Last week, we showcased the Track Two Podcast, hosted by Sarah Gerber and Joanne Gouaux, and focused on the episodes highlighting economic empowerment. In this week’s installment, we’re highlighting episodes centered around building a legacy. As such, the idea of creating long-term impact is at the center of these conversations. Generational commitment needs sustainable solutions, and the people Gerber and Gouaux interview all are focused on long-term sustainability rather than quick monetary success. These interviews provide an insight into the challenges found in social impact work and how to use creative business and leadership tools to secure results.
‘The Money to Make Decisions’ with Mayra Orellana-Powell
Also highlighted on our “Economic Empowerment” list of episodes, the conversation between Gerber and Gouaux and Marya Orella-Powell also speaks to building a legacy. As the founder of Catracha Company in Santa Elena, Honduras, Orellana-Powell had to create her business from the ground up. Over time both Orellana-Powell and Catracha have gained recognition, and recently Orellana-Powell was listed in Forbes as one of the most powerful women in Central America. Orellana-Powell has not only fostered long-term economic relations, but she has also changed the culture surrounding coffee exportation for her clients. She’s designed a new supply chain that ensures success for the small coffee farms that she works with, changing their lives forever. Although the concept of coffee exportation has been around, she was able to continue improving the concept, and her work has and will inspire many to do the same.
‘Solve the Local Problem First’ with Kevin Kuchta
In this episode, Gerber and Gouaux sit down (virtually) with Kevin Kuchta. Kuchta is an entrepreneur focused on the mental health community. He founded First Response Mental Health, an organization that uses programs to form a supportive community and make sure everyone is taken care of. Taking advantage of his interest in product and software development as well as strategic analysis, Kuchta has been able to use these skills to curate a company with a positive social influence.
Kuchta never had a shortage of app and company ideas. But with time, he was able to single them out to find the one that would leave the largest legacy and help the greatest number of people. Kuchta describes how influential it was to work at group homes in his early career, and how it fostered not only his appreciation for the underserved and misunderstood, but also taught him about how the system worked and how to improve it. It speaks to the importance of knowing the field you want to improve and finding reasonable ways to create actual change.
‘The Business Behind Philanthropy’ with Will Fitzpatrick
Here, Gerber and Gouaux talk to WIll Fitzpatrick, a lawyer, criminal reform activist and technology innovator. Although Fitzpatrick’s original goal was not philanthropy, he is now well known for his charitable actions and the communities in which he has helped improve quality of life. His shift to philanthropy as a job rather than a habit began with meeting eBay founder Pierre Omidyar while working at Omidyar Networks. Omidyar opened Fitzpatrick’s eyes to the methods for efficient and successful charitable solutions. Fitzpatrick speaks to the idea of investing in people who he believes have the ability to create impactful change, rather than presenting grants or using other less personal methods. This system allows for independence and trust in the communities and the catalyzing forces they are investing in. All too often, “humanitarians” throw money at problems and attempt to restructure a community how they see would be most beneficial, but Fitzpatrick’s ideology is about providing the infrastructure so that those already in the community can allow their goals to be more seamlessly realized.
‘Igniting Meaningful Conversations’ with Fred Dust
Fred Dust was a senior partner and global managing director at IDEO; He serves on multiple boards as well, including Sundance, NPR and The New School, to name a few. Dust is also an author of multiple books, most recently having published Making Conversation: Seven Essential Elements of Meaningful Communication. Legacy is a big passion in Dust’s life, from his father’s philanthropic $5,000 dinners to his grandmother’s love for storytelling, which has translated into his own authorship. When Dust speaks about his book and the topics he covers he says, “I think there are people who are really good at listening to the world. And it’s about how do you use creativity and imagination and joy and bring that to the hardest conversations in your life?” Dust’s views have already inspired so many and helped promote change; even in a 50-minute podcast episode, you will find yourself pondering how you can cultivate meaningful conversations.
‘A New System for Success’ with Justine Evirs
In this episode, Gerber and Gouaux talk to Justine Evirs, president and founder of The Paradigm Switch (TPS). The Paradigm Switch is a nonprofit digital ecosystem that centers around helping military spouses cultivate careers that work within their unique lifestyle. As a Navy veteran and spouse herself, Evirs has experienced firsthand the difficulties and differences in employment and earnings between military spouses and their counterparts. Evirs focuses on higher education, social entrepreneurship, innovative program design, educational programs, leadership development and more. Her work has centered around forcing a culture change, impacting and reimagining the roles military spouses are given. Building such a legacy, from creating the foundation to seeing your ideas take root and thrive, hasn’t been easy, but because of her passion, Evirs was able to succeed.
‘How to Create Leaders’ with Wayne Clarke
This episode with Wayne Clarke highlights his work as executive director at Oakland Impact Center, an organization focused on bringing help and resources to underserved communities and people. Having grown up in West Oakland himself, Clarke has seen the danger poverty and unequal treatment brings and how it affects young children attempting to make a life for themselves. The insight that Clarke has, having actually grown up in the community he is working to help, is invaluable.
Another point that Clarke brings up is the concept of self-sustainability. Too often charities attempting to do good create new dependencies instead of fueling independence. Clarke spends a lot of time and effort making sure that isn’t the case. He explains, “one of my main goals is to see the people who want to lead people to do philanthropy become the actual people who are now doing philanthropy.” This view is less about Clarke’s legacy and more about the legacy of Oakland as a thriving community.