I am a facilitator, practitioner, and educator. I am here to help you.
After working many years with businesses, nonprofits, and universities I have accumulated a unique understanding of each sector. I am able to see the overlap.
I enjoy working with nonprofits and universities because of the impact I am able to have on people. Working with businesses is nice because the pay is typically higher. This is a tempting carrot which gets dangled in front of all of us. Do I pursue meaningful work that benefits humanity? Or, do I pursue profit-focused work that benefits myself? Why do we have to choose? Can we have both?
Yes, we can.
Designing a process to build social enterprises
A social enterprise is a for-profit business that has a primary goal of creating, packaging, and selling value to customers which solves a specific social problem at the systemic level for the customer. A social entrepreneur designs and implements theories of change in order to unlock resources and provide access and opportunity to previously undeserved populations.
Based on my unique life experiences, I designed a method for building these wonderful organizations – social enterprises. In other words, I invented a framework that streamlines the process of transforming social problems into economic opportunities.
My hypothesis is that if we master the craft of reconnecting people with their humanity, it organically leads to understanding one another – empathizing. Let’s cultivate a deep sense of empathy.
Social Enterprise Methodology
The social enterprise methodology is comprised of four phases as outlined in the following icons:
The above process is similar to a pre-incubator. One of the goals of my pre-incubator is to act as the bridge between the education system and the new economy.
I identified these four phases during a time when I was journaling a lot about my life experiences. In particular, between 2009 and 2011 I experienced a significant course of events which impacted the outcome of my life forever. As I reflected on my journal entries in chronological order I began to see the four phases emerge. I wasn’t completely sure if what I discovered would translate beyond myself, so I took the concept public.
Idea Validation via Meetup.com
First, I validated the idea using Meetup.com. I didn’t want to put too much effort into this without first finding out if people had any desire to think about these “social impact” ideas – or, perhaps there already were people out there. I would soon find out. Read more about this story.
Social Innovation Conference
Using the momentum we built up from the Meetup I mentioned in the previous paragraph empowered me to organize New Jersey’s first-ever social innovation conference. The social innovation conference was based on the same social enterprise methodology I mentioned above. The conference is called Cooperative Impact. The speakers were from various stages of the innovation methodology I outline above. We started by listening to the stories of community members in the Humanity and Community phases, and culminated the experience by finishing with Incubation and Impact.
Here’s a 2-minute highlight reel from our first conference:
I met with community members on a one-on-one basis regularly. I was fortunate to have so many residents, business owners, educators, and government officials interested in collaborating. It was as if I was surrounded by as many mentors as I could handle. Reflecting on that notion enabled me to realize that the Meetup and the conference had brought together the area’s ideal mentor community. The entire reason I started the Meetup was because I wanted to start running the postsecondary education program that would grow social entrepreneurs.
Now that I had built the network of mentors and support within the community, I was able to bring my focus back where I initially started with Action Horizon Institute – I could now build a pipeline of young people to go through the program. Once again, I was living proof of the social enterprise methodology being an effective model for change.
How am I different?
Going through school I remember learning about the existence of social problems. I never had a professor teach us how to build solutions. Today, our nation, and the world, faces incredible challenges. Unlike traditional institutions, I teach and empower people to solve the social problems which have plagued this great nation for centuries.
I invest my time working with community-based nonprofits, municipalities, and businesses focused on building the local economy. I am specifically interested in learning effective models for developing relationships with each of these sectors so that I may create platforms for them to intersect, interact, collaborate, and work together to overcome shared obstacles.
If you are curious about some of my personal history such as when I grew into epilepsy or what steps I took to get here today then please visit my personal page. Here are a few posts you won’t find on this website, but I think they are valuable in giving more context to the work I’m doing today:
Teaching the Action Horizon: the story of how I learned how to use new media to analyze complex social problems
Unpacking Social Problems: a peak inside the 23-day knowledge dump I went through beginning on Saturday, October 11th 2014.
This is my all-time favorite post (although it’s more of a call to action rather than a first person story): Build a startup that solves a social problem