While in the painstaking process of compiling our 2020 list of World-Changing Women in Conscious Business, we realized it was the perfect opportunity to ask some of these incredible mission-driven leaders in social enterprise the following question: “What’s the most inspiring or game-changing business-related resource you’ve read, seen, or heard in the last 6 to 12 months?” The answers will have you creating book lists, following podcasts, and bookmarking websites to reference in 2020.
“Daymond John’s ‘The Power of Broke: How Empty Pockets, a Tight Budget, and a Hunger for Success Can Become Your Greatest Competitive Advantage.’ I’m a huge fan of great stories about how entrepreneurs have risen from humble beginnings to start a business from scratch and rise to fame. The Shark Tank star and Fubu founder embodies this in true form through his origin story, which he shares in this book. He also explains how he’s intentionally placed resource constraints on himself over the years and how that’s helped him make the most of what he’s had. “The Power of Broke” is just as applicable to first-time entrepreneurs as it is seasoned veterans.”
— Usha Khatiwada
CEO, NRN Infrastructure and Development Limited
“I am a student of adult development psychology, and one of the most powerful frameworks I’ve come across is the “Immunity To Change” model developed by Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey. According to Kegan and Lahey, ‘A recent study showed that when doctors tell heart patients they will die if they don’t change their habits, only one in seven will be able to follow through successfully. Desire and motivation aren’t enough: even when it’s literally a matter of life or death, the ability to change remains elusive.’ Immunity to Change is a model that shows how our individual or organizational mindsets can combine to prevent the change we wish to make. As an investor, I have found this model to be a profound to tool to help unlock barriers faced by the leaders I work with.”
— Zoe Schlag
Managing Director, Techstars
“1. My Conscious Leadership Group forum with Diana Chapman, where we practice the 15 commitments of conscious leadership together a group of highly committed and ambitious founders.
2. Communication coaching with Fonta Hadley, where we work through conscious elements of communication, which is more about listening better, having empathy for your audience, and exercising courage when you have fear, more than anything else.”
— Nancy Yu
Co-founder & CEO, RDMD
— Julianne Zimmerman
Managing Director, Reinventure Capital
“There are so many great resources available — it’s hard to pick just one! — and you’ll laugh, but honestly what’s most impacted me in the last 12 months is a book that Meghan French Dunbar [Co-founder and CEO of Conscious Company Media] recommended: “You Are A Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living An Awesome Life” by Jen Sincero.”
— Kim Coupounas
Global Ambassador, B Lab
“My business coach — Jessica Joines — is both a former global C-suite executive and a Reiki master. Our check-ins help ground me and align my energy. We talk through business opportunities and then go through a 20-minute guided meditation, which helps me stay grounded for a full week. Jessica has an incredible book called “Dare to Believe” that is life-changing, as well as a Sunday Night Soul Time video series she shares with female leaders on her mailing list each week. The community and resources she has built have, by far, been the greatest business-related resource I’ve found.”
— Stephanie Nadi Olso
CEO & Founder, We Are Rosie
“Supplier diversity programs! These programs are doing an amazing job of helping diverse-owned business gain access to corporate buyers. It’s your ticket to the dance!”
— Connie Stacey
CEO & Founder, Growing Greener Innovations Inc.
“We’ve been raving about quite a few books and podcasts. As a team we’ve read ‘Radical Candor,’ ‘Mistakes I Made at Work,’ and ‘Blitzscaling.’ Individually, we’ve been sharing what we’ve learned from ‘Overdressed’ by Elizabeth Cline, ‘168 Hours’ by Laura Vanderkam, and ‘How We Work’ by Leah Weiss. Our favorite podcasts have been Bloomberg’s The Pay Check and Conscious Chatter.”
— Vanessa Bruce & Anna Palmer
Co-founder & COO (Bruce), Co-founder & CEO (Palmer), Dough
“Most recently, I’ve been listening to Brené Brown’s book, ‘The Power of Vulnerability: Teachings on Authenticity, Connection, and Courage.’ It’s a goldmine for amazing quotes, but one in particular struck me: ‘Embrace discomfort over resentment.’ As a woman, and a natural people-pleaser, this resonated so deeply. Too often I agree to do things, at the cost of my own physical, mental, and financial wellbeing, and I end up feeling resentment and anger instead of what we’ve been taught to feel when we give of ourselves. I’m beginning to practice more self-care and saying no.”
— Jenn Graham
Founder & CEO, Civic Dinners
“I always love the Ellevate podcast and the World-Changing Women Podcast. The diversity of speakers and stories helps me to think about business is different ways. I also liked the book ‘Hard Thing About Hard Things‘ by Ben Horowitz, as it provides practical advice for scaling and evolving businesses.”
— Kristy Wallace
“Watching ‘The Final Year‘ documentary by Greg Barker and reading Samantha Power’s autobiography ‘Education of An Idealist‘ has raised questions for me around the role of business in creating legacy and has ignited a drive to lead our business to do more to effect lasting change in the world for good.”
— MONICA MELDRUM
Founder & CEO, Whole Kids
“‘Shakti Leadership: Embracing Feminine and Masculine Power in Business‘ by Nilina Bhat and Rajendra Sisodia.”
— Dr. Anita Sanchez
Co-Founder & CEO, Sanchez, Tennis & Associates LLC
“I have been raving about the National Science Foundation Innovation Corps (I -Corps) program. I-Corp is a competitive program that teaches STEM startups about how to listen to the voice of the customer and fall in love with the problem they are trying to solve, rather than falling in love with their imagined solution. This national program is powerfully impactful and starts companies on a path to future innovation research through grants and other funding.
— COURTNEY WILLIAMS
Co-founder & CEO, Emagine Solutions Technology
“I have to say that Anand Giridharadas’s book ‘Winners Take All‘ was so provocative, it really made me see how we must truly push for systemic change from the top to bottom to spear positive outcomes. The fact that every major business conference now incorporates social impact and purpose is telling and important.”
— Susan McPherson
Founder & CEO, McPherson Strategies
“The various crowdfunding platforms. This enables leaders to invest in companies they might not have heard about. It democratizes funding that has historically left certain groups out.”
— Minda Harts
Founder & CEO, The Memo, LLC
“Ureeka.biz. It is new and in beta right now, but it is a thoughtful platform designed for businesses that are always left out. I am so excited to see what is next.”
“For my sector, the Opportunity Collaboration convening in Mexico each fall is game-changing personally and professionally. There are more than 400 social-sector leaders who come together as humans first, leaders second. In fact, they don’t print your title or company name on the name badges.”
— Natalie Rekstad
Founder & CEO, Black Fox Philanthropy
The Bias of ‘Professionalism’ Standards, published by the Stanford Social Innovation Review.
— Danielle DeRuiter-Williams
Co-Founder & Head of Growth and Expansion, The Justice Collective
“Real Leaders magazine is an incredible resource for sustainable business leaders who want to want to learn from and be inspired by some of the brightest minds in business and environmental action. This publication of YPO (Young Presidents’ Organization), which I’m a member of, brings together a truly amazing collection of thought leaders. In just one recent issue, I was inspired by interviews with Jane Goodall and Greta Thunberg, articles on practical solutions to global warming and the power of forgiveness, and a report on a global leadership survey about business’ role in impacting society beyond profits. Every issue is packed with actionable tips and inspiring stories. I love to share it with my colleagues.”
— Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks
President & CEO, ECOS
“I can’t seem to narrow it down to just one. Both of these are excellent, depending on where you, what’s happening in your career today, and what you are trying to achieve. 1. A two-part book series that, besides having really compelling titles — ‘Girl Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be‘ and ‘Girl, Stop Apologizing: A Shame-Free Plan for Embracing and Achieving Your Goals.‘ These books are such valuable resources for enabling and empowering women to reach their full potential. We are all subject to the stories we tell ourselves, about our pasts, mistakes we’ve made, abilities, limitations, etc. that we unwittingly sabotage ourselves in achieving, or even setting our greatest goals. This series really challenges us, and shows us how to change the stories and create plan to become the absolute best version of ourselves.
2. ‘Your Oxygen Mask First: 17 Habits to Help High Achievers Survive & Thrive in Leadership & Life.’ Too often in life we put the needs of everyone else ahead of ours, so much so that we don’t even realize we are neglecting our own personal wellbeing. And when we do that for extended periods of time, we set ourselves up to crash and burn. Your oxygen mask provides a practical framework and defines the habits we need to care for ourselves so that we can continue to effectively lead the people, organizations and movements that our so important to us.
Chief Social Responsibility Officer, Televerde
“Bill McKibben’s article(s) in The New Yorker about climate change.”
— Leslie Samuelrich
President, Green Century Capital Management
“The book ‘Venture Deals‘ changed my understanding of how to raise money and how to build and grow a company. I was introduced to this book by Techstars and only wish I had read it before I started my business.”
“Hands down, the tremendous impact and accelerating solutions to solve our world’s greatest challenges come from the Abundance 360, XPRIZE, and Singularity University global summits, network, and incredible insights/knowledge shared by our members and leaders every week, month, and year. It is the reason I am deeply involved and recommend the programs and community to every person I meet. I have also loved the Gamechanger and Project Drawdown programs by the Pachamama Alliance, which I also strongly recommend.
— Ani Chahal Honan
Vanessa Childers is the Editorial Director of Conscious Company Media, where she bolsters digital brand awareness and drives the overarching content strategy.