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Can I Laugh On Your Shoulder?

Apr 13, 2022

My guest this week is Jessica Jackley, an entrepreneur, investor, and speaker. Her work over the last decade has focused on financial inclusion, the sharing economy, and social justice. Currently, she is the founder of Alltruists, offering at-home, kid-friendly volunteer projects for families, and a cofounder and General Partner at Untapped Capital.

She is best known as a cofounder of Kiva, the world's first crowdfunding site for microenterprises. Most recently, Jessica served as Chief Impact Officer at Aspiration, GP at SparkLabs Global Ventures, and an investor, advisor, and former Venture Partner with the Collaborative Fund.

Additionally, Jessica teaches Social Entrepreneurship at the Marshall School of Business at USC, and was previously a Visiting Practitioner at Stanford’s Center for Philanthropy and Civil Society.

2:56 – Jessica 101

  • Jessica is a mom of four and has had a number of entrepreneurial adventures in her life.

6:12 – Being a giver

  • She felt called to be helpful in the world and wanted to wake up every day and be a giver.
  • Her goal has been to learn how to move people and resources to the most good.

13:49 – Who do you want to serve?

  • Aspiring entrepreneurs should ask themselves: Who do you want to serve? What do you want to offer them? How will you fund that?
  • You need to know what you want to prioritize in your business and how profitable you can be and want to be.

18:39 – Inspiration for Kiva

  • She learned about microfinance and the power of listening very carefully to the people you want to serve.
  • Observe and listen, and you can suggest how things might change.

25:55 – Alltruists

  • Jessica wanted to use the ease of a subscription box and mash it up with a cool volunteer experience.
  • How do you talk to your kids about homeless people, war and scary stuff? Alltruists can help parents give kids truthful but not terrifying answers.

37:09 – Volunteer economy

  • Every year in the U.S., 90% of the people say they want to volunteer, but only about a quarter of people get around to doing so.
  • People want to participate in something bigger than themselves.

39:44 – Get to know you

  • Guilty pleasure? She doesn’t do guilt, but her indulgence is reading her husband’s book early.
  • Most listened to music? The Beatles


Absolutely, you can make a really positive impact and have a sustainable/profitable organization.

I felt really called to try to be helpful in the world.

I felt pretty clear on the reality that my job was to wake up every day, be grateful for my life and go try to be a giver.


Jessica Jackley is an entrepreneur, investor, professor, and speaker who has spent her career focused on social justice. In an effort to find meaningful ways to inspire her own childrens’ curiosity, empathy, and passion for social and environmental impact, she most recently founded Alltruists, at-home, kid-friendly volunteer projects for families.

She is best known as a co-founder of Kiva, the world's first crowdfunding site for microenterprises that has facilitated over $1.5B in loans worldwide. Jessica recently served as Walt Disney Imagineering's first Entrepreneur in Residence and serves on several nonprofit boards including Habitat for Humanity, advises numerous start-ups, and is an advisory board member of Investcorp Strategic Capital Group. Additionally, Jessica teaches Social Entrepreneurship at the Marshall School of Business at USC, and was previously a Visiting Practitioner at Stanford’s Center for Philanthropy and Civil Society.

 Jessica’s work has been widely recognized. Honors include The Economist’s No Boundaries Innovation Award, Fast Company’s Most Influential Women in Tech, Silicon Valley Forum’s Visionary Award, the Pasteur Institute’s Common Congress Award, finalist for the TIME 100 Most Influential People list, and more.

She holds an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, a certificate in Global Leadership and Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School, a BA in Philosophy and Political Science from Bucknell University, and honorary PhDs from Centenary College and Quinnipiac University. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader. Her first book, CLAY WATER BRICK: Finding Inspiration from Entrepreneurs Who Do the Most with the Least was published in June 2015 (Penguin Random House).

Jessica lives in Los Angeles with her husband, author Reza Aslan, and their four young children.

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