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Mission Forward: Communicating for Change
41 minutes | Jun 30, 2022
Rebroadcast: Decolonizing Wealth in Big Philanthropy with Edgar Villanueva
Edgar Villanueva is a southerner. He’s a North Carolinian. He was raised in the church. He’s also a member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, and as such, was the only Native American in his K-12 education experience. “When I got to the University of North Carolina, I was so hungry to connect with other native students. I began to understand there that there were things about my world view and my perspective that were unique to being Native American.” Somewhere between his Native heritage and his disarming Southern charm, Edgar has developed a muscle for speaking truth to power with love (his fantastic words, not ours), and no where is that more apparent than in his work in institutional philanthropy, an industry ripe for change. In his best-selling book, Decolonizing Wealth: Indigenous Wisdom to Heal Divides and Restore Balance, Edgar takes us on tour of the philanthropic industry that carries the baggage of colonial structures designed to stifle the voices of equity through a veneer of altruism. Philanthropy is an exercised of "dividing Us from Them and the haves from the have-nots," says Edgar. This week on the show, Edgar shares with us 14-year exploration of Big Philanthropy, and his healing and compassionate solutions to an industry mired in systemic imbalance. He shares the experience of grappling with issues but not having language to have the conversations we need to have, and his work to help others develop vernacular to help and to heal. Most important, he offers us insight to his efforts not just to discuss these issues, but to change an industry through Liberated Capital: A Decolonizing Wealth Fund. Rooted in relationships of mutuality and equity, Liberated Capital gives through a reparations model that trusts and supports the leadership of those most impacted by historical and systemic racism. The fund welcomes support from individuals at all levels of giving who are committed to collectively healing the wounds of colonialism and white supremacy by using money as medicine to shape an equitable future. Anyone can join and take part in the mission of Decolonizing Wealth through Liberated Capital, and we here at Mission Partners are proud to be a part of this movement through our own donation this month. Our great thanks to Edgar for his time and support of this show. We’re proud to be in orbit of the work of this organization. Links & Notes Decolonizing Wealth Decolonizing Wealth: Indigenous Wisdom to Heal Divides and Restore Balance — by Edgar Villanueva Liberated Capital Follow Edgar on LinkedIn
5 minutes | Jun 23, 2022
Finding the Words • Wait For It
Have you ever experienced a moment that made you feel strong, maybe even capable of great things? Perhaps it was a big goal accomplished, an affirmation from someone you admire, or a time when you helped someone who really needed it? Thanks for listening. This is the 21st article in a year-long series called Finding the Words. If you liked this week's essay, we hope you'll forward it along. And a reminder that your family, friends, and colleagues can subscribe to Finding the Words too — along with every episode of our podcast — simply by clicking this link.
35 minutes | Jun 16, 2022
Rebroadcast: Empathy as a Force-Multiplier with Ryan Pintado-Vertner
Ryan Pintado Vertner is founder of Smoketown, and a brand strategy expert. We had him on the Mission Forward podcast a year ago, but his message is as powerful today as it was then. It is one of our favorite episodes and we’re glad to be able to serve it back up to you today as a part of our summer session. It was his experience in the consumer packaged goods industry that taught our guest this week how to channel his empathy. He found it by way of the institution’s appreciation for Design Thinking in product development. “One of the things that you do in design thinking very explicitly is that you obsess over the problem that you’re solving in people’s lives. ... They name that empathy.” For Ryan Pintado-Vertner, that experience connected a new vernacular to something he’d known all along. Empathy — that sensitivity to others’ experience — described both his expertise in product development and his desire to change the world through his activism. And thus, Smoketown, LLC was born. The name? A callback to Louisville’s oldest African-American neighborhood founded by emancipated slaves after the Civil War. To Pintado-Vertner and team, “it represents extraordinary potential hiding in plain sight.” This week’s show goes straight to the heart of the dynamics in entrenched business processes that serve to stifle innovation through diversity and limit opportunities for marginalized communities. The opportunity, says Pintado-Vertner, lies in demography. “They are more likely to lean into progressive expectations for how the economy should work better,” he says of recent generations. “What that means for us, how we think about this moment, is that this is not a moment at all. It is a building up of increasing power and influence of generations who do not share our expectations of the corporations they interact with; what we’re seeing right now is simply going to accelerate.” Smoketown is an incredible operation with a powerful team shepherding its legacy. Ryan’s insights on that legacy and the historical events that shape our collective outlook today make him the perfect guest to take on such challenging conversations. Links & Notes Learn more about Smoketown Strategy, LLC Connect with Ryan Pintado-Vertner on LinkedIn Subscribe to the Brand New Blueprint Podcast by Smoketown
4 minutes | Jun 9, 2022
Finding The Words • Test Your Boundaries
Learning, practicing, and excelling at anything requires that we start somewhere. This week on Finding The Words, Carrie explores the journey from there... to here. Thanks for listening. This is the 23rd article in a year-long series called Finding the Words. If you liked this week's essay, we hope you'll forward it along. And a reminder that your family, friends, and colleagues can subscribe to Finding the Words too — along with every episode of our podcast — simply by clicking this link.
1 minutes | Jun 8, 2022
Welcome to Summer at Mission Forward
A brief note on our plans for the coming summer months with Carrie!
28 minutes | Apr 28, 2022
Nonprofit Fundraising Trends with Nadine Gabai-Botero
We spent this season talking with a great mix of nonprofit and foundation leaders, and we can think of no better guest to wrap up our fifth season than our guest today: Nadine Gabai-Botero, President of Focus Fundraising. Nadine has an incredibly diverse background in fundraising. Prior to establishing Focus Fundraising, she supported culture and arts organizations toward community development, and led capital campaigns and branding projects for clients across the spectrum. Her firm is only the latest chapter in a career dedicated to leading innovation in donor engagement and results. Along the way, she earned her credentials as a Certified Fundraising Executive and serves as the Secretary of the Board and Development Committee chair of the Catalogue for Philanthropy in DC. Originally from Lima, Peru, she is a proud Latinx fundraiser and brings her diverse background to our conversation as we try to pin down trends driving nonprofit giving after a tumultuous few years. Nadine is a cherished member of our community and we're honored to have her on our last show of the season to help us set the stage for what's to come.
32 minutes | Apr 21, 2022
Giving for Good with Nicole Enghdal
Nicole Engdahl is a park person. In January of 2015, Nicole joined the National Parks Foundation charged with formalizing the organization’s planned giving department. By 2016, she was tapped to lead the efforts of three major fundraising groups all under one big umbrella including direct response giving, mid-level giving, and estate gifts. That means her department is responsible for all park giving from the nickle in the point-of-sale jar to bequests. See? Nicole Engdahl is a park person. She’s been practicing her nonprofit fundraising craft for over twenty years having helped grow the domestic estate giving program for Special Olympics International and planned giving for the National Geographic Society. It takes an extraordinary set of communications skills to navigate nonprofit giving in our current global context. How do you communicate your mission in such a way as to inspire and connect with donors, motivating them to generosity and benevolence for your organization when there is so very much need in the world all around us? We love Nicole’s exuberance for her work, her passions for the parks and all the things we do there, and her love of telling the National Parks Foundation’s stories in a way that inspires us all. Thank you, Nicole, for sharing your wisdom with us this week.
33 minutes | Apr 13, 2022
The Corporate Civic Playbook with Steven Levine
Did your workplace offer paid time off for the first time on election day in 2020 so that you could be free to navigate the polls without worry? Then you have today's guest to thank. Stephen Levine is co-founder of Meteorite, a social impact firm that builds coalitions and campaigns that drive social transformation. Among those coalitions is the Civic Alliance, which together with its 1,200-plus member companies, rallied to champion civic participation leading to historic engagement in the 2020 elections. Steven is a bona fide expert in social impact and corporate communications. He's held prominent positions at the White House where he as the White House Associate Director of Communications under President George W. Bush, where he was responsible for executing every single presidential media event held on White House grounds. This week, Steven introduces us to his work, and how he channels his experience in media toward driving participation, access, and pride in every American's access to free and fair elections at every level. Their efforts have brougt about the Civic Alliance and the Corporate Civic Playbook, and tool to help every company and organization empower employees and customers to be active and engaged in civic life. Thank you Steven, for joining us on the show and sharing your work with our community. Connect with Steven on LinkedIn to learn more.
29 minutes | Apr 7, 2022
Giving Meaning to the Word Justice with Jim Knight
Jim Knight has led Jubilee Housing since 2002 and joins us this week to share their commitment to building compassionate communities for everyone to thrive.
28 minutes | Mar 31, 2022
Branding to Break Stereotypes with Temi Bennett
This week, we’re talking to someone with big ambition who recognized the greatest change started small. Temi Bennet, Esq. is Director of Policy for if: a foundation for radical possibility, where she is responsible for engaging local government in the DC metro region in developing racially equitable policies that enable Black people and people of color to thrive. It was her influence and leadership at if that moved the organization to take a distinctly different approach in their own branding. What was formerly known as the Consumer Health Foundation evolved into a new, provocative name and brand, bold and explicit in its mission to eliminate systems of oppression in favor of racial justice. Temi is in a position to make big change, and if is an example of an organization working diligently, showcasing the impact of brand in clear and powerful advocacy. But we hope you’ll take another message from our conversation with her, too. She went to Washington looking to influence change from the top. What she learned is that the real power to make change started locally, right where she was. Thinking small to make big waves. And today she’s moving a big mission forward, removing barriers all along her way.
3 minutes | Mar 24, 2022
We’re taking a break from our longer-form interviews for reflection. This week, we offer a selection from Carrie’s column, “Finding the Words,” in which we explore the space that emerges when there are no words to be found. We’ll be back next week. Until then, we hope you find peace in the quiet.
36 minutes | Mar 17, 2022
Storytelling for Good with Kerry-Ann Hamilton
Welcome to this 50th episode of the Mission Forward Podcast! It's been a true joy sharing these conversations with you all on the power of communcations, this field we love so much. Our guest this week is Kerry-Ann Hamilton, a communications strategist with decades of experience in media relations, cause communications, and crisis management. She serves as principal consultant at KAH Communications where she brings her experience to bear for nonprofits and cause-related organizations and, for us, her work is a shining example of the balance of ideals, values, goals, and mission. In fact, we want to amplify this statement — which you'll hear when you listen to the show — because we've been repeating it like a mantra all week. When asked why she started her own firm, she replied, "I was excited to work at scale with organizations and bold change-makers who want to create the world they want, and are restless about the world we have." We create the world we want because we're restless about the world we have. Kerry-Ann's experience in nonprofit communication is extensive, and you'll hear how easily she's able to disabuse us of our misunderstandings about the work and power of the nonprofit in the hands of the passionate and engaged leader. She shares her own inspirations this week: Atlas of the Heart by Brené Brown and The Trusted Advisor by David H. Maister. You can learn more about Kerry-Ann Hamilton and the work her team is doing at KAH Consulting. We're honored to amplify her experience and expertise on the show this week!
27 minutes | Mar 10, 2022
Reinventing a Brand from the Inside Out with Justin Pasquierello
"Joy can be a matter of life and death." So says our guest this week, Justin Pasquierello. You could say his career started as a child, in a townhouse, meeting a team of paramedics on his stairs. His birth mother had a reaction to her medication. That was the last night he had lived with her, and the night that set him off on his career working in nonprofits on behalf of children. We first met Justin Pasquierello when he was serving as executive director of Children's HealthWatch working with leaders around the country to improve children's health in America. From there, he's moved to East Boston Social Centers, taking the reins as Executive Director serving not just the diverse residents of East Boston, but the powerful legacy of 104 years the organization has served its community. And Justin has done it all with joy. "Joy lives in community," he says. "It is literally contagious, and so we can most effectively pursue our own happiness, and that of our society, together. Recognizing when all give, all gain, we can collectively make the world a better place by pursuing what matters most for joy: long and strong relationships, purpose, physical fitness, meditation, and fun." He is a relentless and visionary thinker, working tirelessly to make the world a more peaceful, joyful, and sustainable place. We're honored to have Justin with us today to talk a bit about his work, his love, and some of our past work together. Learn more about the work of East Boston Social Centers, and if you haven't had the opportunity, make sure to watch his TEDx Talk, "Why Joy is Not a Solo Sport", today.
31 minutes | Mar 3, 2022
Be Mindful of Power with C.Marie Taylor
When we started this season, we told you we would be talking to a mix of our favorite leaders in our field who are facing our challenges and barriers to moving their missions forward. This week on the show, we're talking to someone we can only rightly characterize as a leader of leaders. C.Marie Taylor is a role model and mentor to us, a leader herself with a distinguished CV as executive director of respected non-profits. In 2018, she started her own consulting practice, Equity Through Action, leveraging her skills as a leader and communicator to build her own team dedicated to helping clients transform their environments into safe, inclusive, and people-focused spaces. Anyone in agency space will know: accomplishing anything near that sort of goal requires a leader unafraid to speak truth — sometimes uncomfortable truth — to entrenched power. And that is not just C.Marie's great gift, it is her passion. This week, we'll be specifically tackling the challenges of entrenched power in non-profit boards and offer solutions toward resolving conflict, overcoming obstacles, and generating action. We're thrilled that C.Marie has so generously given of her time and expertise to join us for this conversation.
30 minutes | Feb 24, 2022
Communicating Through Digital Divides with Anthony Shop
How do you define power in your brand’s social media? In this climate of mis- and disinformation, navigating a brand's path across the internet means facing difficult conversations head-on. How do you forge ahead, craft an image and perspective that is authentic to the culture of your team, and place it online in a way that aligns with your values? Our guest this week is Anthony Shop. Anthony is co-founder and Chief Strategy officer of Social Driver, an agency dedicated to building brand image online for their clients. He's also Chairman of the National Digital Roundtable, a DC-based group whose mission is to educate and inform professionals about the technology, trends, and tactics that are transforming how society interacts with the world around them. In short, Anthony Shop knows of what he speaks on this subject. This is a conversation about trends, but not the trends defining what we're wearing or listening to. We're talking about the choices brands are making as they choose how to show up online, to live their values on digital channels, navigating the heated rhetoric that dominated so many spaces this election year. Are brands stepping back, or digging deeper into their social strategies? Anthony's answer may surprise you. It all starts with people. "If CNN calls, you can't send your logo, you have to send a person! More companies are embracing using their people," he says. "Social media policies used to be about what not to do. Now, companies are helping leaders to build their presence," as individuals. Agencies are carrying heavy baggage right now. Shaking free of white-dominant norms and toxicity can go a long way toward allowing more individuals the freedom to share new ideas for their clients, but our field has a long way to go. Taking Social Driver as an example gives us a light, a model that Anthony and team have created together of an intentional culture built on values and partnership inside the agency and beyond it. We're so grateful Anthony is here to teach us today.Links & Notes Driver Foundation The Book of Hope by Jane Goodall and Douglas Abrams. Think Like a Monk by Jay Shetty 'Yeti’s Billion-Dollar Strategy: No Celebrities, No Pandering' • Wall Street Journal
32 minutes | Feb 17, 2022
What does love have to do with it? The Power, Privilege, and Responsibility in Communicating with May Medallada Robinson
Welcome to this first episode of season five of the Mission Forward podcast. We come together this week in the spirit of love, with a provocative conversation on the love we have in our work, shared with one of our favorite people. May Medallada Robinson is a communications and marketing consultant and she has spent her career at the intersection of communications and equity. She is a professor at Towson University, a Senior Strategist here at Mission Partners, and she is a deeply involved and engaged member of the community. Let's set the stage with May's purpose: "to use communication, education, and multiracial experience to bridge gaps and increase empathy, humanity, and love in the world." Notice any words in there that you might not find on the standard comms CV? We did, too. And those words are at the heart of why May starts the season with us this Valentine's day week. We ask each other — and each of you — what does it mean to show love in the work we do, the work of our agencies, and for those who come after us in our field? What does it mean to employ our love of this work toward love of one another in such a way that nurtures those around us, that lifts those beneath us, and heals divides rather than creates them? We are navigating challenging seas together as we help our clients to tell their stories and educate our communities through our words, our pictures, and our campaigns. If there are better ways to operate that contribute to a more inclusive and multiracial society, we're lucky to have May with us to share her experiences toward that end through her own love of the field, with lessons we may use to lift all our boats together.
2 minutes | Feb 10, 2022
Season 5: Coming February 10, 2022
Last season, we took you on a journey to meet 10 people who are influencing and shaping how we communicate at scale, for social change. This season, we’re bringing you into the conversation. This season, we invite nonprofit executives, communications directors, and development directors to explore some of the most common challenges and barriers to moving missions forward. We’ll talk through topics that you’re likely experiencing too, and share insight into how you and your organization can harness the full power of communication; the power to tackle tough conversations; the power to challenge stereotypes in your marketing collateral; the power to build bridges between established and new donor sets, the power to deepen your impact. We have a lot ahead of us this season and we hope you’ll join us on the journey.This is your conversation, too. Until we get underway, head over to missionforward.us to check out past episodes, subscribe to become a Mission Forward member, and join our community of inclusive communicators. On that point, let’s be clear: this is a new community. It’s a place for us to try new things, to share lessons learned — the easy, and the hard ones — to build norms and expectations of one another, and to call home for this show. If you join us now, you’ll be in on the ground floor in our community of leaders and learners, shaping a space for us. We value that, and we hope you do, too. Click here to join our new Mission Forward TruStory FM Podcast Hub on Discord. And, once you’ve had a chance to check out the place, we hope you’ll become a supporting member, which will get you access to even more resources and channels in Discord, too. If you’re working to become a more inclusive and thoughtful communicator, there’s nothing holding you back—except you. Join us as we move from mission to impact.
32 minutes | Feb 3, 2022
How Racism Harms All of Us with Natalie Burke • Rebroadcast
Way back in season one, we introduced you to Natalie S. Burke, founder of Common Health Action. This week, we want to amplify that conversation. Natalie has a way of incisively approaching the most challenging questions that fuel her advocacy. She is a leader in an incisive, aware, and focused journey toward equity, diversity, and inclusion. But it is a disruptive journey, and wherever we’re going, we have to reckon with a central question: how does racism harm us all? We reference this episode often around Mission Partners with our clients and colleagues, and given how relevant it remains in today's world, and just how precise Natalie is in her approach to the work ahead for all of us, we thought you might appreciate hearing it with fresh ears, too. Natalie’s efforts to create what she calls “constructive discomfort” go a long way toward helping us all adapt to the pain that can come through learning and change. When we can face our discomfort in trust, we all win through transformation. New for 2022 You will find all past episodes and new opportunities to become founding members of Mission Forward, along with early access to future shows at missionforward.us. You can also find us sharing highlights and some cool behind-the-scenes content from shows over on Twitter @missionfwdshow. Links & Notes Common Health Action Follow Natalie S. Burke on Medium
57 minutes | Jan 27, 2022
Breaking Bias in Storytelling with Ed Yong and Liz Neeley • Rebroadcast
We're just a few weeks out from releasing our first episodes of season five of Mission Forward. Until then, we're continuing our tour of past guests in an effort to elevate a few of our favorite conversations to welcome new listeners the best way we know how. This week we bring you Ed Young and Liz Neely in our 2018 conversation live on the Mission Forward stage. Ed and Liz are two of the smartest and sharpest minds in science, communications, and EDS reporting on COVID earned him a Pulitzer Prize for explanatory journalism in 2021. Back in 2018, Ed had just written a story in The Atlantic titled, "I Spent Two Years Trying to Fix the Gender Imbalance in My Stories Here’s What I’ve Learned, and Why I Did It." The lessons he and Liz articulate in this conversation continue to be relevant as we continue to crest this pandemic wave. We hope you enjoy this conversation and learn as much from it as we did. Since starting the Mission Forward conversation series in 2014, we’ve had the opportunity to interview some amazing folks: Pulitzer Prize-winning writers, MacArthur Genius grantees, media entrepreneurs, and philanthropists. One of our favorite conversations to date has been with Ed Yong and Liz Neeley. It took place in 2018, shortly after Ed wrote a story in the Atlantic titled: “I Spent Two Years Trying to Fix the Gender Imbalance in My Stories Here’s What I’ve Learned, and Why I Did It.” As an acclaimed author and science writer, Ed was a big deal then, but he’s had quite a run these last few years. This past September, his story on the COVID-19 pandemic, “How Did it Come to This?” took the cover spot of The Atlantic magazine, and since that time, he’s published several other articles on COVID 19 including his most recent: “America Is About to Choose How Bad the Pandemic Will Get.” Given how much we value Ed Yong — and how straightforward he can make even the most complex science story — we decided to resurface this great conversation from a few years back, about building equity and breaking bias in storytelling. In that 2018 story about gender imbalance in his reporting, Ed found that only 24 percent of his last 23 articles quoted sources that were women. And of those stories, 35 percent featured no female voices at all. As Ed shared in his article: “I knew that I care about equality, so I deluded myself into thinking that I wasn’t part of the problem. I assumed that my passive concern would be enough. Passive concern never is.” Yong’s heartbreakingly honest revelation, and several others like it, spurred our desire to dig in on ways that writers, marketers, and communications directors can build equity and break bias in their storytelling, and his story has stuck with us for many years. But it wasn’t just Ed who we spoke with back **in 2018. We were joined by his partner, the brilliant Liz Neeley, founder and principal of Liminal Creations, where she focuses her time and talent on science communication. Liz served as Executive Director of The Story Collider through August of this year, shepherding real and deeply personal stories of science and living through on-stage events and their eponymous (and extraordinarily popular) podcast. Together, they had a lot to say on the topic of equity in storytelling. Liz Neeley and Ed Yong are extraordinary people and exceptional journalists and communicators. We love this conversation and we’re sure that you will, too. Links & Notes Building Equity and Breaking Bias in Storytelling — by Carrie Fox What Bias is Hiding in Your Writing? — by Carrie Fox
25 minutes | Jan 17, 2022
The Reinvention of Higher Education with Dr. Robert Kelly • Rebroadcast
In honor of Martin Luther King Day, we want to highlight one of our favorite conversations and past episodes featuring Dr. Robert Kelly of Loyola University Maryland. He shares how putting the students at the center of every decision he makes and rising to meet the hunger that these students have for connection is what drives the charge for him, the faculty at the University, parents, and other engaged adults to create a culture celebrating reconciliation, curiosity, joy, and hope. This is a conversation about responsibility; taking responsibility for crafting the future for those in our care. Rob shares how he is helping Loyola to build according to their mission: pressing forward on issues of culture, climate, race, and inclusion in the face of obstacles of our own creation. Listen now wherever you get your podcasts, subscribe, leave us a review and share the podcast with family and friends. We'll back in February with new conversations and episodes to help you keep moving your mission forward.
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