Ep 16: Transforming Tragedy into Changing the World with Robin Smalley, Co-Founder, mothers2mothers
This seems to be a particularly ideal time for a story about a single individual’s determination and capacity to transform tragedy into a movement that’s saving millions of lives world-wide! Robin Smalley is an Emmy-winning journalist who miraculously found her life’s purpose at her best friend’s deathbed. At the lowest point in her life she decided to take a wild leap of faith, move her family to Africa and co-found a nonprofit that is tirelessly (and successfully!) eradicating pediatric AIDS globally. In the last 15 years mothers2mothers has transformed from a tiny startup to an award-winning organization that has saved and enriched 1.5 million lives of HIV-positive moms and babies who are now born healthy thanks to Robin’s extraordinary work! Robin’s story and spirit are beyond inspiring - I know you’ll get so much from this amazing interview! What you’ll learn: What Robin learned about adaptability by following her performer parents all over the world and attending 12 schools in 12 years How taking a dreaded science class in college opened a door to Robin's incredibly successful career in television Why it so pays off to truly get to know new people (you’ll enjoy stories we shared about how making a positive impact on others paid off in unexpected ways) What it was like for Robin to win an Emmy (the only time Oprah show ever lost!) How becoming a mom and volunteering at a non-profit on vacations shifted Robin's perspective and career path Why our reluctance to promote and advocate for ourselves holds us back as leaders Why it's ok to be "selfish" and help people just because it makes us feel good How Robin transformed the tragedy of her friend's death into a mission to change lives of millions of women and children world-wide How mothers2mothers transitioned from starting in a car to 900 sites in 8 countries within 3 years How you can join Robin's innovative, super fun campaign that empowers donors to feel great about celebrating birthdays and making a difference And so much more! Links & Resources mothers2mothers – Robin’s amazing organization that’s eradicating pediatric AIDS globally Scott Jackson’s interview – the extraordinary first Leadership Insights guest, amazing human AND connector to Robin (you can tell Scott’s got a fan club here :) Power of Nice – book we referenced in the interview Streetlights – another great nonprofit Robin has supported About Robin Smalley After a successful Emmy-winning career as a television producer/director, Robin Smalley co-founded mothers2mothers (m2m), a Cape Town based NGO providing education, empowerment and suppport for pregnant women and new mothers living with HIV/AIDS. m2m reaches these women with a unique approach, by employing and professionalizing women from communities living with HIV, called Mentor Mothers. As role models in their townships and villages, Mentor Mothers fight stigma as valued members of health care teams that have traditionally been populated by overworked and overstressed doctors and nurses. As m2m’s first Executive Director and current Director of m2m U.S., Robin has helped guide the organization through a period of extraordinary growth, from a tiny grassroots start-up to an international organization operating in eight sub-Saharan countries and employing over 1600 HIV-positive women who are providing health and hope to hundreds of thousands of families. m2m has been honored at the White House, has won the Skoll Entrepreneurial Award, the Schwab Entrepreneurial Award, the Global Health Council Best Practices Award, and the Henry Kravis Leadership Award. Robin is married to architect Jeffrey Smalley and has two daughters, Hannah and Sophia.