Archives for category: Inspiration

Read more about the speakers, writers, coaches, and workshop leaders HERE.


This article was originally published on Jerri Chou’s Blog and titled, Why social entrepreneurs will lead the next generation of business (Dec 2009). It is all here, albeit the leading sentence.

Social entrepreneurs will lead the future of business.

That’s a bold claim. Why do I think this? Because it’s already happening, and has been happening (albeit more slowly than recently) for the past decade.

Like any progressive movement, it takes pioneers to blaze the way for the rest of us. Companies like Ben and Jerry’s, White Dog cafe have been hacking through the red tape, wagging fingers and sideways glances for years. In the process, they’ve proven that social mindedness and business are not mutually exclusive endeavors and a pack of wide eyed entrepreneurs are stampeding down the now highly respected path.

On the backs of these heroes of the social world entrepreneurs can now make their case (not to mention that they have all sorts of advantages our forefathers lacked like social enterprise business programs, networks, incubators and a blessing from the government).

Now there are many arguments that social entrepreneurship is praised more highly than intrapraneurship etc. I agree that both are crucial and, in fact, symbiotic (the work of innovators would never attain access to larger operations if not for enlightened people on the inside and those driving innovation there).

But there are some unique aspects to social entrepreneurs that make them the catalyst. One being that they have the least path to resistance to try new models and methods of doing things (no corporate red tape when you’re working out of coffee shop on your world-changing idea). But maybe the most important part, they are out to save the world, which means they won’t take no for an answer and want to move fast and big. This makes them susceptible to the greatest rule for entrepreneurship, “fail often, fail fast”. Social entrepreneurs are the test bed for what will succeed or fail in a business atmosphere. They also show us where huge market exists, often by going against all odds to prove opportunity where it’s been overlooked for ease of profit.

Can they change the whole business infrastructure themselves? Probably not, but they push the frontiers of what we know as possible which is extremely important and starts a cycle of demand (better business is possible, which leads us to demand better business). This then opens the door for their real potential of proving feasibility and and the integration of their practices into larger scale operations where it makes sense.

It is indeed a magical season for Black Girls to strut their beautiful “stuff”.

Ava DuVernay, directed “My Mic Sounds Nice” – a DOPE one-hour BET special focusing on women in hip hop.

Gabby Sidibe graced the cover of Elle Magazine.

Joey Mazzarino‘s song for his little girl became the Sesame Street hit “I Love My Hair.”

Willow Smith came out with the Beyonce-esque banger “Whip My Hair.”

Tyler Perry revised Ntozake Shange’s most popular work for the silver screen.

Beverly Bond’s fifth year of the Black Girl’s Rock! Awards was showcased on BET with one of the best renditions of “4 Women” – EVER!

And a FastgirlRisha Rox (also known as Marisha Roxanne Scott) – has been featured twice in one week in online magazines that Black Girls frequent: Uptown Magazine and Society HAE.

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We envision her “beating” Eryka Badu, Björk, Kelis, Angelina Jolie, and Lucy Lui’s faces in the near future. And eventually, Tim Burton will holler at her. In the meantime, we get to watch her slowly, intentionally take over the world of face art.

“Risha Rox is revamping the most enduring of artistic subjects, the human visage. With edgy concept & color, she brings new meaning to ‘fresh faced’!”

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Tom Peters tells us:
Read Wide.
Read Long.
Read Deep.

It is important that the Fastgirls understand the resource we have in this community. This week, as we know, Syreeta was honored by Glamour Magazine and got to dress up in fancy threads to represent the dreams of all of us Dreamers. Our youngest Fastgirl was named one of the Top 20 Under 25!

She reached out to Sallomé (one of her many mentors), for advice on how to use this honor to propel her in her lane. In October she told Syreeta: “Yes, you’ve gotta use this award. Definitely let your school know about it. Tell everyone! They’ll take you more seriously because Glamour does.” So when her school, CUNY, asked where they could get details about the award and she hadn’t received PR materials from Glamour, she asked Sallomé for some help.

The e-mail she crafted and sent to Syreeta read:


Syreeta Gates (Class of ’12) was honored this Monday at Carnegie Hall as part of the Glamour Magazine 2010 Women of the Year Gala. Chelsea Clinton took the stage to introduce Gates as one of the Top 20 Women Under 25 for her work as Founder of The SWT Life – an organization committed to supporting young innovators through entrepreneurial coaching, personal development, and exposure to industry leaders. Gates was in good company, being honored alongside the likes of Donatella Versace and Julia Roberts. When asked what was the best part of the evening, she exclaimed,”Oprah Winfrey winked at me!”

Gates will continue making a mark, as she gears up for the publishing of her upcoming book Just BE Cause and continues the planning for a city-wide summit for teens in 2011 to aid them in exploring passions, distinguishing strengths, and articulating purpose.

See what CUNY posted HERE.

Again, congratulations to Syreeta! And Sallomé, keep doing what you do lady – growing human capital.

Feast Talks: Kenna and Compassionate Capitalism is available on (Aug 2010).

Kenna is a Grammy nominated recording artist with an amazing talent and a huge heart. At the 2009 Feast Conference he shared his biographical background as well as his influences and passions.

After learning that his father contracted a water-borne illness at a very young age, Kenna was able to become more directly connected with causes he had previously supported. Thankful for “compassionate capitalism,” the artist teamed up with corporations and other groups to further his goal of providing clean water for people around the world.

Watch his engaging talk HERE to learn some interesting facts about Kenna. Find out why he refused to be put on the bill when touring with No Doubt, his engagements with world famous author Malcolm Gladwell, and his thanks to his anonymous Wikipedia updaters.

For more riveting talks from previous Feast events go to

See music from Kenna at

Click HERE to listen to podcast from Guru Blueprint Blog above to listen in to Eben Pagan and Joe Feben.

Or watch Eben talk about how turn information into high value products.

1. Purpose.
2. Passion.
3. Potential.
4. Presence.
5. Personal.
6. Persistence.
7. Priorities.
8. People.
9. Potent.
10. Positive.

Watch Brand You: Engage Your Brain – a short clip from Tom Peters.

Tom Peters (Author of The Little Big Things: 163 ways to pursue excellence), who is widely credited with almost single-handedly “inventing” the “management guru industry,” now billions of dollars in size, writes, reflects, and then presents about 50 seminars each year, well over half outside the U.S. (In a recent two-week period, he spoke in Korea, Mexico, and Croatia.) Tom estimates that since 1978, when the work on Search began, he’s given well over 2,500 speeches, flown 5,000,000+ miles, spoken before 2,000,000 to 3,000,000 people and presented in 48 states and 63 countries.

This excerpt taken from The Opportunity of Risk: Innovation from American Express OPEN Forum (Sep 8 2010)

We think that there is little point in entering a new market unless it provides the opportunity to really shake up an industry. Almost all our new ventures come about from our thinking up a product or service that we believe people really want. Then, if our entry has the potential to make waves, we’re going to look at it very closely.

You’ll notice that making a profit hasn’t entered the picture yet. It’s rare for me or the team to consider only the money that can be made. I feel it’s pointless to approach investing with the question, “How can I make lots of money? We must bring in the numbers guys and work out some business plans.” No one will ever agree on exactly how to make money. The consultants will say your idea will work, while the accountants will prove that it cannot.

When it’s time to decide whether or not to go ahead, the decision must come from your heart…pursue your passions, your ideas will be more likely to succeed.

I learned to follow my passions at the beginning of my career, when some friends and I created Student magazine to give a voice to young people who were campaigning to stop the Vietnam War. As for the actual business aspects, such as paying the bills… well, we had to sort that out later. We just hoped that we would sell enough copies to stay afloat and learn the business side as we went along.

READ the full article.


This excerpt is from Branson’s Next Big Bet, published on (Oct 2 2006).

What was the first business idea you came up with?
I set up this magazine called Student when I was 16, and I didn’t do it to make money – I did it because I wanted to edit a magazine. There wasn’t a national magazine run by students, for students. I didn’t like the way I was being taught at school. I didn’t like what was going on in the world, and I wanted to put it right.

Of course, a lot of businesses want to reach students, so I funded the magazine by selling advertising. I sold something like $8,000 worth of advertising for the first edition, and that was in 1966. I printed up 50,000 copies, and I didn’t even have to charge for them on the newsstand because my costs were already covered.

So I became a publisher by mistake – well, not quite by mistake, because I wanted to be an editor but I had to make sure the magazine would survive. The point is this: Most businesses fail, so if you’re going to succeed, it has to be about more than making money.

Are you saying entrepreneurs should go into business without the bottom line in mind?
Ideally, since 80 percent of your life is spent working, you should start your business around something that is a passion of yours. If you’re into kite-surfing and you want to become an entrepreneur, do it with kite-surfing.

Look, if you can indulge in your passion, life will be far more interesting than if you’re just working. You’ll work harder at it, and you’ll know more about it. But first you must go out and educate yourself on whatever it is that you’ve decided to do – know more about kite-surfing than anyone else. That’s where the work comes in. But if you’re doing things you’re passionate about, that will come naturally.

Read the full article HERE.