Jessica Jackley is an entrepreneur who has mobilized millions to have a global social impact. She is best known as Cofounder of Kiva, the world’s first and largest micro-lending platform, which has facilitated more than $1.3B in loans since its founding. She is now Chief Impact Officer at Aspiration, a financial firm that helps people use their resources ethically and sustainably. And this fall, she’s joining culture expert Jason Barger and others at the third annual Thermostat Cultures Live one-day retreat on Nov. 8 in Columbus, Ohio. Learn more here.
Below, we asked Jessica to share a “hot take” on 10 topics related to culture, leadership and philanthropy.
On entrepreneurship: Global, goals-focused start-ups. I just spoke at Cooperathon, the largest global innovation conference, and the start-ups and projects generated there are completely centered on achieving six of the global goals: finance, health, education, energy, environment and agriculture.
On crowdfunding: Saturation.
On poverty: Power. And putting control in the hands of recipients (vs. the donors).
On leadership: Extreme empowerment. I’m thinking about projects doing radical stuff in economic empowerment, like Give Directly.
On travel: PEOPLE SHOULD GIVE PREGNANT LADIES THE AISLE SEATS ALWAYS. (Writing from a plane. And no, I’m not bitter.)
On giving back: Putting emphasis on “back.” Giving is a privilege.
On collaboration: When and why it fails.
On technology: Kids. Lots of parents just think about screen time in terms of it’s good or bad, if it should be limited, etc., and that’s a hugely important issue. But other tech, including toys with flashing lights and sounds, dolls with voices, etc., robs kids of imagination and participation. Kids learn and take in the world in so many ways. They need to move and touch and experience to learn, so I’ve been thinking lately about tech that has found its way into our home (usually through gifts) and how that limits those processes for my kids (who are 8, 8, 4, and one in the belly). Silly example, but our 8-year-olds wanted drones for their birthday. We weren’t down with that, but I found a small drone-like toy that is controlled, not by remote, but by actually moving your hand below it or on the side, so the kids run around the house or the yard to sort of “push” and “catch” and direct it in the air. It’s physical and active and participatory, rather than standing in one place and controlling something with a joystick.
On writing: As mediation. Dialogue is my lifeblood. I’m an extrovert, but even if I were more introverted, I find the most life-giving thing for me is to write. It helps me understand and process and find insights buried within observations so I can draw conclusions and find power and conviction around those conclusions. Maybe this is different than meditation, but there’s a clarity I find that feels similar, and it’s a clarity I cannot find wordlessly.
On family: Unapologetic prioritization of family. I do it, and I encourage it in my team, and I wish more people would step into a place of feeling safe and empowered enough to do it too.
Join Jessica Jackley on Friday, Nov. 8, at Thermostat Cultures Live in Columbus, Ohio. Tickets can be purchased at www.thermostatcultureslive.com.