Making a difference in the world and rallying people to serve those in need around the globe takes bold action. It requires you to have a clear Mission. It involves helping people in challenging and oppressive situations tell their story. It allows people to connect from around the globe and support progress. The story of the launch of Kiva.org is one that reminds us all to know WHAT problem we’re trying to solve, WHY we’re compelled to serve, and HOW we’re committed to travel along the way. What’s your Mission? What’s your Story?
1:27 – Jason welcomes Jessica Jackley to the stage from a previous Thermostat Cultures Live event from 2019. This interview was conducted when Jessica was pregnant with her forth child recorded in Columbus Ohio in November 2019.
2:57 – Jessica shares her story of growing up to a loving family and how grateful she is for that as well as the memories of going to church and what that meant to her. Growing up she didn’t quite understand or know what poverty was or who were the poor which she knows is a fortunate place to be in but knew she wanted to make a difference.
11:35 – Kiva.org sparked from an idea that Jessica had about sharing people’s stories who were impoverished who wanted to start businesses and gain capital through real partners directly as a loan.
What if you could use technology to make that happen? There wasn’t anyway to do that at the time.
14:20 – Jason and Jessica talk about the power of stories. It is all about telling the stories of the people you are trying to serve. Let them tell the stories, the actual people so that it is authentic and let them tell the mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty.
16:17 – Jessica had corporations contact her who wanted to put in millions of dollars for a loan to lend to people but that was not the mission of the company and would not serve the needs of the people how the company was designed. It isn’t just about raising tons of money, it is about the true mission of the company.
21:24 – Jason shares a story of how often he sees posters with big letters that say, “INTEGRITY”. When you ask the people what does that really mean, the narrative is well, it means integrity. This is the wrong thought inside of a company. Do not just blindly follow these posters or messages but understand them in your organization and figure out what that really means to you.
23:05 – Jessica talks about the value of partners and not just allowing transactions to happen but partners. Jessica believes that there is as much potential in every human being as you, the difference may just be that you have had more opportunities.
27:32 – Jessica Jackley’s phone rings and it is a call from Oprah’s show. She thought it was a joke but it was the real thing. The show had heard about her success in lending $15 million in microloans to help people. So she went on Oprah and soon after her site crashed due to all the demand.
29:55 – A phone call comes through to Kiva.org and Jessica is talking while this person says we want to put in $10 million into this project. Jessica has to turn down the offer because it didn’t fit the company values, mission, and more. She tells why it is better to be able to say no to $10 million because it didn’t fit the mission about connecting it was more like just a transaction.
32:51 – Authentic leadership is talked about by Jessica and how important it is to have clarity of focus and vision in an organization. What are the things to do, to invest in, to work with speed and focus in your organization?
36:45 – 3 words or the three C’s are connection, conviction, and commitment are needed in our teams and organizations. A deep connection to the person or people you serve. You use the thing you create, you get in their heads and hearts and be creative. Every person in your organization needs to be connected to what you do or actually use the product or service somehow. Conviction is staying with it. Commitment is about setting goals and keeping yourself motivated to the project to keep going. Doing If/then experiments is important to be able to test as well. Remind yourself that you are choosing your life and what you do with your waking hours if you are so privileged.
44:56 – Howard Behar said the word, “love” isn’t used in business very much. The idea of practicing and falling in love with what and who we want to be in love with every single day. Love in the sense of being passionate about your experience and your work and the people to be grateful in your life.
Q&A from the audience:
- How did you make the decision that it was time to step away from it? – Kiva was started with Jessica’s ex-husband and that was a challenging time. What is the best way to be respectful of the culture of the office while being sensitive to the situation at home. So a little re-invention occurred. Jessica decided to expand her own identity in the workspace and to remind herself that if she did the things that were life-giving to her she would be okay. So for 1 year, she did her own version of Eat, Pray, Love. It worked and it recalibrated me to where I needed to be.
- Can you share some feedback from borrowers? – People lend from all over the world and there are many interesting stories there. It is all so beautiful with how it happens and how they support people using Kiva.org. Many of the borrowers don’t understand if a lender has a picture of a dog, why a dog is giving them money. Stories of women who never worked outside of their small mud-hut home who are now given a chance through microloans. You see their confidence blossom through this process and that is very rewarding. The borrowers go through a change that changes how they are in the world for positive most often.
If you like the podcast, have a question, or just want to share your thoughts for about daring to begin please leave a comment below or please leave a review on Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts.
ABOUT THE THERMOSTAT
Conversations and micro-thoughts to engage your mind and heart.
A thermostat is proactive. It sets the temperature in a room. Controls the temperature. Regulates the temperature. But in today’s distracted, fast-paced and digital world, it’s easy for individuals and organizations to act more like thermometers, slipping into reactionary thinking, becoming scattered and inconsistent. The most compelling leaders, teams, organizations, families or collection of humans of any kind operate in thermostat mode. They calibrate their mind and heart to set the temperature for the vision and culture they want to create. Jason Barger, globally celebrated author, keynote speaker, and founder of Step Back Leadership Consulting, is the host of The Thermostat, a podcast journey to discover authentic leadership, create compelling cultures and find clarity of mission, vision, and values.
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