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Can I Laugh On Your Shoulder?

Jul 24, 2019

Today’s Purpose:

You don’t have to be in the public sector or start your own charity to make a difference in the world. You can make a huge impact with business! It’s possible to be in both the corporate world and non-profit world and lead the way in social responsibility. Today’s guest is Kate Hayes, who oversees Echoing Green’s “Ecosystem Programming’ to find, fund and support early-stage global leaders who have incredible ideas to change the world.

2:24 - The Kate 101

  • During college, Kate studied neuroscience and was interested in knowing how change happens. While working in Boston, she stumbled upon a mobile healthcare clinic that was started by an Echoing Green fellow.
  • Kate’s career made a sharp turn from medicine to the non-profit sector, digging deep into understanding nonprofits and the role of the private sector in supporting them.   
  • In her first role with Echoing Green, Kate connected business leaders to their purpose and helped them understand their mission, connecting them to the social change ecosystem.
  • In her new role as Director of Ecosystems, Kate helps connect nonprofits across the globe to help make an even greater impact. 

5:15 - What Exactly Does Echoing Green Do?

  • Echoing Green is named after a poem by William Blake about making the world a better place.
  • The fellowship program is the backbone of Echoing Green. It provides enough seed funding for organization founders to get started and helps with a portfolio management structure for clear planning and developing a strong business acumen. 
  • Echoing Green creates community by connecting social entrepreneurs with each other for collaboration and support in the first few years of their organizations and beyond.
  • A big priority is determining how to access to capital whether philanthropic or investment and connecting leaders to a broader community who cares about similar issues.
  • A lot of businesses think you have to do something drastic like start a business or nonprofit based on a social cause. However, businesses can get involved, even if they’re not a charity or nonprofit.

10: 31 - Where Do We Start?

  • There are so many people who want to make a difference in the world, whatever their career path, and Echoing Green helps them figure out exactly how they can do that while remaining in the private sector.
  • For those ready to dive in, Echoing Green helps people identify what issues matter to them, and sends them on a domestic site visit to understand first hand how change is happening on the ground.
  • For those who are overwhelmed with the endless possibilities of affecting social change, Echoing Green helps them connect with what they care most about and matches that to their skillsets. 
  • It’s ok to just take baby steps on your own while also bringing people to your team to help you implement those steps. Outside support is what really helps us thrive in our efforts to be involved in social change.

20: 30 - Diversity in Leadership

  • Kate was part of a group of governance practitioners where it was communicated that board diversity was not only not priority, but not important. She saw an opportunity and became very passionate about communicating need for diversity in leadership.
  • This has to start with organizations defining what diversity means in relation to their cause, whether age diversity, racial diversity, or all of the above and more.
  • Boards need a shared understanding of the impact that diversity can have on creating effective change in communities. Boards need to look outside of their circles to find as broad a pool of leaders as possible. 
  • There may be major fundraising implications for Boards that don’t take diversity seriously.
  • Once you’ve achieved a more diverse board, it’s as equally important to create trust, inclusivity, and equality. It’s about having in intention in everything you do, admitting mistakes, and getting uncomfortable.

35: 59 - Getting To Know Our Guest

  • Find out what Kate is grateful for, what she would do differently when no one’s watching, something you’d never guess about her, and what books she’s reading (Moms, take note)!

Memorable Moment:

[spp-tweet tweet="Take a step toward embodying purpose rather than just finding it." - Kate Hayes]

Article on diversity on boards:


Meet Your Guest:

Kate Hayes serves as Echoing Green’s Director for their Catalyze Ecosystem programming. She oversees several programs at Echoing Green, including Direct Impact, an innovative board leadership program designed to prepare the next generation of board members and transform nonprofit boards. She also manages Echoing Green’s alumni programs, ecosystem building and place-based strategy work, and internal program operations. She leads retreats, workshops, and immersive site visits focused on leadership development, purpose, strategic governance, philanthropy, and social entrepreneurship. Prior to joining Echoing Green, she worked as Director of Evaluation and Program Impact in the national office of Minds Matter. Kate currently sits on the Executive Committee at the Northfield Mount Hermon School, where she serves as Vice President of the Alumni Council. Kate has written for the Stanford Social Innovation Review, Forbes, and across the web about issues related to leadership, purpose, social entrepreneurship, and nonprofit boards. She holds a degree in Behavioral Neuroscience from Northeastern University.