PODCAST

Impact Everywhere | Positive Impact in Unexpected Places

Von Wong

This is the podcast for people who want to make a difference, but don't know where to start. Each week we explore stories of amazing individuals who have found a way to make a difference, regardless of their skills, interests, and passions. Together, we break down the frameworks, lessons, and perspectives that they've gained so that you too can get started on your journey. Your host is Benjamin Von Wong, an award-winning environmental artist and activist that was once a hard rock mining engineer. Since escaping his 9-5, he has generated over 100M views for different causes like fast fashion, ocean plastics, and electronic waste.

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The Hidden Value of Discarded PPE ft. Andy Straisfeld, Strategist and Partner at Lifecycle Revive
May 23 2021
The Hidden Value of Discarded PPE ft. Andy Straisfeld, Strategist and Partner at Lifecycle Revive
The COVID-19 pandemic has created a massive global shortage of PPE. Similarly, the increased usage of PPE has led to an unprecedented rise in single-use plastic pollution from the medical sector. Lifecycle Revive is an Ontario-based company that specializes in recycling PPE waste. Joining us today is the company’s VP of Business Development, Andy Straisfeld. Andy has over a decade of experience in the medical supply sales space, and he is now using his knowledge in alignment with a cause he believes in. In today’s episode, Andy talks about apathy when it comes to recycling medical supplies and sheds light on why Lifecycle Revive has chosen the mission they have. We hear about how they quickly mobilized and got an incredible team together to tackle this growing issue. Andy is clear on Lifecycle Revive’s vision and does not sugarcoat that change will be slow, but it is something they are wholeheartedly committed to. He has personal experience of what it is like to lay the foundations for a plan that will only come to fruition in the future and carries this lesson with him into business. We need a paradigm shift when it comes to thinking about the lifespan and cycle of a product, and Lifecycle Revive is doing great work to get the needle moving in creating this change. To hear the full episode, click the link of your favorite podcast platform below.The conversation took place live on Clubhouse under the Impact Everywhere Club. See upcoming conversations here!Subscribe on SpotifySubscribe on Google PodcastsSubscribe on Apple Podcasts
The Hidden Value of Discarded PPE ft. Andy Straisfeld, Strategist and Partner at Lifecycle Revive
May 23 2021
The Hidden Value of Discarded PPE ft. Andy Straisfeld, Strategist and Partner at Lifecycle Revive
The COVID-19 pandemic has created a massive global shortage of PPE. Similarly, the increased usage of PPE has led to an unprecedented rise in single-use plastic pollution from the medical sector. Lifecycle Revive is an Ontario-based company that specializes in recycling PPE waste. Joining us today is the company’s VP of Business Development, Andy Straisfeld. Andy has over a decade of experience in the medical supply sales space, and he is now using his knowledge in alignment with a cause he believes in. In today’s episode, Andy talks about apathy when it comes to recycling medical supplies and sheds light on why Lifecycle Revive has chosen the mission they have. We hear about how they quickly mobilized and got an incredible team together to tackle this growing issue. Andy is clear on Lifecycle Revive’s vision and does not sugarcoat that change will be slow, but it is something they are wholeheartedly committed to. He has personal experience of what it is like to lay the foundations for a plan that will only come to fruition in the future and carries this lesson with him into business. We need a paradigm shift when it comes to thinking about the lifespan and cycle of a product, and Lifecycle Revive is doing great work to get the needle moving in creating this change. To hear the full episode, click the link of your favorite podcast platform below.The conversation took place live on Clubhouse under the Impact Everywhere Club. See upcoming conversations here!Subscribe on SpotifySubscribe on Google PodcastsSubscribe on Apple Podcasts
Fighting Water Scarcity With a New Search Engine ft. Founder of Elliot For Water - Andrea Demicheli
May 2 2021
Fighting Water Scarcity With a New Search Engine ft. Founder of Elliot For Water - Andrea Demicheli
Water scarcity is one of the greatest problems faced by the world. When people do not have access to clean, safe drinking water, all aspects of their lives — from health, to education, to safety — are negatively impacted. Andrea Demichelis is a young Italian entrepreneur who has come up with an ingenious way to chip away at this global issue. Andrea founded Elliot For Water, a search engine that gives over half of its profits to finance clean water projects. In this episode, we hear more about the project’s mission and how Andrea came to be interested in water. We find out about their partnership with Bing and how the search engine plans to make money. There are so many clean water projects out there already, but many of them fail because they do not reflect the community’s needs. Andrea is aware of this and talks about the organizations they have chosen to work with to ensure they are making a positive impact rather than a negative one. Our conversation also touches on how Elliot For Water makes the user experience attractive, why working in the social enterprise space should not mean compromising profit, and what the future has in store for the search engine. We all search the internet numerous times a day, so imagine what a difference it could make if we attached this everyday activity to such an impactful project? Check out the full episode at one of the links below on your favorite podcast platform:The conversation took place live on Clubhouse under the Impact Everywhere Club. See upcoming conversations here!Subscribe on SpotifySubscribe on Google PodcastsSubscribe on Apple Podcasts
Bringing the Power of Dance to the Incarcerated Ft. Social Justice Activist, Choreographer, and Changemaker Susan Slotnick
Apr 18 2021
Bringing the Power of Dance to the Incarcerated Ft. Social Justice Activist, Choreographer, and Changemaker Susan Slotnick
Most people would not see a connection between dance and prison. But today’s guest, Susan Slotnick, is different. Susan is a visual artist, a choreographer, a dancer, a writer, an advocate for social justice, and for the last 16 years, she has volunteered in various correctional facilities teaching dance to inmates. She recently released a book called Flight: The Dance of Freedom, as a guide for those who want to find ways to use their skills to support inmates. In this episode, Susan talks about the journey of finding her purpose and the moment she realized she was doing what she had been put on Earth to do. She talks about the value of highly reciprocal work and the danger that comes in instances when you are working more for your fulfillment than for the good of others. It is not easy to maintain these boundaries, and Susan shares the challenges she has experienced when it comes to setting them. We also hear about how dance creates a space for inmates to connect with their authentic selves, some assumptions Susan had going into her work, and the heartbreak she experienced at various moments. Susan is a teacher in the true essence of the word because she does not position herself as a savior, but rather gives her students the tools to help them on their journeys. To check out the full conversation, click on your favorite podcast platform’s link below.The conversation took place live on Clubhouse under the Impact Everywhere Club. See upcoming conversations here!Subscribe on SpotifySubscribe on Google PodcastsSubscribe on Apple PodcastsKey Points From This EpisodePeople in prisons are victims as well as perpetrators. Susan knew that dance would be a powerful tool for them to heal, as it had consistently helped her heal throughout her life. Dancing in a particular way has been scientifically proven to re-wire the brain.Susan believes that while resilience is something we inherit, it can also be nurtured. Being resilient is the foundation for what helps us to pursue our dreams, even when we are told we can’t achieve them.Do not try to meet your needs while trying to meet the needs of others. You have to be clear on your motives and what you expect to gain when doing this kind of work because it could so easily cross the line. The good you can do can be encroached upon when you do not have these boundaries.We all have an authentic self and a persona, whether we are in prison or not. Dance is a tool that allows us to step into our authentic selves and be seen nonverbally, all while being so beautiful that it inspires everyone watching to be their authentic selves at that moment.Recognizing that nothing you have achieved has happened without others is the cornerstone of humility. Take the time to reflect on what other people have done for you in order to contextualize your achievements and realize they are part of a collective.
Reclaiming Music as a Tool for Transformation ft. Motivational Musician Jurgis DID
Apr 11 2021
Reclaiming Music as a Tool for Transformation ft. Motivational Musician Jurgis DID
In the world we live in, where only things that can be marketed and sold are deemed valuable, we lose opportunities to express ourselves authentically. Music has been heavily commoditized, and as a result, many of us feel excluded from participating in this art form. Yet music exists all around us and once we tap into this profound realization, music will be a tool for transformation in our lives. Jurgis Didžiulis, or Jurgis DID, is an award-winning musician who brings the magic of participatory music into boardrooms and conferences to cultivate a sense of belonging between us as human beings. Besides this, he has an MBA, studied political science, and has extensive experience in painting, corporate education, media consulting, and many other social fields.In today’s episode, which oscillates between a combination of song and a participatory musical experience, Jurgis reflects on how he views music and why he believes it is something that has been stolen from us. We also hear about the value Jurgis places on education and how we can use it to co-create a regenerative future. Near the middle of the conversation, Jurgis plays a song to illustrate the power that music has in shaping our experience and holding space for us. After that, we touch on how he goes about creating his musical experiences and fosters connection. Wrapping up, Jurgis talks about why artists need to help plant ideas about what a different future looks like and he ends with another musical interlude. Check out one of the links below for the full episode.The conversation took place live on Clubhouse under the Impact Everywhere Club. See upcoming conversations here!Subscribe on SpotifySubscribe on Google PodcastsSubscribe on Apple PodcastsKey Points From This EpisodeMusic is a language that so many of us are excluded from because we have been led to believe we are not worthy of being in the space. However, music is not confined to a recording studio; it lives everywhere!When you realize that music is everywhere, not in a meta sense, but a very literal way, your life, and your experiences will transform completely. Jurgis’s relationship with music has changed because he views music in this way now.Jurgis uses music to create an interactive experience (in settings like business meetings) and hold space for people to create a sense of community. Because of the music, people are more aware of the energy that they bring to a space.According to Jurgis, the role of the artist in a regenerative future is planting the seed of what it could look like. Science only takes us so much of the way, and artists bring imagination and inspiration to the people.Even though Jurgis is not a successful musician by conventional standards, he can make the music he wants and gets to work with people by bringing the warmth of connection into their lives. He adds value that may not be able to be quantitatively measured, but that does not mean it does not exist.
3D Printed Furniture from Food Waste ft. Phillip Raub, CEO of Model No. Furniture, Co-Founder of B8TA
Apr 4 2021
3D Printed Furniture from Food Waste ft. Phillip Raub, CEO of Model No. Furniture, Co-Founder of B8TA
If you look at the furniture industry as a whole, it has always been predicated either on design or functionality, and these two ends have largely ignored the environmental impacts of what it takes to make furniture. One company looking to address both the customization needs of customers and sustainability concerns is Model No. Furniture, who believe that one size does not fit all. They produce custom 3D-printed pieces made from food waste. The company’s CEO, Phillip Raub, joins us to share his insights into where the world of furniture is headed.We kick off by hearing about the impetus for founding the company and how its mission has grown over time. By addressing their own pain points, the founders have stayed committed to their vision of running a low-volume, high-impact business that is rooted in transparency and innovation. We then hear about some of the unique business strategies the company hopes to leverage, like micro-factories and allowing customers to redesign pieces based on their changing needs. After this, Phillip talks about his personal shifts in consumption patterns and how this led him to join Model No. after his time at b8ta. Wrapping up, we discuss accountability, creating a culture of mutual learning, and why companies who are truly mission-driven should be altruistic. Tune in at one of the links below for the full episode.The conversation took place live on Clubhouse under the Impact Everywhere Club. See upcoming conversations here!Subscribe on SpotifySubscribe on Google PodcastsSubscribe on Apple PodcastsKey Points From This EpisodeModel No. carved a niche for themselves when they realized that though 3D printing was being used in other spaces, it was not utilized in the furniture industry.One of the many sustainable aspects of the company is that the material used in the furniture is made of food waste. Phillip provides the inedible parts of corn as an example, which can be ground into pellets and eventually be 3D printed.Other interesting aspects of Model No.’s business model/future plans:1. A goal to eventually ensure customers can continually customize an item of furniture they’ve bought2. A strategy to utilize micro-factories, which reduce some of the environmental burden that is created by furniture production.With the advent of fast fashion and other factors, our views around consumption have shifted over time. We no longer value craftsmanship and reusing items in the same way as we used to. It is important to try to get back to these kinds of values, where we do not view items as disposable.Some of Phillip’s business insights:1. Companies should help one another if they truly care about their mission (example of Allbirds offering advice to Amazon Basics on how to make their shoes more environmentally friendly).2. Companies should be recognized for their commitment to improving, not just berated for what they have done wrong (especially when related to sustainability).3. We need to hold large companies accountable and ensure that if they say they are committed to sustainable practices that they actually follow through.
Creating an Empowered Supply Chain Through Food ft. Kim Bryden of Cureate
Mar 28 2021
Creating an Empowered Supply Chain Through Food ft. Kim Bryden of Cureate
The food system is set up to keep consumers purchasing in a way that perpetuates inequality. Today we speak to Kim Bryden, Founder, and CEO of Cureate, about how she is trying to change this by creating an empowered supply chain through food. Cureate is a woman-owned business that exists to shift dollars back into local communities by building a supply to meet changing consumer demand. They do this by helping entrepreneurs start successful, ethical food businesses and then connecting them to big city governments and organizations with demand as well as purchasing power.Our conversation starts with Kim sharing her views on some of the causes of inequality where she highlights a broken food system that self-perpetuates to keep those with capital in power. From there, we talk about how Kim got the idea to start Cureate. She talks about how she merged her belief in art as a vehicle for change with her knowledge of the impact the food system can make on people’s lives. She gives us an overview of how her career was driven by her values rather than job stability before starting Cureate, and how she learned about small businesses and the broken food system along the way. Next, we take a deeper dive into the services that Cureate offers and how Kim would completely restructure the U.S. food system and make it more accountable if she could. For all this and more about fighting for equality by tweaking our systems for procurement, be sure to check out the full episode at one of the below links.The conversation took place live on Clubhouse under the Impact Everywhere Club. See upcoming conversations here!Subscribe on SpotifySubscribe on Google PodcastsSubscribe on Apple PodcastsKey Points From This EpisodeTo Kim, communities are disempowered for three reasons:1) The global “efficient supply chain” that devalues labor and cares very little about the environmental impact2) Little public understanding of how to scale up backyard manufacturing and processing in the midst of a pandemic3) Money is pulled out of our communities and put into the hands of a few, creating more power and wealth imbalanceThe food system is a powerful economic engine. It is a massive component of our GDP. You can create economic opportunities for people through this system.The three services Cureate offers are education, partnerships, and consulting. Kim has designed a set of courses for food and beverage entrepreneurs that are looking to start a business. From there, she identifies opportunities for institutions and big businesses to shift their money back into small businesses that have graduated from her program. Lastly, she partners with big-city governments and businesses in order to help them invest in more economic development opportunities for everyone.While it is important for individual consumers to ‘shop their values’ and to vote with their dollar, the big systemic change will happen when large institutional purchasers start purchasing from local producers.The food system is set up in a way that keeps buyers purchasing from large companies. They have the capital to subsidize their operations so that their products are the cheapest. Products are bought because of price and not so much because of the ethics of their production. This is something Kim is trying to change.
Lessons from the UnSchool of Disruptive Design ft. UNEP Champion of the Earth, Dr. Leyla Acaroglu
Mar 21 2021
Lessons from the UnSchool of Disruptive Design ft. UNEP Champion of the Earth, Dr. Leyla Acaroglu
When it comes to sustainability and related issues, many of us might feel hopeless and like there is nothing for us to do. This is, in part, due to the negative messaging around these challenges. Today’s guest, Dr. Leyla Acaroglu, has an entirely different way of thinking about these obstacles. Not only is it imbued with hope, but it draws on systems thinking and holistic views of sustainability to show that change is possible. Leyla is a sociologist, Founder of the UnSchool of Disruptive Design, a UNEP Champion of the Earth, and the Founder of the CO Project Farm, a unique educational ecotourism property in Portugal. In this episode, Leyla talks about circularity and why we need to move away from the linear, exploitative economy that currently exists. We hear how starting UnSchool was a rebellion against the mainstream education she had spent all of her academic life in, and she shares some of the provocative design frameworks they teach at UnSchool. Leyla acknowledges that change is slow, and by using a systems thinking lens, people are better able to understand their actions as related to much broader contexts. She talks about how this way of viewing the world keeps her hope alive, along with the importance of acknowledging our agency and actions, and the changes we can make in our immediate worlds. Check out the full episode at one of the links below for more on Leyla’s worldview, positivity, and zeal for a better world.The conversation took place live on Clubhouse under the Impact Everywhere Club. See upcoming conversations here!Subscribe on SpotifySubscribe on Google PodcastsSubscribe on Apple PodcastsKey Points From This EpisodeThe current linear economy is problematic because it is based on the extraction and exploitation of nature and results in waste that also harms the natural world. At both ends of the linear spectrum, there is room for the loop to be closed.Sustainable design encompasses more than just material choices. It is concerned with considering the whole-life environmental impact of a product, so it draws on life cycle assessment and systems thinking.The two massive systems at play in the economy are the force of the market and how it incentivizes behavior. As consumers, we drive demand, so when we make different decisions, companies respond to them.Changing an organization from within is different from building one from the ground up. The UnSchool provides participants with tools on how to move the needle in existing organizations. By mapping systems dynamics, they can understand the limitations, opportunities, points of interventions, and how to use their agency.The Anatomy of Action concept Leyla and her team designed for the United Nations Environment Program that helped people embrace a more sustainable lifestyle is based on five categories: food, stuff, move, money, and fun. These are five areas everyone makes lifestyle decisions in.
Building Community With Inter-Faith Foods ft. Mohammad Modarres, Founder of Abe’s Eats
Mar 14 2021
Building Community With Inter-Faith Foods ft. Mohammad Modarres, Founder of Abe’s Eats
In a world that is becoming increasingly polarised by differences in political ideologies, race, sexuality, and faith, there are a special few who go against the grain to create positive, lasting change. Today we speak with Mohammad Modarres, an award-winning social entrepreneur, TED resident, and NPR ‘How I Built This’ Fellow. He is also the founder of Abe’s Eats, a company that brings the Muslim and Jewish faiths together over the shared meals and conversations at the dinner table. A large part of this mission is creating meat and other foods that are both halal and kosher. Additionally, Abe’s Eats promotes regenerative agriculture practices in order to rebuild soil and combat climate change.In this episode, Mohammad walks us through his personal story and the genesis of Abe’s Eats, going on to explain the differences and similarities between kosher and halal foods. As we explore the topic, we talk to Mohammad about some of the difficulties he faces, like measuring the success of Abe’s Eats, as well as the backlash he receives from conservative communities. Toward the end of the show, we give some of our good friends, Christine, Amber, and MCK, a chance to ask Mohammad some questions. His responses touch on contending with cancel culture, finding common language among society, and how he sees himself as a ‘triple bottom line’ activist. For more insights from Mohammad, be sure to check out one of the links below to hear the full episode.The conversation took place live on Clubhouse under the Impact Everywhere Club. See upcoming conversations here!Subscribe on SpotifySubscribe on Google PodcastsSubscribe on Apple PodcastsKey Points From This EpisodeAbe’s Eats Slogan: “Building a longer table, not a taller fence”As a political cartoonist, Mohammad sought to bring attention to hard-hitting issues, which made him consider what drives people and how people of different backgrounds can work together to solve a problem.At a time when bigotry against Jews and Muslims was skyrocketing, Mohammad wanted to bring the communities together, but eating together was made difficult when one group eats kosher and one eats halal.Mohammad was not the first to sell meat (and other products) that was both kosher and halal, but he was the first to label it as such. Big companies that had been selling products for a long time would face backlash from the more conservative customers if they labeled themselves as both kosher and halal. By starting off labeling Abe’s Eats as such, Mohammad avoided some criticism.Success isn’t necessarily having everyone at an Abe’s Eats dinner hold hands and sing together at the end of the meal. Rather, it is having people converse with other faiths and think deeper afterward about their own beliefs in order to promote understanding.Around the 2016 election, Mohammad’s best friend and roommate was an older, Trump-supporting woman. In a very polarized world, we should get to know our neighbors. It is hard to hate someone for their differing beliefs if you spend time with them and seek to know them deeper.
Soccer as A Gateway to Social Issues ft. Matthew Barrett, Co-Founder of Goal Click
Mar 7 2021
Soccer as A Gateway to Social Issues ft. Matthew Barrett, Co-Founder of Goal Click
In an ever-changing world with so many different cultures and life experiences, sport can offer us an entry point through which we can understand broader social contexts and dynamics. Goal Click is a storytelling organization that uses soccer as a lens to amplify stories of people around the world. They have worked with adidas, FIFA, UNHCR, and many more. The organization partners with people across the globe and gives them a platform to tell the story of their lives and football community through photography and the written word. Interestingly, Goal Click does not go into communities to create projects. Instead, it provides a space to amplify existing efforts. Matthew Barrett, the co-founder of Goal Click, joins us today to share some of his insights. We first hear how Matthew combined his interests in history and sport to found the organization. He highlights that soccer is frequently presented as a panacea to overcoming social issues. Instead, it should be viewed as a tool that works in conjunction with other things to create meaningful, sustainable change. Matthew shares examples of some of the work that Goal Click has done, which highlight the power of what happens when people can tell their stories themselves rather than always being the subject of someone else’s. By empowering others, not only are they showing who they are to a new audience, but they are in a position to view themselves in a new light as well. We also learn about the organization’s decision to give participants analog cameras in a hyper-digital world. The conversation took place on Clubhouse under the Impact Everywhere Club, and as the conversation wraps up, we hear some great audience questions and insights. Whether you are a soccer fan or not, this show will give you a newfound appreciation for how powerful the sport has the potential to be. Tune in at one of the below links for the full episode, and be sure to check out the Impact Everywhere Club on Clubhouse if you want to hear the conversations live and participate!Subscribe on SpotifySubscribe on Google PodcastsSubscribe on Apple PodcastsKey Points From This EpisodeAt university, Matthew realized he could combine his academic interest of history with his love of sport because of the insights sport offers about societies. Goal Click provides a unique, natural way to teach people about world events and social issues by piquing their interest through a sports lens. It allows people to share their own stories rather than other people coming in to tell it for them.The medium for these stories is primarily written word and analog photography. There are many reasons for using analog vs. digital, with the main one being that it offers equality across the stories. Someone in one part of the world may have access to a very nice camera or cell phone, while others don’t. Shipping them an analog camera makes it so everyone’s photos have the same base, and it often leads to more intentional shots.Goal Click considers themselves curators, not creators, in that they partner with organizations already doing work and amplify the stories. They don’t want to be starting initiatives in areas they are not experts in.
How To Make the 28 Billion Dollar Resale Economy More Accessible ft. Recurate Co-Founder Wilson Griffin
Feb 28 2021
How To Make the 28 Billion Dollar Resale Economy More Accessible ft. Recurate Co-Founder Wilson Griffin
Recurate is minimizing fashion’s environmental footprint by streamlining the sale and purchase of second-hand goods. Today we speak with Recurate co-founder and COO Wilson Griffin for insights into how their incredible platform is innovating the resale industry. We open our conversation with Wilson unpacking the state of the resale market. After walking us through the pain points that people have when accessing this industry, he explains Recurate standardizes buying and selling while making the process easier and the logistics more efficient. A key part of their offering, Wilson highlights how their platform benefits both brands and brand-loyal customers. Following this, we explore how Recurate taps into existing customer behavior to help brands develop deeper relationships with their customers, all while promoting sustainability. Later, we ask Wilson about how he met past guest Peter Dering and his influence on Recurate’s business strategy. He then shares how Recurate’s model aims to revolutionize resale. We round up our discussion by touching on how Wilson sees the role of business in achieving ambitious climate goals and his take on the likelihood of a circular economy based on subscription and renting, not ownership. Check out one of the links below for the full episode and to hear more about the environmental impact of resale and what Recurate is doing to make it more accessible:Subscribe on SpotifySubscribe on Google PodcastsSubscribe on Apple PodcastsKey Points From This EpisodeThe current state of the resale economy is difficult. A lack of consistency in information in listings on sites like eBay can make some consumers reluctant to buy second-hand, while the time-consuming aspect of making an accurate listing can hold people back from selling their items.Recurate makes buying and selling second-hand easier by integrating it right on the brand website. Your purchase history makes it easy to list directly from the site you purchased, and Recurate handles all the back-end work. The benefits of an economy in which items are bought and sold multiple times are numerous, including:1. The brand is more likely to make their product better quality if they know they will make money for it lasting longer and selling more than once.2. The brand will foster a closer relationship with consumers who can earn store credit for reselling the item through Recurate, which just offers the brand another sale.3. The consumer can buy a better quality item for a cheaper price, and it will last longer and have less of a negative environmental impact than fast fashion.If you are a brand looking to implement Recurate into your model, contact Wilson via email. If you’re a customer wishing one of your favorite brands would implement Recurate, reach out to them and reach out to Recurate.