My guest for Episode #208 of the My Favorite Mistake podcast is Wendy H. Steele, the founder and CEO of Impact100, a global nonprofit organization dedicated to uniting and empowering over 30,000 women to create a transformational impact in their communities has today collectively granted more than $123 million to worthy nonprofits across more than 65 local chapters and four countries.
Wendy's debut book, Invitation to Impact: Lighting the Path to Community Transformation, was released in April 2023.
Wendy brings the ideal combination of corporate leadership (SVP/Regional Manager in the banking industry), entrepreneurship (Successfully launched and led both non-profit and for–profit enterprises), and civic engagement resulting in keen business acumen and thought leadership.
In this episode, Wendy shares her favorite mistake story about starting up her nonprofit and explaining what it did, but not why it existed. How did she come to see this problem and how did it affect the organization as it grew nationally?
And how did Wendy adjust?
We also discuss some of her previous experience as a founder and CEO of a company that manufactured an innovative duct tape dispenser. How do we make sure we're moving the needle on results in a business or a non-profit?
Questions and Topics:
- Assumed the why was obvious…
- What was the what?? To help women get involved in their community on their terms… thought it was designed for women in Cincinnati
- The leadership team understood the why at launch
- How did you realize people didn’t understand the WHY? It took a while
- What got off track? How did you adjust?
- How would you articulate the WHY? Did others make up their own why in the absence of that?
- Entrepreneurship trap of getting popular and growing too quickly before some of those foundations are sorted out, including systems, documents, training
- Your journey from banking to manufacturing CEO to banking to philanthropy? Lessons learned?
- Tell us about the new book Invitation to Impact: Lighting the Path to Community Transformation
- Iteration on the book writing and editing too?
- How to make sure our philanthropic activity has impact?
Scroll down to find:
- Video clips from the episode
- How to subscribe
- Full transcript
Find Wendy on social media:
Video (Full Episode):
Click on an image for a larger view
Subscribe, Follow, Support, Rate, and Review!
Please follow, rate, and review via Apple Podcasts or Podchaser or your favorite app — that helps others find this content and you'll be sure to get future episodes as they are released weekly. You can also become a financial supporter of the show through Anchor.fm.
You can now sign up to get new episodes via email, to make sure you don't miss an episode.
This podcast is part of the Lean Communicators network.
Other Ways to Subscribe or Follow — Apps & Email
Automated Transcript (Likely Contains Mistakes)
Mark Graban (0s):
Episode 208, Wendy H. Steele, founder and CEO of Impact100, author of the new book, invitation to Impact.
Wendy H. Steele (10s):
I, I blush a little bit when I think about it now, because with the benefit of hindsight, I should have known better, but I didn't.
Mark Graban (21s):
I am Mark Grban. This is my favorite mistake. In this podcast, you'll hear business leaders and other really interesting people talking about their favorite mistakes because we all make mistakes. But what matters is learning from our mistakes instead of repeating them over and over again. So this is the place for honest reflection and conversation, personal growth and professional success. Visit our website at myfavoritemistakepodcast.com. For more information about Wendy, her organization, her book, and more, look for links on the show notes or go to markgraban.com/mistake208. As always, thanks for listening.
Mark Graban (1m 2s):
Hi everybody. Welcome back to My Favorite Mistake. I'm Mark Graban. Our guest today is Wendy H. Steele. She's the founder and CEO of Impact100. It's a global nonprofit organization dedicated to uniting and empowering over 30,000 women to create a transformational impact in their communities. It's the organization has collectively granted more than 123 million to worthy nonprofits across more than 65 local chapters and for countries. And Wendy's debut book, this is exciting. It's titled, Invitation to Impact: Lighting the Path to Community Transformation. It was just released here in April, 2023. So Wendy, congratulations and welcome to the podcast.
Mark Graban (1m 43s):
How are you?
Wendy H. Steele (1m 44s):
Thank you so much, Mark. I'm happy to be here.
Mark Graban (1m 47s):
I think the, I see the book sitting over your shoulder behind you there on the table.
Wendy H. Steele (1m 51s):
Yes, this is it. It is officially launched. Hard to imagine after what it takes, and you know that as well as I do that this is not something that is happen that happens overnight.
Mark Graban (2m 5s):
No, it's a big, it's a big milestone. It's worth celebrating. And there are a lot of positive re reviews coming in already on Amazon. So congratulations. It sounds like it's off to a great start.
Wendy H. Steele (2m 16s):
Thank you. Thank you very much.
Mark Graban (2m 18s):
So we'll have a chance to talk about the book and Impact100, but as, as we normally do here, you know, Wendy, it's an opportunity to kinda look back at different things you've done. What would you say is your favorite mistake?
Wendy H. Steele (2m 31s):
My favorite mistake is, I, I blush a little bit when I think about it now, because with the benefit of hindsight, I should have known better, but I didn't.
Mark Graban (2m 41s):
Wendy H. Steele (2m 42s):
When Impact100 started to grow, I told people how it worked. And the mistake I made is I didn't explain why, why elements of the model work the way they do, why certain things were important. I simply told them the what and expected, because I knew the why. I expected that or, or assumed that the why was obvious and that they would understand it, and that was quite a mistake.
Mark Graban (3m 22s):
But it sounds like, well, we'll, we'll get to unpack this a learning opportunity though.
Wendy H. Steele (3m 27s):
Absolutely, yes. Yeah.
Mark Graban (3m 29s):
Well, so I mean, maybe walk us through it a little bit of the, what, you know, what was Impact Global doing and, and then the why. Maybe we kind of also uncover what might have been not obvious or, or unclear about the why. I mean, start, you know, please, you know, start with the why, what were you doing and how?
Wendy H. Steele (3m 49s):
Well, I created Impact100. I had moved to Cincinnati, Ohio from the east coast. And Cincinnati is one of those great places where the economy there is is good. The cost of living is low. There are a lot of corporate headquarters, so well paying jobs. So the math kind of works in your favor, especially, I had come from Massachusetts and Connecticut, and so to come here, it sort of felt like winning the lottery to see that, that the math worked. And yet, when I met amazing women and I wanted to involve them in my work in community service, volunteering, getting engaged with nonprofits, they would tell me all the reasons why they, they couldn't do it.
Wendy H. Steele (4m 35s):
And I created Impact100 to provide that viable path for women to get involved in their community on their terms, and really make a profound difference. Now, when I started, I really thought that I was creating this model for a particular group of women in a particular location. And so we understood the why, if you will, as, as it was being launched. But what happened is People Magazine wrote an article and with it brought a, a lot of unexpected interest from people around the country and beyond.
Wendy H. Steele (5m 17s):
And at the time I was so delighted that more women wanted to do this, that if I thought I was clearing a path for some women, the notion that all of these other women were interested was, was just amazing. And so I, you know, when asked to share how the model worked, I did. And so I shared, you know, you gather at least a hundred women and we each donate a thousand dollars and you pool a hundred percent of that money and give it back to the community in, in grants of a hundred thousand dollars or more. So that's sort of the how, and that's what women wanted to know.
Wendy H. Steele (6m 3s):
They were thrilled and they went off to launch their chapters. But as you might imagine, something that sounds simple and powerful and is simple and powerful is not easy to execute well. And so as they went on their journey, not understanding why certain aspects of the model are designed the way they are, they kind of created their own systems and they, they didn't quite understand the model. Nothing was really, you know, very formalized or articulated in a way. It certainly was anything but a plug and play experience.
Wendy H. Steele (6m 45s):
And so then they got frustrated in some cases because things weren't going the way they wanted them to go, the way they expected him to go, and they couldn't understand how to make it better. Yeah.
Mark Graban (6m 60s):
Wow. Well, thank, you know, thank you for sharing that. You know, as, as in terms of some follow-up questions, you know, in, in Cincinnati you said we understood the why. Was that, was that you and, and kind of other initial founders? Or you felt like the Cincinnati group understood the why?
Wendy H. Steele (7m 18s):
So I was the one who created the model, but I didn't launch Impact100 alone. It's, it, you can't do that. So I was surrounded by leadership team, the founding board who came alongside, believed in what I was trying to do as much as I did had that sense of ownership and perspective. And so the, we is the leadership team, but it's also every time we talked to a woman or a nonprofit to invite them to be involved, we made sure that they understood exactly why we were doing what we were doing, how it would benefit them, how it would benefit the community.
Wendy H. Steele (8m 6s):
And, and now those were a lot of the missing pieces that when people asked, you know, tell me about the model. I just didn't give them a thorough or complete enough answer.
Mark Graban (8m 20s):
So how, how did you realize that people participating in other chapters or forming other chapters didn't understand the why? Was that part of the conversation? You mentioned some were frustrated. Did they come to you? How, how did this become more clear?
Wendy H. Steele (8m 37s):
Well, unfortunately, it took a while for me to know this because the women, you know, the women who were starting chapters, they didn't know what they didn't know. And I didn't know they were having problems. And so often it took a while and it was sometimes years that a chapter would come and say, for example, and this is a really common thing that happened during this period of time, they would say, well, I did what the magazine article talked about. So People magazine, when they wrote the article, they said Wendy gathered her friends, well, I didn't gather my friends, I gathered smart people who would respectfully push back, you know, so that we could have conversation to make sure we're getting to the best place.
Wendy H. Steele (9m 31s):
So women would surround themselves with only maybe a total of six leaders or eight leaders who were all demographically very similar. Well, you can't, you've immediately overloaded those few leaders because there's a lot of work. And if you're all sort of swimming in the same fish tank, you're not going to get the rest of the community. Because if you're too homogeneous, then anyone who doesn't look and act and live exactly the way you do, they'll look at the work you're doing and say, that's great.
Wendy H. Steele (10m 11s):
They're doing it and it ends. Versus if they see themselves reflected in the leadership team, they will say, look at what they're doing. I wanna be a part of it. And that second piece wasn't happening. So we had both limited growth and leadership frustration and burnout. And that's how it came, that's how it came to light. But it came to light later. It didn't happen right away. Cause these women were powering through, they were doing what we all do when you're passionate about a project, not knowing that they needed more people, that they needed diverse leadership, that they needed different skills.
Wendy H. Steele (10m 54s):
Yeah. And it was a big part of the why that didn't translate.
Mark Graban (10m 58s):
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it, it sounds like there was, there was some deviation on on some of the how and, and some of the why. Yeah. It sounds like that was kind of interconnected. I mean, you know, how, how then, or even how now would you articulate the why?
Wendy H. Steele (11m 15s):
Well, part of what happened then is the unexpected nature of the avalanche of people who were interested. So what we've done now is, first of all, in 2015, I created Impact100 Global. And it is an organization that is set up very formally to say, we are here to lift existing chapters to their highest potential, whatever that is, and to help new chapters launch. And so in the past, people had to know how to get to me. And although I felt like I was accessible in the absence of actually having a website that makes it crystal clear that people are welcome, sometimes people were intimidated, oh gosh, she's the founder.
Wendy H. Steele (12m 6s):
I shouldn't reach out to her. She must be busy or special or something. And so that really helped ma creating systems and documents. So there's now a little training module that you go through if you wanna launch a chapter, we help with branding. So we've formalized Yeah. So much more.
Mark Graban (12m 27s):
Yeah. Well, I mean, you, you've touched on couple parts of that story, including, right there is some of the women assuming they shouldn't bother you. I mean, like assumptions. Yeah. What assumptions are one of the, you know, I don't know, I'm making up a statistic here. Assumptions are one of the leading causes of mistakes.
Wendy H. Steele (12m 48s):
I think you're right though. I think that's a very safe, safe statistics to quote. Yeah. Because that's exactly what happens. And sometimes leaders would go to other chapters, but it, you know, and ask questions. But it can be a little bit like playing the game. A telephone by the time it gets, the message gets across to different people in different levels of leadership, different generations, because we're all led by volunteers. So it turns over, you can lose a lot in the translation and that that can add to it, because you're right, those assumptions can lead to to mistakes.
Wendy H. Steele (13m 28s):
Mark Graban (13m 29s):
And I mean, it sounds like that People Magazine story brought a lot of opportunity but then also created, you know, you know, some of the dynamics you described. I mean, you know, sometimes a journalist doesn't quite understand, and like you said, that phrase of Wendy and some friends Yeah. Might not have been, like you said, totally accurate. And, and, and things kind of move off based on that. But I, I think there's this broader entrepreneurship trap that happens. You know, your, your nonprofit was in startup mode and then it goes, if not viral, it gets really popular and, and it starts to grow too quickly before some of those foundations are sorted out.
Mark Graban (14m 14s):
And, you know, I appreciate that part of the story. Then maybe you can tell us a little bit more about this when you talk about, you know, systems and documents and training, catching up to some of that growth.
Wendy H. Steele (14m 26s):
You're a hundred percent on track when you talk about, we were in startup and all of a sudden we were in today's wor world going viral. Back then I was still had an a o l email and a landline. So viral wasn't quite a thing. Sure. But the other thing to note is that this was also not my full-time thing back then. Like, I had a day job that paid the bills and kept the lights on. And so this was a side thing. Now it was a very important side thing just to add to the chaos of the time that we launched Impact.
Wendy H. Steele (15m 8s):
And People Magazine wrote the story. I was in the middle of a divorce and I was relocating my children from Cincinnati to Northern Michigan due to wanting to be close to my parents and et cetera. So, you know, when you think about change and, and building something, I mean, there was a lot that was happening in my life at that moment, which only added to it. So to add, to answer the part of the systems, I was so busy doing all the things that I wasn't doing an effective job of recording all of the things.
Wendy H. Steele (15m 50s):
Cause I knew it in my head. And so since then it's written out, it's explained now from the beginning. I did host conferences to bring people together so that we could all learn from each other. So there were some systems and sharing and more formalized passing of information that was established early on. And the rest of it has been sort of building the airplane while we're flying it. Like I think every entrepreneur does Right. At some point in their trajectory.
Mark Graban (16m 25s):
Yeah. Well, and you, you talked about startups. I mean, the Impact100 as a nonprofit was not your first startup. I mean, I think it's interesting to look at your background. Tell us a little bit more about the manufacturing company that, that you were CEO of.
Wendy H. Steele (16m 42s):
Yeah, so I was CEO of sort of a, a duo of connected organizations. One was Tape Wrangler and one was Advanced Production. And Tape Wrangler was a, the first ever patented d tape dispenser. But when you, when you run a manufacturing company, you've got supply chain issues. There's a lot of process. And it, at this time when we were running it, there was a lot happening in the economy. We had really put a flag in the ground about building in America, et cetera. So, so we had done that, and as we were on the road, and, and we really had some crazy immediate success with that organiz, with that company and that product, which became a product line QVC and, and various, you know, ACE Hardware, True Value, Home Depot, Office Depot.
Wendy H. Steele (17m 43s):
So we had deep coverage at the same time. We would meet people and they would say, well, you are inventors. You've created these projects, these products that are now viable. I need you to help me with ours. And so advanced production was the service company that helped other people bring their products to market. And Tape Wrangler was our product. So it was a very busy time. And I think you either like that fast paced, ever changing world of being an entrepreneur or you recognize that that's not your cup of tea.
Wendy H. Steele (18m 28s):
And clearly I have made the former choice. I do like, I like the, the fun, the excitement, the challenge, frankly, of entrepreneurship. Yeah.
Mark Graban (18m 42s):
Was that still the day job or day jobs when you started Impact100?
Wendy H. Steele (18m 47s):
I was a banker when I started Impact100. Oh. I spent 20 some odd years in the banking industry. Yeah. My last job was senior vice president and regional manager of a Midwestern local bank. And I loved my job. I served high net worth clients in all aspects of their banking needs. I had a wonderful team that worked with me. And you know what may sound counterintuitive today, I will often refer to myself as a recovering banker, because once you are a banker, that mindset, those analytics don't really leave you. Being a banker has helped my entrepreneurial journey both in the for-profit and nonprofit side of things.
Wendy H. Steele (19m 34s):
And I had gotten to the, I mean, I, I went into the banking business because my grandfather was banker and he told me stories of how he helped people. And I thought to myself, I wanna help people. And, and I believe that I did. And that really good bankers that they really helped people. They helped 'em start their business, grow their business, save for retirement. I mean, all of it. They, they help people. So yeah, I absolutely loved it. Yeah. So not a straight path for me from
Mark Graban (20m 11s):
Right, right. So, I mean, I appreciate, you know, a couple of things. For one, I started my career in manufacturing. So the fact that you started and, and were doing manufacturing in the us I have a, a deep appreciation for that. And then, I mean, I'm not the world's most frequent duct tape user, but we all have, right. The engineer in me is thinking through like, okay, there's scotch tape dispensers, packing, tape dispensers. Exactly. You start getting into like electrical tape that, that's more not, I don't know if that's really a dispenser and then duct tape. Like I'm not asking you to disclose proprietary secrets, but like, is it, I mean, the challenge of that being so adhesive makes it hard to do anything but try to rip it off manually off the roll.
Wendy H. Steele (20m 57s):
Yeah. So our duct tape dispenser actually had, and it's not in production anymore, so I'm happy to tell you all about it. Although I do have some, we still use 'em in our garage. So it had a bracket that the dispenser went into, and then, so you could walk up the way you would like a regular scotch station dispenser, like,
Mark Graban (21m 23s):
Wendy H. Steele (21m 23s):
You could go like that to get your duct tape from the wall. Right, right. As easy, just like that. Yeah. I
Mark Graban (21m 32s):
Hope that wasn't too loud.
Wendy H. Steele (21m 33s):
Yeah. And so you could, you could do that with our duct tape dispenser. It had clip on your belt duct tape for their work into the field, so to speak. You could do that and you could hold it in one hand and with the other, you could dispense the tape. You are right about how hard it is to tear. So the early prototypes had a razor blade, it was a very sharp blade in order to make it happen. And we had a blade guard to protect you. We ended up evolving that into a much a, a sharper and more ser but, and deeper serrated than what you would have on your typical tape dispenser that you'd use for this sort of tape.
Wendy H. Steele (22m 23s):
And it worked from there, we evolved into a shipping tape gun. So like what you have our shipping tape gun had a, had a permanent marker and a box cutter knife in the handle and allowed you to both operate like a gun and dispense it like a tape dispenser. So it was, they were great products, worked well, high marks, honestly priced too high in part because we weren't a big enough shop. So we had our bigger barrier. There was pricing, not necessarily function.
Mark Graban (23m 5s):
Sure. And and then your production cost
Wendy H. Steele (23m 8s):
Mark Graban (23m 9s):
Was, was high and having to Yeah.
Wendy H. Steele (23m 12s):
Which is how we couldn't, you know, that's where we got into trouble. We couldn't lower the prices. So based on our production cost, because we, we built them all right there.
Mark Graban (23m 23s):
Yeah. Yeah. But I mean, I think the, it's interesting, thank you for sharing about, you know, the iteration of some of that product design. I'm sure there was a lot of iteration happening in manufacturing and thinking back to iteration with Impact 100. I mean, I think there's, there's comforting tale maybe for the listener of, you know, things are hard, rarely perfect from the beginning. Right. And our ability to learn, to recognize problems, to iterate in different ways. I mean, it's, it's, it's really important. So, I mean, these different stories you're sharing, I think illustrate that very well. Hmm.
Wendy H. Steele (23m 58s):
Yeah, absolutely. We can't become so enamored with an idea that we don't want to look at it with fresh eyes from different perspectives and make it better.
Mark Graban (24m 10s):
Yeah. Oh, that's so well said. Don't be so enamored with an idea. So I wanna talk about your book. I mean, that's another big idea. Innovation to impact lighting, the path to community transformation. How much, I mean, how much iteration, I mean, nobody ever, I mean, maybe you did nobody, rarely, lemme say rarely. We rarely write a a a principle first draft. Was that also your experience?
Wendy H. Steele (24m 38s):
Yes, yes. It took quite a while to get it where it needed to be. And, you know, part of it honestly is the memoir part. Like, this is part my personal story, and that's, you know, it's how do you know what to tell? It felt a little self-indulgent. And then I would write, and you kind of get your head back in that point in time. And once you get there, at least for me, and I started to write, then I would remember other things. But, you know, it's anyone who does anything creatively, you can't just have someone say, okay, mark, go be creative.
Wendy H. Steele (25m 23s):
Like you have to do. Right. Something, whatever that is to get your head in the space that all the to-do lists and all the tactical things that you have to do somehow gets put on a back burner so you can get your head into a very unique space where you can write things that make sense, that people care about, that are relevant, that are truthful, you know, all of those things. So it was, I highly recommend it, it was a great process, and thank goodness for really good editing, because certainly in some instances I would get into a particular season of life and talk more about things that I remembered because they were good memories for me, and I, it needed some other person's view or people to say, we maybe don't need this story, but tell us more about what happened over here.
Wendy H. Steele (26m 23s):
That the, this is what we wanna know about. So it was good. I believe no word you put to paper is ever wasted. It's sometimes it's just therapeutic to get it out.
Mark Graban (26m 34s):
Wendy H. Steele (26m 36s):
And, and it helps to open your mind to the next thing. That might be a better thought than the first one was.
Mark Graban (26m 42s):
Wendy H. Steele (26m 44s):
And you know that well.
Mark Graban (26m 46s):
Yeah. Well that, that's my experience exactly. On, on all those thoughts. And, and especially like, you know, very rarely should you ever just highlight blocks of text and hit delete it to another file. Like, I've got, you know, this file of the stuff I had cut from different drafts Yeah. Of the mistakes that make us, some of it could become an article, some of it might be in a future book with a slightly different theme. Some of it, like you said, I'm like, okay, that helped me think through something. But it's not okay, that detail's not necessary. It needs to be cut. And like you said, you know, having an editor is a writing partner to point that out is, is helpful. And you know, a book is like a startup. So we have an idea, we have a vision, we want to hear feedback from people.
Mark Graban (27m 30s):
But if that feedback's conflicting, Hey, it's your book, it's your baby, it's your company. At some point you gotta say, okay, I'm the decider if you Right, right.
Wendy H. Steele (27m 39s):
Yeah, yeah. And which was great, because I did have that flexibility. But yeah, it's, it is a process. It's a process. And it's, it's exciting now because it's, you know, people actually have them in their hands. I, I already have Amazon reviews, like things are happening. So I can't one more time think, did I have clarified that? Should I have added this story taken out? That story, like all that goes through when you're in writing mode now, it's just there. And so, and it's equally super exciting, but a little bit like any, any product lunch.
Wendy H. Steele (28m 21s):
Right. You just hope people use it the way it was intended. Like it, see what you were trying to say, you know, it's a very vulnerable thing.
Mark Graban (28m 33s):
It is. You know, you're not ever gonna write something or create any music or whatever that everybody likes. Yeah. But, you know, it's, it's, it's, yeah. It's, it's, it's a process and it's, you know, I'm, I'm, I'm excited for you that the book is out now. Yeah. I mean, there, there is, you know, this, this opportunity sometimes to iterate a little bit after publishing in more of a print on demand world. If you find a typo, little small mistake name was spelled wrong of instead of, or in a sentence. Like, there are certain things that even for professional proofreaders are notoriously hard to find.
Mark Graban (29m 15s):
Those, those things can be fixed without having, I guess for some people the literal garage full of printed copies.
Wendy H. Steele (29m 22s):
Mark Graban (29m 23s):
That, that, that all have that mistake. But I mean, I'm thinking back to something my book coach Kathy Fak told me along the way, as you're getting along, and she said something, it's better to publish an imperfect book than it is to never, you know, to never publish it because it's not perfect. Yeah. Right. Nothing's perfect. Is it good enough to good enough to launch?
Wendy H. Steele (29m 42s):
Mark Graban (29m 44s):
Probably true with the tape wrangler. Is it good enough to launch? Well, you know, tell us, Wendy, a little bit more about the book. Again, the title is Invitation to Impact Lighting, the Path to Community Transformation by Wendy h Steele, you know, who, who is the book for, you know, who, who do you think the book is going to impact most?
Wendy H. Steele (30m 2s):
You know, it's, it's really for anyone trying to find their way into more impact, more getting involved in their community. You know, you don't have to look very far to see that we've got a lot of pressing problems in the world right now. We have a lot of pressing problems in our own backyards right now. And so anyone who's looking to find their way to be a part of the solution, you know, something really important happens when, when we shift our focus from worrying about the problems facing the world and bringing our hands and being concerned or fearful to taking a different tack and recognizing that there are people who are already working to solve this problem.
Wendy H. Steele (30m 56s):
And that when you find those people, whether it's a nonprofit group that you might volunteer with or you might donate to, you might align yourself with, it might be individuals where you meet and brainstorm, how do we address this issue? But what the book is designed to do is really, you know, light that path to how each of us has something important to give and that we can all be a part of a solution if we just step out and, and take action, whatever that looks like.
Mark Graban (31m 32s):
And it sounds like part of the design with Impact 100 is to not necessarily have to go and start a nonprofit that's working on the problem, but, but pool your funds. And I imagine, I mean, is this sort of like, like an investor's club where you look at possible organizations that are already working on something and you sort of vet and decide and choose, okay, we're gonna pool our funds and make a contribution here?
Wendy H. Steele (31m 57s):
Yes, it is similar in that way. I will tell you that we have a lot of process, because if you imagine the minimum grant size is a hundred thousand dollars, and we get that because a hundred women give their money. We are very protective and we, we always wanna be really good stewards of that money. So there is a lot of process around that, grant applications and review teams, et cetera. But ultimately, that's exactly what we're doing. We are looking to make these significant grants with a lens of, is this solution, is this proposal transformational? Are we gonna move the needle on this, on this problem or situation?
Wendy H. Steele (32m 40s):
And is it sustainable? We don't wanna give a grant of a hundred thousand or more, and when the money runs out, either the program closes or worse. So we want to make sure that we're doing the most good and that we're doing it for a sustainable period. Yeah.
Mark Graban (32m 58s):
Oh, that makes a lot of sense. I love that. And you know, for, it's in there, it's in the name Impact100, it's not Activity 100 or Effort 100 Good Intentions 100, and all of those things are happening, but, but that focus on impact, that seems really, really noteworthy.
Wendy H. Steele (33m 17s):
Yeah, thank you. It's, it's amazing. When I look around the footprint of impact, 100 chapters, 100 is meant to be the starting point. And my goal, if anyone would ask about where I would want each chapter to get to is 500. Because when you have 500 members, you give one grant in each of our five focus areas, and we are, those focus areas basically encompass the mission of any nonprofit in your community. So when we're funding $500,000, each one of those focus areas gets a grant. Now, when you look at the growth, the world's largest impact chapter is in Pensacola, Florida.
Wendy H. Steele (34m 4s):
They give away $1.1 million on a single day because they have over 1100 members giving that thousand dollars. And we have others that are chasing, you know, nipping at the heels of Pensacola. But each community sort of defines what is the impact that we're gonna make? What is it, how many women, you know, how big do we wanna be? How much do we wanna do? And, and then they dis it's their money, their one woman, one donation, and one vote to determine where those grant funds go.
Mark Graban (34m 44s):
Yeah. And there's a lot more information about the model and how this all works on the website. I'll make sure there's a link in the show notes, the five focus areas. I can see 'em on the website. But let, let me ask you to, you know, tell the audience before we wrap up those five focus areas.
Wendy H. Steele (34m 60s):
Five focus areas are education, environment, health and wellness. Family and arts and culture all meant to be very broadly interpreted.
Mark Graban (35m 10s):
Okay. So each chapter, looking at their community's needs and opportunities and the preferences of the women who are joining and participating and contributing. Yeah. That's where it's, it sounds like, sounds like standard model, but with local customization or adaptation. Exactly.
Wendy H. Steele (35m 28s):
Mark Graban (35m 28s):
Wendy H. Steele (35m 29s):
Mark Graban (35m 30s):
That's, that sounds great. So I hope people will go check that out and, and see if there's a chapter in your city. How many cities is it right now?
Wendy H. Steele (35m 39s):
We are in more than 65 cities. We're around the United States. We have eight in New Zealand, one in, sorry, eight in Australia, one in New Zealand. Okay. One in the UK and growing like crazy. Well,
Mark Graban (35m 54s):
Good. So I'm sure we start, you're talking about process and standards and I'm sure there's a process, if there's a group or that that's looking to start a chapter in in their city, in their country, they can learn that through the website.
Wendy H. Steele (36m 8s):
Absolutely. Yep. Okay.
Mark Graban (36m 10s):
And as I heard you say earlier, don't be afraid to bother Wendy.
Wendy H. Steele (36m 14s):
Yes. Please don't be afraid to bother Wendy.
Mark Graban (36m 17s):
Okay. So thank you, Wendy. Our guest again has been Wendy H Steele. Her organization is Impact100, the book, again, congratulations on that invitation to impact: lighting the path to community transformation. Wendy, this has been a lot of fun. Thank you for sharing your stories actually, and you know, telling us about the book and, and what you do. Really appreciate it.
Wendy H. Steele (36m 41s):
Thank you, mark. It's been fun. I really appreciate it. Thanks.
Mark Graban (36m 45s):
Well, again, thanks to Wendy for being our guest today. To learn more about her, there are links in the show notes, or go to markgraban.com/mistake208. As always, I want to thank you for listening. I hope this podcast inspires you to reflect on your own mistakes, how you can learn from them or turn them into a positive. I've had listeners tell me they started being more open and honest about mistakes in their work, and they're trying to create a workplace culture where it's safe to speak up about problems because that leads to more improvement and better business results. If you have feedback or a story to share, you can email me email@example.com. And again, our website is myfavoritemistakepodcast.com.