Categories
Climate Action Social Good

SDG Implementation in The Time of COVID-19

Earlier, I was on a preparation call for an online panel. I was tasked to share insights on how is it going with the SDGs, in a Nordic context, during COVID-19. I talked about Climate Action, Gender Equality, and what is happening in Denmark these days. I went on how there’s a consensus in the government to reopen society, taking sustainability and climate action into consideration.

White, rich, and privileged

I (finally) shut up when it’s the other panelists’ turn to share their stories. Their narratives made me feel privileged in a lot of ways. I felt privileged that I am safe. That I don’t have to take a 70% pay cut as some countries require such as Pakistan. That my daughter can still go to school and continue her education even in times like these. I felt privileged for living in Denmark.

COVID-19 is showing us the inequalities in the world

COVID-19 is bringing people, countries, and the whole planet together. That is my theory, at least. I think there’s a lot of stories where we need to see eye to eye. Where we need to join together and share stories that might not be in the mainstream media but still need to be shared anyway. And that is what we’re trying to do tomorrow on an online panel put together and moderated by Swarnima Shrestha, a fellow +Social Good Connector of mine. You should join us!

Categories
Community Geek Girl Magazine Shout Your Impact Social Good

Geek Girl: Can You Pivot A Community?

Geek Girl: the comeback

This morning, something happened that threw me in a direction that I have been wanting to go for a while: reusing Geek Girl Denmark and Geek Girl Magazine. It has been my priority for a long time, something that I wrote about in a Facebook group before.. but then COVID happened.

This summer, I stepped down as Head of Brand and Engagement at CARE. That was my stint in the NGO industry. I’ll never work again for old NGO’s, but I’m still up working for new ones. A lot of stuff is happening in my personal life and I will fill you in on that soon.

But this morning, there was a Geek Girl Denmark portal that opened to finally start pivoting the community to something more aligned with where I am now.

The Geek Girl community always had massive potential but due to my health condition, shutting it down was the best thing to do at the time. During the years where I haven’t had the time to build Geek Girl Denmark or do events for people, I was focusing on my healing and my own process back to life; another kind of life.

Another way for me to serve the world and the women who decided to give me so much love and support back then, those awesome geek girls!

I have focused on building sustainable brands for others as in platforms and corners of the sustainability movement.

Geek girls for sustainability?

But how could I align this? Teaching women tech? With sustainability and climate action? I think the answer lies in the word “empower”. Geek Girl Denmark is solid gold to me. So many of my cool stories and ventures came from that platform. So much good and plenty of connections I have made and it’s one of the things I have been proudest of in my career.

The planet needs us!

And now, I will pivot it and empower women to act on sustainability. Focusing on tech as well as on SDG/global goals; making them a part of a movement for positive change for this planet. And even though the language will also change to english (hoping to make the group a bit broader), we will start doing Copenhagen-based events.

I and the team will do this through events, stories, and mentorship programs. I have teamed up with Natalya Tarankova, founder of W.e. Space Copenhagen. We also have the support of Stine Mølgaard, who was a key driver in Geek Girl Denmark, as well as Cathrine Fallesen who will be driving our Geek Girl events.

Now, the first event is in the book. It will be an event called “Health Tech for Good” aligned with SDG 3: “Ensure healthy lives and promote well being for all at all ages”. The speakers, place, date, and other event information will be updated shortly.

Also, we will change our name. It’s still going to be women-focused and you will still be empowered, but we want you to Shout Your Impact. That’s the new name. The website, etc. is coming soon. Until then, if you are a fierce techie, impact, and startup woman, then please join us in our Facebook group.

Categories
Business Unusual Climate Action Social Good

Combining Technologies For A Better Future

Have you ever thought about how combining technologies can be applied to the best future for humanity? The key to a more sustainable world lies in a better understanding of how we can contribute positively to the wellbeing of the planet. And I think I found one of many keys for that, through extensive reading and rearranging my creative curls.

I have been getting more and more into astrology as a pathfinding tool for myself. The reason is that I am going through some personal massive changes, where everything is ending and everything is up for grabs. It’s massively liberating but at the same time, it’s a bit scary and intimidating. Some of my favorite people to consult with when it comes to astrology is Mystic Medusa and Hare In the moon Astrology- they both have some amazing input and very unique ways of doing astrology.

Ancient as well as cutting edge

They have both been writing about the bridge between ancient and new. Two years ago I began a huge self-development process. I have been on my own path to find out what ancient technologies I had to integrate into my life. One of the most ancient technologies I have been working a lot with is creativity as well as nature. There’s a part of me that constantly wants to make a bonfire or climb a mountain. I constantly want to create art. I want to use some of these ancient technologies with new technologies. This could be anything from the internet, business skills, and community building as a way of creating.

The combination of technologies, the combination of ancient and new makes me stand more firmly in myself. It makes me more idealistic and raises my ideas (aka my livelihood) into new spheres. It makes me trust myself for more impact on the world, for new paths. How about you? How are you going to be combining ancient and new?

Categories
Climate Action Social Good

Sharing: This Is How I Support A Global Movement

I have a concrete way to support a Global Movement. And I want to share a personal piece of advice I have always followed. If I am supporting a cause, it doesn’t mean that I hit ‘Like’ on an update or a tweet from a contact. A ‘Like’ is the very least I can do on social media to be able to show I care. I think one of the biggest things I can do is to support multiple global movements.

But why would I stop there? Support means sharing and speaking up. ‘Likes’ don’t get my message further. However, if I like an update, it shows that I am inclined to agree, but I won’t put in the 2 minutes’ work to pass it on to my own network.

Global movement: Outraged by challenges

I could support a new global movement. I could be outraged by climate change or the death of George Floyd. Or even by the lack of gender equality at my workplace. However, I would first use that outrage proactively when I decide to share, to show up for the cause. I will sign that petition from a contact of mine. I will change my profile picture so that the movement will be heard and seen all over and that it will grow larger. Sharing is what is needed for a better world. A simple change in your mind that makes ideas spread further.

Categories
Climate Action Community Entrepreneurial life Social Good

Impact Hub Medellin: Battling His Way Through Coronavirus by Federico Sierra

I decided to talk to some of my contacts who I knew were heavily impacted by the Coronavirus. Why? Because it makes me feel like I am doing a difference. Shedding some light on people experiencing problems that might not be obvious to me or anybody else in the North.

One of the people I decided to interview is truly a brother, Federico Sierra. A man I felt a deep connection with when I was in New York in September 2019 during the UN General Assembly for +Social Good and UN foundation.

First off, tell me a story about you and me. How did we meet? What connected us? What connection do we have now?

It’s a funny story about how I pushed you to eat with me at Chick Fil’A and it ended up being trash. Afterward, I invited you for beer to make up for that. It wasn’t as bad in here but it was hilarious to see your disappointment with the food.

We met because we were both selected as +SocialGood Connectors; local champions of the SDGs for the UN Foundation. I think among the other 12 people, I connected with you the fastest for 2 reasons:

1. Your go-getter attitude which is something the international development community lacks a bit as we get stuck in politics and procedures, leaving impact behind.

2. Your techy approach to things.

Since the beginning, we started bouncing ideas on how to generate more impact. And also, on how to connect the impact ecosystem in Europe and Latam.

Then tell me a bit about what you do in your everyday life?

I am a social entrepreneur so most of my time is focused on my startups. Impact Hub Medellín is an incubator for impact initiatives. It is also a CoWorking space for innovators moving the world forward from an impact and sustainability perspective. We have 4 main focuses:

1. Community:

i. Networking and Connections: We work together with our startups to support them in scaling their impact and solution to more people and other markets.

ii. Space: We host +200 entrepreneurs from +40 impact startups

iii. Events: We host spaces to generate connections and learning. Last year we hosted over 180 events mainly focused on SDGs and entrepreneurship.

2. Incubation:

We created an incubation program for startups with an Impact on the SDGs. Last year we incubated 36 startups. It was amazing to see many different initiatives and work together with them to scale their impact around the world. Here are some examples: 

i. Fokus Green: They produce clothing from plastic bottles. We supported their scaling to the US.

ii. Fruturo: They work with small farmers from the most violent regions in Colombia. They also support them in generating world-class products to export around the world. We supported them in scaling to Europe.

3. Social Innovation:

We lead a program named “Gambetiando”. It is a social innovation program that works with youth in the most affected areas in Medellín, Colombia. It is intended to build socio-emotional skills in them and then generate social initiatives lead by these young leaders.

4. Energía Vectorial:

We focus on decarbonizing mobility by accelerating the adoption of electric mobility in Colombia. We have 3 business lines:

i. Conversion of oil-powered combustion cars to electric vehicles: The cheapest EV in Colombia (Renault Twizy) costs 10.000 USD which makes it a very expensive option for people here. We brought a solution that evolves the current car that people have to an EV for a starting price of 7.000, making it a more affordable solution.

ii. Infrastructure: We set up electric charging stations.

iii. Education: We work with different organizations, training their people on how to manage and repair EVs.

My daily life goes around working in these initiatives. Asides working, I am a big fan of video games; Play Station 4 and Nintendo Switch are my favorite platforms. The rest of my free time is spent by having casual beers with friends.

What made you pursue this?

I had the opportunity to work in international development mainly around youth leadership and social innovation for about 10 years. 55 countries I have traveled to and I saw many different projects, initiatives, and ideas led by young people and entrepreneurs. I decided to come back to Colombia and work to generate an impact in my country.

When I came back, something shocked me right after I stepped out of the plane. It was air quality, and it was awful.

I started researching this issue. I learned that most of the pollution in my city, and many Latam cities, comes from urban mobility. It came up on my research as well that up to 90% of those mobilities could be electric.

I also have a niece, she was almost 2 at the time. She was getting sick very often and we needed to take her out of the city because the main reason was pollution. This was a calling, this what is happening to my niece. Many more children across the country are suffering the from the same problem. Therefore, I thought: “I have to do something about this”. And that is how Energia Vectorial was born.

As I experienced the entrepreneurship and Impact ecosystem in Medellin, I went through the struggles and challenges of a disconnected ecosystem. This is where the Impact Hub was born. I called 2 friends with the idea to work for improving the entrepreneurship ecosystem with a focus on Impact. I presented the Impact Hub global network and we started working for every entrepreneur with an impactful and scalable solution to the world’s more pressing challenges.

Is it still what makes you jump out of bed in the morning?

Definitely.

I get to work every day with people that are changing the world. Implementing new ways of generating more impact.

My job is to support them with knowledge, connections, and tools. For me, it’s a new challenge every day. Learn something new every day and also get to support the implementation of impact projects.

It is not always easy, as there are many challenges

  1. Economical situation
  2. Cashflow issues
  3. Lack of support form the government
  4. Some entrepreneurs don’t speak English, so overcoming that barrier
  5. Leadership and people management inside the startups

It is also amazing to see the collaboration among the entrepreneurs in our space and how they take advantage of every space we open for collaboration and learning. This show us our impact in day to day behavioral changes from our community.

What makes you most excited these days?

It is an opportunity to evolve both as a person and in business. Each one of us decides if we are going to take it and make the most out of it. So I would like to divide my approach to this question in two different ways:

First, it is indeed an opportunity to level up as a person. Learning something new and tackling what we have been postponing. And most importantly, connecting with others.

Concerning the Coronavirus, our message at Impact Hub Medellin is not social distancing but physical distancing. We believe that social strengthening is what we need in order to face the situation. Coming together as a community and generating solutions together.

Second, and most important of course, I do not depend on my daily income to bring food to my family. I do not rely on it to have a roof over my head at night. Or to simply have a place to stay at during quarantine. And note that I am saying this from a position of privilege. This is the reality for about 50% of Colombia’s population. What is exciting about this is seeing how our country has come together through different actions to support those in need. We are not a rich country, but we have gone through very difficult time by helping those in need.

The largest supermarket chain put together a basic set of products that cost 4 euros (rice, lentils, coffee, sugar, salt, chocolate, toilet paper, beans, chickpeas, chicken soup…). As of today, people have bought and donated 150,000 of these packages for the most vulnerable. The goal is to reach 500,000 which amounts to 2 Million Euros and we are on our way. Normal people, with normal salaries, contributing to the wellbeing of the whole. This gets me excited

Amidst the Coronavirus pandemic, tell me what it’s like in Medellín, Colombia right now on a daily basis?

When the coronavirus hit the country, the government set a national mandatory quarantine since Tuesday 24th. This has changed everything:

-Streets became empty.

-People started working from home.

-We have IDs that indicate our designated schedule of when we can go outside.

-Coronavirus spread updates are all over the news, ALL the time.

Our healthcare system isn’t highly developed. We need to be extra cautious so the situation doesn’t become worse than it already is.

Sometimes, I go to my local stores or supermarkets in the neighborhood. I appreciate seeing people being considerate and understanding by not hoarding stuff. This only shows that they care about the well-being of others.

How do people feel?

There is a lot of anxiety.

People are afraid of losing their jobs because of the coronavirus outbreak. Their companies are closing due to lack of cash flow and this is generating social unrest, as people need a bit of security to hang on to.

I’ve seen that countries like Denmark and Sweden have put together different policies to protect the economy, on the other hand, a country like Colombia does not have this option.

As I mentioned above, there is a lot of solidarity, but also there is a disconnect between the local and national government, with different messages and measures going around. The ack of clarity generates fear.

What’s the general standpoint towards the virus from the government and society as a whole?

Colombia took swift action once we confirmed the first case of coronavirus. On the 6th day, we closed our schools. On the 9th day, we closed our borders. And on the 13th day, we went into national lockdown.

We understand that our healthcare system is underdeveloped. Thanks to corruption mainly, and politicians stealing money in the past our country is having a hard time dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

I believe there is a national understanding that: 

  1. We have to face this together, let’s do our bit.
  2. Take care of each other
  3. Things will not be the same after this
How does this affect the entrepreneurs that you incubate? 

It’s going to be rough.

I have spoken to each of our entrepreneurs in the last few days to understand how are they facing this situation.

Most of them had to stop operations and are figuring out how to keep people’s jobs and salaries as long as they can.

Anxiety is the main feeling I got from them because of the uncertainty of when the coronavirus pandemic is going to end.

The idea of talking to each startup and entrepreneur in our community is to:

  1. Connect with our people. Understand how everyone is doing and how are they dealing with this situation: emotionally, financially, and with their teams.
  2. Next steps and way forward

We have set up multiple partnerships to support our people with a psychologist to provide a line to express and receive advice, legal and management advisors to understand how they can use different options from banks and other entities to face the situation.

We have been hosting webinars to keep our community active and keep the human connection alive. Some of the topics we have talked about are:

“How can startups contribute to solutions to the current situation?”

“Cashflow management during uncertainty.”

“How to manage stress.”

“Ways to stay productive while working at home.”

Finally, we are generating financial plans for each member to alleviate their future cash flows to support them when society “re-opens” once the coronavirus is contained. This means waiving membership fees in may and discounted prices for a couple of months.

How does it affect the impact hub in Medellin?

The coronavirus pandemic has been a challenging time and has pushed us to step up our game. Our first decision was to keep our whole team in place. We are where we are because of our people, therefore we go through this together. My whole team is working from home and figuring out how to evolve our business model to create value for our market and new revenue streams. Here some impacts we are facing:

1. Space:

As mentioned above, we will see this income halted and reduced for a while as the entrepreneurs we host start regenerating income again.

  1. Solution: Waive the membership (mentioned above) for a couple of months and set longer-term contracts. The idea is to co-operate and work with each other on how to contribute to each other’s business.
2. Programs (Incubation):

Half of this program operates through sponsors (local and global) and right now every partner and organization is focusing their budget to face the coronavirus situation.

  1. Solution: We are setting up an online incubation program, so geography is no longer a barrier for entrepreneurs. New revenue streams working together with incubated entrepreneurs and getting a % of their sales in the future as they grow (This still future revenue tho)
  2. Keep contacting potential partners in Europe and North America
  3. We have launched an initiative to generate solutions through an online hackathon that is going to take place 3-5 of April, so far we have +250 solutions submitted: https://cadadiacuenta.org/
3. Gambetiando: Activities stop
  1. Solution: Gambetiando Virtual: We have produced a series of short videos we shared with our youth through WhatsApp to keep them engaged with activities and workshops to perform at home
  2. Weekly calls to keep the connection with the families and youth

Every situation we are facing also is an opportunity to evolve and think of different approaches to our business and initiatives

In Energía Vectorial, the situation is more similar to other startups so we have stopped operations in the 3 business lines: Conversion, Infrastructure, and Education. We are very lean in our startups in terms of costs, but the upward curve of sales we were experiencing, is going to be affected as people are not looking into expending money now and the upcoming months.

We are looking into how to upgrade or services and implement a tech solution connected to our conversions.

How can people in the global impact community help?

Connections!

Investors, sponsors, and corporates were interested in cooperating and working with Impact startups in Colombia. We are fundraising and setting up partnerships to make it even more relevant.

We are setting up a fund to support the entrepreneurs, amidst the coronavirus pandemic, in our space and others that will face financial troubles in the upcoming months, so they can still have a space to work from and a community to connect. Our idea would be to divide the monthly fee this way:

35% covered by the entrepreneur.

35% discount from our side.

30% covered by the fund.

Our monthly rates start at 80 Euros and go up until 200 Euros.

How do they get in touch with you?

Email: Federico.restrepo@impacthub.net

WhatsApp: +57 305 391 2346

Lastly, how will you have changed after this experience?

This is deep.

This experience has strengthened my connections with my team. We are going through a challenging time and we are facing it with a solutions-oriented perspective.

Our main objective is to foster the entrepreneurship ecosystem and my whole team is constantly looking for more and better ways to do so.

Categories
Social Good

Let’s Get Education To Women And By That, Limit Climate Change

Happy IWD rockers! Some people are having a hard time understanding my concern about climate change. To some people, I am seen as aggressive. I just choose not to engage with some people. A lot of people are concerned about climate change. But they would rather see climate activists calm down a bit. Having a teen daughter who tends to have a bit of climate depression, I don’t think there’s time to be calm for me personally. Right now, seeing how countries around the world are reacting to the coronavirus, made me think. “Why aren’t they doing the same around climate change?” Or maybe what we, as a global society, will learn from facing the coronavirus will be a stepping stone on how to deal with climate change as a global society because we will be faced with dealing with it sooner or later.

Activistic and Educated Women: An Impact on Climate Change

There are more reasons for women than ever to join the cause for climate action. It has also been documented in project drawdown that the best way to help the planet is to invest in women and girls. Today, more than 130 million girls are denied the fundamental right to attend school and lay a foundation for their lives. Why does this matter for climate change? “The difference between a woman with no years of schooling and with 12 years of schooling is almost four to five children per woman.”

It’s super interesting to see that a lot of climate action is conducted by women. In fact, I found a Swedish research paper called: ‘A Green Fatwä’ – Climate Change As A Treat To The Masculinity Of Industrial Modernity’. I believe it calls for female leadership in the era to come. Even though right now female leaders within the climate field are being met with a lot of opposition.

I wish you all the best International Women’s Day.

Categories
Self-love Social Good

The First Women To Be #equaleverywhere

Yesterday, the UN foundation ‘s campaign on #equaleverywhere was launched. As a Social Good Connector, I have known about it for a while and thought about what I wanted to do around it. I thought about doing an interview to showcase how far we’ve gotten. I thought about showcasing a female entrepreneur. But I decided to take another perspective and another route – a messy, hard, and honest route through your maternal mothers. And I challenge you to open up to be #equaleverywhere too.

I want to talk about the first women – from a personal perspective. The first from MY family. And I want to pose the question: ‘Have you ever thought about, you could be the first woman who did something in your family?’.

I am #equaleverywhere

Take my sweet ass as an example. I was the first woman in my family who stood up about my inner destructor. About my whole self, my fuckedupness, about my hurt, about my shadow side, my abuse, conflicts. And I was the first woman who said ‘enough’. I don’t have to hide my shadow. I will find it just like Peter Pan, and I will glue it back on with soap (Peter Pan style, of course). In my family, I was the first person (not a woman) who got through college. And I was the first who was a paid board member before I was thirty. I also wrote and self-published a book before I was thirty – a piece of art that I crafted and showed to the world.

I was the first woman of my family to create a ‘brand studio’, Toothless Tiger. A company I lived fairly well off, for 12 years. I was the first woman in my family that realized by the age of 40 that I didn’t need anyone else to make me happy, apart from myself. Everything else was a magic addition, a choice. I was the first woman in my family who could be financially independent and could own a house on my own.

My Mother – The World Traveler.

My mother was the first woman who took a tech education in my family, though it would be seen as “low-tech” these days. She was a telegraphist and she sailed the 7 seas, in the 1970s. She was also a woman who was beaten by her father for showing off – or as I would say, for being more than him. My mother was the first woman in my family to own a house on her own – bought it in cash when she came home from traveling the world as a telegraphist.

My Grandmother – My Most Nostalgic Childhood Memory.

She was very special. She died at an early age partly because her husband didn’t want to stop smoking his 60 cigarettes a day, inside of their apartment. Her alcoholic husband had always beaten her, but she STILL held space for me, my brother and mother. She lived her life in the center of the storm, with every breath that came to her. I think for the most part she was happy. She was really good at dancing – especially to 50s music.

My Great-Grandmother – So Special To Me.

She was born in the 1910s and she lived until 2003. Her mother was a spiritualist and a suffragette. Anyway, she had all the technological advancements the world had seen. Well, maybe not the last technological era of smartphones but a LOT of stuff happened in her lifetime – First World War (she was a baby though), and 2nd world war where her husband hid parachutes and guns in their garden (now my garden), without telling her. Happy she didn’t know about it, because then she might have been shot by the German soldiers. The 50’s. A man on the moon. She was also the certainty in my childhood, what I always could count on would catch me.

I was so protective of her and there are so many great memories of her. Her old soft skin on her lower arms at 90. Her favorite ring. Decorations from the 2nd world war of her as a freedom fighter. I still can’t talk about the last time I saw her without crying. She had dementia and she was 93. I lived in London and knew this was the last time I would see her. My brother and I drove her to the hospital to have her checkup and she wasn’t present apart from 5 seconds where she looked at me and my brother asking us what we were doing there, laughing a bit. Telling us how much she loved us. Told us she was proud of us and she wanted us to be happy and that was the last time I talked to her.

Why is it important to be #equaleverywhere?

I think the stories of the past are vastly represented in our present. The ‘women in tech’ represented in my mother are also represented in me. All the women before me were the first at something. All of them struggled with a life they were boxed into – and I truly believe that we, as women, are the first real generation with real choices to do whatever we want. So do that! Create your magic. Build your own world – but remember you have the privilege – both because of who came before you, but also because of everything else.

Me? I am a white, curly, Viking shieldmaiden in the richest part of the world, that’s a privilege I refuse to take for granted. You could use that privilege to gather people around you, to build a movement – to influence the women before you and the women after you. Make the world better with all the tools you’ve got. Give people the best opportunities for advancement, equality, and sustainability and make the world a better place by being #equaleverywhere.

Categories
Climate Action Conferences Entrepreneurial life Public Speaking Social Good

“Invest In Women”: Women Entrepreneurship Day 2019

If I put my NGO hat on, it has been proven time and time again that if you invest in a woman or a girl in the global south she will not only use the opportunity for growth for herself but will also elevate the rest of the village.”

I spoke at Women Entrepreneurship Day 2019 conducted by Female Founders of the Future at Klub in Copenhagen back in November.

“Invest In Women”: Summary Of My Speech

I didn’t memorize my full speech as I wrote it, you really never do, but here it is:

Hi there! My name is Henriette Weber. I am an entrepreneur. A seeker. A climate activist. A feminist. A mother of a teenage girl. A leader, and currently the head of brand and engagement at the Climate NGO CARE, as well as being Denmarks first + Social Good Connector under the UN foundation.

I was invited here to talk to you about “Investing in Gender Equality”. This is something I feel very strongly about probably because it’s something I have been working on as an entrepreneur. First, trying to get a maternity fund for entrepreneurs implemented in Denmark, and later as the CEO and founder of Geek Girl Denmark and Geek Girl Magazine.

I almost won an Ivækst Award in the female category on Geek Girl Magazine. This is for teaching tech to women and doing stuff differently. As a “Female Found Media Icon”, I got fed up with being a role media because I really am not. I am chaotic, imperfect, and I didn’t feel I could live up to their expectations.

After Geek Girl Magazine, I decided to change lanes and head towards climate action. Something that has always been close to my heart ever since I was a young teen being told by my teacher that the ozone layer was going to kill the planet. I did a lot of research on sustainability and climate action at the biggest Nordic sustainable think tank where I was employed as a brand director. I found my bridge between sustainability and gender equality.

Did you know that the Project Drawdown by Paul Hawken is the leading organization that finds solutions for climate change?

Invest in Women and Girls

“If I put my NGO hat on, it has been proven time and time again that if you invest in a woman or a girl in the global south she will not only use the opportunity for growth for herself but will also elevate the rest of the village.”

The return on investment in investing in women and girls is so much higher than if you invest traditionally.

The same goes for teams with a female co-founder in startups. You’d notice that their startups perform exponentially.

As the old saying goes, we can’t keep doing the same thing, expecting a different outcome. Right now, not one single country in the world is on track to meet SDG 5: Gender equality. Even though gender equality has been agreed upon as a human right.

Denmark is leading on a number of factors under SDG 5, but we can ALL do something to save the world, and yes. I do mean save the world. When you help a girl, you help a village. When you help a woman, you are constructively doing climate action. 

If you, whether as a Dane or as an entrepreneur, want to do social good then you can start by helping another woman. Look at the first woman you see and SMILE at her =) You can do something life-altering for this woman. You can believe in her strength which would help her connect her to other people. Help her see her own “badassness”. Help her see her “Mad Skills”. Give her chances she normally wouldn’t be getting. 

Make A Choice. Make A Difference.

We need to make different choices. The world calls for our responsibility, on a personal level, and to all of us as humans. As Jonathan Safran Foer wrote in his latest book, “We are all the weather“. A personal climate plan or a family climate plan is what we need. A personal gender equality plan is just as important as well. We need to find out HOW we will act around climate, gender, and every other of the SDGs. We should also ask how are we going to make ourselves accountable?

How are we going to make the global goals our personal goals? By making different choices. It seems super obvious but for every different choice we make for sustainability, we are tipping the boat towards a healthier planet.

For a long time, first in tech, women, and then in sustainability, I’ve heard people saying “Enough talking, it’s time for action!”. And we’re fucking still talking about how much time for action there is. But we are doing the safe things. Men in suits are becoming “chief innovation officers” all around the world and I can’t stand it. Where are the wildcards, the misfits, the women, the ones needed to make a powerful change?

Investing In Women = Implementing Social Good

If you decide to make a woman a partner of your VC firm, you are doing social good. If you’re making a woman the co-founder of your startup. Social good. You are showing the world that you are innovative and that you are choosing differently, even though it doesn’t seem like a big deal. It’s EXACTLY these choices we need. As is eating less meat. Driving electric cars. And you know what, probably your whole team spirit will be elevated because of something new happening.

Better yet, see if you can make half the partners or founders of your company female. Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Those women will be role models for other women who want to work in a startup. Those who want to vet and invest in startups as VC’s. Those women will be visible beacons in a field where women are normally invisible. They don’t exist. This is especially if you ask the business conference organizers who are (still) creating all-male panels.

Look at us, as a group. Take me as an example. When I started in the tech industry back in 2001, I was one of 3 women out of a team of 100, men obviously being the latter. I was a developer and the other 2 women, one was a secretary and the other was an HR.

Change Starts With You

Now we’re at a sold-out event celebrating female founders. At my first web conference (reboot 2005) we weren’t that many women either. But it made us talk, network, and think that more women should be at these tech conferences. Some of us decided to do something about it.

We can all make a difference. Be social good activists. We can all work to change this fucked up world and we have to. 

What I came here to say is not just “invest in gender equality”. It’s more to “invest in different choices”. Invest in your own actions making these badass women visible.

Thank you.

Categories
Branding Business Unusual Climate Action Social Good

Halfway Into The Decade Of Action:​ What Is Your Action Strategy?

During my work with CARE, I have recently become aware that when you start using a tone of voice that’s more defining and bolder, as well as adding a visual identity that’s edgier, then something happens externally for sure. But something also happens internally with the office space and your colleagues. At CARE I feel inclined to say that we all are highly skilled geeks within our field, but to have climate and justice geeks unite under a new cool identity and a new cool tone of voice (and soon a new cool website) is a definite surplus. And it’s something that’s so well in line with the UN’s call for making this decade the ‘decade of action’.

How are your colleagues receiving the new initiatives?

ALL my colleagues are happy about it. It’s like that we, by lifting the brand, also lifts my colleagues pride in their work. All these wonderful people, that I pride myself on working with are also working towards a common goal of real impact for the most climate-vulnerable people in the world. Most of the time, they are women and children.

If you have problems figuring out how much you can do in the world, look at the startups. They execute on new ideas all the time. There’s nobody questioning what they usually do in some setting, because ‘what they usually do’ doesn’t exist. Everything is new, everything is trial and error. Everything is ‘fail fast and break things’. And we can all do something. But are we willing to do what we can? Is there an alternative by now? Not really.

Are we willing to do what we can for the decade of action?

Every human, family business, cyborg, corporation, you name it, need to commit to doing what they can for the world. It’s like humanity huddling together and saying ‘a’right, let’s turn this titanic around’.

Every partnership needs to have social good aspects. They need to be aligned with the SDGs – every startup needs to be impactful, otherwise, I throughout don’t believe they will succeed (not if they start now at least).

We all need to do what we can to make this planet heal and well function again. It’s going to take a long time before we get there – but we can all do our share to make this the decade of action something and most of us can do more than others.

Categories
Climate Action Social Good

A Poem To Cows, Food And Climate Action

Listening to ‘We Are The Weather’ is nerve-racking, but it also comes with a plan about climate action. I highly recommend it, that is, part of those times when I just want to throw my headphones in a corner and rock myself softly back and forward.

While we wait for biotechnology (food-as-software as them geeks call it) to replace livestock or dairy such as cows or cheeses made by yeast cells at new culture to go mainstream, remember: We have to keep at it, rockers!

So we can all do our share in shaping the world for tomorrow. That includes: eating less meat, flying less, and keeping fossil fuel in the ground.

Jonathan discusses in his book that we all should just eat dairy and meat at dinner – not breakfast and not lunch. I dig it. In fact, I dig it so much that it is the next step on my very own “let’s not eat that much meat people” staircase to be introduced to my loved ones. That is apart from cutting beef from the menu and turning the vegetables up. And some of us could go vegetarian around breakfast and lunch, right?

Agriculture is about to be spotify-ied

And totally up the ‘We Are The Weather’ alley, I saw this morning that something is finally going to be done about livestock and agriculture which accounts for around 24 % of total CO2 emissions – and you know… Cutting or burning down the Amazonas.

But: (there’s a new RethinkX report on food and agriculture that says that the next ‘industry’ to be disrupted is agriculture’. In 10 years time, the report says that the number of cows in the U.S. will have fallen by 50 % and that all other livestock industries will suffer a similar fate – because of precision biology.

So should we all just wait 10 years before doing anything about the climate as individuals? When we are not panicking? Hellz-no. Just do whatever you can. Speak up. Join a strike (I will be joining the climate strike tomorrow in New York). At least, don’t eat cows, the next step is pork and the last step is chicken. Livestock is lovely beings, but fx. When 95% of cows are being produced for meat purposes only, it’s really sad and they become production more than animals. Which could be why they made up the livestock word in the first place.

Serve and save the world, rockers! I will be talking more about climate action, business, those pesky Global Goals sooner than you know.

Until then.