The seed for Impact Stars was planted over two decades ago, when I accidentally created a new Interactive Solutions practice within a marketing agency. During the day, I served clients as an Account Manager, but in the evenings and on weekends, I developed a strategic framework for digital marketing. Soon, my practice became a 'hot' asset for the company - our investment banker from ING Baring valued it at $30 - 40 million. As the company started courting suitors to buy the company, , I found myself presenting to C-Suite executives and corporate boards of billion-dollar companies. The company sold to a global ad agency for $175 million -- and while it was a heady and surreal experience, I found myself feeling strangely empty.
Later, as I advised CEOs as a strategy principal at IBM, managed a multi-million dollar sales pipeline at WCJ/Young & Rubicam, and did all the things that a 'successful' business executive is supposed to do, I found myself wondering, "Is this all there is?"
One day, at the height of my corporate career, I got a call from an affable senior executive at our agency who managed the Phillip Morris account. She asked me to help her brainstorm and present a strategy to prevent smoking in youth.
After our presentation, as I walked from the Phillip Morris office back to our offices at 285 Madison Avenue, it hit me... I'm helping a cigarette company launch an anti-smoking campaign... if I get run over by a truck, THIS will be my legacy.
In that moment, I knew I wanted more. I wanted my work to result in a better world AT SCALE. So, two decades later, this is exactly what I do. I help businesses scale good.
From working with innovative companies to find the right investors and growth tools, to showing businesses how to reinvent themselves so they can be more planet-friendly, my mission is to provide the thought leadership and connections to 100x these initiatives.
PAYING IT FORWARD WITH #HOTSKILLSPAYBILLS
My career has benefited from incredible mentors and colleagues along the way.
To pay it forward, I teach career and money skills to youth in foster care. Over the past five years, I have been able to train hundreds of youth who have unimaginable odds stacked against them. We talk about the importance of building stellar credit, in-demand skills of the future, how to navigate college and career choices, the importance of building relationships, and most importantly -- how to be entrepreneurial and advocate for themselves.
In the image below: the brainstorming from one of our DreamCatcher sessions with youth ages 16-21 in foster care. There's no way to describe the feeling when you see the lights go on in a young person's eyes... it's magical.
My students write their long-term career goal and then below it, write ONE thing they can realistically do within the 90 day to make progress toward validating and achieving that goal. This is the goal shared by one of the students in North Carolina.
AUTHORING BOOKS IS MY CREATIVE RELEASE!
In 2016, I published a productivity journal featuring the stories of those who survived the foster care system, and lived to tell the tale. It is called FosteRevolutionaries: the No-Excuses 90 Day Power Journal. It has been purchased in bulk to be distributed to youth in foster care. You can also also buy it on Amazon.
Neesha Mirchandani brings to life again the extraordinary Baba Amte -- political activist and founder of the community of leprosy patients, Anandwan. She writes with curiosity, excitement, insight, and most of all with love."
The New Yorker
I'm also the editor of the world's first joke coloring book! If you have children between the ages of 5-9 who like corny jokes and color, they will love this book! For every book sold, one is donated to a child in need. You can check it out here.
I'm still not sure what my next book will be... I'm thinking maybe... #HOTSKILLSPAYBILLS: Future-Proofing Yourself in the Age of Automation. Let me know what you think!