INSPIRED IMPACT is an ongoing blog series that gives voice to passionate leaders of mission-driven organizations who are making an impact in their communities and industries.

 



 

Nell Derick DebevoiseNell Derick Debevoise is the Founder & CEO of Inspiring Capital. Follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin and YouTube and learn more at inspiringcapital.ly.

 

WHAT DO YOU DO?
Inspiring Capital is a social impact learning, development and growth firm. We’ve built an ecosystem that supports purpose-driven individuals and organizations through workshops, events, consulting, and curated IC network access. Those offerings are available to professionals and their companies a la carte, or in our comprehensive Fellowship model.

 

WHY DO YOU DO IT?
We recognize that finding purpose in one’s work is an innate human drive. Peer-reviewed research shows that people with a sense of purpose (which can range the entire Spectrum of Impact [TM, Inspiring Capital 2018] from supporting a healthy family to curing cancer or reducing income inequality or providing quality and affordable financial planning for middle class workers) are mentally and physically healthier, live longer, and are more productive at work [https://hbr.org/2015/12/engaging-your-employees-is-good-but-dont-stop-there].

So our mission is to provide people with the tools, support, and accountability for their lifelong journey to purposeful work. Our ongoing, cohort-based, action-oriented approach to finding one’s purpose serves the participants, but also benefits their employers and the community at large. Those win-win-wins are what we’re working toward every day.

 

WHAT IMPACT ARE YOU MAKING?
Thanks to our consulting work, not-for-profits have developed and grown revenue streams so that they can do more of their mission-driven work. Venture for America, for example, started charging for their talent placement on a sliding scale to supplement their corporate donations and reach their goal of 20 million new jobs by 2020. On the other hand, Goodwill Industries realized that document processing was not a viable new business for them to enter, and avoided wasting months of staff time and money thanks to our research and advice.

Our workshops have helped more than 100 women navigate transitions to social impact work after years as full-time caregivers or private sector professionals. Our alums are now in leadership roles at purpose-driven organizations including the Anti Defamation League, Per Scholas, Trucost at Dow Jones, and Sustainable Farm Partners.

 

WHAT (OR WHO) INSPIRES YOU TO MAKE THIS IMPACT?
I’m inspired by the power, resilience and creativity of people to do the hard work to find purpose in what they do. It’s not easy to identify, much less pursue, a passion or area of interest that really fits you and your life. But we can’t yet fully absorb the hundreds of highly qualified and talented professionals who want to put in the time and effort to their own journey to purposeful work. Folks’ willingness to be honest, vulnerable and courageous in the discussions and social impact work that we facilitate makes me know that the future is bright.

 

WHAT’S YOUR BIG DREAM FOR THE ORGANIZATION AND THE IMPACT YOU WANT TO MAKE?
I dream of a world in which every employer (and school) offers “Inspiring Capital Inside” – a set of tools and resources for their people to engage with their own journey to purposeful work, as well as that of their colleagues.

 

WHAT RESOURCES DO YOU NEED TO MAKE THOSE DREAMS COME TRUE?
We’re blessed to attract incredible talent to do this work, so the main critical success factor for any business is not an obstacle for us. The main resource we need is time, and the financial resources to afford that time, so we can continue the deep work of building and spreading the word about our tools and resources to facilitate people’s journeys to purpose.

 

WHAT IS (OR HAS BEEN) YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE?
I think our biggest challenge has been integrating all of the research and buzz about ‘purpose’ and ‘impact,’ to simplify it into clear and actionable tools and resources that fit people’s lives. It’s great that folks are so amped up about these topics, but sometimes hype can cloud the fundamental issue. Finding purpose is simple, but not easy, and many modern approaches present complicated ideas as an ‘easy fix.’ It takes mindful effort to do the work we’re asking people to do, and getting that attention is a challenge in today’s hectic, fast-changing, high-pressure world.

 

WHAT WORDS OF ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER LEADERS LOOKING TO MAKE AN IMPACT?
Start somewhere. Perfect is the enemy of the good. The popularization of the buzzwords ‘impact,’ ‘purpose,’ ‘meaning’ and the rest don’t do us any favors because they confuse the simple human nature of wanting to contribute to something larger than ourselves. You don’t have to cure cancer today or change a child’s future. Just smile at your waiter, take an extra minute to hear about a colleague’s weekend, or avoid that extra plastic bag. At the most basic level: be present in your life to appreciate the people and environment around you. Every journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step.

 

HOW CAN OTHERS SUPPORT YOU OR YOUR CAUSE?
Introduce us to forward-looking business leaders and HR / learning and development professionals who want to reduce the friction in their organizations and help their employees find purpose in their work to reach their full potential. We offer one-off workshops and customized fellowship models to attract, develop and retain purpose-driven professionals, who will grow your business’s productivity more than twice as fast as merely ‘satisfied’ ones, according to Bain.

 


Orapin Marketing + Public Relations is an award-winning communications agency that generates awareness, engagement, and, ultimately, support for mission-driven organizations. We amplify their voice and reach so they can increase their impact. If you would like to be featured on INSPIRED IMPACT, reach out to hello@orapinmarketing.com.