Women

These famous women social entrepreneurs persisted through difficulty and hardships to make a difference in the world.

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…

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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…

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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….

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The Power of Voice to Make an Impact, with Regina Larko, #impact Podcast

Regina Larko, #impact Podcast A place and a community shaped Regina Larko. Regina Larko was born and raised in Vienna. “Three generations raised me,” Regina says. “My great-grandmother played a huge role in raising me. Her generation had experienced the hardships of the second world war. One of my great grandfathers never came home from the war.” When Regina was around nine years old, the former Yugoslavia broke apart, plunging the territory into ethnic wars. Refugees poured across the border into Austria. Many of Regina’s classmates moved to Austria to escape the fighting. She heard first-hand the stories of refugee children. “I felt immense gratitude for growing up in a…

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Parents: Reduce Your To-Do List and Your Carbon Footprint, with Lauren Gregor, Rent-a-Romper

Rent-a-Romper makes parents’ lives easier while reducing the negative effects of the fashion industry.  For just a moment, think about your clothes. At some point in time, you chose each item and brought it into your home. Your neighbor did the same thing. So did the house down the street, and the one several miles away. The same thing happened in a house on the other side of the world.   The global population is increasing. The middle class is growing. And so is our demand for fashion.   By 2030, the world population will increase from 7.8 billion today to 8.5 billion. You can watch the world population increase in real time here.  …

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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…

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Confronting Environmental Change in the Midwest, with Janet McCabe, Environmental Resilience Institute

The Environmental Resilience Institute helps midwestern communities understand and prepare for environmental change. There’s something powerful about understanding how a global trend impacts your local community. For example, it’s one thing to hear about world hunger. It’s another to hear about hunger in your state. But there’s a different feeling when you realize that there’s a hungry kid in your neighborhood. As Tip O’Neill said, “All politics is local.” It’s the same thing with climate change. You’ve probably heard about the global climate crisis. And, when your state is mentioned, you might pay attention. But, when you notice the impact on the health and wellbeing of your local community, well,…

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Jessica Hellmann, Geofinancial Analytics and the Institute on the Environment

If you could invent a post-pandemic world, what world would you create? I hear people talking about the desire to return to “normal.” However, normal was unsustainable. Before the pandemic, there was another crisis, an environmental crisis. A crisis in our food systems, our energy systems, our clean water systems, and our unequal economic systems. Coronavirus did not break our systems. It revealed how broken our systems already are. There is a saying, “Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them.” That is why, when faced with intractable problems like COVID-19 or the climate crisis, I like to talk to thought leaders. On the other…

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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,…

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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…

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