What excites me the most as an executive coach is the ripple effect that just one person can create. When I work with one leader in a company, I love seeing not only how things change for her but also how she takes what she learns to lift others up and create even more positive change throughout her company.
As I invest more of my time in the nonprofit world, I am also inspired by what I see happening there. Change starts when a committed person, or a handful of people, sees a need and commits to addressing it. As we enter this season of giving, I wanted to tell you about some dedicated people I know who are creating powerful ripple effects — and to remind you of your own potential to make an impact.
I recently visited Vogel Alcove, which is changing the lives of homeless children in Dallas. A child isn’t typically the first image most of us envision when we think about homelessness, but the numbers are astounding. Vogel Alcove started in 1985 when members of the Social Action Committee of Congregation Shearith Israel visited a homeless shelter and were moved to take action. That led to a coalition of other Jewish congregations and organizations in Dallas. From those roots, Vogel Alcove has gone on to help more than 13,000 children.
I also recently joined the advisory board for Akola, a nonprofit that empowers women through holistic development. Research shows that when women thrive, communities thrive. The roots of Akola go back to founder Brittany Merrill Underwood's college days, when she began to learn about poverty in Uganda. Through her work there, Brittany met women who were caring for 10 or more children in their homes. She saw how providing a reliable income for those women transformed their families and communities. Akola teaches women a marketable skill, to make jewelry that's then sold online and through retail partners. The project has been so successful that the Akola model expanded in 2014 to the US to help sex-trafficking victims in Dallas.
With each of these organizations, I'm in awe of the ripple effect that their founders have created. They remind us of the tremendous difference we can all make. And that's my challenge for you today: What's the ripple effect you want to start right now, in your community or your company? What opportunities do you see around you? You can simply start by taking one small step, and then committing to taking one more step after you’ve completed that one. Whether or not you’ve had a transformative experience like Brittany's, you do have the ability to create an even bigger ripple effect.
I also want to invite you to explore our resources, packed with strategies to help you and your team to amplify your impact. You don't have to solve all the world's problems — or even all your company's. But you can commit to being more deliberate about the ripple effect you want to create.