These are the most popular podcast guests of 2016, measured by the number of downloads.
If you have been listening to the podcast Social Entrepreneur, you’ve had a chance to meet some amazing changemaker. If you want to find someone like you who is making a difference in the world, you should be able to see yourself among these 140+ guests. Their diversity is breathtaking. They have come from every continent, except for Antarctica. Some have achieved breakthrough results, while others are just beginning their journey. Some started young and some started in mid-life. Half were women. They are working across all 17 of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Popular Podcast Guests
Below, I have listed our 12 most popular podcast guests, based on the number of downloads. While all guests deserve recognition, these stories have resonated with so many people in 2016. Altogether, nine women and three men made our list.
I walked away from my conversation with Krista Tippett thinking that she is everything I have learned she is from her popular radio program and podcast. She is kind, smart and funny. But most of all she is curious about what it means to be human.
She has publicly explored spiritual aspect of our humanity since her radio program first launched in 2001. She told me, “If faith is the source, or at least an important source of moral imagination, we need to be able to talk about this in our public life as fluently as we talk about our economic imagination or our political imagination.”
In this conversation, Krista talks about the genesis OnBeing and what she is learning while building a social enterprise with a radio show at its heart.
If you read Harvard Business Review or are a fan of Michael Porter, you’re probably familiar with the concept of Shared Value. This is the concept that links the long-term competitiveness of a company with its social impact.
Olivia Rothschild is a fan of shared value. So, when her friend Rachel Brathen, known on Instagram as @yoga_girl, approached her about working together, Olivia started asking herself how they might create shared value.
Olivia told me, “Creating shared value: for me it’s about looking at what you have and using that to do good. And what does Rachel have? She’s got this amazing influence. And she inspires people. So, what can we do with that? She does yoga. What can we do with that? She has Instagram. What can we do with that? It’s about looking at what we already have, and putting that together.”
What have they done with Instagram, influence and yoga? Through their organization 109World, they have created a series of mission trips, enrolling others into making a difference. So far they have set up a water distribution system in Playa Gigante, Nicaragua. They worked with Gaujiena Orphanage and SOS Youth House in Latvia. And they supported earthquake survivors in Ecuador. They have more trips coming in 2017.
There are some sentences that are hard to hear. “The first time I experienced rape…” Joy McBrien began. The sentence is so shocking that it took me a second to hear anything else she had to say. But what she said was magical. Joy is an alchemist who took tragedy and turned it into triumph for women victims of violence around the world.
Through her company Fair Anita, Joy creates livelihood for women that helps them to escape from violence. “We’re creating products that millennials in the US want, at a price point that they’re willing to pay. Therefore we’ve created jobs for thousands of women around the world. And because they have this job, they can leave an abusive partner, or they are seen as having more worth in their own home. They are empowered.”
Colleges and Universities are complex cultures with deep thinkers and multiple stakeholders. Marina Kim, has had plenty of practice at working across complex cultural boundaries. “I feel extremely comfortable adapting to new contexts, new cultures and environments,” she told me.
She is the daughter of Korean and American parents. She was raised by a single mother. She spent her summers in Costa Rica, and then when she was 10 years old, she and her family moved to northern England. As an eighteen-year-old, she attended Stanford University in Palo Alto. These experiences prepared her perfectly for her current role as the co-founder of Ashoka U.
When Joe Sanberg was nearing graduation from high school, the bank foreclosed on the mortgage of his parents’ home. The home that Joe grew up in was suddenly no longer theirs. But Joe was one of the lucky ones. He was exceptionally bright and could get into Harvard University. He recognizes that he is one of the lucky ones. So Joe and his partner, Andrei Cherny launched Aspiration, a new kind of financial institution.
They let customers choose their fees and “pay what is fair.” Money Magazine named their checking account as the best. And they partner with the Sierra Club to allow customers to invest wisely while saving the planet.
Michael Crooke is a thought leader in sustainable competitive advantage at the intersection of vision, purpose and operational excellence. You might remember him for his time as CEO of Patagonia. By focusing on values alignment, strategy and operational excellence, he turned around the company and made it a “Best Place to Work.” At times, he told me, Patagonia would receive 300 – 500 applications for a single opening.
Today, Michael Crooke is the Senior Associate Dean of Programs at the University of Oregon He is also the founder of Fifth Normal Form Consulting, counseling high-growth businesses on strategic issues, in particular, developing direct to customer strategies that create an emotional connection to the brand.
Stacy Flynn knows the textile and apparel industry. As an industry insider with such companies as DuPont, Target and Eddie Bauer, she was responsible for millions if not billions of yards of fabric being produced. However, on a 2010 trip to China, Stacy had a chance to see first-hand the kind of environmental degradation that textile production was creating. She told me “I was shocked awake.” Stacy made a decision to create innovations for sustainable fashion. She felt that she either had to take responsibility for none of the environmental impact, or all of it. This heartfelt decision eventually led to the founding of Evrnu. Evrnu collects cotton garment waste and turns it into new fiber for premium garments.
Listening is a key strength of Nedgine Paul. Before launching Anseye Pou Ayiti (Teach for Haiti), she spent more than three years actively listening to her native Haiti. She explains, “You want to be a changemaker, you want to have an influence but you have to be informed.”
What was the result of this listening? Nedgine says “Everything has brought me back to the quality of the classroom teacher and making sure that that teacher sees their influence and their power as extending beyond the four walls of the classroom.” Anseye Pou Ayiti recruits, trains, and supports high-quality teachers where they are needed most.
I have to admit that I was cheering for Alexandria Lafci to make the most popular podcast episode list, and she did. She represents the operations side of a startup, where dreams become details.
Alexandria is familiar with the need for housing security. Her mother grew up in the foster home system. As a Teach for America volunteer in a southeast Washington, DC neighborhood, Alexandria could observe first-hand the impact that housing instability had on her students.
Her journey eventually led her to co-found New Story. New Story is disrupting community development. They accomplish that through a story-driven crowdfunding process for building homes. But, they’re not just building houses, they’re creating communities. And, in the process, they are changing the donor experience.
Sasha Dichter first experienced poverty from inside of his family’s car while visiting a poorer neighborhood. “I was on the privileged side of the window,” he told me. This bothered him. How could someone who was just like him live such a different life? His curiosity about how to change that world began early. Today he is tackling poverty as the Chief Innovation Officer at Acumen.
Our final popular podcast guests appeared together on Social Entrepreneur. Katy Ashe and Edith Elliott of Noora Health are prime examples of using design thinking to make an impact. They met in the course “Design for Extreme Affordability” at Stanford University’s d.School. Katy was an engineering student, anxious to find ways to apply her skills. Edith had a background in international policy. They were paired with medical students Shahed Alam and Jessie Liu. Together they were assigned a group of cardiac hospitals in Bangalore.
By using design thinking, they saw a potential problem, families crowding the halls of the hospital, as a resource. “We thought ‘How might we better leverage this existing resource?’” Edith says. They eventually created Noora Health where they utilize families to improve the health outcomes of patients.
Noora Health provides training materials and train-the-training for hospital staff. The hospital staff trains patients and their families with actionable health skills to improve outcomes and save lives.
More Popular Podcast Episodes to Come
I have a feeling about social entrepreneurship. As 2017 begins, we are going to need all of us to take on the Sustainable Development Goals, from poverty to climate change and beyond. The stories on Social Entrepreneur are being downloaded in over 160 countries. I will keep featuring changemakers from around the world. Through them, you will find someone just like you. And when you do, you will understand how important it is to use this one, short, amazing life to make an impact.