we’re many different people in our lives.” I think similarly, we have many different superpowers. I think more recently, the superpower that has given me the most success has been my ability to convince other people of their transformative power to make the world a better place, to really contribute, to make a difference.Jill Vialet founded the national nonprofit Playworks, which operates effective programs both during and after school across the country. She recently wrote a book, Why Play Works, about the lessons she’s learned over 25 years. Her insights demand our attention.Jill sees play as relevant not only for healthy childhood development but also for adults. Bemoaning the current political environment in which people vilify their political rivals—often including friends and neighbors whose cars have the wrong bumper sticker or caps have the wrong slogan—she sees play as a part of the solution.She notes that play teaches us that we need “healthy competition to get better.” Republicans challenging Democratic policies could be seen as helping to hone the principles and polish the messages to convince people of their value. In addition, she observes that play helps get us comfortable with rules. You can’t imagine playing sports without rules. That framework helps us tolerate rules that govern work and society, too.Jill attributes learning creativity and innovation to play. She adds that leadership is also learned that way. This is true perhaps, especially for unstructured play. Recently, she hike the John Muir Trail from Yosemite to Moun Whitney admitting that there was no structured purpose for this play but values it just the same.One critical thing value she sites for play is its ability to teach us to manage risks. “Play is this—it's an undeniably risky behavior that has survived evolution nonetheless, partly because the way you learn to handle risk is by taking manageable risks. Play really is that that tool. People climb jungle gyms or they play hide and seek; in a lot of ways, those are just playing out, dealing with fears of heights and or being worried about abandonment.”Having left her full-time role at Playworks during the pandemic, which sadly required a layoff in which she included herself, Jill has shifted her time and focus to academia. She now teaches at both the University of California Berkeley and Stanford. She describes her superpower as “my ability to convince other people of their transformative power to make the world a better place, to really contribute, to make a difference.”How to Develop the Ability to Convince Other People of Their Transformative Power As a SuperpowerJill’s leadership at Playworks is just one piece of evidence of that ability. In 1988, she founded the Museum of Children’s Art (or MOCHA) which continues to thrive today. In fact, the high school intern, Nina Woodruff-Walker, who volunteered to help Jill launch it 34 years ago is now the executive director. Her leadership ability, including what she describes as her superpower, has left an impressive mark on her community and the country. She adds that she pairs her superpower with “my ability to get the hell out of the way.” While uttered in jest, I suspect there is a foundation of truth there. She is also keen on holding people accountable. When Playworks earned support from AmeriCorps members, she fired one. Someone said,  “You can’t fire Americorps members.” Jill describes her response as, “I’m like, Oh yes, we can.” Accountability is a partner of empowerment.As a professor, she teaches her students a key principle, that there is not only one right answer. She invites guest lecturers with whom she disagrees to present to the students to help them develop their personal sense of mission, purpose and values. She sees this an empowering approach that will enable them to change the world. Remembering this can help you do the same. Your vision for how you change the world should be defined by your passions and life experiences, not Jill’s—or mine. You can change the world. And you can convince other people of their transformative power as well. With practice, this can become one of your superpowers. Get full access to Superpowers for Good at devinthorpe.substack.com/subscribe

Nov 18

26 min

Listen now | @CollectiveSun's Lee Barken Finances Nonprofit Solar Projects and Says "Action Cures Fear" Get full access to Superpowers for Good at devinthorpe.substack.com/subscribe

Nov 16

26 min 25 sec

Listen now | @MarkTercek Says He Learned Teamwork at Goldman Sachs Get full access to Superpowers for Good at devinthorpe.substack.com/subscribe

Nov 11

36 min 45 sec

Devin: Justin, what is your superpower?Justin: What is my superpower? Oh, man, you know, if I was a fundraiser, I’d answer this differently than if I was the founder of a company. So, I would just say, and I’ll kind of explain this a little bit more, but I’m an incredibly optimistic person, which allows me to make big bets and take big risks without the consequence—without the fear of what the consequences might be if we don’t hit that target.Justin Wheeler, CEO of Funraise, a complete digital fundraising platform and donor management system, has helped nonprofits raise almost $1 billion. His optimism is a powerful contributor to that success. Nonprofits are doing more good as a result.Before launching Funraise, he spent 12 years working in nonprofits directly, including a two he founded. Over those years, he reports raising $100 million. That gave him insights into the problems nonproblems face with some of the available systems. He saw a fragmented industry that often left nonprofits using three or four different applications or services to complete and implement a development or fundraising plan for a year.Funraise offers a complete CRM and fundraising tools adapted to various fundraising situations, from galas to peer-to-peer crowdfunding. One client, Dressember, fights human trafficking. Justin says the nonprofit doubled its success after adopting the Funraise platform. Justin says, on average, their clients raise double “the national average.” Among the innovations that Funraise has implemented is the capacity for nonprofits to accept cryptocurrency. As that market grows, it becomes even critical. Justin can see how optimism is a factor in achieving the success Funraise enjoys. It could be a tool for you, too.How to Develop Optimism As a SuperpowerJustin not only sees how optimism helps him succeed but also how he developed it and how you can, too.Justin sees optimism as enabling risk-taking. By allowing yourself to take bigger risks, more significant success and more impact are possible. Lacking that optimism, you may not even have the vision to achieve what you are capable of doing.In his career, Justin recognizes that his optimism allows him to accept the mistakes and failures inherent in life and careers to overcome setbacks. In this way, Justin is a role model for you—unless you’re exempt from mistakes. You can see them as an essential part of progress and see a better future coming.There are two specific things Justin recommends for building your optimism.First, Justin suggests that you can develop optimism by applying “zero gravity thinking.” He describes the ability that non-experts have in problem-solving. Because people who are still developing proficiency don’t know where all the boundaries are. They can’t help but think outside the box or draw outside the lines, allowing them to sometimes solve problems even the experts can’t. Understanding that principle helps to develop your optimism.Second, he reminded me that optimism is like a muscle. The more you practice using it, the stronger it becomes. So, even if you’re already optimistic—especially if you’re already optimistic—using it will build it into a strength that will allow you to achieve more and have more impact.You really can turn optimism into a superpower that will enable you to have greater impact. Get full access to Superpowers for Good at devinthorpe.substack.com/subscribe

Nov 9

26 min 8 sec

Devin: Laurie, what is your superpower?Laurie: I think if I have—I’ve succeeded in anything to a certain extent, I think it is by helping to start movements. You know, social movements, professional movements, educational movements.Laurie Lane-Zucker’s success comes from his ability to build a movement. After 30 years working in sustainability and a decade after launching his Impact Entrepreneur network, he’s launching his latest effort with Impact Entrepreneur Magazine.Patiently building an audience of 30,000 people has given him a platform to successfully stand up the new enterprise. He’s proven his superpower.Laurie began his impact career at The Orion Society, a nonprofit he headed that published a magazine about place-based education. Over 14 years in that seat, he grew the organization dramatically and the field it championed even more so. In 2007, he was struck by the potential of a new movement to change the world. The intersection of for-profit entrepreneurship and the investors who back them caught his attention. In that year, B Corporations were launched, and the term “impact investing” was coined. He immediately recognized the opportunity and dove in.He launched Hotfrog as a B Corporation and completed a funding round supported by impact investors in 2011. He then started the Impact Entrepreneur network, built successfully around a Linkedin group that now has 30,000 members. Over the past decade, he’s produced content in various ways, including via webinars for which he successfully charged admission. That track record has helped him establish a reputation that made assembling a team to launch Impact Entrepreneur Magazine possible during a global pandemic.The new magazine features quality, accessible content written primarily for an audience of entrepreneurs. The site is beautiful and operationally well-designed. A key feature is that all content is tagged to one or more of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. If an article can’t be tagged to a goal, it won’t appear in the magazine.It is another evidence of Laurie’s ability to build a movement.How to Develop Building a Movement As a SuperpowerLaurie was careful never to accept the label of superpower in our conversation. Still, he noted that 15 years after leaving Orion, he gave the keynote address at a conference on place-based education, a field he helped create and saw how large it had become. He recognizes that he is now building a second movement successfully.While he said he couldn’t “bottle up and sell” instructions for building movements, he did have some observations that suggest a path. He reviewed some of the tactics he’s used over the years and noted their impact.First, he got into the impact entrepreneur space early. His business was among the founding group of B Corporations and was the first mission-oriented business to raise money on Mission Markets, an early crowdfunding site for impact investors. Being early is essential to building a movement.Second, he adopted Linkedin as his primary social media channel. He built the group as his principal tool within the platform. He’s on Twitter and Facebook, but for over a decade, Linkedin has been his tool. Linkedin works because he’s building a business-oriented movement. Again, it also helps that he got there relatively early in the life of Linkedin.Learn from Laurie. If you want to make building a movement your superpower, join his group, subscribe to his magazine and learn from the master. Get full access to Superpowers for Good at devinthorpe.substack.com/subscribe

Nov 4

27 min 28 sec

Devin: What is your superpower?Mark: I don't know if I have one, but I would say it's what we just talked about; it's a focus on return investment when applied to giving that I execute on.Mark Gerson is the husband of Rabbi Erica Gerson and is devout in their shared Jewish faith. They are raising their four children in that model; they attend Jewish day school. It is notable, therefore, that he helped found, chairs and is the chief funder for a Christian nonprofit, African Mission Healthcare. It has everything to do with his superpower, focusing on ROI. In 2000, Mark’s closest friend from college, John Fielder, called to say he’d graduated from medical school at John’s Hopkins and had decided that rather than serve as the 700,000th MD in the United States, he’d go to Africa to treat the millions of people who have AIDS. He explained the decision as being a product of his Christian faith.The “greatest humanitarian problem in the world is the lack of access to care for almost everybody in Africa,” Mark explains, noting that he learned this from John. Mark credits John for inspiring the formation of African Mission Healthcare. Across Sub-Saharan Africa, there is just one doctor for every 10 to 50,000 people. In the U.S., by comparison, there is 1 doctor for every 339 people.Rabbi Erica, Mark says, had four c-sections to deliver their children. In New York, where they live, if you need a c-section, you get a c-section. In Africa, there is an 80 percent chance that you can’t get the c-section you need. Women who survive, often have fistulas between their vaginas and bowels, resulting in a devastating cascade of health and social problems.African Mission Healthcare focuses on three areas of activity, supporting Christian-owned and operated hospitals in Africa: clinical care, infrastructure and training.Mark says that the Christian missionaries he funds are not doing much proselytizing. One an early visit, he spent two days with Dr. Mark Jaconbsen shadowing his work, during which time he didn’t try to convert anyone. When Mark asked the doctor about it, he said, they only have those conversations in the rare situation when a patient asks, “Why do you care so much that you are here instead of working back home in the United States?”Even then, Mark says, they don’t always get a chance to do it. Visiting a clinic with a rotating surgeon on-site, the surgeon had a queue of people that would require 10 hours of visits, not leaving much time for religion. Christian doctors are playing a vital role in Africa that is more about care than conversion.“The Torah tells us thirty-six times—more than anything else—that we are to ‘love the stranger,’” Mark explains. “So as serious Jews, we have to say, ‘Well, how can we discharge that biblical obligation to love the stranger? And when we ask that question, it's answered by Christian missionary doctors.”For many years, missionary doctors were supported by their churches. Many denominations have dwindled over recent decades, along with the donations they provided. Mark is stepping in to fill some of that void. He recently committed $18 million.At the moment, Mark, Erica and UBS are matching donations to African Mission Healthcare.How to Develop a Focus on ROI As a SuperpowerMark encourages all philanthropists, including those making donations of $100, to apply the same sort of scrutiny to giving that they do to investing. When making an investment, experienced investors consider the return on investment or ROI.Circling back to the c-sections, Mark notes that the cost ranges from $232 to just under $500 from country to country in Africa, but the impact is huge. When you save a life, he notes, you never save just one. There are always ripples, especially when treating mothers.What is now the Waldorf Astoria in New York City was once the New York Fistula Hospital. It isn’t anymore simply because women in New York who need a c-section, get one, thus avoiding complications like fistulas.While Mark notes that “good feelings derive from facts,” he is quite analytical. He introduced me to a well-understood public health concept known as DALY’s, that is, disability-adjusted life years. It is a calculation of the years of life lost due to death or disability. One DALY represents the loss of the equivalent of one year of full health, according to the WHO.For a philanthropist, the ROI calculation is different than for an investor measuring a purely financial return. “We try to missionize, we try to evangelize” the idea of measuring ROI for philanthropy. Measuring leads to putting money to work where it will do the most good.By deliberately checking the impact of your giving, you can make a focus on ROI a philanthropic superpower of your own. Get full access to Superpowers for Good at devinthorpe.substack.com/subscribe

Nov 2

29 min 39 sec

Chapter 60: Patience and Optimism - Bill GatesDevin: A few years ago, you wrote about superpowers in your annual letter. What is your superpower?Bill: Well, if I have one, it has something to do with optimism about scientific innovation and being able to gather teams of people. My experience at Microsoft was assembling teams of engineers and understanding what was on track/off track, being patient for things that, in that case, usually took five or six years. In the world of medicine, unfortunately, it's like ten years. The HIV vaccine—between when people started working on it and when we'll finally have one—that will have been almost 25 years. So the patience required, the need to have multiple strategies, so it's there in pushing for innovations.And then directing the resources that I'm lucky enough to have both through Microsoft and that Warren Buffett has made available. Thank goodness it's allowed us to be ambitious, including the scale we're at on polio. Warren was just in Seattle this week, and I was saying to him, “Hey, Pakistan—a few setbacks.” And he said, “You gotta keep going. You know, it's great that you're doing this.”Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft and co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, was, for nearly a generation, the wealthiest person on the planet. Among billionaires, he has been the role model for genuine philanthropy. Using the Giving Pledge, he has advocated for donating the majority of one’s wealth to solve society’s most pressing problems.He personally executes this pledge through his foundation. The Gates Foundation is the largest private foundation in the world. For years, its most significant funding commitment has been to the eradication of polio. While the end of polio will not be celebrated in 2021, there are early signs that the last case of wild poliovirus could be this year. As of this writing, there have been just two cases in the entire world, one each in Afghanistan and Pakistan.The bigger problem now is the number of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus (cVDPV) cases. One in several million immunizations using the Albert Sabin oral polio vaccine mutates, and a child catches or becomes contagious with the disease. In communities with low vaccination rates, polio spreads. In 2021, there have been dozens of cVDPV cases.This problem highlights the contribution of the Gates Foundation. Under Bill’s active leadership, the Gates Foundation began work a decade ago on a new oral vaccine that cannot mutate to cause even a single case of polio.At the time, India, which many had expected to be the last country with polio cases, appeared to have eradicated the disease. A few years later, that result was confirmed. So, as the Gates Foundation was talking about developing a new polio vaccine that might not be ready for use for a decade, many thought it would never be needed because the disease would be eradicated before a new vaccine could be approved.Fast forward, and the incredible foresight is clear. The Gates Foundation and its partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (Rotary International, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the Global Vaccine Alliance) are now deploying the novel vaccine to replace the traditional Sabin oral vaccine.The novel vaccine could be the only way to stop the spread of polio as immunization rates fall in countries that haven’t had a case of polio in years or even decades. In such places, one mutated vaccination can start an outbreak. The novel vaccine shepherded by Bill himself will be the linchpin to polio eradication.The novel vaccine is also a great example of Bill using his superpowers: optimism and patience. His particular brand of optimism focused on his ability to move the vaccine process forward quickly enough to play a role in eradication while at the same time having the patience to work on it for a decade.Following Bill’s example, you can make optimism and patience your superpowers, too.How to Develop Optimism and Patience as SuperpowersBill’s optimism and patience have helped make the world a better place, especially for the millions of children who would have contracted polio had he not worked to prevent it. You can develop the same superpowers.In Chapter 56 with Slava Rubin, you read about how to develop optimism as a superpower. Here, you will read how to use your optimism to strengthen your patience and how patience can amplify and expand all your superpowers.Operating with the view that your efforts will bring desired results makes patience easier to manifest. Good things always seem to take longer than expected, but remaining hopeful helps you keep working for the outcomes you want. Bill worked for a decade on the new vaccine, hoping it would arrive in time to be of help in the fight to eradicate polio. Thank heaven he did.Psychologist Paul Jenkins has some ideas for developing patience that I’ve adapted for this chapter.[1]1.       Think about your thinking. Developing patience requires you to think about the fact that you have some control over your thinking. You can observe your thoughts and feelings, the inner dialog in your head. (Psychologists call this metacognition.) Not only can you monitor what’s happening in your mind, but you can also change it.2.       See your expectations. Now that you are in your head, you can see how things that cause you to feel disappointed, frustrated or impatient often happen because what is happening doesn’t align with your expectations around timing. Some people who will camp overnight, waiting for the first chance to buy a new consumer product, get frustrated waiting a few minutes for fast food. It is not the wait that causes the problem; it is the expectation that fast food should come faster. Look at how your expectations about your progress may be contributing to your impatience.3.       Assess the now. Recognizing that you may not be where you’d hoped, and that may have important implications, ask yourself if it is too late? Bill hoped the vaccine would be available sooner but could see its future value. Progress may have been slower than expected, but it was not too late. The novel vaccine may hold the key to polio eradication.4.       Inventory your progress. Take a moment in your pain to reflect on the progress you’ve made, the skills you’ve learned and the people you have helped. If you have been working to address a significant social problem, you’ll have something to show for it, even if it is primarily a better understanding of the challenge.5.       Accept what is. Understanding that you aren’t where you hoped to be, you can choose to accept that reality. The choice to accept the situation can be a conscious one that helps relieve the pain you’re feeling.6.       Change your expectations. You don’t need to give up on your goals, but there may be times during your journey to impact when you have to recognize that you aren’t where you expected to be. Recalibrate. Change your expectations. This adjustment will contribute to a sense of relief and allow you to move forward.7.       Keep working. One final step to help you overcome feelings of impatience is to keep working. Taking action is empowering. Once you’ve completed the steps above, do something to move you toward your ultimate goal.With patience, you have a superpower that strengthens every other superpower in the book. Learning to move forward patiently will improve your tenacity and persistence. It will reflect on your optimism, allowing you to be hopeful even when others despair. By giving yourself time to develop any of the superpowers in this book, you enable yourself to conquer more of them.Remember, some of the superpowers in the book may be yours to master. Others may illuminate a weakness that limits your success. With effort and time, you can eliminate such shortcomings. No one has all 60 superpowers described in this book. Not even Bill. Following his example, pairing optimism and patience, can enable you to do more in the long run than you ever imagined.This is an excerpt from my book, Superpowers for Good.[1] November 14, 2019, Dr. Paul Jenkins, Vicki Jenkins, “How To Be Patient In A Relationship,” Get full access to Superpowers for Good at devinthorpe.substack.com/subscribe

Oct 28

21 min 7 sec

Devin: Bill, what is your superpower?Bill: I think it’s, you know, really being able to to have a vision. But I think a lot of people have vision, but really being able to stay on task because I tell you this has been a really up and down process. You know, when I talk about crowdfunding for the culture, it’s not as though crowdfunding for the Black community is different. But when I say that I am talking about someone in the Black community who has really tried to start a business and tried to find funding, I really understand what that is like. But really being able to stay focused, to stay on target and to really be passionate about what it is that I’m doing because there were a lot of really lean days, a lot of days when my family said, “Hey, man, maybe you need to get a job.” But being able to stay focused and that focus came from a passion because had it not been for that passion, for what I’m doing, I would have stopped, and I would have done something else. So, I think that that that is really about being focused and kind of being driven. You know, I grew up in a home and it was just my father and myself, and he was much older than me. He came from that greatest generation. He was in World War Two and he wasn’t a real nuanced guy. Right was either black or white, and he used to say there are only two kinds of people in the world: talkers and doers. It doesn’t take long to figure out which category you fall into. So, with that kind of home training, I am always trying to get something accomplished every day.Bill Huston, founder and CEO of Crowd Max Publishing, advocates for crowdfunding as a wealth-building tool for African American and other underserved communities. He also consults with entrepreneurs and real estate developers in the communities he serves to help them access capital via crowdfunding.That Black communities are not getting their fair share of capital from traditional sources is a well-established fact. Bill describes the data as “clear and consistent.” African American women get less than 1 percent of venture capital. And it isn’t just venture capital that isn’t allocated to Black-owned businesses. Only 4 percent of SBA loans (bank loans guaranteed by the Federal Small Business Administration) go to Black entrepreneurs. Less than 2 percent of PPP funding during the pandemic went to Black-owned businesses.Bill acknowledges that many businesses in the African American community don’t qualify for these traditional sources of capital. He notes that because of a vast wealth gap between the community and the rest of America, Black entrepreneurs can’t raise as much money in a friends-and-family round—typically the first round of funding for a startup. As a result, such businesses are less likely to meet the requirements of traditional formal capital.For Bill, crowdfunding plays a dual role. On the one hand, it helps create businesses in the community that will employ people and grows wealth and success for entrepreneurs. It can solve the problem of access to that critical initial capital. On the other hand, members of the community who invest can participate in that wealth creation. Everyone benefits.There is a natural, positive cycle involved in crowdfunding. Your investors are likely to be or become customers—and vice versa.Concerned that when people in the larger community invest in black-owned businesses, we may be taking that opportunity from community members, I asked Bill how he recommends we approach the opportunity. His answer is clear. Members of the larger community need to be intentional about investing in and buying from Black-owned businesses. He suggests allocating a portion of your spending each month to be used specifically at a Black-owned enterprise.The U.S. Chamber of Commerce lists nine directories of Black-owned businesses you can use to do what Bill suggests.Bill is successful, he says, because of his superpower: focus. How to Develop Focus As a SuperpowerFocus and the ability to stay on task even when the job isn’t fun or exciting help Bill make a big difference in the communities he serves.Bill identifies five factors that contribute to his focus.Prepare: Luck is a factor in all success. Bill acknowledges that is true for him as well. He notes, however, that when luck dishes up an opportunity, prior preparation is required. If you haven’t prepared for the opportunity, it isn’t an opportunity because you can’t take advantage of it. Bill sees preparation as a critical part of focus.Find Your Purpose: Bill says you’ve got to find your purpose, your passion, your why. Even if it sounds cliche, it is a critical step to creating focus. “They say, if you do what you love to do, then then it’s not work. That has been a reality in my life.” He uses his sense of purpose to create a vision for what he’s doing and daily to-do lists.Define Your Mission: “You have to be you have to be very definite about what it is that you want to do,” Bill says. That clarity strengthens your focus and allows you to avoid distractions.Be Determined: “You have to be determined to make sure that you do it,” he adds. That commitment is part of Bill’s formula for being able to stick it out when the going gets tough.Build Self-Discipline: Bill acknowledges there are times when he wants to watch Netflix. “I want to watch it, but I know that I am not going to get done what needs to get done on that particular day,” so he keeps going. “Mental toughness is being able to do what needs to be done and not what you want to do.”Bill’s advice can help you develop greater focus, allowing you to accomplish more. Perhaps this can be your superpower. If a lack of focus limits your success, consider building enough to remove the limitation and allow your other superpowers to lift you to a more significant impact. Get full access to Superpowers for Good at devinthorpe.substack.com/subscribe

Oct 26

26 min 11 sec

Devin: Melissa, what is your superpower?Melissa: I think it might just be that stick-to-itiveness. In the early days, we were a nonprofit and I was doing that full time. I had a master's degree. I was in my late 20s and was doing plasma to pay for groceries. I'd go at 6:00 a.m. because it was really embarrassing to run into people when I was at that level and those were the options I had. I was doing that. I was running dogs for money. I was teaching dance classes in my roommate's basement—and so many other things to try to make this work. I knew that at any moment I could go out and seek a more mainstream job. For whatever reason, I kept pushing through and luckily it has led to a place where we've looked at our mistakes and really dug into why are people not buying our products? Oh, well, maybe we need to work on the design or iterating, from selling to individual customers to just specializing in what companies need. And so, yeah, I guess that would be stick-to-itiveness.A decade ago, Eve was washing clothes for American students visiting her country, Uganda. Speaking no English, she was quiet and almost unknown to the women for whom she washed. Today, Eve manages a group of 50 artisans, has learned English and is a high-energy leader in her community.Melissa Sevy helped that transition. While participating as a student in a program that taught Ugandans to wash with soap, she realized they couldn’t afford to buy soap. She decided they needed jobs.Producing artisanal goods is the second largest industry in the developing world, following only agriculture. It is big business, infinitely fragmented. For a decade, Melissa has been working to import such goods to the United States from a growing list of 20 countries.Eve was among the first seven women to produce goods for Melissa’s Ethik Collective. This quiet, unassuming woman now has the nickname “the crazy one.” Melissa says, “she is a force to be reckoned with.”“It’s not that she changed; it’s that her true self was uncovered,” Melissa adds, noting that removing the lid of poverty enabled her authentic self to flourish.Melissa’s interest in social entrepreneurship was sparked by a course she took at Brigham Young University from Warner Woodworth. He joined me as a guest on the show and is profiled in my book, Superpowers for Good.In a way, Melissa is a ripple from a stone tossed by Warner. One of many. The remarkable thing is how impactful this ripple is. With almost $2 million in revenue this year, Ethik Collective is gaining scale and traction, helping women, their families and their communities around the world. This ripple is becoming a wave.Melissa says her superpower is stick-to-it-iveness. Her success, as is so often the case, grew out of struggle and even some failures. She recalls selling plasma to buy groceries. Today, her business is growing, thriving and impacting people just as she’d hoped.How to Develop Stick-to-Itiveness As a SuperpowerMelissa remembers having persistence as a teenager. “I remember that in high school, I was part of a dance team that was a type of dance I'd never done before. At the end of the year, I got the most improved award. It's the biggest trophy I've ever gotten. And it's a double-edged trophy. You know, it's a funny award to get when you're like, you weren't that good, but you got better.”Her parents helped her develop her strength from an early age. “I grew up with really supportive parents that I think allowed me the opportunity to fail and try again.” As a result, she’s comfortable with failure as a milestone for success, helping her to stick to it through the tough spots.She has helpful advice for others hoping to develop their own resilience. She says you have to find what you love, your unique ability to contribute to the world. Once you know how you can bring your own gifts, strengths and superpowers to the effort, “barriers stop looking so formidable.”You can make stick-to-itiveness a superpower. Imagine the impact you can have in the world if the barriers you face are all surmountable. Get full access to Superpowers for Good at devinthorpe.substack.com/subscribe

Oct 21

29 min 44 sec

Devin: What do you think of as your superpower?Tim: I feel like I am a problem solver and that, and I’m doing things that I have never had any exposure to—environmental cleanup or large housing development or things like that. But I know how to learn enough to understand the issues. I know how to work through a problem and find solutions to it.I think the other part is I seem to be able to identify and focus on the things that matter the most. Sometimes I neglect the things that aren’t important, but I call that selective negligence. You know, the things that aren’t very critical you put to the side until you have a spare moment, but focus on the most crucial things, the things that are on the critical path that will keep you from moving forward.Leading The Other Side Academy, Tim Stay has done the impossible. He’s created a successful nonprofit that thrives on the revenue generated by the people it serves—a group of people arrested an average of 25 times, who have struggled with addiction and 80 percent of whom have been homeless.The Other Side Academy operates in Salt Lake City and Denver. In Salt Lake, where it began, it runs the leading moving company in town. It got its start by helping the Salt Lake Police Department move to its new office space. Tim notes that the officers were more nervous than the “students.”Today, The Other Side Movers has a five-star rating on Yelp and has won numerous awards and accolades for its services.At the same time, and frankly more to the point, the now five-year-old program has helped its graduates stay out of trouble. In five years, the police have never been called to The Other Side Academy, where more than 100 people whose lives were utterly wrapped up in trouble now live. The graduates of the two-and-a-half-year program have a recidivism rate of just 12 percent. An optional six-month extension reduces that number to just 4 percent.Tim and the team are now making plans to launch The Other Side Village in Salt Lake City. It will be a truly unique effort to build a deliberate community of chronically unhoused people. Tim intends to help them lift themselves out of the patterns that led to their homelessness, not just give them a place to live.Tim explains:There has been an evolution in homeless services for those experiencing homelessness. The early models were a "Housing First" approach - get them into a home and stabilize their lives. Then the next phase was a Housing First with Wrap Around services - get them into a house and provide mental and medical services to help. We see our model as the next step in this progression - housing with wrap around services plus a strong peer accountability culture to help them change the underlying behaviors that led to homelessness, addiction, and criminal activity. We also believe in the power of meaningful work to bring purpose to one's life and we will hire any resident of the Village that is interested in working in one of our Social Enterprises. We will also help train and place any resident interested in working for any other company in the area. We understand that many of the chronically homeless have mental illness, physical disabilities, or addictions. We will adapt employment opportunities to their capacities and ensure that they have access to the appropriate mental health, medical, and other services needed.Given Tim’s track record with The Other Side Academy, I’m excited to see what he and his team can do with the Village.When I asked Tim about his superpower, he described problem-solving and selective negligence (or, more simply, prioritization). He was also able to see how he uses those skills to handle new challenges effectively. With proven success in tech entrepreneurship, Tim faces completely new challenges, like managing a 400+ unit housing development project as his first housing project or leading an environmental cleanup for the first time—all with limited staff support.How you can develop problem-solving and selective negligence as superpowersTim shared some ideas on how you can learn to solve problems and prioritize your work.Selective Negligence: Tim notes with some pride that there are some things he doesn’t do, or at least not quickly. By prioritizing his work, he takes comfort in knowing that the things that don’t get done are less important than what he did instead. Hence the name, selective negligence.He built the skill off of Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People that calls for creating a three-tiered to-do list, with A, B and C priorities, ranking the A priorities top to bottom. This tried and true model has been a practical guide for Tim, and it can work for you.Problem Solving: Tim says the critical step for solving problems is first defining the problem. It sometimes requires that you take a step back to get a broader view to see the context and understand what is driving the symptoms. Once you diagnose the problem, the solution becomes much more manageable.Tim uses the example of the capacity constraints The Other Side Academy experienced a few years ago. When it became clear that their landlocked facility with no room for expansion wasn’t big enough, they realized they needed to acquire a neighboring property. Tim approached the neighbor who initially rejected the idea, but within a year, he agreed to sell, and the organization acquired the much-needed additional space.Even if you can’t make selective negligence and problem solving your superpowers, you can become proficient enough to ensure that you aren’t limited by your inability to prioritize or solve problems. You can do more good and become more successful. Get full access to Superpowers for Good at devinthorpe.substack.com/subscribe

Oct 19

38 min 58 sec

Devin: Sanam, what is your superpower?Sanam: Sometimes, I think that my superpower is the power of the powerless speaking truth to power.Devin: Malalai, what’s your superpower?Malalai: So I would like to speak about it, not as an individual, but as part of a group, the group of women, peacebuilders whose superpower is building peace. I have always been inspired by those women building peace in the most dangerous conflict zones under harsh situations. I am personally pro-peace, and I worked for peace in Afghanistan and Iran, and I am also coming from an educational background in peace studies. I did my international study, master’s degree at the University of Notre Dame, yet my superpower is actually derived from women peacebuilders around the world.After 1300 episodes, this one was the most painful I have ever recorded. My guests, Sanam Naraghi Anderlini, founder of International Civil Society Action Network, and Malalai Habibi, a program manager there, are in constant dialog with people in Malalai’s native Afghanistan.Following the Taliban takeover of the country, thousands of people who worked with and under American and allied soldiers in the military, local police forces, courts and elsewhere are effectively under house arrest and are in fear for their lives. As I spoke with Sanam and Malalai, I could hear and feel their pain. I can only imagine the pain of those left behind.For Malalai, no imagination is required. She knows firsthand the pain and fear of those left behind. As a young girl, she was forced to flee to Iran as a refugee with her family. Later, she was able to immigrate to the United States. She was awarded the Kroc fellowship and earned her MA in Global Affairs, International Peace Studies from Keough School at Notre Dame.Sanam feels a personal connection, too. She is just old enough to remember her native Iran under the Shah. She was 11 years old when the Iranian Revolution changed her life dramatically, as Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini took control. “Overnight, our lives completely disappeared,” she says. “You go to sleep in one life, and then you’re waking up in a completely different life.”For the past two decades, more recently joined by Malalai, Sanam has been working internationally at peacebuilding. She has worked at both the most on-the-ground, grassroots level and the global level at the United Nations and has even been invited to speak at the General Assembly.Over the years, ICAN (as Sanam abbreviates International Civil Society Action Network) has worked closely with women worldwide to implement peacebuilding practices. Afghanistan has been one of many countries where the nonprofit has done its work, allowing Sanam and Malalai to develop personal relationships. The work encompasses countries around the globe, including Nigeria, Yemen and Colombia. Weekly calls keep the global teams connected, literally applying a mantra Sanam invoked during our conversation, suggesting that peacebuilding must be “locally rooted, globally connected.”As I spoke to Sanam and Malalai about their superpowers, Sanam wanted to focus her thoughts on peacebuilding, just like Malalai, despite having said her superpower was helping the “powerless speak truth to power.” In her exquisite pain at this moment, using her voice to speak out on behalf of Afghanis threatened by the Taliban and those evacuated who face uncertain futures is a power she’s using as much as she can. Still, her life’s work remains peacebuilding, so we’ll focus on that superpower.How You Can Develop Peacebuilding as Your SuperpowerSanam and Malalai both have deep personal as well as professional connections to peacebuilding. Malalai described her relationship this way. My parents and then all my life, myself and my brothers have been going through—from place to place—we have been experiencing the the war and its byproducts, which is discrimination, which is marginalization, which is deprivation. I do not want to see that happen to my kids, to other kids, especially now that we are in the 21st century and whatever is happening, you shouldn't see that someone is deprived from the very basic rights.Here are some insights I’ve summarized from Everyone can be a peacebuilder. Malalai was clear in her remarks, not only that everyone can be but that everyone must be a peacebuilder. She feels so strongly about this being a collective action that she refused to describe the superpower as hers alone; instead, Malalai spoke about the power of collective action and the energy she draws from a global movement of women working for peace.Listen. Sanam painted a vivid picture of American families fractured by politics gathering and refusing to talk about politics out of fear over conflict. She argues that peacebuilding begins with someone saying, “let me listen to you.”Humanize. Sanam also points out that it is easy to demonize others. That is simply one way of dehumanizing other people who disagree with us. Once they are subhuman, it becomes frightfully easy to begin taking away human rights and then start shooting.Sanam shared a compelling example of her peacebuilding efforts in Jamaica. There, she was interacting with gang leaders. She began, “What are you worried about? What do you want?” “The answer that I got from a bunch of these guys was, ‘We have children, and we want them to be educated and well-spoken and have good table manners,’” she says.“I have children. They were four years old, five years old at the time that I went to Jamaica to do this research, and all of a sudden, this guy and I had something to talk about,” Sanam says. In that simple exchange, she humanized a group of people who led lives vastly different from hers, enabling her to have a peaceful conversation. She notes that he may keep guns under his bed while she advocates for stricter gun laws at home, but they still found common ground.You can be a peacemaker. If we take Malalai to heart, we must all be peacemakers. Together, we can work to make peacemaking a superpower for good. Get full access to Superpowers for Good at devinthorpe.substack.com/subscribe

Oct 14

48 min 56 sec

Devin: Marc, what's your superpower?Marc: I don't think I have any. I really think anyone can do what I'm doing. If you are passionate, if you are disciplined, if you know how to connect dots, I think you can do anything that I'm doing right now.Building this company, honestly, was a bit unique, and I did not think I was capable of doing it until I actually started putting the dots together. The guy [Roy Glasberg] at Google that I met amazed me when he said the following, "I don't have any superpower. I just know how to connect the dots." And that resonated with me. And when I came back to Haiti, I tried to reach out to sponsors, people who were sponsoring my social venture, to find that interest in a person that really would like to be able to help you. Not asking too much, but just a little bit. And you, your job is to connect those little bits all together because there's no big money in Haiti that you can just tap your hand into and build the company and build the 800 square meter space just like the one we have today. It takes time, patience and being able to connect the dots. If I would say I have a power, maybe that's what it is.You can watch the full interview with Marc here: marc.s4g.biz.Marc Alain Boucicault is a Fulbright Scholar who worked for the International Development Bank and the World Bank as an economist at the outset of his career. As much influence and power as that gave him, he felt he could make a bigger difference as a social entrepreneur, helping build the tech industry from the ground up in his home country, Haiti.From scratch, he built Banj, a co-working facility and business accelerator with high-speed internet access for tech entrepreneurs in Port-Au-Prince. He held a variety of events and brought entrepreneurs into the space to begin building tech companies.Then, without warning in one evening, a riot in this capitol city focused on removing the president included a rampage of destruction that destroyed every physical manifestation of the community he’d built over the previous two years. His business was gone.At that point, he thought there would be no way to recover. Building it once had represented a herculean task. He couldn’t see a way to recreate it all.For once, I suspect, he was happy to be wrong. The community he had built, including an international network of support, including sponsors and investors, rallied around and helped rebuild the facility.Today, he boasts that more than 7,000 people have attended events there. Hundreds of entrepreneurs have received support, coaching or a place to work. Among these are 40 tech companies getting mentored and cultivated to build a tech economy in a country without one.When I first spoke to Marc before the riot, he described his superpower as connecting the dots and explained the process by which he’d connected with people and obtained from each some token of value. In that conversation, however, he didn’t fully appreciate how important that network of connected dots was.When the riot left Banj in ruins, the network returned. One by one, the sponsors and donors, the entrepreneurs and everyone else in the community returned. They helped organize a crowdfunding campaign to restore the building, and before long, it happened.“That's when I realized this is stronger than me,” Marc says. Once assembled as parts of the organization, the connected dots represented something more than he had appreciated, certainly something more significant than and somewhat independent of himself.How to Develop Connecting the Dots as a SuperpowerMarc and I reconnected so I could learn how you can learn to connect the dots the way he does. You can see the powerful interview here: marc2.s4g.biz.Marc provided four specific steps for growing your ability to connect the dots.1.       Be genuine. “Be yourself.” His advice may seem almost counterintuitive. Many people counsel doing what seems almost the opposite, to fake it in some way. Marc says that being genuine is a way to connect with people that moves them quickly to trust you, making possible the little investments and commitments that may make all the difference. Just “living your dream” inspires people in ways that they may not fully understand. They just believe that they are dealing with the real you, not a fake or a phony.2.       See potential. Marc likes to see everyone as having the potential to help. Sometimes, that potential is immediate, sometimes further into the future. He recommends thinking about your needs on a granular scale. Rather than feel you need $1 million to move forward, think about all the individual things you will do with that money: office space, computers, desks, paint, carpet, accounting help, legal help, mentoring, etc. With every person you meet, think about how their lives, interests and abilities align with your needs. Identify the potential intersection.3.       Give back. As you develop relationships with people, look for ways to reciprocate kindness. You want to build a connection that doesn’t feel like a one-off transaction but instead creates a role for them in your story. Create a role for yourself in their story. By finding ways to show appreciation, you write a shared plot that intertwines your parts. Marc’s participation in this book exemplifies his effort to build on the relationship we established when I wrote about him for the first time more than three years ago for Forbes.4.       Use social media. Having followed him for years, I think Marc truly is adept at this. Using platforms like Linkedin and Facebook, you can connect with people you might never have a chance to meet in any other way. He belongs to several groups, each of which has a presence on social media. He uses these groups to network, meeting people who take an interest in him and find small ways to be helpful. Don’t underestimate the power of social media.As you think about these steps, you’ll see how you can apply these in your work. Finding the help you need in smaller chunks, sometimes in kind rather than in cash, may be a vital adjustment for reaching your goals. Whether or not you can achieve Marc’s proficiency at connecting the dots to make it a superpower, even incremental improvement could make a difference. Get full access to Superpowers for Good at devinthorpe.substack.com/subscribe

Oct 12

21 min 43 sec

Devin: Ina, what is your superpower?Ina: Oh, I might have that Wonder Woman costume right under my top—I'm not sure. My superpower is that I'm fearless. I am never reckless, but I am fearless.You can watch the full interview with Ina here: ina.s4g.biz.Ina Pinkney began learning to be fearless as a childhood survivor of polio. Ina could climb the three flights of stairs to her assigned room but needed extra time, so school administrators allowed her to enter the building early. During fire drills, she was allowed to remain in the classroom. My mind can’t help but wonder now if there had been an actual fire, would she have been allowed to remain in the classroom?She remembers being bullied by other kids as a six-year-old. “I understood at that point that I could not cower but had to find some power to go up against that.” She recognized that they were not kind, but she knew she would not treat other kids that way. She sees facing those bullies as the beginning of building fearlessness.Ina had 21 jobs in her career. “I was fired from 19,” she says. The pinnacle of her career was owning and running “Ina’s,” an American food restaurant in the West Loop Market District of Chicago, for 23 years.Her fearlessness was critical to starting that business. She’d never run a restaurant before. Her only relevant experience was eating. “I knew that I could do it,” she says. “I just knew it because I had seen everything around me, and I knew I could be better than that.” So, she did.After joining Rotary, primarily because of its global leadership in the fight to end polio, Ina found a new opportunity to use her superpower: public speaking. As a polio survivor, Rotary District Governors invited her to speak at District Conferences facing audiences of hundreds of people. The Governors expected her to motivate Rotarians to continue donating to a cause that was starting to feel endless.Ina says it takes “fearlessness to stand up there and say, this is who I am. This is not who you think I am. This is who I really am.” Rotary has rewarded her courage with more speaking invitations, including a prominent role in the 2018 World Polio Day, jointly hosted by Rotary and the World Health Organization.Her work is bearing results. As of July 30, 2021, there have been just two polio cases from wild poliovirus globally this year.Ina has taken control of her life, overcame her disability, and made a difference in the world of polio eradication because she is fearless.How to Develop Fearlessness as a SuperpowerMany people sometimes allow fear to prevent them from doing things they could do and want to do. Perhaps you have. If you would like to overcome a fear limiting your impact, success or happiness, Ina has a few insights for you. She joined me for a second interview you can see at ina2.s4g.biz.Learn by ExampleYou don’t need to go through everything Ina has to overcome your fear. Ina’s solution is simple. Learn from the examples of the courageous people you know, from public icons to your friends and neighbors. Watch those who are doing what you’d like to do and repeat their steps.“It takes less energy to be courageous than it does to be afraid,” Ina says. Her favorite example of this is Oprah Winfrey, who was famously nervous about having her ears pierced. At age 51, after decades of worry, because she was afraid it would hurt, she got it done.Think about the energy she wasted being nervous about two quick sticks that barely hurt and enabled her to wear earrings that are less likely to fall off—something that matters if you’ve got diamonds in both ears. Imagine how much less energy she would have used to have done it 20 or 30 years earlier.Whenever you do something that requires more courage than having your ears pierced, chant the mantra, “I am more courageous than Oprah! I am fearless!”PreparationIna used her superpower to go skydiving. While most people are reluctant to hurl themselves from a perfectly good aircraft, she says she felt only excitement and not fear as she did so.Honestly, I was skeptical when she said so. I thought, of course, she was afraid. But she overcame it and did it anyway. Ina says she wasn’t scared because she prepared.She reminded me that she is “never reckless.” She had talked to her friend, Julian, who helped with the jump. She knew everything to expect. There were no surprises. She even had a watch with an altimeter. She was ready. And she was fearless.Ina uses that same approach to prepare for everything. When she enters a room, she stops at the doorway, assesses the room and prepares mentally for whatever may come. “I then own the room,” she says.  “I own the room because I have prepared myself for anything that could happen. People won't talk to me; people will ignore me, whatever. I walk into that room ready.”By following the examples of others and preparing for anything, you can overcome fear. Imagine what you could do if you weren’t afraid. Now, do it! Get full access to Superpowers for Good at devinthorpe.substack.com/subscribe

Oct 7

25 min 35 sec

Listen now | @samdaleyharris Changed the World With Grassroots Organizations Get full access to Superpowers for Good at devinthorpe.substack.com/subscribe

Oct 5

30 min 16 sec

Devin: Mari, what’s your superpower?Mari: I love to learn new things, and I like to think that other people in this organization are motivated to learn new things because I’m constantly sending out Slack messages, e-mail messages, you know, about, check out this new article. Did you see what so-and-so said? Think about the implications for this. I find all this work incredibly important, incredibly fascinating. The other thing that I’m incredibly grateful for is that this has been a job where I learn every day.You can watch the full interview with Mari here: mari.s4g.biz.Mari Kuraishi co-founded and later led Global Giving, a nonprofit crowdfunding site for international development that could be the first crowdfunding site ever. She created it with Dennis Whittle (see Chapter 41) about a decade before Indiegogo or Kickstarter launched.While at the World Bank, Mari learned that at the same time it was providing money to a few large institutions in each country, there were millions of people and small organizations working to solve problems. These folks needed money, too. She concluded that if they received the funds required, they could solve many of their own issues.Years later, while networking, Mari met a person who responded to her introduction as a leader at Global Giving by saying, “Oh, I’ve heard of you guys. You guys work with the great unwashed.”“My jaw dropped,” Mari says. “I mean, first, because the statement was outrageous, even back in 2001, right? But then I was like, ‘Yes, damn it. We are the outfit that works for the great unwashed.’”And work she has. Since its founding, Global Giving has raised over $500 million for international nonprofits serving people in the developing world. In 2020 alone, donations reached $100 million.Mari is proud of the flexible culture she led at Global Giving. Having come from a large organization with many rules, she helped form a company governed by values instead. The company focuses on the mission and challenges employees not to complete tasks but to contribute meaningfully to accomplishing the primary goal to help people in the developing world.Mari says she’s not sure her ability and enthusiasm for learning have contributed directly to Global Giving’s measurable impact on people around the world. As the objective arbiter I’ve appointed myself to be, I am sure. Her superpower has helped change the world for the better.How to Develop Learning as a SuperpowerYou can become a better learner. If you take to it like Mari, it can become your superpower. To help me with this book, Mari agreed to a follow-up interview that you can watch here: mari2.s4g.biz.Mari notes that it is vital to know yourself. She observed that she liked to develop a plan and stick to it. Events that derailed her plans irritated her. Over the years, she’s learned to adapt and now celebrates the sorts of events that once annoyed her. She sees how even significant events that impose life-altering adjustments can be good things. She recognizes that she has found wonderful things at points in her life precisely because of a derailment.Take time to get to know yourself. Mari says one of the vital things to understand about yourself and learning is that “people learn in different ways.” You need to know what sort of learner you are.Scientists haven’t settled firmly on the number of discreet learning styles. One popular model is called VARK, an acronym for four learning styles.Visual. These learners (I think I’m in this group) learn by seeing things.Auditory. This group learns by hearing lessons.Reading and writing. Such students learn best by reading and writing about a subject.Kinesthetic. Some people learn by touching or by doing a task better than by other methods.Most people learn best in one way, but that doesn’t mean they only do it in that style. It is easy to find simplistic online assessments to help you assess your learning style. That may be an excellent place to start.Mari’s primary lesson about learning is profound. Rather than focus on learning facts, processes or skills, she talked about the need to learn about people. She said, “Every place and every person—even organizations—has a story that’s unique.”The lesson from Mari is in how we get past the surface level familiarity with people to find deeper hidden realities. She uses the example of your reaction to a friend or colleague who says, “Oh, I didn’t sleep well last night.” What you say next will determine what you learn.Imagine how different the response to each of the following reactions will be.“Well, did you drink coffee last night?”“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that; what was going on that made you not sleep well last night?”From the second reaction question, you could learn something that matters. “You might discover something about that person that you had no idea about, even though you may have been working with that person for years,” Mari says.“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way,” wrote Tolstoy as the opening line to Anna Karenina. Mari points out that learning to know people is about understanding Tolstoy’s message and applying it in our interactions with others.As you think about learning, you may see yourself in Mari. You may be capable of learning as a superpower. I’m convinced it can help you change the world. If it’s not your superpower, it could at least make you happier.“Anyone who is open to learning, and the change that comes from learning, might end up happier,” Mari says. Get full access to Superpowers for Good at devinthorpe.substack.com/subscribe

Sep 30

22 min 50 sec

Devin: Shaun, what is your superpower?Shaun: My superpower?  I think about two things; a key one is listening. It’s just so important to listen well. It’s something that doesn't happen enough in the world. So who are my customers? Who are my stakeholders? What are their needs? What are their aspirations? How do I reconcile those needs and aspirations of my stakeholders— stakeholders being farmers, community leaders, investors, industry? So listening really well, I think with an empathetic ear, I think that would be one, “secret sauce.”I think the other thing that helps me do what I do is being able to bridge an inspiring vision and turn it into an executable plan. I work in an environment where some people love to dream and brainstorm. A lot of other people—that makes them nervous and uncomfortable. Many people need clarity and certainty. So I'm a great bridge builder between envisioning the world of possibilities and building a bridge into what's actionable and doable—so bridging vision to action.You can watch the full interview with Shaun here: shaun.s4g.biz.Shaun Paul, CEO of Ejido Verde, is doing high-impact work on two fronts at once. By helping small-holder farmers in Michoacan, Mexico, to replant pine forests to harvest pine resin, he’s leading an effort that serves both to save the planet and help people. Collectively, those farmers could see their businesses increase in value by over a billion dollars. The scale of environmental impact experts will measure should run parallel.For about 90 years, people in this area of Mexico have harvested and sold pine resin. Though relatively unknown, the global market for it is at least $10 billion annually. Sadly, over three decades beginning in the 1980s, deforestation became a problem, and production has dwindled. Because those who cut the trees stole them, the community suffered even more acutely than the environment. Farmers lost assets and income.Under Shaun’s leadership, Ejido Verde has fostered a restoration of old business models layered with modern support. The company provides financing to the farmers to help them plant new trees and survive until the trees start producing resin after about ten years.Ejido Verde helps the farmers design their farms for intercropping, including free-range animal grazing, which will provide the farmers with additional income.Farmers are now cultivating 4,200 hectares of pine forest, about 70 percent of the area of Manhattan. Shaun’s goal is to reach 12,000 hectares or about the equivalent of two Manhattans.The contracts with farmers require them to keep the trees in production until 20 years after planting. At that point, the farmers’ obligations to Ejido Verde are complete. Farmers then have the option to continue harvesting pine resin or harvest the trees. Shaun is encouraging farmers to keep the pine resin business going as a means of continuing to sequester more carbon.Shaun’s work is changing the world at a stunning scale and serving the needs of both the community and the planet.How to Develop Listening and Bridging Vision to Action as SuperpowersShaun’s paired superpowers are different on the surface, but as I explored them with him, I began to see the harmony between them. Listening and bridging vision to action are two separate—but I think you’ll agree—related skills.You can watch our second interview focused on his superpowers here: shaun2.s4g.biz.In the last chapter, you learned powerful insights about listening. In this chapter, you will read suggestions that may overlap a bit but come directly from Shaun’s experience.He introduced this topic with a quick anecdote about his Latina wife. It took a decade of marriage to learn that when he asked her if she was hungry and she responded, “a little,” she meant a lot. Listening is a skill he continues to develop.Let’s dive into the topic of listening. Here are the three essential principles that guide Shaun to be an effective listener.1.       Empathy. To listen with empathy means that you assign no blame. You leave your ego out of the conversation entirely. No judgment is allowed. To hear what others are saying, you must put aside the filters and noisemakers in your head. Listening is about focusing on the other person.2.       Ask questions. One guidepost is to ask a lot of questions. Shaun sees that people aren’t always eager to share their concerns, but you need to hear them. He encourages everyone to ask clarifying questions. Don’t fall into the temptation to be argumentative. Finally, focus on the elephant in the room. Too often, people talk around the big issues rather than about them. Go there.3.       Find perspective. To get the view you need, talk to lots of people. Hear many voices. Don’t let the conversation with one or two color your understanding of an entire population.By applying these lessons, you can undoubtedly become a better listener. Imagine what you can accomplish if listening becomes your superpower.Shaun’s second superpower is bridging vision to action. He notes that he often deals with people, including some of the investors in Ejido Verde, who see the big picture and the mission. At the same time, he deals with accountants, engineers, chemists and the like, who are focused more on the tasks at hand. Helping the two groups work together is a key to his success.Here are the three guiding principles for bridging vision to action from my conversation with Shaun.1.       Set goals. Both the visionaries and the task-oriented members of the team can see value in specific, measurable goals. Build them across time frames, including as little as 30 days, so the less visionary can focus on action.2.       Discuss failure. To bridge this divide, Shaun says, you need to hold people—including yourself—accountable for failures and forgive them. You need to model the behavior. Stand up, when appropriate, to say, “I failed” or “I made a mistake.” People need to know that when doing challenging things, you pair accountability with forgiveness. Note, however, that doesn’t mean tolerating negligence.3.       Focus on results. Perhaps the most critical principle for bridging the visionary and the action-oriented is focusing on and reporting results. Create a dashboard of data. Show the numbers and the details. Note the progress made toward longer-term goals. The big-picture people will love to see the results just as much as the doers will take pride in them.By following these principles, you can better connect the people who are thinking about your work differently. Getting them on the same page will help you drive more results and keep everyone moving in the same direction. Even if you don’t choose to make this your superpower, remember to employ these principles whenever you can. Imagine the difference it will make in your impact.This is a sample chapter of Superpowers for Good. Get full access to Superpowers for Good at devinthorpe.substack.com/subscribe

Sep 28

30 min 46 sec

Devin: Well, Joanne, what is your superpower?Joanne: I definitely don't have a superpower. I think, as I said, it's really just staying inspired by the people that I'm working with and working for. And I think when I go to Malawi, and I see the work that the nurses are doing, I feel so much pride, and I feel so much joy to see the connections between the nurses and these communities. That's not something that you typically see between health care workers and patients. Health care workers typically are very overworked, very stressed and seeing maybe 80 patients in a day. Just to see their families laughing and chatting and this banter that they have, and the exchange and then the gratitude and the affection—also, seeing that in the nurses, which I also haven't seen previously in the hospitals in Malawi, that they also feel fulfilled in the work that they're doing. That just gives me so much inspiration. And then I come back like OK, we've got to do this—got to make it bigger. So, that's the source of the energy.You can watch the full first interview with Joanne here: joanne.s4g.biz.Joanne Chiwaula is a certified nurse-midwife and women’s nurse practitioner who founded the nonprofit African Mothers Health Initiative (AMHI) to help vulnerable babies and women in Malawi. With an undergraduate degree in international studies from Brown University and a master’s degree from the University of California at San Francisco, she is exceptionally well educated. She is a professional.Early in her career, she worked for three years in Malawi at a hospital where 1,000 babies were delivered every month. While there, she learned about a tragic phenomenon. Babies born to mothers who don’t survive childbirth or die soon after face a mortality rate of 80 percent. Local custom concludes that babies just want to be with their mothers.Joanne began personally following up with these babies, visiting them in their homes and communities, educating people on the babies’ care and helping to provide formula. Then, before moving to Ghana, she organized local nurses to do what she’d started.She saw how quickly the local women were able to replicate and improve upon what she’d started. She then organized AMHI in the United States to raise money for the program in Malawi.Now, 15 years later, hundreds of mothers and babies are in the program. The babies include the orphans and other vulnerable ones, including multiple births with higher mortality rates, partly because low-income mothers may not be getting meals regularly enough to nurse two or three children.AMHI has a program for women if they’ve had a complicated delivery or lost a baby. A challenging delivery may result in losing her ability to have more children. Families or communities may shun women who’ve lost a baby or their uterus. The nurses now visit the women to educate their neighbors and families, dispel myths and rumors that lead to shunning and help women create incomes that provide security and confidence if other resources fail.The program is dramatically successful, reducing infant mortality in these high-risk situations by up to two-thirds.Though Joanne doesn’t see it as a superpower, the people she works with and serves inspire her to keep going. At first blush, this seems easy to believe and emulate, but many, if not most, people who help other people professionally sometimes tire of the interactions and their demands. Who hasn’t complained to a friend outside the office about a colleague’s behavior? Joanne’s example is crucial for us to understand.How to Develop Being Inspired by Those You Work With and Serve as a SuperpowerTo better understand her superpower and how you can emulate it, I visited with Joanne again. Joanne shared an inspiring story to help us understand what she’s saying.One of the women who graduated from the AMHI program recently shared with Joanne how she got involved. A friend of hers had passed away, and when she attended the funeral, she discovered the friend had left a baby.“And she saw the baby who was just a couple of days old, and she saw people diluting a soda. And she said, ‘Who is that drink for?’ And they said, ‘This is for the baby.’ She said, ‘No, you can't give that soda to the baby,’” Joanne reports.The friends with the baby suggested that she take the baby and find an NGO in town that would feed and care for the baby. The woman took the baby but couldn’t find an NGO to help, so she returned with the baby. Hours later, the baby, carried by her sister, arrived at the woman’s home. The girl explained that the family and community had decided they couldn’t care for the baby, “You keep the baby and keep looking for an NGO.”The woman, a mother of five, now had another mouth to feed. Finally, her husband said, “I don’t want this nonsense in my house. If you’re going to take care of this baby, you need to find a different place to live.”Courageously, the woman concluded that the baby would not die on her watch, so she took the baby and began looking for someone to provide milk or formula. Finally, someone at a health center directed her to AMHI. The nurses there helped her and the baby for two years. That baby is now a healthy toddler.“So, if she can do that, if she can say, ‘This baby needs to survive, and I'm willing to sacrifice my entire life for the survival of this child,’ I'm happy to share her story and do a little work trying to raise some money,” Joanne says.  “I feel like I don't have any other option. If she can do that, I can do my small part.”That is an inspiring story. Moreover, it hints at some critical lessons that Joanne shared.1.       Be there. To connect with your colleagues and the people you serve, you have to show up. Today that can include virtual participation, but you have to put in some time.2.       Slow down. The frenetic pace of 21st-century life distracts from the most important things. To make a connection, hear a story, and learn from those you serve, you have to slow down.3.       Listen. You’ll learn more and build a stronger connection from listening than from talking. Ask open-ended questions. Paraphrase to ensure you understand.4.       Be patient. Some of the people you serve and work with have experienced trauma. Who knows what word, what question, what situation could trigger anxiety. Don’t demand answers. Work to create a safe space for sharing and wait for it to come.5.       Empower locals. Joanne learned early on that local people could do better work serving people than she could. Nonetheless, she maintains a vital ongoing role as a fundraiser and spokesperson in the United States. Still, she recognizes that her role is to support the brilliant women doing the work in Malawi.6.       Empathize. Remember, Joanne says, that mothers in Malawi love their children as much as mothers elsewhere. It is tempting, she notes, to think that people surrounded by suffering somehow become immune to the pain. Not so. Mothers there suffer just as much when they lose a child.If you seek inspiration from those you work with and serve, you’ll find it. It’s there. With that positive energy as a superpower, you can increase the good you’re doing in the world.This is a sample chapter of my book, Superpowers for Good. Get full access to Superpowers for Good at devinthorpe.substack.com/subscribe

Sep 23

30 min 44 sec

Listen now | America's Most Decorated Winter Olympian, Apolo Ohno (@ApoloOhno), May Be Uniquely Qualified to Help Us Learn His Superpower  Get full access to Superpowers for Good at devinthorpe.substack.com/subscribe

Sep 21

29 min 18 sec

Devin: Warner, what is your superpower?Warner: I don't have stuff like that. I avoid superhero movies, or my grandkids want me to go see that stuff. I say that's all fake. I don't think there's any kind of superpower I have.Devin: What makes you successful?Warner: Well, I suppose I'm a disruptor. I'm a change agent. I tell my classes at the beginning of every semester, “You're not here to call me Dr. Woodworth or Heir Professor or Brother Woodworth in the Mormon Church. Just call me Warner. I'm a student like you. We're all scholars; we’re all trying to learn together.”“And I'm going to try to disrupt your paradigm and challenge your assumptions. And I'm going to hope as a renegade, I kind of shake you up a bit—and be a catalyst to help you find a more authentic life and a great future that's not going to be just a job—because that's not enough during your 60, 70, 80, 90 years on this earth. I want you to figure out how you can be an agent for transformation. And I'm here to help empower you to do that. And hopefully, we can together build a sense of community.”So those kinds of values and those kinds of motivations, along with a huge component of high ethics and commitment to social justice and peace. Those are the values that are pretty much burned into my brain and my heart.You can watch the full interview with Warner here: warner.s4g.biz.Warner Woodworth is not your typical business school professor, much less what you’d expect from Brigham Young University’s Marriott School of Management. A champion of the underserved, he’s spent his career teaching students and helping others to build social enterprises and nonprofit organizations. He has a genuine disdain for greed.Over his career, he has helped form dozens of nonprofits and social enterprises, including Unitus, one of the early players in microfinance. He advocated for making loans to women with no income in remote and rural locations around the world before he heard of or befriended Nobel Laureate, Muhammad Yunus. By way of an example, he shares the story of Maria, a woman in Honduras who was part of a group of women whose lives and livelihoods had been devastated by Hurricane Mitch in 1998. He helped them organize a microloan fund. When presented with the cash for a $100 loan to help her start a small personal business, she responded crying that she wasn’t “worthy.” She didn’t believe she could pay it back. “I’ve never seen so much money,” she said.Warner believed in Maria. With tears in his eyes, he said, “You can do this. We love you. We trust you. We know this will work.” Maria accepted the funds and launched a small chicken farm, initially with 12 chickens. Within a year, she had 5,000 chickens. She was worthy. She was capable. He saw it before she did, but she was the one who executed well and performed the transformation.Warner teaches his students to use disruption to become “positive deviants.” He says that the folks he has helped create microfinance companies have funded 20 million businesses, about 99 percent founded by women. The borrowers overwhelmingly repay their loans. Disruption works.How to Develop Disruption as a SuperpowerWarner says you have a choice. You can stay on the freeway with a successful American life, recycling and reciprocating conventional wisdom, or you can make a definitive decision to shake up the status quo.Warner joined me for a follow-up conversation mainly focused on how you can learn disruption. You can watch it here: woodworth.s4g.biz. [Links to the video recording of the podcast episode posted here.]No matter what other strengths you may have, you can add some disruption to increase the impact of what you’re doing. Here are the seven tips that Warner shared for learning to be a positive deviant.1.       Shake up the status quo. Something about the situation you are in is not working, or you wouldn’t want to change it. To change outcomes, it is likely you need to change the system. Warner says, “I started my career with an explicit goal to shake up the status quo.” He didn’t want to make tweaks; he wanted to make a difference. That’s a worthy goal.2.       Start bottom-up. While Warner acknowledges that large NGOs from the Federal Government to the Gates Foundation do great work, it is difficult to disrupt what’s happening there. At the bottom, in the urban streets or jungle trails into villages, are opportunities to help people in entirely new and novel ways.3.       Innovate. “Do something innovative and a little crazy,” he says. Conventional wisdom often seeks to replicate what works. Warner says disruptors start something new, bring a fresh approach or see a problem that others have ignored.4.       Start small. One of the patterns Warner cautions against is the desire to start something at scale. He says it is critical to prove the concept works before you begin to scale. He often helps those he mentors find a donor or build a small advisory board to help fine-tune the plan. The team of backers and doers still fit in one living room.5.       Pace your growth. One of Warner’s efforts is helping several worker-owned businesses in the Basque region of Spain, which have become some of the most successful in Europe. They told him, “We build the road as we travel.” This observation is good guidance for growing your impact-oriented effort. You want to be sure not to get too far out in front of the people you hope to help.6.       Gather data. Another critical step, the professor says, is to be sure to document your progress and record your data. Records will help you attract additional support as you demonstrate the impact of your work. Ultimately, you are doing this to make a difference in the world. It is wise to begin measuring the difference you make from the earliest days.7.       Hire locals. As you scale up the operation, one of your priorities should be hiring local people in the community within the country to lead the effort. Your goal should be to create a home-grown operation that you support rather than an international operation with foreigners imposing their will on vulnerable communities.Warner makes clear that his advice doesn’t apply only to traditional students. He notes that many people today are discovering in their 50s that they can retire and have the longevity to expect to live into their 90s, giving them 20 to 30 years of productive post-employment opportunity.“You don't need to stay in this big mansion. You don't need to live in a luxurious condo. You don't need to check your income every day and look at increased revenues. You can think about finding new purpose, a kind of a purpose-driven life,” Warner says. “You could consider doing something radically different and have a whole new life, kind of like a rebirth for the next 20, 30 years.”In other words, you can start by disrupting your own life.This is a sample chapter from my book, Superpowers for Good. Get full access to Superpowers for Good at devinthorpe.substack.com/subscribe

Sep 16

36 min 36 sec

Devin: Monique, what is your superpower?Monique: My ability to just get through the worst challenges. Trust me; I can get through just about anything. Trust me. I personally don't know how I do it, but I've been through thick and thin. But there's—I don't know how my brain works—but there's always a solution to everything. That's my superpower. If that's a superpower, I just could get through the worst of scenarios. That's me.You can watch the full interview with Monique here: monique.s4g.biz.Monique Ntumngia was orphaned as an adolescent and has grown into a tech-savvy social entrepreneur, working to empower women and girls in her home country of Cameroon even as she fights climate change and poverty. She founded Green Girls Organisation as her vehicle for change.Using Green Girls, Monique provides rural and semi-rural communities with solar electricity, just enough for lighting, and biogas from agricultural and human waste for cooking. She helps the women and girls in the community learn to assemble solar lamps from kits she provides. They then share revenue on a 70/30 basis, where the local women keep the majority of the revenue. The women also sell the biogas on the same revenue share program. Now just 31 years old, Monique’s work is reaching scale. The organization has trained over 4,500 women and girls and has created solar electric or biogas systems or both in 48 African communities. Yet, ironically, some of the residents she helps with solar live below power lines they cannot access.Along the way, the organization has created 3,500 jobs she describes as “eco-sustainable.” Her efforts have improved literacy by 65 percent. Health outcomes have improved 70 percent. Sexual harassment has dropped 75 percent. Finally, deforestation in her communities is now at an all-time low. Understandably, she has received numerous international awards and recognitions.Overcoming adversity is the appropriate superpower for one who endured so much at such a young age. Monique experienced “tribalism” and conflict among various ethnic communities. At age 12, when her father died, her mother “lost everything” because she was not of the same ethnicity. Not much later, her mother died of breast cancer.The odds were against her. That she survived is remarkable. To have become such an influential leader is extraordinary. Monique’s superpower is worth emulating.How to Develop Overcoming Adversity as a SuperpowerCan you think of a challenge you’ve faced and overcome? I’m confident you can. At the same time, you may live your life—as almost everyone does—constrained by fear of present or pretended challenges. Learning to overcome adversity better can be powerful for you.In a follow-up conversation you can watch here, monique2.s4g.biz, Monique provided some insights into how you can strengthen your power to overcome adversity. Here are the ideas I extracted.1.       See the positive. Monique’s first rule is to see the positive and focus on that. Imagine how she felt as an adolescent who had lost her parents and whatever financial resources her family previously had. Circumstances forced her to face challenges most people don’t overcome. One aspect was focusing on the positive.2.       Find supporters. As an extension of the above, Monique has identified people who support and help her. She nurtures her relationships with them. She’s not talking about mere fans or followers. As a sign of her wisdom, she sees that helpful people offer her positive criticism. 3.       Ignore naysayers. At the same time, she sees that some people cannot share her vision or mission. They want to see her stumble, fall or fail. She ignores them. You likely have some of these in your life, too. Take her advice. Ignore them. Some could be family members or friends you can’t cut out of your life, so you may need to find the courage to ignore their negativity even as you maintain a relationship.4.       Know yourself. Monique emphasized and re-emphasized the idea that you must know yourself. She describes it as the beginning of wisdom. Here’s the real gem. She says, “You cannot change what you don't know.” That profound insight can help you develop every superpower in this book.5.       Accept yourself. While she hastens to add that she has changed, she suggests we start by accepting ourselves and our limitations. You can’t be two people. There are many facets to who you are—some you love, some you wish to change—but the reality is you are the composite of all those things. Still, accepting yourself does not mean you cannot change or should not change. You start where you are, not where you wish you were. 6.       Take care of yourself. You can’t pour from an empty vessel. You can’t overcome adversity if you don’t take care of yourself. Monique struggled so much during the pandemic she entered therapy and is grateful for it. She’s learning these principles of self-care strengthen her ability to keep doing good.7.       Find purpose. Monique had developed a passion for changing the world to better provide for women and girls from an early age. She credits this passion or sense of purpose with helping her to overcome the challenges she faced then and the ones she faces now. You can find your purpose in the depths of the challenges you face. Seeing her mother treated unfairly when her father died helped her find her feminism. That kept her going. When you find your passion, it will help you overcome your challenges, too.Everyone is different. Some of Monique’s ability to overcome adversity may be circumstantial. Still, you can learn to overcome more significant challenges than you’ve faced. You can do things you may not believe. Even if you can’t make Monique’s superpower your defining characteristic, you can learn to do better by taking her advice. Increase your human potential by lifting the limits that constrain you.This post is a sample chapter from my book,Superpowers for Good. Get full access to Superpowers for Good at devinthorpe.substack.com/subscribe

Sep 14

37 min 56 sec

This episode was produced as part of research for Superpowers for Good. The accompanying text is a sample chapter from the book.Isabelle Hau, AuthorDevin: Isabelle, what is your superpower?Isabelle: My superpower: diplomacy.You can watch the full interview with Isabelle here: isabelle.s4g.biz.John Hewko, Rotary International, CEODevin: John, what is your superpower?John: My superpower?Oh, I don't think I have superpowers. I do think, like any human being, I've got strengths and weaknesses. I do think I have an ability to sort of grasp a strategic vision and then sort of rally people around to try to achieve that and take people with disparate points of view and different perspectives and get them to kind of get to yes. And then move the ball forward, which is what makes this job so interesting because it is such a diverse, I mean—Devin: There are people in Rotary that have a different perspective?John: You know, 1.2 million Rotarians,1.4 million points of view. That's about as diverse as you can get. And I think that it's, on the one hand, a challenge, but for me, kind of an exciting thing. And I think one where I give, in my international experience, language skills. It's been kind of like trying to run the U.N., you know, on a much smaller scale. And I find it both interesting, intriguing and challenging.You can watch the full interview with John here: john.s4g.biz.Isabelle Hau, an author with deep experience in the social sector, and John Hewko, CEO of Rotary International, both described their superpower as being diplomacy. Each has an extraordinary track record of impact that you should consider briefly before learning to be more diplomatic.Starting with Isabelle, she helped lead Imaginable Futures, a philanthropic investment fund focused on education, as Omidyar Network spun it out. She had spent nearly a decade at ON responsible for leading impact investments in education. Previously, she had a successful career at Morgan Stanley, where I first met her. She earned an MBA at Harvard.She is passionate about early childhood education because, in her birth country, France, she was cared for in subsidized childcare beginning at just three months of age and began attending no-cost pre-school at age 2 ½. “Through these affordable and high-quality programs, I learned not [only] early literacy and early maths, but more importantly all the social-emotional learning skills that have helped [me] navigate my personal and professional journey,” she explained.She highlighted that children without adequate preparation upon enrolling in kindergarten are 25 percent less likely to graduate from high school and 60 percent more likely to skip college. Children who are not performing at grade level in the third grade have demonstrably more challenging lives. At Imaginable Futures, she helped lead investments in education in the U.S. and abroad. Today, she is working on a book about the future of education.As an investment banker and investor, she has been called upon to negotiate transactions even with a philanthropic purpose. In that role, she developed and used her superpower: diplomacy.Similarly, John Hewko has used diplomacy as the top executive at Rotary International, which operates in more countries than the United Nations has members. Previously, as part of the Bush Administration, he was a senior official at the Millennial Challenge Corporation, working to support economic development in various African and other lower-income countries. Before that, he worked as an attorney in Eastern Europe.At Rotary, the top priority is eradicating polio, an effort Rotary launched in 1985. John is passionate about the effort, personally helping raise over $50 million with an annual bike ride in Tucson, Arizona.Rotarians play three primary roles fighting polio, John says. First, they raise money. The total raised by Rotary now tops $2 billion. Second, they advocate with governments around the world for financial support and cooperation with vaccination efforts. Third, Rotarians volunteer; hundreds of thousands have helped vaccinate children.The impact has been dramatic, with the number of wild poliovirus cases dropping more than 99.9 percent from the 350,000 cases observed each year in the mid-1980s.Significantly, diplomacy plays a vital role in the effort. Since the beginning, Rotary has partnered with the World Health Organization, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and UNICEF. The Gates Foundation joined the effort about two decades ago, and more recently, GAVI (the vaccine alliance) joined the partnership known as the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. Diplomacy is a conscious part of the coordination effort among the GPEI partners. Not only are significant budgets determined, but lives hang in the balance. Negotiating with the best of intentions is essential.Perhaps the most vivid example of diplomacy on the part of Rotary is working with warring parties to temporarily suspend fighting to allow for vaccinations—days of tranquility. For instance, Rotary has been successful in Sri Lanka and El Salvador. Sometimes, the pause in fighting has resulted in a long-term or permanent end to hostilities.Rotary and Rotarians have also used diplomacy to respectfully combat vaccine resistance on a scale that varies from the most personal to multinational. The efforts have been successful, especially when people work in coordinated ways at every level, from neighborhoods up to the national leadership.Diplomacy is a superpower that Isabelle and John have deployed in business, government and for social impact. You can, too.How to Develop Diplomacy as a SuperpowerHaving read about how Isabelle and John use diplomacy for good, you are ready to learn more about being diplomatic.John joined me for a follow-up conversation to discuss his insights. You can watch that second interview here: hewko.s4g.biz. [That links you to a video of this podcast episode.] He provided guidance on conducting negotiations diplomatically.1.       Listen. Effective diplomacy requires listening. By listening, you can understand and more thoroughly appreciate the other perspective. You can see how your different agendas align.2.       Define agreements. As you begin to negotiate, John suggests that you make an early effort to identify areas of agreement. Often, a document exists. It may be a contract, a joint public statement or a high-level mission and vision document. In any case, look for the points of agreement. Doing so serves two purposes. First, it builds confidence between the parties, and second, it accelerates the process so that the negotiation can proceed concerning points of disagreement.3.       Narrow disagreements. Once you identify the points of agreement, you don’t have to work on them anymore. Move your attention to the topics in dispute. Work to define those points as narrowly as possible. Once that is done, both parties may agree that such tiny issues don’t matter as part of the whole.4.       Compromise. If the points of disagreement do matter in the larger context, compromise is the final stage of diplomacy. Having built mutual confidence and a long list of points of agreement, you are in a position to negotiate a compromise. You can work in good faith to resolve the final pain points.By following John’s guidance, you can develop your diplomatic skills. One day, diplomacy could become your superpower. Get full access to Superpowers for Good at devinthorpe.substack.com/subscribe

Sep 9

25 min 52 sec

The following text, related to this podcast episode, is a sample chapter from my new book Superpowers for Good. Get your copy today.Devin: What is your superpower, Margret?Margret: One of my core values is being modest and humble. So, the way your question is framed is difficult for me. That said, I have been told by colleagues that I am a visionary and strategic leader.But I also really enjoy the execution. My strategies tend to always incorporate what's feasible, and they always extend through execution. I enjoy making the strategy come alive. I've spent times in my career where I was doing only one or only the other. And what surprised me is that when I was the head of strategy for an organization, I missed the execution. Not a lot of people like both. I do.You can watch the full interview with Margret here: margret.s4g.biz.Margret Trilli, the CEO of ImpactAssets, has helped accelerate the growth of the nonprofit impact investment company since she joined in the fall of 2018, tripling the assets. She has also led the dramatic expansion of giving.During the COVID-19 pandemic, grants reached $200 million. At the same time, the organization made impact investments of the same scale, meaning that ImpactAssets deployed a total of $400 million for good during the crisis.One example of an investment made by ImpactAssets was a $12 million fund created for microloans for smallholder farmers and entrepreneurs. The program ultimately made $63 million in loans to almost 1 million individuals by revolving the capital as borrowers repaid their loans. The funds were effectively recycled more than five times.That $12 million fund is a powerful example of the difference made by the $1.5 billion Margret manages at ImpactAssets. It drives change for good and provides investors with a financial return. Margret sees how her ability to develop strategy and execute the implementation successfully helps her drive more good. She can now create strategies that the organization can implement readily, moving quickly from ideation to impact.She started her career on the execution side and loved it. She can see how to make things work considering the constraints, challenges and issues that her colleagues raise and addressing them. You can learn to do the same.How to Develop Strategy Development and Implementation as a SuperpowerMargret joined me for a follow-up interview to discuss how you can learn to emulate her, making strategy development and implementation your superpower. You can watch that second interview here: margret2.s4g.biz. [The podcast associated with this post is the audio from this second interview.]She points out that many books are available to help you learn to think more strategically and execute more effectively. She encourages aspiring leaders to look for opportunities to work on both sides, spending time developing strength in both disciplines.She offers additional insights to help people on each side to develop a greater understanding of the other side.Those working on the strategy side, such as people who do or have done management consulting with a mandate to develop strategic plans, can develop execution chops using skills they already have. If you’re in this group, look at how you can break down a strategy that may start with a big, hairy audacious goal (BHAG from Jim Collins’ Good to Great) into smaller chunks.As you work down into the details, more of what you’ll need to address is operational. The more you think about the operational nuances, the better you’ll execute on implementation when you have that opportunity.She adds that it is vital for folks on the strategic side to respect the role of people doing the implementation. Their functions are critical. You may be tempted to scoff at the part of the corporate attorney, but by considering their concerns early in the process, you can accelerate and improve implementation. This is true across the organization. Consider as many of the functional issues as early in the process as possible.On the other side, folks doing the crucial work of the company day in and day out may feel a desire for more strategic opportunities. Margret notes that everyone has opportunities to build those strategic muscles.First, recognize that you are likely already doing some strategic work. Anytime you are revising a process or planning an event, you are strategic. By looking for ways to achieve something new or improve outcomes, you’re thinking about how inputs lead to results. That’s strategy.Second, she says you can build your capacity to be strategic by intentionally using your growing strategic power to improve further the work you manage. By involving other people in your strategic initiatives, you build on your capacity.Ultimately, whether you are coming from the strategic or operational side of the organization, you can strengthen your other abilities to become effective on both. Not everyone will achieve the mastery that Margret has. But by improving your ability to understand and do work across the strategy-implementation spectrum, you gain more capacity for having impact. Get full access to Superpowers for Good at devinthorpe.substack.com/subscribe

Sep 7

26 min 57 sec

You may note that I’m posting this episode earlier than planned. The reason is simple. Earthquakes aren’t planned. Haiti experienced a bigger earthquake on August 14, 2021, than the devastating quake that hit Port-Au-Prince in 2010. The more recent event occurred in a less densely populated area in Southern Haiti. Still, more than 2,000 people were killed, many thousands more were injured, and at least 75,000 people were impacted. Over 90,000 buildings were destroyed. The recent quake is a big deal, even if its impact is smaller than the 2010 quake.Marc Alain Boucicault, founder and CEO of Banj, is leading an effort to rebuild a better Haiti. He’s raising a $1 million fund to be donated in $10,000 chunks to entrepreneurs in the region most impacted by the quake. He’s hoping for a double impact by helping them launch new efforts that will serve the recovery quickly and over the long haul. The focus areas include:Agriculture and Agro industriesChild ProtectionConstructionEducationEntrepreneurshipEnvironmentFood Security and NutritionGender EquityHealthcareTechnologyTourismMarc is joined by Morgan Wienberg (Co-Founder, Executive Director LFBS), Duquesne Fednard (Cofounder CETEMOH and CEO D&A Green Enterprises) and Jason Atkins (Founder and CEO 360insights).For Marc, this recovery effort is deeply personal. He has family in the region impacted by the quake. With the $1 million fund, he hopes to back 100 projects with $10,000 each. Donors who contribute $50,000 or more will be invited to join the organization’s board. Every penny helps with the recovery. Please consider giving what you can. Get full access to Superpowers for Good at devinthorpe.substack.com/subscribe

Aug 27

39 min 7 sec

#plugintodevin Show - Devin Thorpe for CongressGuest: Brian MoenchIssue: Right now it's the pandemic and whether to open schools. Normally it's air pollution and the climate crisis. I've been involved in trying to raise awareness of the health consequences of air pollution/dirty energy, and shape public policy to improve Wasatch Front air quality. We're not doing anywhere enough to reduce pollution, and much more must be done. The proposed inland port will be the biggest new source of pollution in 50 years.Bio: Medical Background:- Graduate of U. of Utah Medical School- Internship in Internal Medicine at LDS Hospital- Residency in Anesthesiology at Mass. General Hospital- Fellowship in Intensive Care Medicine Mass. General Hospital- Former instructor in anesthesia, Harvard Medical School- Former Chairman, Anesthesia Dept., Holy Cross Hospital- Private practice in anesthesiology since 1981.Environmental expertise:- Former adjunct faculty member, U. of Utah Honors College, teaching public health and the environment.- President and founder, Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment, (UPHE). Since 2007 UPHE has become the largest civic organization of medical professionals in the Western US. We have been actively engaged in many environmental battles throughout the country and Western Canada. UPHE has worked closely with numerous national environmental groups like the Sierra Club, Earthjustice, and WildEarth Guardians.- Board Chairman, Doctors and Scientists Against Wood Smoke Pollution- Nominated by Pres. Obama as a finalist for the Award, Champions of Change, for my work on public health and the climate crisis, 2013.Writing and lecture experience:- I have had about 110 Op Eds published in newspapers throughout the country on numerous issues related to the environment and public health.- I have been the principal author of extensive and heavily referenced comments submitted to federal and state agencies on various types of environmental rule making, and courts briefs written for environmental lawsuits on behalf of UPHE.- I am the author of the health chapter in a soon to be published book, Air Pollution in Utah: Issues and Solutions. The book is under contract with the University of Utah press.- Author of the non-fiction book, Death by Corporation, an expose' of the dark, and all too often lethal business practices of major international corporations.- I have appeared on national television, MSNBC, Fox Business Chanel, to discuss the relationship between neonatal death and pollution from fracking.- I have been quoted in numerous national newspapers, appear regularly on local television and radio programs discussing the health consequences of air pollution and am well recognized by the Utah public as an expert on air pollution and health. I give dozens of lectures a year on numerous issues related to environmental contamination.- I have testified as an expert witness in environmental lawsuits, and am currently an expert witness on the effect of environmental contaminants on brain function for defendant in a murder trial.- On a lighter note, I was the first political opponent of the now infamous political guru for George W. Bush, Karl Rove, at Olympus High School, SLC, 1968.- I was the creator and founder of a humorous greeting card company, In Your Face Cards, which sold 35 million cards over 11 years. As a physician, humorous cartoonist, and creator of In Your Face Cards, CNN did a personal profile on me in the late 1990s.- I am an ongoing thorn in the side of Utah state government, industrial polluters, oil and gas drillers, and wood burners.Website: UPHE.orgFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/brian.moench.1#plugintodevin #UtahValues #BoldSolutions #UTpol Get full access to Superpowers for Good at devinthorpe.substack.com/subscribe

Aug 2020

11 min 32 sec

#plugintodevin Show - Devin Thorpe for CongressGuest: Suzanne harrisonOffice Held: State repOffice Sought: State repIssue: Feeling heard and prioritized.Bio: I grew up in Provo where my parents both spent their careers working at BYU. I went to Timpview High School and then attended Stanford University where I met my husband, John, who was raised in Centerville, Utah. After Stanford I graduated from medical school at the University of Utah, and completed my residency in anesthesiology at Harvard University. We’ve lived in District 32 for over a decade. Our children attend local public schools. John works as a Senior Director of Engineering at Lucid Software. I am a board-certified anesthesiologist at Riverton Hospital and Intermountain Medical Center. I also volunteer at our children’s schools and sports leagues and in our church.Website: Votesuz.comTwitter: @votesuzFacebook: @votesuzInstagram: @votesuz#plugintodevin #UtahValues #BoldSolutions #UTpol Get full access to Superpowers for Good at devinthorpe.substack.com/subscribe

Jul 2020

6 min 19 sec

#plugintodevin Show - Devin Thorpe for CongressGuest: Tim ChamblessOffice Sought: 2018 Utah State Senate District 2Issue: Climate Change impacting the nation's demographics. I have observed erratic weather and temperature changes for half a century. The time to act is now. Bio: University Professor. Taught over 30,000 in 35 years. Utah resident 49 years. Involved in over 30 political campaigns. Worked for a Utah Governor, U.S. Senator and Utah Congressman, and Salt Lake City Mayor. Married and father.#plugintodevin #UtahValues #BoldSolutions #UTpol Get full access to Superpowers for Good at devinthorpe.substack.com/subscribe

Jul 2020

8 min 47 sec

#plugintodevin Show - Devin Thorpe for CongressGuest: Doug OwensOffice Sought: Legislature, House District 36Issue: Conservation. Started non-profit to help find common ground with people on the other end of the political spectrum. We can win friends to conservation by highlighting the importance of outdoor recreation for the economy.Bio: Doug Owens was born and raised in Salt Lake City and graduated from the University of Utah and Yale Law School. He and his wife Cynthia Smart Owens have four children and are proud to call Millcreek their home. As an attorney, Doug has three decades' experience resolving complex commercial, environmental, and employment issues. Twenty-five years ago, Doug took two years off from his career to stay home with three little boys while Cynthia finished medical residency. Cynthia currently practices medicine at St. Mark’s Hospital. Doug is committed to improving education, keeping Utah’s economy strong, protecting our air, and preserving the places that make Utah special. Doug is the founder of Utah Outdoor Partners, a non-profit organization launched to raise awareness of the value of Utah's outdoors and promote the creation of parks, trails and other recreation infrastructure to keep pace with population growth.Website: dougowensutah.com#plugintodevin #UtahValues #BoldSolutions #UTpol Get full access to Superpowers for Good at devinthorpe.substack.com/subscribe

Jul 2020

9 min 41 sec

#plugintodevin Show - Devin Thorpe for CongressGuest: Olivia JaramilloOffice Sought: Utah State Representative, House District 14Issue: The impact of population growth and the economic and social changes its bringing and impacting the middle class. This is bringing to surface many issues that are difficult to deal with such as poverty and everything associated with it like bankruptcy. We need to address our economy, and make it more friendly to our middle class.Bio: Olivia Jaramillo is the Democratic candidate for the Utah House of Representatives, House District 14. Olivia was born and raised in Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 14. She joined the United States Air Force in 1999. She has served tours to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, 7 years in Europe, and humanitarian missions into Sub-Saharan Africa (Mozambique, Cameroon, Nigeria, South Africa). She has written Military Legislation at local and regional Military levels. She retired from Active Duty Military Service after 20 years in March 2019. She currently Chairs the North Davis Communities that Care Coalition, has created a Veterans Benefits Fair in Davis County, in conjunction with Davis County Commissioners, founded and leads the Davis County Multicultural Committee; and is currently working with Davis County Sheriffs and all 15 City Mayors and City Councils on reforming their first responder training to include Implicit bias/race relations sensitivity education.. She was recently nominated to be the State’s PTA Diversity & Inclusion Board Specialist. She is committed and advocates for the preservation of Constitutional American Rights, the middle class, a proper State tax reform, public education, the environment, and minority communities such as Veterans of war, and the correction of public perception towards legal immigrants. Olivia lives in Syracuse, Utah with her 9 year old son Oliver.Website: www.oliviaforutah.comTwitter: @oliviaforutahFacebook: facebook.com/oliviaforutahLinkedin: linkedin.com/in/olivia-jaramilloInstagram: @oliviaforutahPhoto credit: Hassison Spendlove#plugintodevin #UtahValues #BoldSolutions #UTpol Get full access to Superpowers for Good at devinthorpe.substack.com/subscribe

Jul 2020

7 min 36 sec

#plugintodevin Show - Devin Thorpe for CongressGuest: Chase HansenIssue: How to overcome despair and human suffering. I see it around me. Complex challenges can we solves through listening and empowering others. Bio: When he was four years old Chase Hansen founded KID LABS, "a social impact corporation with a mission to be a global FORCE FOR GOOD." Of course, he had a little bit of help from his mentor and sidekick, a.k.a. his dad, John Hansen. The idea developed in 2013, when Salt Lake City - based father and son visited FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention and decided they too could be superheroes - now they focus on empowerment projects to create meaningful change in the world. Together they champion for others and take on unique social challenges through; innovative business development strategies, awesome collaborative marketing ventures, and creative social experiments.Website: http://bit.ly/Project_EmpathyTwitter: @chiefkidofficerFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/pg/chiefkidofficerLinkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/chase-hansen-72471111/Instagram: @chiefkidofficer#plugintodevin #UtahValues #BoldSolutions #UTpol Get full access to Superpowers for Good at devinthorpe.substack.com/subscribe

Jul 2020

7 min

#plugintodevin Show - Devin Thorpe for CongressGuest: Kevin PerezOffice Held: Vice Chair Utah County DemsIssue: Electing Democrats. The job as part of the EC is to elect democratsBio: Kevin Perez is a 26 year old native from San Diego, CA who moved to Orem, UT at a young age. The son of Mexican immigrants, raised by a single mother. He has worked hard to make it through school and help raise his younger brother. Due to the hardships he’s faced his main concerns are that of every other american. Rising costs of education, Worsening pollution, Shrinking Health Care Coverage, and the 11.5 Million undocumented immigrants who live in the shadows. These are the issues that Kevin is the most passionate about, issues that should have been resolved years ago.Website: https://utcountydems.comTwitter: @utcountydemsFacebook: https://facebook.com/utcountydemsInstagram: @utcountydems#plugintodevin #UtahValues #BoldSolutions #UTpol Get full access to Superpowers for Good at devinthorpe.substack.com/subscribe

Jul 2020

9 min 4 sec

#plugintodevin Show - Devin Thorpe for CongressGuest: Emily HaseOffice Held: Chair, Salt Lake County Democratic PartyIssue: Voter education. Ensuring voters are educated on how to cast ballots, and the importance of voting in down-ballot races is important for electing Democrats in all offices. Bio: Emily Hase serves as the Chair of the Salt Lake County Democratic Party by night, and as a business analyst for a Fortune 100 company by day. She got her start in Utah politics in 2013 when she managed the re-election campaign for the great JoAnn Seghini, and has been working to elect local leaders ever since. She has worked on campaigns from city council to Governor, and serves on committees for the Salt Lake County and Utah Democratic Parties, local issue and identity caucuses, and the Young Democrats of America.Website: https://www.slcountydems.com/Twitter: @emily_j_haseFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/Emily.Hase.UT/Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/emilyhase/Instagram: @emily.j.d.hase#plugintodevin #UtahValues #BoldSolutions #UTpol Get full access to Superpowers for Good at devinthorpe.substack.com/subscribe

Jul 2020

6 min 44 sec

#plugintodevin Show - Devin Thorpe for CongressGuest: Chris PetersonOffice Sought: Utah GovernorBio: Chris' government and policy experience include:· Working as a Special Advisor in the U.S. Department of Defense where he helped lead the Pentagon’s efforts to protect military servicemembers from predatory lending. The Secretary of Defense awarded Peterson the Office of the Secretary of Defense Award for Excellence for his efforts on behalf of military families;· Serving in the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau where Peterson’s team stopped deceptive and abusive practices by Wall Street banks, payday lenders, and debt collection agencies. His team won $12 billion in refunds and restitution for Americans who were victimized by illegal financial practices; and,· Leading at the University of Utah where he worked as an Associate Dean for Academic Affairs with managerial responsibility for the educational mission of the University’s College of Law.Peterson is a national leader and authority on consumer protection. He has published several books including a university textbook on consumer law and an award winning book on predatory lending. The National Association of Consumer Agency Administrators, an association of state and local consumer law enforcement agencies, gave Peterson its national consumer advocate of the year award for his public service. Chris lives in Salt Lake City with his amazing wife and three wonderful kids. He's a fifth generation Utahn with deep pioneer roots. Chris was born and raised in West Valley City and attended Utah’s public schools. A father of three, Chris is married to Tera Peterson who is also a practicing attorney. Tera is an Assistant Solicitor General in the Utah Attorney General Office’s Criminal Appeals Division where she works to protect crime victims including especially abused children. The Petersons enjoy skiing in Utah's mountains and hiking our state's majestic deserts.Website: https://petersonforutah.com/Twitter: @PetersonUtahFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/PetersonforUtah/Guest: Karina BrownOffice Held: City of Nibley Planning CommissionerOffice Sought: Lt. GovernorIssue: Democrat electionsBio: Karina is President of the Cache County Friends of the Children's Justice Center Board and was a founding sponsor of the Medicaid Expansion ballot initiative (Proposition 3) adopted by Utah voters in 2018. She also serves on the Cache Valley Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and is Co-Chair of the Cache Chamber Legislative Affairs Committee. She is a Planning Commissioner for the city of Nibley, Utah. And she is the co-founder of the Cache Valley United for Change organization dedicated to promoting civic engagement. Karina also currently serves as Co-Chair of Cache Celebration of Women's Suffrage 2020, an organization working to celebrate the centennial of the 19th amendment granting women the right to vote. The organization is dedicated to educating Utah students about voting history including the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and 1870 when Seraph Young of Utah was the first woman in America to vote under an equal suffrage law. The Women’s Suffrage 2020 curriculum includes an educational exhibit available to school districts across the state. Brown has an M.S. in Human, Environmental, and Consumer Resources from Eastern Michigan University and a B.S. in Family Resources and Human Development from Arizona State University. She is currently pursuing a Public Leadership Credential from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Karina is married to Dr. Karl Brown, a physician and Air Force veteran and is a mother of four fabulous children in Nibley, Utah (Cache Valley). Her hobbies include fitness, spending time with family, listening to audio books, and playing violin and guitar.Twitter: @petersonutah @karinaforutahFacebook: facebook.com/karinaandelinbrownforutahLinkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/karina-andelin-brown-23067aa6Instagram: @karinaforutah @petersonforutahPhoto credit: Alina Brown#plugintodevin #UtahValues #BoldSolutions #UTpol Get full access to Superpowers for Good at devinthorpe.substack.com/subscribe

Jul 2020

5 min 5 sec

#plugintodevin Show - Devin Thorpe for CongressGuest: Alan NaumannOffice Held: Chair, Environmental Caucus, Chair, Flip 7 CommitteeOffice Sought: Support Utah House racesIssue: Air Quality. Health is threatened. Need to drastically reduce burning fossil fuelsBio: Solar and EV charging contractor, Chair, Environmental Caucus, Chair, Flip & CommitteeTwitter: @alanrnaumannFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/alan.naumann.90Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/alan-naumann-72608b45/#plugintodevin #UtahValues #BoldSolutions #UTpol Get full access to Superpowers for Good at devinthorpe.substack.com/subscribe

Jul 2020

8 min 21 sec

#plugintodevin Show - Devin Thorpe for CongressGuest: Brian KingOffice Held: Representative, House District 28, Utah State Legislature; Leader, House Minority CaucusOffice Sought: Re-election to that officeIssue: Public education, clean air, quality outdoor life, economic development, access to health care. They are critically important quality of life issues. I am in favor of all of them!Bio: Brian S. King serves in the Utah state House of Representatives. He graduated from theUniversity of Utah College of Law in 1985 and has practiced law in Salt Lake City forover 30 years. Most of that time he has represented individuals suing health, life, anddisability insurers and self funded employee benefit plans. This work usually involves theEmployee Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA"). He has lectured across thecountry and written frequently on the topic. Mr. King was invited to testify before theDepartment of Labor in Washington, D.C. regarding proposed changes to ERISA'sclaims and appeals procedures and also testified before the Departments of Labor, Healthand Human Services, and Treasury about changes to the federal Mental Health Parity andAddiction Equity Act. He has been lead counsel in hundreds of trial and appellate casesacross the country involving health, life, and disability claims. Mr. King has also beenlead counsel for plaintiffs in over a dozen class actions, mostly involving ERISA cases.He has represented clients before the U.S. Supreme Court and in many Federal Circuitand District courts. He is a past president of the Utah Association for Justice (formerlythe Utah Trial Lawyers Association). He also serves on the Board of Directors for theRape Recovery Center and on the Board for the ACLU of Utah.In 2008 Brian was elected to the Utah State House of Representatives as the Democraticrepresentative for District 28 in Salt Lake City. He is a member of the House Judiciaryand Business and Labor Standing committees. He also serves on the Executive Officesand Criminal Justice Appropriations Subcommittee, the Constitutional Defense Council,and the Federalism Commission. He was elected by his Democratic House colleagues asthe Leader of the House Democratic caucus in 2014 and continues to serve in thatposition.Website: www.kingforrep.comTwitter: @RepBrianKingFacebook: Facebook.com/Brian.king.7528/Instagram: @briansking#plugintodevin #UtahValues #BoldSolutions #UTpol Get full access to Superpowers for Good at devinthorpe.substack.com/subscribe

Jul 2020

9 min 53 sec

#plugintodevin Show - Devin Thorpe for CongressGuest: Mandar ApteIssue: Promoting peace, compassion, nonviolence and social justice. Violence affects everyone - me - you - everyone - irrespective of our socio-economic status, political views, or where we live. We have to come together to end systemic racism and promote compassion, nonviolence and harmonious co-existenceBio: Mandar is a former Shell GameChanger who used to manage Shell's investment portfolio on social innovations that create shared value - both social impact and business value. After working at Shell for 17 years, Mandar became a Visiting Scholar at George Mason and started an innovation lab on the Business for Peace that provides innovation consulting to brands to find novel ways to make peace profitable. Currently, he manages a nonprofit peace consultancy 'Cities4Peace' that actively promotes peace and compassion in cities across the world. His flagship work in 2019 was in Los Angeles - working closely with the LAPD and the LA Mayors Office for Gang Reduction in Los Angeles. In 2017, Mandar produced/directed a documentary film 'From India With Love' (now on Amazon Prime). The documentary showcases the journey to India that he hosted for the parents from the Sandy Hook school, Black Lives Matter activists and a former gang member from LA to study nonviolence.Website: www.cities4peace.orgTwitter: @mandarapte108 @cities4peaceLinkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mandarapte108/#plugintodevin #UtahValues #BoldSolutions #UTpol Get full access to Superpowers for Good at devinthorpe.substack.com/subscribe

Jun 2020

8 min 29 sec

#plugintodevin Show - Devin Thorpe for CongressGuest: Susi Feltch Malohifo'ouOffice Held: Executive Director, Co-FounderWebsite: https://pik2ar.org/Facebook: facebook.com/pik2arLinkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/susifmalohifoou/Instagram: @pik2ar#plugintodevin #UtahValues #BoldSolutions #UTpol Get full access to Superpowers for Good at devinthorpe.substack.com/subscribe

Jun 2020

9 min 28 sec

#plugintodevin Show - Devin Thorpe for CongressGuest: Daniela LarsenBio: National Geographic Certified Educator. Passionate about exploring the world through science and the human story. Current projects include creating online education, marketing the right causes, conservation and historical preservation. Executive Director The Hutchings MuseumWebsite: johnhutchingsmuseum.orgTwitter: @museumhutchingsLinkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/daniela-larsen-natgeo/#plugintodevin #UtahValues #BoldSolutions #UTpol Get full access to Superpowers for Good at devinthorpe.substack.com/subscribe

Jun 2020

7 min 57 sec

#plugintodevin Show - Devin Thorpe for CongressGuest: Elizabeth WeightOffice Held: State RepresentativeOffice Sought: State RepresentativeIssue: Fair, safe, and sustaining employment. I have had the opportunities for education and employment that provided income to support a household and also health and retirement benefits. What my security has done is give me a basis for comparison and realization of the precarious nature of jobs, not to mention benefits, for so many people in my House district as well as across the state. Also, as a woman and single household wage earner, I have experienced the impact of gender bias in employment as well as the seemingly chosen ignorance of policy makers about the economic as well as household impacts that working women must navigate. A common point of view is that people choose their employment paths by acquiring education and working toward career goals. My own parents succeeded with hard work and integrity. However, somewhat from my experience, but also from my observations of my students' family situations, there are numerous traditions and presumptions that simply avoid realities of inter-generational poverty, limited access to healthcare, and, as we have been reminded recently, racial biases. I regularly hear people use the phrase "pull themselves up by their bootstraps" but I know too many situations where there are no boots. We can see from the course of economics in my lifetime that Capitalism does not create even its own best support system. When public policy assures more equity for education, healthcare, and employment, it builds fundamental elements for strong economy.Bio: Elizabeth Weight is a sixth generation Utahn with family roots in Sanpete County. As her parents moved from ranching to other business careers, she and her three sisters attended public schools in Fairview, Brigham City, and Bountiful. She holds B.S. and M.A. degrees in English Language Arts Education and taught for thirty-two years in Davis and Granite School Districts. Along with her teaching, she served as a department chair, state and local test item-writer and curriculum designer, as a member of her school community council, and in other teacher-representative positions. While in the classroom, she was a member and leader in the American Federation of Teachers Utah, an affiliate of the AFL-CIO, where she gained formal training in political action, organizing, and leadership. An AFT member still, she currently serves as the Secretary-Treasurer of the Central Utah Federation of Labor and a member of the union-sponsored Labor Day Picnic organizing committee. After moving to West Valley City, Elizabeth volunteered regularly with the Salt Lake County Democratic Party and worked on election campaigns, including that of former Representative Larry Wiley. She followed his suggestion that she consider running for office, and, in 2016 was the only Utah Democrat to flip a House seat.Elizabeth is definitely interested in education issues, especially from perspectives of the teachers, students, and families affected by the policies created in government. She recognizes and defines the strong connection between learning and all that students bring to school from their families’ experiences with safe and sustaining employment, healthcare, housing and food security, and the various effects of environmental conditions. She is excited for the opportunities as a Utah Representative to develop relationships and provide perspective among her colleagues and government staff. She is also proud to serve with the amazing guides in the Capitol Tour team … which allows her to continue in a teaching role with thousands of students and visiting tourists each year.Website: Liz4Utah.comTwitter: @RepEWeightFacebook: facebook.com/elizabeth.weight.1Instagram: @repeweight#plugintodevin #UtahValues #BoldSolutions #UTpol Get full access to Superpowers for Good at devinthorpe.substack.com/subscribe

Jun 2020

9 min 46 sec

#plugintodevin Show - Devin Thorpe for CongressGuest: Jacob DunfordCW: SuicideIssue: Suicide prevention/mental health and building safe spaces for everyone. I am personally affected by this issue by: my own coming out story as a gay man, my work in the LGBTQ+ non profit space (Encircle & LOVELOUD), and all the amazing people I have been able to learn from. I feel that if one of us hurting we are all hurting. This pride month is especially important to me. This years pride feel different. Feels less like a celebration on the dance floor & more like a call to action. This pride month we are standing arms locked with our black and brown LGBTQ+ community as we continue to demand justice against racial and gender inequalities. Some people are posting on social media. some protesting. Others donating. And some are having tough conversations with those close to me. A revolution has many lanes - be kind to yourself and to others who are traveling in the same direction. Just keep your foot on the gas! Also, More importantly - I was sitting here at my desk wondering what I could do to help educate folks on the importance of voting and being more mindful of who are elected officials. Thank you for being an exceptional leader and example in the community Devin! We need more folks like you running things.Bio: Jacob Dunford is personally interested in ensuring every LGBTQ+ individual understands their value and is able to find a sense of community. Jacob loves what he does and will work tirelessly to cultivate a more inclusive Utah for everyone. Jacob prefers the pronouns He/Him.Website: www.EncircleTogether.orgInstagram: @jacobdunford#plugintodevin #UtahValues #BoldSolutions #UTpol Get full access to Superpowers for Good at devinthorpe.substack.com/subscribe

Jun 2020

8 min 25 sec

#plugintodevin Show - Devin Thorpe for CongressGuest: Sydne JacquesIssue: I am dedicated to bringing more respect to the good people that build our communities, and to help people realize you do not have to have a college degree to be "successful". I work with these incredibly talented people and I'm annoyed that as a society we look down on them. People need to stop and think that their homes, offices, hospitals, schools, roads, bridges -- everything in their community is built by construction workers and they deserve more respect for the good work they do. AND their are great careers available.Bio: Sydne Jacques is an advocate for “humans in hardhats,” or the belief that tradespeople and craftsmen should be valued and respected. She is a civil engineer turned CEO and consultant. This farm girl from Montana built an award-winning company with worldwide clients, has trained over 20,000 individuals and has facilitated team-building for more than 350 construction teams. Sydne has a unique ability to motivate individuals to help them reach the “Next Level” of life and leadership. Her company was recently named the 12th top Women Owned business in Utah and she has also been named one of “30 Women to Watch” by Utah Business Magazine. Sydne currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Utah Associated General Contractors, on the National Advisory Committee for the College of Engineering at Brigham Young University and on the board of directors for the non-profit Working Moms Connections. Sydne loves sports and is proud of two gold medals earned in basketball in the senior Olympics. She and her husband love to travel and she is the proud mother of four awesome kids.Website: www.sydnespeaks.comTwitter: @gosydneFacebook: facebook.com/sydne.jacquesLinkedin: linkedin.com/in/sydne-jacques#plugintodevin #UtahValues #BoldSolutions #UTpol Get full access to Superpowers for Good at devinthorpe.substack.com/subscribe

Jun 2020

5 min 35 sec

#plugintodevin Show - Devin Thorpe for CongressGuest: Katy OwensOffice Sought: Utah Senate District 19Issue: Access to healthcare that families can afford has been an issue the community for a long time, but I think the events of this year have brought into focus just how important this is. I have a younger brother who was born with a number of heart and lung problems, and spent a lot of my childhood in the waiting rooms of children's hospitals. Now I've experienced something similar with my own son and some health chronic problems he's had in his young life. My husband and I, and my parents before us, had to make decisions about where we lived and where we worked to make sure we have the health insurance to keep our kids healthy. I think a lot of things are in flux right now because it remains to be seen how our system handles the COVID-19 crisis in the comings months, but I think we need to focus more on public health than we currently do - taking a more community-based view of health.Bio: Katy Owens is running for Utah Senate District 19, which includes parts of Weber, Summit, and Morgan Counties. She is running to create a more responsive and representative legislature. Katy lives in Summit County with her husband and two kids. She has a bachelor’s degree in international relations, a master’s degree in political science, and has been in the field of election administration for the last ten years. She has worked for the Denver Elections Division, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), The Carter Center's Democracy Program, and now provides consulting services on election administration policy and management. Katy wants to see a better future for Utah's kids, which includes affordable healthcare, quality education, clean air and a meaningful voice in the legislature.Website: www.katyforutah.comTwitter: @katyforutahFacebook: facebook.com/katyforutahLinkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/katy-owens-hubler-30918411/Instagram: @katyforutahPhoto credit: Gillian Hunter Photography#plugintodevin #UtahValues #BoldSolutions #UTpol Get full access to Superpowers for Good at devinthorpe.substack.com/subscribe

Jun 2020

7 min 16 sec

#plugintodevin Show - Devin Thorpe for CongressGuest: Steve SimpsonIssue: Poverty, education, support for rural Utah. Affected in almost every way; employment, socially, emotionally.Bio: Owner of Twin Rocks Trading Post and Cafe, Bluff, UtahWebsite: twinrocks.com#plugintodevin #UtahValues #BoldSolutions #UTpol Get full access to Superpowers for Good at devinthorpe.substack.com/subscribe

Jun 2020

9 min 45 sec

#plugintodevin Show - Devin Thorpe for CongressGuest: Karen MayneOffice Held: State Senate/minority leaderIssue: Work place safety. Workers Rights. Save Communities Community Health. I have lived in my district entire life. Taking care of my friends, family, and neighbors. Trust in elected officialsBio: Served District 5 for 12 years. Retired Granite School VP AFL-CIO Mom and GrandmotherWebsite: https://senate.utah.gov/karen-mayneTwitter: @KarenMayneUT5Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/karen.mayne.5Instagram: @karen.mayne#plugintodevin #UtahValues #BoldSolutions #UTpol Get full access to Superpowers for Good at devinthorpe.substack.com/subscribe

Jun 2020

6 min 4 sec

#plugintodevin Show - Devin Thorpe for CongressGuest: Colleen CoppleIssue: Police Community Relationships. We facilitate police community task forces to address police reform issues. There are solutions that can reduce unjustified use of force events that result in loss of life or serious injury for officers and communities.Bio: Colleen Copple is the co-founder of Strategic Applications International (2004) with her husband James Copple. Colleen raised her family in Salt Lake City, but has spent the last 20 years living and working in Washington, DC. She and Jim moved back to Utah County in 2019 to be closer to elderly parents. SAI's mission is to pursue great ideas, promote action and affect change with demonstrated results. Their work in the US has a strong focus on social justice issues, including crime, violence, substance abuse and criminal justice reform. SAI facilitated The President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing in 2015 that resulted in a 100% consensus report with 59 recommendations and 100 actions steps. SAI has continued to work on police reforms to build greater trust and legitimacy between police and communities. They recently facilitated a state wide working group on police-involved deadly force encounters in Minnesota, releasing the recommendations in Feb. 2020. Internationally, SAI works on international development issues in Africa with an emphasis on poverty, women empowerment, gender-based violence and HIV. Prior to her move to DC, Colleen worked for the Salt Lake City Police Department, where she raised over $10 million in grant funding for community policing initiatives from 1995-1998. She was hired by the National Crime Prevention Council in 1999 where she served as Advisor to the President and created a number of new nationwide community policing initiatives.Website: http://www.sai-dc.com/Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=strategic%20applications%20international%20(sai)&epa=SEARCH_BOXLinkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/colleen-copple-9570bb8/Guest: James CoppleBio: Experienced Owner with a demonstrated history of working in the design industry. Skilled in Nonprofit Organizations, Coaching, Government, Program Evaluation, and Conflict Resolution. Strong entrepreneurship professional with a Ph.D Candidate focused in History from University of Kansas.Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Strategic.Applications.Intl/#plugintodevin #UtahValues #BoldSolutions #UTpol #blacklivesmatter Get full access to Superpowers for Good at devinthorpe.substack.com/subscribe

Jun 2020

7 min 54 sec

#plugintodevin Show - Devin Thorpe for CongressGuest: Alicia GettysIssue: Effectively solving social problems and measuring impact. Unfortunately "Charities do sometimes faileth." I have volunteered for organizations and left thinking, "Did that really help?" or even worse, "Did my good intention, leave people off worse than they started?" Tools exist to prevent good intentions from going awry. I'd like to empower the world with these tools. I dream of a world in which we put all non-profits out of business due to the lack of social problems.Bio: Alicia Gettys is the Managing Director for the BYU Ballard Center for Social Impact—the largest university run social innovation center. Through the Center, each year thousands of students learn industry best practices and skills to solve social problems.Website: ballardcenter.byu.eduFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/alicia.gettys.9Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/alicia-gettys-09bb844/Instagram: @aliciakgettysPhoto credit: Jocelyn Gardiner jgardinerphotography.com#plugintodevin #UtahValues #BoldSolutions #UTpol Get full access to Superpowers for Good at devinthorpe.substack.com/subscribe

Jun 2020

9 min 23 sec

#plugintodevin Show - Devin Thorpe for CongressGuest: Colleen CoppleIssue: Police Community Relationships. We facilitate police community task forces to address police reform issues. There are solutions that can reduce unjustified use of force events that result in loss of life or serious injury for officers and communities.Bio: Colleen Copple is the co-founder of Strategic Applications International (2004) with her husband James Copple. Colleen raised her family in Salt Lake City, but has spent the last 20 years living and working in Washington, DC. She and Jim moved back to Utah County in 2019 to be closer to elderly parents. SAI's mission is to pursue great ideas, promote action and affect change with demonstrated results. Their work in the US has a strong focus on social justice issues, including crime, violence, substance abuse and criminal justice reform. SAI facilitated The President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing in 2015 that resulted in a 100% consensus report with 59 recommendations and 100 actions steps. SAI has continued to work on police reforms to build greater trust and legitimacy between police and communities. They recently facilitated a state wide working group on police-involved deadly force encounters in Minnesota, releasing the recommendations in Feb. 2020. Internationally, SAI works on international development issues in Africa with an emphasis on poverty, women empowerment, gender-based violence and HIV. Prior to her move to DC, Colleen worked for the Salt Lake City Police Department, where she raised over $10 million in grant funding for community policing initiatives from 1995-1998. She was hired by the National Crime Prevention Council in 1999 where she served as Advisor to the President and created a number of new nationwide community policing initiatives.Website: http://www.sai-dc.com/Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=strategic%20applications%20international%20(sai)&epa=SEARCH_BOXLinkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/colleen-copple-9570bb8/Guest: James CoppleBio: Experienced Owner with a demonstrated history of working in the design industry. Skilled in Nonprofit Organizations, Coaching, Government, Program Evaluation, and Conflict Resolution. Strong entrepreneurship professional with a Ph.D Candidate focused in History from University of Kansas.Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Strategic.Applications.Intl/#plugintodevin #UtahValues #BoldSolutions #UTpol Get full access to Superpowers for Good at devinthorpe.substack.com/subscribe

Jun 2020

12 min 34 sec

#plugintodevin Show - Devin Thorpe for CongressGuest: Dave BierschiedOffice Held: City Council Moab President Moab Chamber of Commerce.Issue: Fair representation of the diverse group of residents of SE Utah at a National level.Because of political bias we haven't had a say in local issues for many decades.We need statesmen and not politically connected representatives. Who will listen and be fair minded.Bio: Raised here in Moab, Dave has experienced firsthand the evolution of Moab from a Uranium Boomtown to an International Resort Destination. Prior to real estate, Dave had careers as a Journeyman Iron Worker, Power Line Designer for Utah Power and Light, and as a General Manager of a local hotel in Moab. He started his real estate career in 1996 and has worked every aspect of the industry; representing sellers, buyers, and investors in both the residential and commercial markets. He believes strongly that it is not only his duty to represent his clients to the best of his ability, but also to educate them throughout every step of the process, so that his clients can make the best decisions possible. Dave is a firm believer in giving back and is particularly passionate about education. He volunteers several days a week in his daughter's classroom and has chaired committees for the Local Board of Education.Community Involvement:Local Board of Realtors and Utah Association of Realtors, President in Local Board for 5 TermsMoab Rotary Member, President 2016 & 2018 AG 2017-2020Rim Village Vistas HOA Board PresidentMoab City Council, Moab Chamber of Commerce, President for 2 TermsUtah Regional Wildlife Committee, Chair for 10 YearsCanyonlands Field Institute, Board President 5 Years,Blue Ribbon Committee that worked with BLM and resulted in the Development of the Colorado River CorridorBLM Regional Advisory Council,Grand County School District Friend of Education Award RecipientWebsite: www.moabrealty.comFacebook: facebook.com/bierschiedLinkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dave-bierschied-77422613/#plugintodevin #UtahValues #BoldSolutions #UTpol Get full access to Superpowers for Good at devinthorpe.substack.com/subscribe

May 2020

8 min 53 sec

#plugintodevin Show - Devin Thorpe for CongressGuest: Karina BrownOffice Held: City of Nibley Planning CommissionerOffice Sought: Lt. GovernorBio: Karina is President of the Cache County Friends of the Children's Justice Center Board and was a founding sponsor of the Medicaid Expansion ballot initiative (Proposition 3) adopted by Utah voters in 2018. She also serves on the Cache Valley Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and is Co-Chair of the Cache Chamber Legislative Affairs Committee. She is a Planning Commissioner for the city of Nibley, Utah. And she is the co-founder of the Cache Valley United for Change organization dedicated to promoting civic engagement. Karina also currently serves as Co-Chair of Cache Celebration of Women's Suffrage 2020, an organization working to celebrate the centennial of the 19th amendment granting women the right to vote. The organization is dedicated to educating Utah students about voting history including the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and 1870 when Seraph Young of Utah was the first woman in America to vote under an equal suffrage law. The Women’s Suffrage 2020 curriculum includes an educational exhibit available to school districts across the state. Brown has an M.S. in Human, Environmental, and Consumer Resources from Eastern Michigan University and a B.S. in Family Resources and Human Development from Arizona State University. She is currently pursuing a Public Leadership Credential from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Karina is married to Dr. Karl Brown, a physician and Air Force veteran and is a mother of four fabulous children in Nibley, Utah (Cache Valley). Her hobbies include fitness, spending time with family, listening to audio books, and playing violin and guitar.Website: www.petersonforutah.comTwitter: @petersonutah @karinaforutahFacebook: facebook.com/karinaandelinbrownforutahLinkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/karina-andelin-brown-23067aa6Instagram: @karinaforutah @petersonforutahPhoto credit: Alina Brown, Gail ThorpeNavajo Project, Navajo Nation#plugintodevin #UtahValues #BoldSolutions #UTpol Get full access to Superpowers for Good at devinthorpe.substack.com/subscribe

May 2020

11 min 46 sec