531 Kate Byrne:
What does it look like when women leverage their innate intuition and empathy to use business as a canvas for social impact? Increasingly, women entrepreneurs are changing the game of business with sustainable and scalable models to tackle the world’s most pressing problems.
I’m Melinda Wittstock and today on Wings of Inspired Business we meet an inspiring entrepreneur who is dedicated to inspiring women to leverage business for conscious change and social impact.
Kate Byrne is the President of Intentional Media and SOCAP Global, the global platform driving social impact, purpose driven leadership, racial and gender equity. She’s dedicated to helping women entrepreneurs find their authentic feminine power … and the capital … to reform and revolutionize our world with entrepreneurship.
I can’t wait to introduce you to Kate, and first…
Kate Byrne activated her strategic creativity, tech acumen, and revenue generation skills at public and private blue-chip brands, playing executive leadership roles at Fast Company, BusinessWeek, Inc, Watermark, SF Gate, Tides Foundation, George Lucas Education Foundation, Future LLC. She is known for her integration of cutting-edge technology solutions to drive impact.
Today we talk about why women are the “firestarters”, the purpose driven leaders who will unapologetically drive the solutions to the world’s most pressing problems with innovative new business models for social impact, innovating at the intersection of “money and meaning”. We talk equity vs. equality, and why women are at our best when we work collaboratively together.
You’re going to want to listen to every second of this interview, because Kate Byrne is on fire! She was named to the Folio: 40, a media industry top honor, and recognized as one of the 40 most influential top industry performers. Passionate about education, women and girls’ empowerment, Kate founded Girls Gone Global, a budding social enterprise charged with igniting girls’ voices, social impact, media and financial literacy skills. She is an appointed Commissioner on the Marin Commission for Women and Girls. She is the President of the Board of the UN Women USA SF Chapter.
Let’s put on our wings with the inspiring Kate Byrne.
Melinda Wittstock: Kate, welcome to Wings.
Kate Byrne: Oh, thanks so much, Melinda. I’m really looking forward to our conversation.
Melinda Wittstock: Me too. Social impact is really close to my heart as well. I wanted to start by asking you, what was it that led you to social impact entrepreneurship?
Kate Byrne: Well, it all started when I was the publisher at Fast Company back in 2003. My then editor in chief, now husband and I created this program called Social Capitalist Awards. When I heard that it was all about business, where we do well for the people, for planet and then make profit, I couldn’t believe that people were not just doing this, and I literally felt a calling. I know that sounds corny, but I finally understood what that term meant. I had a natural proclivity for it. I’m something of a translator, is the way I look at it, because I’ve spent time in the corporate realm. I’ve spent time in the nonprofit realm. I’ve spent time in women’s empowerment and racial equity. Two key areas that I think are critical to moving this economy forward and making this a more equitable place for all to live.
Melinda Wittstock: I don’t think it’s corny to have a calling. I think when we’re in alignment like that, when we really get close to what we’re here on our earth suits to actually do, and it marries up with our skills and our talents and our mission and all of that, that’s where the magic happens.
Kate Byrne: I completely agree. It’s the one place where I find flow, where the day just flies by. I come from fourth generation, California and in a long line of mystics, healers, masons and such. So I was kind of raised with this, and it was very commonality and common language. I feel incredibly fortunate and blessed to have actually found a tribe and a world at this key moment that is going to enable me to put all the skills to work and make all those connections really ignite and come to life and get this movement moving forward.
Melinda Wittstock: I love it. I love how entrepreneurship has become, woo.
Kate Byrne: Yes. It’s so true, and if you think about it, oh my gosh, you got to have heart and soul. It’s the one place where I think you find that power and that courage and that bravery to silence out all the naysayers and you, especially as a female entrepreneur I’m sure, we’re handed a lot of that, and you just see that true North and it’s like water off a duck’s back, water off a duck’s back. You don’t see what I see. You don’t feel what I feel. I’m really heartened by it.
Melinda Wittstock: I think there’s a profound shift going on right now, speaking energy and all things woo and spiritual. I think women really have the unique power right now to step into leadership in a whole new way. Really change the rules of the game of business by really drawing on our intuition, our empathy, all those things that used to be called soft skills, but are really required right now. How do you see women changing the business landscape?
Kate Byrne: I see them as a natural leader and frankly fire starter, but also multi-generational leader. They’re going to provide that connective tissue that I think we lost a bit when everything became so patriarchal, but so focused around the dollar. I know there’s all sorts of research, Melinda, that we’ve seen that demonstrates, in order to help a village, really you help a woman and you help an entire community, and I agree. I think it’s our innate collaboration, our innate ability to put a side, at the end, the “me” part for the “we” part. Sometimes we do that to a fault, especially when it comes to, okay, this is so much larger than me, I need to do this. I think women have that capability. Let’s take a look at right now…
Look at the cities under which extraordinary peril, Atlanta, Minneapolis, gosh, Seattle, Portland, all of these cities are led by women, and they’ve had to be the one to come together… In fact, a lot of their police chiefs are as well. They’ve had to come together and figure out, okay, how are we going to get this done? What’s the solution? Think of the countries where COVID has hit the less, all led by women. I think they have this extraordinary ability to just cut all the, frankly, the BS aside and get stuff done. I think one thing I will add as we see women step into their power, especially younger women, I would ask that we all take care of each other and we be supportive, as opposed to, I think there’s an older side and residual competitiveness that happens sometimes. I’m seeing less of it now, thankfully.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, I’m seeing much less of it. Way back, I was on the Times of London as a 22 year old correspondent, I remember I shared a desk with a whole bunch of guys and for each four of us, we had one secretary. The secretary refused to bring me coffee or my mail because I was a woman. I could get it myself.
Kate Byrne: Oh my goodness!
Melinda Wittstock: The one female boss I had was incredibly difficult and demeaning. It’s amazing how much it’s changed since then, I agree, there are remnants. It’s born of scarcity thinking, I think where we think, oh, there’s not enough to go around, and if she does well, then I won’t. But I think that’s beginning to disappear because when we do actually pull together and support each other, really miracles happen. I had two retreats a year ago, the whole ethos was Lift as We Climb. The women, after the retreat did $500,000 worth of business with each other.
Kate Byrne: Oh my goodness, Melinda, that’s outstanding.
Melinda Wittstock: The whole idea of it, and the ethos of this podcast is exactly that Lift as We Climb. So what does it look like when women promote each other, mentor each other, buy each other’s products and get money circulating and invest in each other? Because at that point, I believe we’re really unstoppable.
Kate Byrne: Exactly. We are starting to see a lot more of that. I’m really heartened by the fact that there’s starting to be so more female-led funds, VC firms, etc. And while I know the existing VCs are trying to incorporate more women, I think as we’ve seen, many are just saying, you know what, you’re still not getting it. I appreciate it, good for you, and I’m just going to go start my own.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, it’s true. There are a lot of platitudes out there in the VC world that aren’t necessarily real. I still see that number where women who actually qualify for venture funding still only get 2% of it, and that number hasn’t changed in 20 years.
Kate Byrne: I know. I was really heartened. I was speaking to the folks over at the Anita Borg Institute yesterday. As you well know, they hold their huge event, usually in person in October for 26,000 female engineers. Now they’re starting to also expand their coverage to women tech founders. I think as more women start getting that inner urge and saying, you know what, I can do this, I can do this, I can do this, and that becomes the norm, we’ll start to see that shift, because I think we’ll start to see others really start supporting them in their product [crosstalk 00:08:31].
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah. So much of is an internal shift too. I see a lot of women start practices or start solopreneur type things that can’t scale, or just get in the way of their ability to scale because they’re not thinking big enough.
Kate Byrne: Exactly. I think they’re not asking for big enough.
Melinda Wittstock: Right.
Kate Byrne: You’ve got to ask, and if you don’t… The worst that’s going to happen is, no. What I finally learned is, when I ask and I get a no, okay, that’s terrific, that’s directional feedback. I’m trying to go North, whatever I’m doing is taking me South, and so I need to just rejigger. I was listening the other day to a podcast and the person was saying, we live in unprecedented times, which we all know it’s absolutely crazy town, every day is upside down day. However, that also enables us to do the unprecedented.
So now more than ever while we’re stuck in our respective worlds, we can actually go ahead and dream and take steps towards, either writing that book, or doing that workshop, or to your point, starting that fund, or playing around and testing with something that you’ve talked about doing, but you’ve been afraid to do, because literally you have nothing to lose, except you’re going to miss this opportunity. So I would really encourage everyone, go ahead, be bold, do the unprecedented. And sometimes bold is something as simple as just changing up a routine, and that’s going to feel bold because we’re in such a strange place right now.
Melinda Wittstock: Well, actually there’s a massive pattern interrupt with coronavirus that in a way is a blessing in disguise. If there is a silver lining, it got people out of their regular, out of their regular patterns, because it shifted habits. That lockdown made people have to sit with themselves. It made people have to think and reevaluate. Hopefully, they did that. Because going back to normal wasn’t really working.
Kate Byrne: Exactly.
Melinda Wittstock: So it was an interesting message from the virus there to allow, I think a lot of people to say, okay, well maybe I wasn’t really going in the right direction, or actually they didn’t really like that, or wow… Just having a habit change makes you start to think differently about everything.
Kate Byrne: Well, absolutely true. I think that you’re absolutely right. That pattern change, I think it’s awakened us all from a really long, strange sleep. I think it’s why you’re starting to see more people speak up. It’s probably why women are starting to speak up more, where it’s like, wait a second, I don’t have to accept the way this business is being run. That old me, was the old me in the old paradigm. The old, what was at one point normal. I often say, normal for a lot of people, our version of normal, pre COVID, was really not great for a lot of people. So we need to really take a look at that and become better partners, working together in creating what this next normal looks like.
We’re doing a lot of work right now at SOCAP, and intentional, around frankly, just racial equity and the whole notion of focusing more on equity as opposed to equality. Obviously, the difference being equity is where you’re meeting people where they’re really at, equality is just where you give everybody the same old, same old, which then of course ends up not necessarily helping the people that actually need a little bit more. So, we’ve begun to do quite a bit of work on this. In fact, a new term was introduced to me on this and it’s called a diversity racial equity, inclusion, and expansion. So, going beyond where we have been so that we can really, truly make sure that all voices are able to be heard and have a seat at the table. So, excited to see what we’re able to work on that.
Melinda Wittstock: I love that. There’s so many startups who start up with the people they know, and if your network is all the people, or other white people, it can be very difficult that that founding stage, actually create a diverse culture. And then you start to grow and you get big enough, and then you say, oh, we want to hire a lot of people from the Latino community, we want to hire African American women, all of that. They look at your company and don’t really want to join it, because you don’t look like a place necessarily that they would feel comfortable. I see so many startups in that phase, on how to get it right from the get go.
Kate Byrne: Exactly. I think the younger set, the next generation companies are going to hopefully get it better from the get go. Mainly because I think they’re going to be much more infused with the whole intersectionality behind just racial. I don’t know, I think they’re much more aware of just everything. Be it climate, be it social justice. I think also, frankly, other pieces such as, we’ve grown more diverse from an artistic and a creative culture. When you think about it, there was a time when primarily most of the bands were white, frankly, and now you’ve had so many dynamic cultural icons, be they artists, dancers musicians from all walks, all countries, all places, all shapes, all sizes, all sexualities. I think the whole notion of gender fluidity, now we’re really going off base, but I do think [crosstalk 00:14:43]
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, no, it’s really happening. I mean-
Kate Byrne: That’s a really important piece, because-
Melinda Wittstock: Once you accept that diversity is inherently good, it makes life more interesting. We don’t all have to be the same. I think there’s so much that is, I don’t know, I guess fear-based, where people fear change or fear what’s different mostly out of ignorance. Sorry, I’m going to say that again in a slightly different way. I love and celebrate diversity. It makes life so much more interesting and wonderful. I’ve always scratched my head at people who don’t embrace it. My brain doesn’t even compute. I don’t really know why certain sections of our society don’t celebrate it.
Kate Byrne: Well, you know what, okay, as they say, we have the lizard brain, [inaudible 00:15:51] and the wizard brain, which is our brain, brain. The whole notion of bias, it is a neuroscience oriented reaction where you automatically see something, it’s different and it’s danger, or weird, or, huh. I think once we get in the habit of recognizing, oh, wait, it’s all good. No, it’s not. As you said, make a shift to well, interesting. As opposed to, well, dangerous. I think we’re going to see extraordinary mashups of creativity that are going to result in true, creative execution. The other thing, we was just talking with some folks about, what’s this whole notion of, in these times, we need innovation. But what innovation really is, it’s kind of an iteration of something that was pretty good and you’re making it better.
What we really need is transformation and doing something completely different. That’s where I also think we’re going to start to see greater just racial interaction, because I think there are certain places, I think those entrepreneurs, frankly, in the African continent… I’ve often said, if we would be able to put the ingenuity that takes place on that continent because they have to be extraordinarily clever, resourceful, scrappy, truly transformative in taking… Think of a number of different inventions that have come out of that space, and you mixed it with the resources, the [inaudible 00:17:35] resources of Latin America, all my word, it would be extraordinary.
I’m really excited to see what’s going to happen over these next well, three to five years, for sure. And definitely it’s going to be a completely different world. I’ve got two daughters, one’s 25, one’s 21, and everyone’s all concerned, what are they going to do? What’s their job going to be? I keep reminding them, it doesn’t exist yet.
Melinda Wittstock: It doesn’t, does it? I so agree with you. Everything you’re saying is resonating so deeply with me. I think women are playing a really interesting role in this too, because we see things differently. We tend to come up with different business models than men. I’ve seen so many women in technology apply technology in new ways to change whole industries. I think it’s the way our brain is wired. Our ability to connect the dots.
Kate Byrne: Yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: Also our ability to collaborate. There are a lot more chocolate-peanut butter are kind of moments.
Kate Byrne: Yes. Yeah, exactly.
Melinda Wittstock: But here’s the thing, it’s like giving ourselves permission to think outside the box. Just because it’s been done a certain way, it doesn’t mean it has to. And right now so much is changing so quickly. It is the ideal time for an entrepreneur.
Kate Byrne: Oh, I completely agree. I think one of the things that we’ve had to do as other… There are many people whose business models where relying on in-person convenings, is obviously, embrace virtual theater. I will tell you what, given that our true North has always been, scale the conversations so that all can be included. Secondly, make it global, it’s fantastic. I think really, the connectivity to your point, the connecting of the dots, the sense of community, the collaborative nature, when the web came to be a thing way back when, that’s when I think, it’s the beautiful platform when women really started to jump in, because there was a place they could double.
Melinda Wittstock: Well, we think like a web.
Kate Byrne: No, exactly. No, think of the quilting bees from days gone by. It’s absolutely true. It is. We have no problem with it. I think we also understand that, to go back to an earlier point, that coming from a place of plenty, and if you will, sharing the mic, sharing the talking stick, okay, this is your time, and then I’ll get it back and then we’ll put it over to this person, and so on and so on. The importance of that in moving a conversation, which then drives to actual change taking place and business taking place. And hearing different voices, going back to diversity, everyone isn’t necessarily… I would guess that you and I are both extroverts.
Melinda Wittstock: I think I’m an ambivert, because I’m very introverted in the sense that I have to get my energy from within in me. I have to have quiet. I have to have a lot of quiet time, but I’m a good communicator. That’s what makes people think I’m an extrovert, even though I’m probably not.
Kate Byrne: I wonder if I am, because I really need my quiet time, my centering time in the morning. When I was a little girl, I’d have play dates and I’d tell the person, wait, I’ll be right back. And then I would take [inaudible 00:21:10]
Melinda Wittstock: Are we sisters?
Kate Byrne: Yeah. Exactly. It’s so good to be united and it feels so good. I think as we get more women engineers… The reason I bring this up is that introverts also take a different… There’s a different synthesis of ideas and how they take information in and how they take it out. And so actually realizing that we need all of those voices, all of those, the visual learners versus the kinesthetic doers. Everyone has a role, and good Lord, we know there is a ton of work for all of us to do. And so giving everybody the opportunity to have their moment and to do the work.
Melinda Wittstock: Absolutely. I am so curious about SOCAP and how it works, and what you do. Take us through what you do, and who your clients are, and how it all works.
Kate Byrne: Sure. So Intentional Media is essentially we’re building up a platform, which is a content platform and a meeting place, if you will, where we’re igniting capital to help really bring markets to light and fuel impact investing in business to those who are solving the world’s biggest problems. Historically, SOCAP, which stands for Social Capital Markets, is all about gathering those at the intersection of money and meaning. So those who have money and frankly, those who need money, the social entrepreneurs, in building and connecting so that they can interact with each other to grow businesses that are helping change the world and helping make it a better place. So historically, we started in 2008. Impact investing, which is what were really built around. That was actually coined, that phrase, back in 2007. Something that’s been in practice since the days of Ben Franklin and the Rockefeller family, et cetera. But really it’s all about social change at scale, whereby we take the heart of philanthropy with the financial assets under management of banking and traditional institutional capital allocators and mix them together.
It’s another peanut-butter chocolate moment, to really drive this change. Historically, we’ve gotten together the last 13 years in San Francisco for what we call our SOCAP event. That’s where we gather impact investors and social entrepreneurs and purpose-driven corporates, and those that are trying to become more heart-driven and purpose-driven companies, high net worth individuals, asset managers, who are helping people determine, how do I build a purpose-driven portfolio, all under one tent, to talk about best practices and to get a chance to meet each other. Because one of our core values is, the significance of strangers and the wisdom of the crowd. For the last 13 years, we’ve been something of an amplifier for folks and giving them access to connection, but also raising the voices that so often may not necessarily be heard.
To that end, we recognized, gosh, great job doing the converted for those who understand that, but there’s a huge pool of people now, and you’re hearing quite a bit about it, especially in light of, I would say George Floyd moments, et cetera, where people are really starting to drive funding either to COVID-19, racial equity. That’s all part of our bailiwick. We work with folks like Bank of America and we help amplify the work that they’re doing. We started another division called Total Impact, the goal being to help eventually mainstream impact investing. And then we realized, well, heck, we’ve got the money piece, we’ve got the social entrepreneur piece, we really want to make sure those companies that everybody is investing in are in fact purpose-driven. That’s when we purchased Conscious Company, which is all about next generation companies, and those purpose-driven, those that are wanting to be purpose-driven, [inaudible 00:25:36] the business round table.
And those were starting to practice more stakeholder theory, where everybody is connected and you have the triple bottom line people, planet and profit, as opposed to just shareholder primacy, which is just profit [inaudible 00:25:53]. Two key audiences that we see driving, everything moving forward are those who have underrepresented. So we have a special program that we’ve created, thanks to a very generous grant from the Kellogg Foundation called Spectrum. That’s all about getting resources, be they financial, people, [inaudible 00:26:15] services into the hands of founders of color and community builders so that they can do the great work that they’re doing.
And also women, through our World Changing Women Summit that we do in our offering there. And that’s all about encouraging women, again, connecting women, and then also frankly, refueling and nourishing them, because your earlier point, we go, go, go, go, go, especially because we are so “we-centered” versus “me-centered”. We can get depleted pretty quickly, and so we want to make sure that there’s a place and a community for folks to go to to just get a little bit rejuvenated and inspired and frankly, re-seen, remember that they are.
Melinda Wittstock: This is such important work that you’re doing. What’s so interesting about these triple bottom line businesses is they actually return more shareholder value. They’re actually better for the bottom line. There’ve been so many studies that companies that have social impact mission of some kind built into their business model, and there’s lots of different ways to do this, perform better. They attract better talent. They attract customers. You think of the trends that millennials have driven. They won’t even buy from companies that don’t have a social impact mission, or a diverse board of directors, or a clean supply chain, or carbon neutral footprint, or diversity, or some sort of social impact model. I think there was a study by Goldman Sachs sometime back where there was something like a 10000% valuation growth as a result-
Kate Byrne: Exactly.
Melinda Wittstock: -of having these missions. So it’s not only good for the world, but it’s also good for the bottom line. And what’s not to like? I can’t imagine why a company wouldn’t organize itself in this way.
Kate Byrne: And that’s why, way back when in 2004, I was, are you kidding me? How was it not kind of a duh thing, where you realize, gosh, I’ve got to take care of my resources because that’ll help take care of my customer. And if I don’t take care of those two, I have no profit to be made. I also think climate crisis is one of the reasons now to why people are starting to realize, oh my gosh, this makes a lot of sense because we have to, because we live in a place of finite resources. So we have to start being better about, and frankly more ingenuitive about how we are using those resources. I will say the thing that’s really heartening is now the market… Gosh, I’ve heard so many different numbers of the trillions of dollars that are now going to be assets under managed for impact investing.
I think one of the biggest moves forward is the ESG filter that so many traditional finance allocators are now really utilizing and practicing when they’re building out portfolios. The E is Environment, the S is Social and the G is Governance. So of course it’s, how is a company operating as a steward of the environment for the social? How are they taking care of their people? That can be everything from their staff, to their larger community, to their customer, to their vendors. And then finally the G is, how are they running themselves as a business? What’s the executive pay? How is the board set up? What’s the shareholder rights? As more and more people started embracing that, we will just see this market continue. Over the last two years, assets under management through impact investing have doubled.
It’s still smaller, but it has doubled. Over the last six years, I think it’s been something like 274% growth. It is not hard to get started. That’s the other thing. I think when people are talking about money, they get concerned, gosh, how do I get started? Do I need a gazillion dollars, especially in times of COVID, and the answer is, no, you really don’t. There are a couple of community development funds, just notes, I should say, not funds, that started at $20. But you can also take a step back and start from a very simple stage, as you just mentioned regarding the millennials. What products are you buying? Where are you working? Do those two things align with who you are? And then finally, where’s your cash is your? Is your cash in a large bank?
Because if your cash is in a large bank, that’s great. And are they supporting the programs and the efforts in your community that you like? Or would you like to perhaps look at a community development financial institution, or a community bank, or a credit union where they take those dollars and they apply it towards housing projects, eradicating food deserts. So it’s all these things that are actually very at your fingertips. They’re very accessible to just start while you’re spending your time and your shelter in place. Taking a look at it and saying, oh my gosh… Again, that’s why we call ourselves intentional. It’s, what is my intentionality? Am I even cognizant? I think we’re at a really interesting tipping point because I think all of us, as we were talking about before have been just kind of one step in front of the other, continuing past practices, and this has been a unilateral stop, reset. Everything’s going down to dirt. And now if we could do it over again, what would we do? How would you do it?
You now have the chance to do that and not get hurt. A lot of questions, you were just talking about the profit piece. That’s very true. There have been some who have said, oh my gosh, but if I make those kinds of investments, it’s concessionary, meaning, I can do good, but at the cost of my profit, or I can do profit, but at the ill of the world. We don’t live in that binary realm, that [crosstalk 00:32:44]
Melinda Wittstock: It’s not a tradeoff. It’s absolutely not a tradeoff. My fifth business is a podcasting network, Podopolo.
Kate Byrne: You don’t have enough in [inaudible 00:32:53]
Melinda Wittstock: Well, this podcast led me there because I really saw the problems that podcasters had. Like 85% of them don’t make any money. That actually as a structural problem, because you’ve got all these podcasters that reach these niche audiences, but advertisers approach it as if it were broadcast media and when it’s actually a digital medium, and the problem is the lack of data. So we took that on in such a way that podcasters can actually make money. It’s the world’s first socially networked podcast network that’s also gamified; the way we’re applying that also is encouraging people and rewarding people for doing good for the world, as well as enhancing their own lives by putting lessons learned from podcast into action in their own lives and myriad other ways.
For instance, a number of the podcasters specifically address the UN global goals. This podcast addresses gender equality, UN goal number five. We reward people and engage people specifically, and each podcast has a different mission in the network. But we reward people for actually doing good things for the world in their own lives and in their own communities, where listeners and viewers actually win prizes and things, cool products, as well as virtual high fives and social recognition and all that kind of good stuff, as they interact with each other and interact with the podcasts. On top of all of that, we’re committed to donating or investing 10% of our annual earnings, off the top for mission-driven entrepreneurs around the world, charities and also minority owned businesses and women owned businesses, doing exactly, organizing exactly in this way. So right from the get go. And also encouraging our team as well. At every level of the business, there is this sensibility throughout it. It’s a media company, but it’s also a consciousness company.
Kate Byrne: Right, which is fantastic, because that’s exactly what we need. And we need more of that. It’s also in a format that I think is terrific for this day and age. Over at SOCAP we too have a podcast, which we should talk about, and also World Changing Women does as well. But the other thing is, taking a look at, what are some of the other types of formats, be it video, et cetera that we could use to do.
Melinda Wittstock: What’s wonderful about this time with this fifth business, is connecting all the dots, having a social impact conscious mission from the get go, but creating that kind of business that I think so many women do, where there’s lots of win-wins. The value creation is in those partnerships or new ways of actually creating value, and monetary value, but also value where you actually are measuring an impact on society and bringing people together and incentivizing them to take that kind of action.
So at the same time that you’re informing people through content, you’re actually involving them to take that content and put it into action in their lives, and then showing them the impact of that. That’s the thing that’s so close to my heart about what I’m doing. Solving so many problems, obviously podcasters just want to make money, listeners and viewers want to be able to engage with podcasts. Advertisers need better ROI. So all of that, yes, that’s what we’re doing, but there’s this bigger mission-
Kate Byrne: Yes, exactly.
Melinda Wittstock: -around it. Yeah?
Kate Byrne: Yeah. No, it’s absolutely… I think it’s that bigger mission piece, that’s what I’d love to see mainstreamed. It’s as we were saying, one day there won’t be necessarily social entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs, of course, they’re going to be socially oriented. I think we’re getting close to that in some ways.
Melinda Wittstock: I think the real test comes when you start to see the results. The results are everything from just think about this, where you have higher rates of employee retention, where you have team members that are really excited and aligned, customers that really feel part of a mission bigger than themselves by transacting business with a company. When you start to see those results in the bottom line, and I think that’s beginning to really happen. That’s when it becomes a no-brainer, that if you’re an entrepreneur you’re already, by definition, innovating and transforming and improving the world just by entre-pioneering, I like to call it.
Kate Byrne: Nice.
Melinda Wittstock: I think we’re at that bellwether or that moment right now in time.
Kate Byrne: Well, and I also think internally, in larger corporations, they can entre-pioneer as well.
Melinda Wittstock: Yes.
Kate Byrne: [crosstalk 00:38:54] entrepreneurs. But I think that’s where there’s going to be, to your point, millennials, they don’t want to buy the products, but they also don’t want to work a place that’s like that. I think it will be really interesting to see this next generation of MBA grads. So many of them used to automatically go into finance, classic, traditional finance jobs. Now, a lot of them are starting to actually choose their own gig. Like, I’m going to be an entrepreneur, or they’ll go, get the training for a year and two, then they’ll bug out and start… They got the training, they got the network, and now they’re going to start their own business that’s going to be built the way they want with the values that they want, that drives the outcomes and the change that they want.
SOCAP, it stands for social capital, but that’s only but one of the forms of capital that we look at. There’s also reputational, there’s intellectual, there’s obviously financial, and then there’s political. I think when we get all those five forms aligned that’s when we’ll really start seeing dramatic shifts. That’s why I think it’s very interesting to see a number of these programs now that we’re really encouraging on a hyper local level, whereby you’re getting… And women, that’s where women come into play because they are natural gatherers and natural conveners and dot connectors as we’ve discussed. But that’s where you’re getting the government together, the academicians, you’re getting the private companies, the public companies, and really, the community at large gathering together and saying, okay, here are two or three issues, problems we really want to work on and solve.
Let’s do it, let’s share our learnings, because they love sharing learnings. Even the failures, they’ll share, and that’s where I think we need to get better as a world, sharing our failures, because that’s how we’re going to actually get traction and momentum, so that somebody else can learn from that and not make the same mistake and take the ball forward.
Melinda Wittstock: That’s so fantastic. How can people engage with you, Kate and what you’re doing? Say someone listening to this podcast who has a business that is a social impact business and wants to connect with investors say, who are interested in this space, or the other way around, women who listen to this podcast, who invest in companies and are actually looking for investment opportunities around this. What’s the best way to engage with you and with everything you’re doing?
Kate Byrne: Well, this is going to sound a little silly. Well, go to socialcapitalmarkets.net. That’s our website. You’ll see a number of different resources. We’ve got a COVID-19 resource center for entrepreneurs, and that ranges everything from legal to infrastructure services, to folks who have got large funds that they’re putting forth to people. I would encourage people to actually come to SOCAP, the event itself that we’re doing. That’s going to happen October 19th through the 23rd. What I’ve really worked on is actually tapping into the other key impact conveners. So we’re making it more of an impact week. I am happy to put together a special code, Melinda, for you and your listeners to give them a 20% discount to do so if they [crosstalk 00:42:40]
Melinda Wittstock: Oh, that would be wonderful. Because I think there’s so many people in this particular community who are aligned in this way. I’m just going to put my hand up. I want to come.
Kate Byrne: Yes. Well, [inaudible 00:42:54]. That’s what I was sitting there thinking, because it’s a pretty simple, in terms of, I’m going to say, it’ll be… I’m thinking of the code right now, so it’ll be Wings 20.
Melinda Wittstock: Wings 20, okay.
Kate Byrne: Wings 20 is what it will be. I’ll set that up actually with my next call that I’ve got, but just Wings 20, and that’ll give everybody a 20% discount off of that. Feel free to reach out to me directly too. I’m happy to point people in different directions and I’m a natural connector. So I’ve got a large network, happy to help people along those lines as well.
Melinda Wittstock: What’s the best way they can find you?
Kate Byrne: I’m firstname.lastname@example.org.
Melinda Wittstock: Fantastic. Okay.
Kate Byrne: [inaudible 00:43:47] too.
Melinda Wittstock: That’s great. And where is the conference?
Kate Byrne: The conference is virtual this year. Normally, it is in San Francisco. Moving forward, because I think convenings will have changed forever, we will be holding it always that third week of October. What we’re hoping to do next year though, depending on people’s ability to actually meet in person is, we might hold a smaller home flagship convening. But what we’re looking to do is create partnerships around the world so that people don’t have to leave home. We would cohost viewing parties with other entities, so that you could actually take what you learn at SOCAP, and then literally do what I just had painted a picture of, where all of these different groups get together, and then they take that learning and then they put it to best practice on a community level. So, while you’re getting the global picture, you’re also able to get that immediate, implementable, community level, how-to piece that you can put to work right away for you.
Melinda Wittstock: Wonderful. Oh my goodness, I could talk to you for a long time and I will follow up, because I think what you’re doing is so important for the world.
Kate Byrne: Yeah, please do.
Melinda Wittstock: Thank you so much for putting on your wings and flying with us today.
Kate Byrne: Oh, thank you so much. It was a great flight.
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