NY NOW Podcast

Inspire, Connect, Activate, and Transform with The International Social Impact Institute

December 16, 2021 NY NOW Season 1 Episode 65
NY NOW Podcast
Inspire, Connect, Activate, and Transform with The International Social Impact Institute
Show Notes Transcript

The International Social Impact was launched in 2020 with the announcement of their first partnership with Hunter College in the City University of New York. Since the Institute has developed many new partnerships with organizations and companies around the globe, working to amplify voices and create opportunities for social impact leaders from historically marginalized communities in the ( US and around the world), facilitating interactions among such leaders and assist in training  more of them.   

RESOURCES   
Guest Websites:   
https://lizngonzi.com/   
https://internationalsocialimpactinstitute.com/   

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Dondrill Glover:

Welcome to The New York now podcast, a modern wholesale market for retailers and specialty buyers seeking diversity and discovery, gathering twice a year in America's design capital New York City. It's where buyers and designers on Earth have refreshed and dedicated collection of eclectic lifestyle products. Hi, I'm Dondrill Glover, podcast host and senior producer for NY NOW, and then today's conversation, we are delighted to welcome Liz Ngonzi, founder and CEO of the international social impact Institute. Liz is a New York based International Executive Coach, social entrepreneur, educator and speaker helping purpose driven leaders in organizations worldwide clarify and craft their stories to activate their stakeholders more effectively. An award winning Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Center for Global Affairs at New York University, and international speaker list has deliberate courses and trainings to 1000s of professionals from organizations on six continents, teaching them how to activate their stakeholders through effective digital storytelling. The international social impact Institute was launched in 2020, with an announcement of their first partnership with Hunter College in the City University of New York. Since then, the Institute has developed many new partnerships with organizations and companies around the globe, working to amplify voices and create opportunities for social impact leaders from historically marginalized communities in the US and around the globe. The institute partnered with New York now, in fall of 2021, developing a three part webinar series, balancing people, planet and profit for brands and retailers. Join me in welcoming Liz Ngonzi to the NY NOW podcast. Hi, Liz.

Liz Ngonzi:

Hello, Dondrill, thank you so much for having me with you. And hello to everybody. Happy

Dondrill Glover:

holidays. Oh, thank you, I am so excited to have you here. Of course, it's been a time coming for us to have this conversation. I am so excited to dive into your incredible journey. There's so much to learn from you, there's so much for you to share. And I'd love to kick things off with your career journey in academia, to social impact and where you are now.

Unknown:

Well, so academia, um, I had a whole career in corporate up until 2001 2002. And at some point, I decided I wanted to go off into the world of entrepreneurship. But with that came a real interest in academia, I had been a graduate assistant before that, but when I was in graduate school, but I decided that I really wanted to be able to apply what I knew, like what I was doing in my business to teaching other people as well. And so I first started teaching in 2003, I believe it was, yeah, 2003. And I've taught in New Jersey at a few but three community colleges, you know, till 2000. And let's say about 2009. I taught everything from events to, you know, hospitality and different things like that. And in 2009, I had an opportunity to take a course with one of my clients at New York University at the Highland Center for philanthropy and fundraising, which I had no idea about. And I took this course, and I loved it. And I said, you know, this is where I want to be, I want to teach here, I looked at the curriculum, and I saw that they had a hole in the curriculum, and that whole had to do with on like, digital, like who or what we at the time would have called online fundraising. And I wrote to them, pitch them got that, you know, eventually was able to get in and started developing board various courses for them. And under under the leadership of phenomenal woman named Naomi Levine, who founded it after a really successful career at New York University as its Senior Vice President of External Affairs, during which time she raised $3.2 billion for the university, beginning at a time when the university had been was in bankruptcy. And then to the point where now they're, they're generating probably somewhere around $700 million a year. And so she founded that the center is in her retirement, to kind of professionalize the sector. And it was actually the first of its kind, and then there's been, they've since been others. But, you know, she eventually became my mentor, and and we were talking and she said, you know, Elizabeth wouldn't some of the other things you want to do, what are you interested in? And, you know, I'd always told her, I said, Look, I speak all this time, I always go down to like the African continent. I speak to different groups that are always looking for us to go beyond, you know, a talk in a conference or like, you know, something short, they would like full courses. How do we make that happen? Knowing that probably not gonna be able to pay NYU rates, but there's got to be something we can do. And then, at the same time, whenever I would maybe speak in communities here in the US of communities of color or in, you know, communities that really didn't have the kind of resources again, to go to university like that, the same thing would come up. And so I said to her, I really would be interested in, in creating something that would sort of serve those populations. That's really where my heart is. Because I recognize the fact that, you know, what, what's really kind of stopping them from being able to scale their impact is the knowledge that they need to be able to do. So. It's the access to the funding, right, which requires the knowledge to be able to access and the networks, you know, and so as they're speaking, she mentioned to she's at this point, 97 years old. So she has she's 97. I'm Megan, and, and she graduated from Hunter College. She's 100 graduate. Yeah. And she told me she's like, you know, they've been wanting to create some kind of program there. Why don't I connect you to to the leadership. So I, she connected me to the President, I had this conversation with her team. They're like what you've been wanting to create, and I told them, and so we started so so that really became the first partnership that I created, it was a great, great, it made a lot of sense. Because if you think about the demographics of the students at 100, College, City University, they're really a City University of New York, these are first, a lot of them are first generation immigrants. A lot of them are coming from communities of color and underserved communities. So so it really mapped out with what I was really interested in doing. And so that that became the first partnership, and then developed a program for high school and college students there. And then it kind of kept evolving into other partnerships, including with Nelson Mandela University, which we'll speak about a little bit later, with the king Vaudois. Foundation us and giving Tuesday and others, of course, New York now.

Dondrill Glover:

Yeah, so of course, I mean, I sit here and it just, it's illustrious. I mean, I think about you starting in corporate coming from corporate, to academia, and then coming to really what I call just human centered work. Really, it just, I mean, I, you know, where do you where do you go from that? I mean, it really, it includes so much less than I when I think about some of the partnerships that you've mentioned, and things that have come out of that I can't wait to dive more into that. I know yet another foundation for you. And your learning and growing was time, I'd love to talk about the United Nations,

Unknown:

I attended the United Nations International school from kindergarten to 12th grade and I grew up in, in a un family, my mother worked for United Nations Development Program. And prior to that was an it was a UN. She was a diplomat from Uganda posted in in the US. So I was sort of grew up around people from all over the world. And it's sort of like little global bubble in New York City. And I actually don't really know anything else, right? So when people say, what was it like, I'm like, I don't know, it's normal to me. When people say things like, well, you know, you know, like, during the day, you're hanging out with someone who probably, like their parents are arguing or debating your parents in the General Assembly, the UN right during, during that, so there's that, or they might be, you know, countries that are warring, but you know, your friends and yeah, so that that's what that did. And so, you know, I had best friends from Hong Kong, from Ethiopia, from Italy, from from Norway. It's just a really, really, really incredible. Now, I'd say that definitely create created a sense of cultural sensitivity for me. So like, you know, when I think about things, I think about them on multiple levels, you know, a lot of times we we kind of think about things in terms of like the culture that we're used to our own culture, but I really am able to sort of think about different people's cultures and different ways of thinking and then I really try to come to every experience I have with someone from a place of respect and curiosity to understand so that I can learn right and contribute. I also say that, you know, I also think that that, you know, I was an Amazon in bilingual course, I was a bilingual program from first through sixth grade. And so I learned everything in English and French during that period. And in fact, I used to, I used to dream in French. Right, and so is so saving, just having that mental dexterity, right, just from having another language that you speak also creates a different awareness and sensitivity about about the world. And then I had an opportunity to travel quite a bit That was really, really incredible gate experiencing the world at such a young age and different cultures, and so I'm the person who hears someone speaking I'm like, is that Turkish? Like? Or I'll read a name? I'm like, Are you Russian? Like? Because, you know, right, because it's sort of normal to me, it's not, it's not something unusual.

Dondrill Glover:

Exactly. I mean, I would imagine that, you know, having that kind of inside lens, to people and culture, and also, not only just sort of a regular conversation, but as you mentioned, there could be a debate in the General Assembly, you know, countries that are, you know, at odds with each other, I think, coming into that kind of understanding, and I always say that there's a place with children. There's this this sort of instant connection and love and roaming, where you learn very early on how to, to accept each other, and how to have conversations. And I think we can learn a lot from that. So, you know, knowing that from you, it makes so much sense of where you are now and the work that you want to do United Nations High School amazing. So from early on, even you know, in your, your earlier years as a small child, that's, that's really amazing. I'd love to move on to Cornell University under that you're a graduate. And you also launched your first TED talk from from your school, I have to say, I mean, I mean, in my head, you know, TED talk is a dream. And I'd love to know how that started. And what inspired that conversation. I really enjoyed watching it.

Unknown:

Oh, thank you. Yeah, that was fun. That talk I so really, they contacted me it wasn't or more more complicated than that. What it what it was, is that it had been physicist i to everything in terms of synchronicity. So that's just that's the bigger thing here. But at the time when when Cornell contacted me as an alum, and they said, Look, we're, we're going to be holding this TEDx talk, TEDx Cornell talk event. And we'd like it, the theme is around sustainable sustainability. And we would love for you to talk but we want you to talk about all those talks that you do about African women and stuff. I'm like, Yeah, I could do that. But guess where I am right now I'm in an ashram. And guess I'm sitting permaculture, it gives Sunday, I'm a permit. I'm a karma yogi and volunteering. And I'm, like, literally in the middle of all this. And it's, and what I'm realizing is, this is what you have to learn. This is the kind of balance you have to create in your life, and understanding of how everything's interconnected, which, you know, to be able to really create the kind of impact I'd like to create my my life. I think that's the talk I want to have.

Dondrill Glover:

You're doing it. I mean,

Unknown:

I was just I was like, I was like, wow, I had no, you know, I didn't, I knew I was I was literally doing the things I needed to do this thing. Like it was something that I like, in my soul, I'm like, I need to like just kind of purge a bunch of stuff. And I need to create some space for new for newness over basically, you know, a three and a half month period. And they happen to contact me like maybe a month before I left, and they said this was coming up. And I was like, Sure, I'll do it. I love it. And three months later, I was delivering the talk.

Dondrill Glover:

Amazing, and what did it feel like being back at school?

Unknown:

Um, so I mean, I I've been pretty active as an alum. So it wasn't that that it wasn't that unusual for me to be on campus. What was different about this experience this time was that in the past, when I had been invited to campus, I was speaking on a topic, right, I was invited speaking to class and I would give a lecture about whatever I was an entrepreneur in residence at some point. And I was there to help the students, right. So I would give them resources, or I would coach them or whatever it was. So this was the first time the focus was completely on me. And boy, I had to talk about something that was kind of uncomfortable, like the fact that I you know, I went to an ashram to try to kind of make sense of like a divorce or losing my, my dad and all kinds of personal things I had never thought about before. But then I learned so much from that experience that I felt was it was so valuable to share with other people that I was willing to overcome that discomfort.

Dondrill Glover:

Amazing. Yeah. And it just, I mean, I watched it and I there was so much that I got from that it was also part of my you know, as I was, you know, kind of, you know, media stalking you. And I, you know, I just said we've got to talk and it really, but I think another part of it, once again, you were able to be vulnerable and very relatable. And there were layers to it. You could have come in and just talked about, you know, sustainability and all those things, but you, you made it see you and so through that I was able to to forge a deeper connection. It brings me to kind of moving forward to the international social impact impact Institute. You are the founder and CEO and I love to Talk about it in its inception and its goals.

Unknown:

So so the international social impact Institute, like I said, is, you know, really, it's a, it's a culmination of a lot of experiences I had in, in the sector and reflections upon, you know, what do people really need? What are what, who, who is it that I really want to help? And I can I can uniquely help, what is it that I can bring to the table to do so who can I bring, because I've been here in this for a very long time. So I have a pretty significant network at this point. And they're people I trust and I collaborated with in the past that I want to kind of convene to really move our sector forward. And it just so happened, that it coincided with this crazy thing called the pandemic, that that created a whole new level of opportunity to deliver all this online. So you think about international you think, Okay, I have to travel somewhere, which is, you know, in the programs we're looking at, we're gonna have to actually travel there, and but with because of COVID, we had to move everything online. And since then, we've been able to literally touch people or work with people, or, as far as I would even say, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Australia, you know, the, you know, Argentina, Colombia, you know, just just really everywhere because of that, but, but the whole thinking about the the the institute is to really make sure that, that we're in a position to help changemakers and social impact leaders to be able to access the resources, the networks and knowledge to be able to really scale their impact. And, and, and to be able to continue to do to do good, right. And, and it really understanding that, you know, in many instances, it's people who have lived experiences that are valuable, who typically would not get this, these resources, who typically wouldn't be, you know, commanding the kind of support that say, others may may. And so that was, that's part of what I was looking at. But I was also, when I think about that, it's not just about economically marginalized people, but as people who are marginalized, because of, you know, their country of origin, or maybe it might be their faith, or it might be around their, you know, gender orientation, and stuff like that. So really trying to understand how we could really help them to further their work even more. We've created partnerships with with a lot of different organizations. So we've been one example is with King Burdwan. Foundation us, which has been a really great partner. They are a foundation that serves as a what they call a fiscal sponsor, for nonprofit organizations on the African continent, which don't otherwise have a way to fundraise from the US. And they connect them with with with funding sources. So we developed a four part series for for African nonprofit organizations, we actually drew about 2000 organizations where we provided them access to funders, right. So we heard from a funders perspective, what was the corporate philanthropy core CSR? Leader, or an actual philanthropist themselves from a foundation or individual to kind of get it from, from their perspective about what they're looking for when they're evaluating an organization? Because that's something they seldom have a perspective, or have access to hear? Right? Like, you have to hear from them directly. And then we heard in that conversation that I moderated we heard from an organization that maybe been funded by that particular funder to explain like what they did, right, so that it was kind of like a how to like a blueprint that they could then apply these organizations can apply to, to to do their own work, right. So that was that that particular initiative, I've been working over the summer, we developed a 12 weeks program for 11, young activists from all over like literally every continent, who are working on the most diff, I mean, everywhere from indigenous peoples rights, to, you know, to, you know, trans rights, I mean, just so many different different different things, and taking them through journey to sort of understand like, what their story is, and getting really clear about what their purpose is, how to craft how to integrate that into the work that they're doing as activists and maybe movement leaders, and then how to create a story that attracts the kind of support that they need, how to attract that support, who to work with, and then how to how to deliver that online. And so that was an example that was through civic as global alliance. And then with Nelson Mandela University, which was another which is also really great partnership and ongoing partnership. We developed a training for their training for their senior leadership starting from the Vice Chancellor down but 35 people to help them actually actualize the or really capitalize on this incredible Name that that nobody else will be able to have no other University of Alberta ever tab to figure out how they could receive the kind of support to further the education that providing it within that really this unique social justice frame.

Dondrill Glover:

Yeah. Wow. I mean, I just and it goes here like, it just also, you know, it brings me like you said, it goes on and on. Because you're you're really, really out in the world and connecting and activating, it brings me to your tagline, right? Inspire, connect, activate transform. For listeners, who, who may not have heard of the of the institute? Or who don't know how you move in this way? What does that action look like in a small bite for someone who might want to partner or seek out information? What does that look like for someone new coming in, it's

Unknown:

everything from the proposal you receive to the training, develop the coaching that's delivered to the messaging, that's that your help that you know, help you to craft. And it's really understand that to get anything going, you must inspire people, right. And so if let's say, for talking about a talk, I would inspire by providing some case studies and examples that people could kind of aspire towards right. And then connect is really kind of, which is the next step is providing them some tools and frameworks and access to information that can help them to move in that direction. And then activate is when you actually apply what the the the frameworks, everything that had been taught. And the ultimate goal being for it to transform you and your organization. So you can continue to transform even even more. So if you look at the logo, it's actually the center of it as an individual and then and then it spirals out from there. So that you're, you have this sort of never ending kind of transformative power, from all the people we work with at the Institute is a business, it's a it's a for profit business, it's a social enterprise, right. So when I speak to the group to your group, when I speak, your brand's I'm speaking as a peer in the sense that, you know, I'm you can do good from a lot of different places, right. And so I didn't have to become an, you know, create this as a nonprofit to be able to make the impact that I wanted to make. And I want to be really clear about that. And and even the partnerships that we develop, the kind of partnerships we develop as a company enable us to deliver what we do to organizations for free, or at a very low cost, because of the structure that we've set up. So I want to be I want people to understand that, it's, it's very,

Dondrill Glover:

I'm really glad that you brought that up. Because I do think that for a lot of businesses at heart, they want to do good. But they need to survive, they need to be profitable. And so you know, you need you need that to invest in the Human Centered Design and human centered connections that in ways that you do want to impact things that are aligned directly with your industry. So I am I'm really happy that you said that. I think that that is a misconception about and nonprofit spaces that they're just about doing good. It's I love to call the investment dollars, green dollars. Yeah, I love to call those dollars and the way that we are moving the pendulum forward. But you must invest not only time, but money into that space. Because when we talk about building sustainable spaces in wages and so many different things, you know, we are for profit and right, that helps the cause even greater. So I'm really happy that I made that point. Because I think you once again, it's a misconception and people think, well, I don't I won't I gotta give but then how do I keep my business

Unknown:

going? Right, exactly. And so I spoke about the one part of the equation of the Institute, which is really related to how the nonprofit's benefit, but I also part of it is looking at how do we help businesses? How do we help to create the whole the whole ecosystem around supporting this sort of impact? Right? How do we how do we go there? So we've looked at like, there are lots of different models for impact investment, there's venture philanthropy, this calls marketing, I mean, there's so many different iterations of this. And so that is also a place that I think about because remember, I come from corporate, right? i Yeah, so I that is a grounding that I have. It's something that I understand, but it's a value that I bring to the table because one of the challenges that a lot of nonprofit organizations have is that they, the people who working in them are really wonderful people, but they're not business people. And so they one of the things that they struggle with is how to communicate with a brand how to communicate with a corporate executive, how to communicate with someone who is not in a nonprofit organization, and you know, so because they use the jargon and stuff so it's helping them to get out of that and then on the other side, is a business person may not necessarily know how to come in Kate with someone in a nonprofit organization figure out how to build the bring that together. And by the way, impact can be created by anybody, right? It's not necessarily a nonprofit organization that you'd have to support to do that. It could be that the the company itself decides that it wants to develop it in the way that it does business in the way that it treats its employees in a way that it invests in the communities it serves create that impact.

Dondrill Glover:

Yeah, very much Oh, very well, sex. I do think that there are a lot of businesses, you know, if they're not a nonprofit, they think well, how do I get involved in this? And do I need to be there to make a difference, and it being said that you don't, it just opens up the door. Because once again, there's not always an understanding of if I need to join, to activate. But I do think that there's tremendous value in being aligned with those communities. I think it's about going in and getting information, no matter what your businesses and then if you learn where there's an alignment, you can find it. You know, I felt like, yeah, the bad alignment, I mean, in social impact, we need community to make it happen. And it requires everyone who's willing to kind of show up to that, to stay in that lane, I want to loop back to partnerships. In research in the National Social Impact Institute, I know that they have been a driving force for for you your career and the work that you do, whether it's Hunter College, the Nelson Mandela University, the center of global studies at New York University, amongst many others, I would love to know, why has it been so important to align learning institutions and progressive action driven engagement around a social impact curriculum?

Unknown:

Um, so I mean, I'm an educator, right? So I'm also an educator. So I come at it from that from that perspective, but I'm also an educator in the sense that I, I believe in apply I prefer applied education for what I do, right. I mean, there's nothing wrong with theory, I think it's very, very important. But the people I'm working with don't need me to give them a whole thesis on how you create change so that they can, they can create that change in two years, they need a solution today. So that's one. The second thing though, is that sometimes people need to have it wrapped within a certain package in order for them to see the value. And so those academic institutions help to create an attraction towards what to the aims that we're going for. So and people want, you know, named credentials, so I get that, you know, and so it's just understanding how you eat package, right? How you need to brand something in that sense. But I also feel that in the sense of the branding and in a genuine way, not in a superficial way, the partnerships we we choose to develop another very, very well considered partnerships are intentional, because we have alignment around what what they're trying to do what we're trying to do and how, who we want to deliver that to right. And so if those academic institutions happen to be able to deliver that for us, right now, we just finished a three part series with Cornell University with the Office of Academic diversity initiatives for students, students of color, who are going through what they call C step program, and these are students who are looking at at, they're interested in STEM going into stem so there might be pre medical school and stuff. And and so we developed a series for them around, it's called the they call it the etiquette series, but it's really about how to network and develop the right develop relationships in the right way. And then just basic dining yet again, right. But the purpose of this isn't, isn't to teach that in a vacuum is to teach that so that they can refer them in that when they come doctors, when they're pursuing whatever they're pursuing that they're able to effectively do so because they have the right story to tell, they know how to develop the relationship and they know how to go out in the world, to amplify their work, to develop relationships that can help them to amplify their work. And so that that was an intentional partnership as well, you know, working with those students working with that group to be able to further what they're doing.

Dondrill Glover:

You know, I love to talk about the Nelson Mandela University a little bit more, because your institute, your institute was called to help position the direction through international branding and fundraising. And I'd love to, you know, for you to take us inside of a round table, you know, how do you take someone so iconic and legendary, who embodies social justice and bring it to a school and what are what people get to take away from that? I mean, I had to be

Unknown:

it was an it was an incredible experiences and it continues to be an incredible experience. Very humbling experience to be you know, I think you ribose No, unfortunately, your your listeners can't see that I behind sitting right behind me is is it always seems impossible until it's done Nelson Mandela, you know, which inspires me all the time so much about it, but what what what I think is, you know, let me set the context for you a little bit. So this is the university that that was was a merger of small, different colleges. And they bid to, to have the right to the Nelson Mandela name, right. So there are other universities they beat out to get this name, and no other university will be able to have that name. So this is like they now own this. And if you and I, as you just stated so aptly, they this is like, this is the ultimate social justice. Like name. This is the ultimate human rights name, right? I mean, this is this is iconic. And so. So the conversation we had with their, their vice chancellor was like, so how do we now get that story out? How do we how do we how do we communicate it with others? Well, what we discovered in preparing for the trainings that we delivered for them, and stuff was it like they literally decolonize their curriculum, so they the different colleges that were put together, literally had curricula that was developed under the apartheid system, and they changed it and decided to embed in it. Concepts like Ubuntu, which I you know, I've spoken about before, which is I am because we are speaking about our humanity shared humanity, and interconnectivity. And so that runs through their curriculum. They're very much about like, even when they're in an area that used to be named Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Now it's named Kim Mata it, which is a Zulu, I believe it's a Zulu name, they just changed the name of during our training, again, to go back to their roots. And so so so they actually work in the community, the work that they do, like they just open up a new medical school, which is a state of the art middle school school last week, it's beautiful. And a very important part of it is providing access to health care for the poor, the community around them in the townships, right? So they're very much about lift, rising, lifting as we rise, that is really what they're, if you look at the curriculum, you look at who's they hired to work there and the like. And so our thinking was, how do we how do we help them to communicate that because there's so many folks, especially last year who were trying to get on the social justice bandwagon, yet they own that, legitimately So so how do you convey that and then also attract the kind of supporters that genuinely want to further that? And so that was part of the conversation we're having. But, you know, we spoke to people who, you know, they were there, like, you know, a couple folks, you know, were are part of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, like, there, they were, they really no knew him. And so and so this is like, genuine, you know, this is not, this isn't just like a, you know, you go in and you do strategy, you're like this is, this is like a real feeling. This is what they believe in this is, I mean, say to say very boldly, we're decolonizing the curriculum. That's no joke.

Dondrill Glover:

You, it can't be any other way. With PVC and all the tremendous work to be done forward and say,

Unknown:

and one of the other things I think, is really quite incredible. That, you know, folks may not have seen or may me and I've ever seen before, is that it is led by three African women. The university. Yeah, the chancellor, the Vice Chancellor and the head of the trusteeship Council are all African women like incredible African women. Yeah. I've never seen that before. And so diva, just in that tells you a lot.

Dondrill Glover:

Well, yeah. And as it shouldn't be, I mean, what what attribute and once again, you know, it's almost like you, you tell people that this is where I'm going, but I am so capable of leading myself. Right now the ministry, beans, I'm sure so much to South Africa as it does to the world. And yes, yes, that kind of empowerment. So that's amazing. I know that you are you're going to be doing more work with the Nelson Mandela University, and we will be watching and listening and following. It kind of leads me into my next question. You know, we've had many conversations and I enjoy them all. Right. But one of the things that that has come up for in that conversation from you, I'd love to touch on it very quickly is that you know, part of your work in terms of the intention and purpose you've mentioned is to evolve and create accessible social impact learning for vulnerable populations.

Unknown:

It's important to me, you know, for go remember you went into my backstory, which is, I was the one But I also am from a developing, I was born in Uganda, right? And so I have I have that connection to, to, to, of course, what it's like to be in a developing country. And the school that I went to, we were very aware about, you know, we had, you know, you know, how they have like Amnesty International clubs and things we had that was like, when we were little, we had access to that kind of thing. We actually had the amnesty folks there, we, you know, so. So it was part of our, you know, what we grew up around we and when I was at home, it wasn't unusual for us to have like, someone from the from from the African National Congress, which was the you know, group that was fighting the apartheid party, in exile come to our dinner to our dinner table. So is it's so understanding the struggles that people face is been has always been something I thought about, right. It's something I've always known about. i It really did come to it really did solidify for me for when I was the CEO, the US CEO of a South African organization. That actually is was patrons, or the patron was Nelson Mandela, called Africa to Kuhn and it works in in in South Africa's townships. So in very, very challenging and impoverished communities. And, and just seeing what I saw there, I mean, I there was a lot of, I saw a lot of stuff that really, really was disturbing, but also saw a lot of great hope. Right? Yeah. And I've also been on I've also seen the opposite, which is someone else deciding what needs what's a priority, or someone else choosing a solution or just to address a problem that they've identified, that doesn't move the needle at all for the NHS circumstance. And that's incredibly frustrating. But yet, that's what gets, that's typically what gets funded,

Dondrill Glover:

of course, and this is why it's so important, once again, to engage those population. They are at the table, when solutions are being discussed for their community for their countries, and things that they truly understand. I think once again, it goes back to those partnerships that you're so right yet creating. I'd love to to move on to given Tuesday. You know, you have a tremendous voice of activism in the Giving Tuesday movement. Why should retail businesses and conscious buyers be engaging in this kind of call to Community Action?

Unknown:

I'm going to tell you what happened this Giving Tuesday, and it's that I don't even it doesn't even this night, in my opinion. So giving Tuesday was on the on the second of December, right, which followed Thanksgiving. Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Well, Giving Tuesday giving was 20% up from 2020. Okay, while Black Friday, and Cyber Monday were down.

Dondrill Glover:

That tells you a lot. It doesn't surprise, right.

Unknown:

It's not that people don't have money. It's that they chose to exactly, but they're somewhere else. That alone should tell you something

Dondrill Glover:

huge. It's huge. And I'm once again, I'm not surprised, right.

Unknown:

I saw that. And I thought I was like, I'm like I have to I'm glad that you asked me this question. But I was like, I must tell you this because it you know, that's that's kind of like a starting point for us, you know, for us to sort of think about, but another thing that we need to also consider is that, you know, and I share this in the webinar that we had a couple of weeks ago is that, you know, purpose definitely does. It was a it's from a Razorfish study that indicated that 82% of consumers make purchase decisions with purpose in mind. And yet brands struggle to put this into practice. Right. And and, and what they also found was an 82% of the respondents of the study, say the state stated that they the brands they buy personally, Stanford greater gret, Sanford greater mission, right, and that are purpose. And they felt that there 75% of the brands that their friends buy from buy as well, right. So purpose is a very, very important or, you know, they're conscious consumers, right are really, really big thing. But something I thought was even more important is that 76% of the respondents say that the brands they buy, make the world a better place, and 67% of them said that the brands they buy, make them a better person. So how can someone so if you think about your own brand, right, what is it that that will make someone feel better, better about themselves because they can transacted with you? And how it you know, and how is that related to how you're making the world a better place. Now I want I want to be clear, because we did talk about this in the in the webinar. It can be it doesn't necessarily have to be that you support a nonprofit organization. It could be just your business practice, who how you source right that's something that you how you treat your employees that Another thing, you know, your commitment to the communities that you serve, right in terms of just supporting maybe even like small businesses or doing business with local businesses and things, that's another way to do it as well. Right? And your choice of materials and raw goods. And that that's, that's another way. So it's just kind of understanding that but people want to feel good about doing business with you. And they want to feel good about themselves, because they didn't want to do business with you. So how do you make it? How do you bake that into what

Dondrill Glover:

you do, it's inspiring to know that businesses can now engage and it's almost is that you must, because the consumer basis demanding and which I think is a wonderful thing, because it's opportunity there for them, for you, but knowing that we are part of a population and a humanity that cares about things beyond us, in communities and people, it just once again, you just can't do any better than what the world that that we're kind of reckoning with right now people are standing up for you to say that given Tuesday was that 20% In Black Friday, and Cyber Monday was down. People are being mindful once again about how they're spending their money. We're having this amazing conversation, I can talk to you for hours. I you know, I'd love to move on to new york now. Because this partnership, this relationship is awesome. Connection is so awesome. I you know, I'm so excited. We feel so fortunate. And we're so happy that we've been able to connect with you. And I love to let's dive into that. One of the first thing that love to mention is that I know that summer 2021, you came to your very first New York now show, I don't my very first event public events, public event. That's right. Yeah, you chose that the public event come and hang out with us, after many, many conversations, I love quickly to get your, you know, for you to share your experience at the show. And then I'd love to move on to a lengthier conversation about our recent webinar.

Unknown:

Sure, oh, it was awesome. I enjoyed it. It was so it was great. I was I was nervous at first, obviously, you know, the first time I've been to an event, you know, since COVID. But you know, you guys took all the precautions and I felt very, very, very safe and comfortable. So that was great kudos to your team for really creating an experience that that clearly was designed for us to feel comfortable. And I got to meet a lot of really great companies, small companies, large companies, that have these really great brands there that are not only just offering terrific products, but that, you know, I had an opportunity to kind of connect with a few of them that really are in this sort of impact space and really attracting conscious consumers, including conscious step right. So that was one, I really liked them the sock company. And then you've got SW beauty and I still I have I have one mask left, I have one mask. Um, so I love their story so much I love just how you know and I'm gonna ask people to just research them because I don't want to do my full time. I also met Ed Tech's gonna. So that's a textile company out of Ghana and buzzy food wraps and bags out of Atlanta. state of being I've got their candle right here my, my intention setting my intentions with my candle. And then little worlds project which I you know, where my bracelets. So I just love them. Because what it is, is, you know, like little words project, let me give an example is they have a basic, it's a basic bracelet that they're offering, but it's the intention behind the bracelet, that I think is what really differentiates them, that creates a whole marketing positioning for them that you know that not so if someone's going to buy a bracelet from someone else, it's because they're not looking for that intention. But for the the intention, there's setting and it really is around, you know, helping to empower someone through this bracelet. And then when you when you've kind of you know, the each bracelet has like an empowering word. So mine has, I think mine is grateful. And then once I've kind of meditated on that, and I want to give it to someone else, right? Because it's about paying it forward. It's like that Traveling Pants. Remember that movie, The Traveling bat? Are you kidding? I love that like so it's like the traveling bracelet sisterhood. And so when you say when you buy your bracelet, you register it on their website, and then you give it to whoever it is and they register and then you can actually trace where your your bracelet is going but they're just kind of spreading hope and inspiration and empowerment through this bracelet. Right? So they're like, this amplifies the impact and I think it's really really great. So I think the person who's gonna buy that bracelet, they're gonna buy it because the intention behind it right that's what they're connecting to. And I also really liked, I really liked his W beauty because I'm always I have very sensitive skin and the woman who who started the company had a lot of sort of, you know, health issues, and started realizing that she wanted to create a product that basically you can eat. Like when I when I smoked in the mass was like my eating. Smells so good. But but but very helpful, right for you. And really thinking about not just the product itself, but the, the packaging is incredible. Like I was just looking at the whole thing. And I'm like, thank just really thought about this. And the story behind it is really, really, really wonderful. So again, you can buy a lot of beauty products, it's a mass and stuff, but, but if for that kind of consumer, and I've even said people, a lot of people are becoming a lot more health conscious, right? For that consumer who really, you know, wants to have a product that's not going to mess up their skin, that's not going to create some kind of, you know, allergic reaction or you know, because for natural ingredients, now people can be, you know, yeah, that's something that it really, really, I think, is really wonderful. So I encourage you to look at all these different products. But what I really, really loved about it was just being able to speak to these people and hear from them, and just how generous they were in providing me with samples as well, I love that. Let's talk about the series, which which really having that day, there helped me to really get clarity around what I wanted to talk about. And, you know, obviously you and I had had many conversation around it, but I realized I wanted to sort of build it around them. Because I think it's important for people to hear from others they know like I could, I can give you all the grades. And I shared how I was initially inspired by, you know, by all by Ben and Jerry's and the body shop, right because I learned about them in a visit in a course in business school when I was you know, younger. But I wanted people to learn about these. So the series that we developed as a three part series is really to help activate, right so inspire, connect, activate and transform buyers and executive exhibitors to really look at how they can in, you know, integrate social impact in the way they run their businesses into the decisions they make regarding with whom those whom they that they conduct business, as well as how and where they source their products and the philanthropic efforts that they support. And ultimately, my goal is to not just kind of inspire you, but to really activate you, right and create, you know, to create this sort of conscious social impact driven ecosystem that is founded by you. But so in which you're with other brands working together to move this, this kind of thinking forward, right, it makes business sense to this is not just about feeling good and doing good, but it's that doing good does, you know helps you to do better. And so the profitable, right, it's very ad is definitely profitable. And in the first session, we really talked about you know how to develop right, so we've kind of laid the foundation and that was really looking at exposing the participants to the full spectrum of social impact rate, that around people planet and profit and using case studies from both multinational and scale scale brands, and then grounding it with giving Tuesday, which is the global generosity movement, it just so happens before giving Tuesday, we provided with some activation opportunities for folks. So absolutely watch it and Giving Tuesday is is there's also giving every Tuesday. So you don't have to just rely on that the Tuesday after Thanksgiving to do this, you can continue to do it throughout

Dondrill Glover:

time it like rightly is like building it into their business model

Unknown:

exactly already building into business model. And it makes sense because it also connects you with a larger brown or brown brand around impact. So they automatically connects you there. The second session, which we intentionally are doing on March 8, which is International Women's Day, during National Women's History Month as well, we're going to really work on helping participants to determine which parts of the social impact equation they'd like to integrate into their mission statements. And then we're going to sort of work on how to kind of tweak their stories and mission statements around around and their stories around that kind of impact using my storytelling framework. So that's again, getting you from the inspiration connecting you to the to the resources and then activating and then the third one will truly be an activation. We're going to talk about how to activate consew You know, conscious consumers online, and that's gonna be in the summer of 2022.

Dondrill Glover:

Yeah, this I have to tell you and the audience, we are so excited about this series because one of the things that we talked about when we approached Liz about putting this together was you know, how do we get our buyers and retailers and industry people in our trade industry involved. And so is one of the things that I'd love to go back over is for first of all, for people who don't who missed the episode, this series is balancing people planet and profit. And as Liz mentioned, we kicked off the first one November the 22nd. Can you tell us for the audience? Who should be joining us for this? This series is learning this education?

Unknown:

Everyone? No, and I'm not kidding, I'll tell you why. Yeah, same way that we're that I'd say to a nonprofit, they'll say who should be in the fundraising webinar. I'm like, everyone, because everyone's a fundraiser in your organization. But in the same way, everyone in your company is part of your brand. Right, everyone in your company is supporting your brand, or they should be they should all be, you know, working together on this. So the people who were customer facing the people who are manufacturing the people who are sourcing the ones who are creating partnerships, they should all be part of this, because this can this, this will affect their work or can inspire their work on different levels.

Dondrill Glover:

Yeah, so that lets you hurt guys, that's a calling. factures Yeah, you know, you know, brands, exhibitors, you know, all of you I mean, it really, when we think about our businesses, and we think about our careers, and how we're removing, you know, we really are working on balancing people planet and profit.

Liz Ngonzi:

So, I mean, I want to see HR people there

Dondrill Glover:

makes a difference. I'd love to, you know, Liz, for, you know, if we talk about a call to action for conscious retailers, and small businesses and brands, and even buyers, what is one small tangible call of action that that can happen during the holiday that they can be inspired to, to kind of go forward with, can I give you three, you can give me you give me three in two minutes,

Unknown:

okay, is to just simply express gratitude to all those who may who have helped you make this, this a better year for your company this year, right. So thanking your customers online, whether it's specifically so if your customer is, you know, I know that there are users or buyers and their buyers, and then they're actual consumers of your products, but just giving them a shout out online, just say cynthy, simple gratitude. That's one another cylinder platform and supportive of cars that you feel inspired by during the holidays, right? Lend your you lend your platform so that they can fundraise through it or their people can learn about it. So that would be another way. And then the third is that just as individual people, as you know, you and I, why don't you just think about, you know, going out there and making at least one person happy one day, on one day, like getting everybody to focus on doing that. They're just doing that, right. So even just smiling at someone spreads, right. And so something as simple as that. But having that intentionality behind, it can make a very big difference.

Dondrill Glover:

So great, great suggestions. And I say for retailers, you know, at your business, you know, think about implementing things that so when the customers are coming in, what is that experience like, particularly if you're galvanizing around this call to action have given Tuesday, but also just being more conscious. And so whatever you can get your customers engaged in as they come into your shops, and even online. You know, we have several brands who are doing incredible things, one brand that comes to mind, without mentioned is on another show where they are a brand that they're they're a jewelry brand. They're actually Whitney Howard design, they they do the show with us, and they do another show with us. But they have a gratitude ring. Yeah, and that gratitude ring is sold. And once the person that needs it, has gotten everything from that, and has had that support. They in turn, that ring is passed on to another business community within a circle that needs help and support. And it just continuously goes down the line as we create partnerships. But I will say for retailers, in business owners, think about yourself and what matters to you. But think about your customers because when they come in, there is this opportunity for you to educate them to be giving and then to inspire them through whether it's your merchandise or just something that you want to give back. I think it's such a great way to start with that was I'd love to before we go down to kind of like some of the closing statements. I love to go back really quickly to the series. I want people to know once again, if you might have missed it. Part one, it will be on demand. I'll have information for that at the end of the podcast. And as Liz mentioned, parts two and three will be coming March International Women's Day, women's history month and then I'll have one Again, reminders on social media, we'll have some clips, part one so that you can get deep, you'll get right into the action of what that seminar was about and what is to come for the next two sessions.

Liz Ngonzi:

Then in February, I'm talking about that list show. Yeah, I'm looking forward to being there. So I'll be hanging out. Let's chat with you love to hear from you see what you're doing?

Dondrill Glover:

Totally. She will be at the show. And the buyers lounge be walking around, of course, NY NOW our winter market is February the sixth through the ninth. You know, Liz, you know, today, I mean, you've shared I mean, you've dropped so many jewels, and it's just been enlightening. It's been inspiring. This conversation will clearly linger in the minds of listeners. And with that said, I'd love to invite listeners to connect with the international social impact Institute. Sure, I'd love to ask you. What can we look forward to from the institute in 2022? I know, I know. You tried to give us one or two, to follow to learn the rest.

Unknown:

Wow, we're, you know, we're doing in partnership with Candide and a couple of other art candid, which is the Foundation Center and people may No, no, no, that way, we're doing a four part webinar series on youth and philanthropy. And that's youth around the world, not just global, not just domestically, we're going to be doing a continuation of the African resource mobilization series. So this is for the African organizations. We're doing another series for Cornell, lots of different webinars. Seminars, I'm going to be in Scotland in March. In the so it's this sort of, it's kind of hard to say, but here, they've got a follow. So if they go to social impact inst. So in social impact, I n s t.com. They can go on there and kind of see our schedule, and they can see our programs that can learn about our services, they can also sign up for our newsletter, or even get in touch directly with me on our contact page. And they can also follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram and connect with me on any one of those platforms. I'm pretty much @ LizNgonzi on everything.

Dondrill Glover:

amazing. I can't, I can't thank you enough for today's conversation, you know, our partnership with you continues, but to take this time to really talk about the international social impact Institute, talk about your journey, the work that you've done the partnerships and, you know, to inspire our listeners and inform them of information of how transformation happens. You know, I give you a big one,

Unknown:

I just, again, no, thank you so very much. If you're my curly one, can I just say one more thing? Sure, of course. So I'm gonna leave everyone with with a message. And this is a quote from one of my very favorite quotes from my, the late Maya Angelou and it's, people will forget what you said, people forget what you did, but they're never gonna forget how you made them feel. So if we can really focus on how do we make people feel whether it's our employees, our customers, our, you know, suppliers, whoever it is that we conduct business with, and we focus on that I think that can help us figure out the impact that we want to make and what we want to be known for and attract the kind of of folks who help us move our businesses forward but and also to help us create the impact we want to make before I go I have must must must thank New York now for this incredible opportunity. Thank you so very much for having the vision and insight and generosity to provide this kind of learning for folks and this opportunity to us and Dundrum thank you so very much for stalking me all the incredible conversations we've had and for really extending this and for such the heart that you have wonderful your your this is you who's creating this and it's really wonderful to be part of this and and and I really hope that people are able to recognize how valuable this is and how unique it is.

Dondrill Glover:

Oh my god, thank you so much, Liz, it's it's incredible working with you. And listen, we'll see you at winter market mixer the night guys you will follow online we'll see you at market and we'll we'll definitely keep you posted on podcasts release date that's coming up for December the 16th which this is today. This is your day. And then we will keep you posted on things on demand. So thank you so much. Thank you. To connect with Liz and learn more about the international social impact Institute, visit international social institute.com and follow on Instagram at the international social impact Institute to join Part One of balancing people planet and profit on demand, visit New York now.com. And please stay tuned in 2022 for part two and three of balancing people planet and profit. Thank you for joining us. Thank you for listening to the New York now podcast. Make sure to tune in weekly for engaging and insightful conversations touching on the most relevant topics facing our community today. Is it for your gmail.com to learn more about our market and how you can join in all the conversation