BIPOC Voices

Voices of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color

The Urgency To Go Tree Free, with Zoë Levin, Bim Bam Boo

Zoë Levin, Bim Bam Boo Trees Should Capture Carbon, Not Crap We know the problems with carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions: Climate change, rising sea levels, flooding, droughts, wildfires, ocean acidification, climate refugees, political instability, and a lot more. We know that it’s important to reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere and the oceans. We can do that by reducing the production of CO2. We can also do that by capturing CO2 in carbon sinks. In the US, forests store 14% of our annual CO2 emissions. Trees are a valuable, and powerful carbon sink. And yet, in the United States, 27,000 trees are flushed down the toilet every day…

Read More

Using Human-Centered Design to Prevent Maternal and Infant Deaths, with Karima Ladhani, Giving Cradle and Barakat Bundle

Karima Ladhani, Giving Cradle and Barakat Bundle 80% of maternal and infant deaths are preventable. Dr. Karima Ladhani is the daughter of immigrants. Her parents moved from India to Uganda. In 1972, Ugandan president Idi Amin expelled Asian minorities. He gave 90 days to leave the country. Karima’s mother made her way to Canada. Her father was in a refugee camp in Malta before immigrating to Canada. “We can’t take for granted the luxuries and privileges that we have,” she says. “There are people going through things. We have an opportunity and responsibility to help them. Others have helped us. We never know when we could be in that position…

Read More

A Safe Space in Times of Crisis, with Katherine Woo, Airbnb.org

Katherine Woo, Airbnb.org Airbnb.org to support emergency response around the world. Natural disasters are on the rise. Climate change has accelerated wildfires and hurricanes. Healthcare workers are responding to the global pandemic. People find themselves displaced without warning. Who better to provide a safe place to stay than Airbnb and their global network of hosts? To respond to the need for safe housing during disaster, Airbnb has launched Airbnb.org. Airbnb.org is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to facilitating temporary stays for people in times of crisis. The inspiration for Airbnb.org began in 2012 with a single host named Shell who opened her home to people impacted by Hurricane Sandy….

Read More

When Sustainability Isn’t Enough, with Mary Jane Melendez, General Mills

Mary Jane Melendez, Chief Sustainability and Social Impact Officer for General Mills; and President of the General Mills Foundation. General Mills is blending regeneration and philanthropy to create impact. How do you feed a hungry world without destroying the planet? And, how do you do so in a way that is just and equitable? Agriculture and forestry activities generate 24% of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. The world population will reach 9.7 billion in 2050. And, a growing middle class in emerging countries is straining our global food supply. Mary Jane Melendez is Chief Sustainability and Social Impact Officer for General Mills. She also serves as President of the General Mills…

Read More

Comfortable, Efficient, and Healthy Buildings, with Deepinder Singh, 75F

Optimizing building energy efficiency can be complicated and expensive. According to Deepinder Singh, it doesn’t have to be. The world has more than 230 billion square meters of building space with another 65 billion square meters coming online in the next decade. Buildings account for 6% of global greenhouse gasses. With the ongoing global pandemic, the CDC has developed guidelines that encourage more fresh air circulation. The goal is to maintain lower viral load in the work atmosphere. Those guidelines could increase energy consumption. Improving energy efficiency could make a significant dent in climate change. It Started with His Daughter Deepinder Singh is a computer network engineer by training. He…

Read More

Healing is in the Environment, with Robert Blake, Solar Bear

Solar Bear is a Native American owned solar installation company. Robert Blake of Solar Bear has a habit of mashing up two problems and coming up with a solution. His driving philosophy is “healing is in the environment.” Solar Bear is a Native American owned solar installation company. They train people on the Red Lake Indian Reservation to install solar power. “If we can do this in Red Lake, we can bring this out to other tribal nations,” Robert explains. “We’re going to see that solar energy can solve a human health crisis. On Native Nations and reservations, there is a high poverty rate, alcohol addiction, and drug addiction. What…

Read More

Delivering Efficiency with Marc Kuo, Routific

Routific uses AI to cut mileage and drive time by 20%-40%. Marc Kuo is the Founder & CEO of Routific. He is a routing expert with nearly a decade of experience in last-mile logistics. But he didn’t always work in logistics. “Being a fresh grad out of school, I just wanted to get into either management consulting or investment banking, simply because of its prestige,” Marc told me. “I was ambitious. I wanted to aim for something challenging. “Once I was in finance, I was on the equity trading floor for one of the investment banks in Hong Kong. It was a glamorous dream job. I was sitting on the…

Read More

Social Entrepreneur Live, Part 4 with Caroline Karanja, 26 Letters

26 Letters helps organizations put data and action behind their equity initiatives. A recruiter for a Fortune 500 company once told me, “Minnesota is one of the hardest places to recruit people to. It’s also one of the hardest places to recruit people from.” Once people experience Minnesota, it’s hard to leave. And no wonder. Nineteen Fortune 500 companies call Minnesota home. The startup scene is strong. The annual Twin Cities Startup Week attracts thousands of people. Look at almost any ranking of states and cities, and you’ll find Minnesota near the top. The Trust for Public Land ranked Minneapolis first in large city park systems. And in second place,…

Read More

The Power of Telling Your Secret, with Aneela Idnani Kumar, HabitAware

HabitAware makes Keen, a smart bracelet to help manage Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRBs). For 20 years, Aneela Idnani Kumar had a secret. She spent her life in shame and embarrassment. One day, unexpectedly, her secret came to light. This moment transformed her life, and in the process, helped thousands of others. Aneela grew up in a somewhat atypical Indian American household. “My parents came to this country in the 1970s with $500 and one suitcase. They made their way to upper middle class. My mom broke away from tradition as a dentist with her professional practice. In contrast, my father worked primarily from a home office and was in charge…

Read More

Social Entrepreneur Live, Part 1, Precious Drew, Perk: The Natural Beauty Lab

Perk: The Natural Beauty Lab upcycles fair-trade, used coffee grounds from local coffee shops to create natural skincare products. Precious Drew’s reserved, yet bubbly personality naturally attracts people to her. Yet, she has a bit of a contrarian streak. “I’ve always challenged the norm and enjoyed debates arguing the less-popular opinion, whether I agreed with it or not,” Precious says. “I liked the challenge of being able to fully understand and argue for opinions I don’t exactly agree with.” Precious likes to defy expectations. “I grew up in a household with seven siblings: six older brothers and one younger sister. I never really followed what my brothers did. From a…

Read More