Mark Horoszowsi is co-founder and CEO of MovingWorlds.org, a global platform that helps people volunteer their expertise with social impact organizations around the world. His clients include Microsoft, SAP, and eBay amongst many others. In this episode, we discuss impact investing, the importance of ROI, how impact-driven movements can actually increase profits for companies, as well as conscious business practices that Mark implements in his own company to succeed.
LISTEN to this pod right here by clicking play or choose your favorite listening platform below. You can also WATCH the video podcast below that! Check out the show notes at the bottom to get more details about the contents of this episode. Enjoy!
Show notes in order of appearance:
- Mark’s last “oh shit” moment
- Mark’s most recent hell yeah moment
- Mark shares his tipping point and why got into the social enterprise industry.
- Why should anyone care about social purpose for their for-profit company?
- Does the implementation of social purpose in business only apply to CEO’s and entrepreneurs or also c level executives at large corporations?
- What is impact investing? Is it harder to get money for impact-driven brands?
- Are there specific groups of VCs for impact investing?
- Mark gives examples of companies that started making more money once they implemented social impact initiatives.
- Companies sponsoring volunteer programs for their employees.
- How MovingWorlds teaches corporate employees new skills related to social impact.
- How corporate employees bring those skills back into their companies.
- Creating networks of people that create impact.
- How Mark’s company MovingWorlds practice conscious business internally?
- Mark’s 2 most important traits for a conscious leader to embody today
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Below is a transcript of the video podcast created by Seb’s Robot buddy, Zekton. He tends to make mistakes so please forgive him if you find errors or some funky sounding sentences. For the real deal, watch the video or click on your favorite audio Podcast platform above! Enjoy!
Sebastian Naum (00:03):
What up fam? I have a great guest in today’s show an expert in the social enterprise world by the name of Mark [inaudible]. You’ll love this, whether you’re a founder of a small startup or hold any management position in a large scale corporation, Mark is co-founder and CEO of moving worlds.org, a global platform that helps people volunteer their expertise with social impact organizations around the world on their own, or through corporate sponsored programs. Mark’s company gets hired by major players, such as SAP, eBay, booking.com Kellogg foundation, Microsoft, which we actually get into in this episode. And many more since its launch in 2011, moving worlds.org has already helped unleash over $5 million worth of professional skills to social enterprises around the world. And is the founder of the term expert tiering Mark also co-chairs the American cancer society’s national volunteer leadership team. And as a contributor at Huffington post impact in this episode, we discuss impact investing the importance of ROI and how impact driven movements can actually increase profits for companies with awesome real life examples that Mark provides for us and frankly, a bunch of other cool conscious business stuff. Enjoy the show. Mark. Welcome to the show. My man. Thanks for being here.
Mark Horoszowski (01:26):
Hey, thanks Sebastian. Excited to be here.
Sebastian Naum (01:28):
Awesome man. Awesome. Excited to have you. I always start out my shows by asking my guests. When was your last, Oh, moment. What’s the first thing that comes to mind.
Mark Horoszowski (01:37):
Um, just earlier today had, uh, had a teammate saying, Hey, look, I’m waiting for, for, uh, results from, uh, from a COVID test, um, and feeling super under the weather. So super, super bummed to hear that news. Um, and, and just wrote the health of, of team during during the year. That’s already been so challenging for so many
Sebastian Naum (01:54):
Man. That’s definitely the, uh, that’s another when you see that message
Mark Horoszowski (01:57):
Though. That’s an old.
Sebastian Naum (02:00):
Hopefully open for the best man. Hoping for the best. What about your last name? Ella yam moment.
Mark Horoszowski (02:03):
Last, last hell yeah. Moment. This weekend I was going on a trail run, uh, and I had this moment where I like, uh, just like stepped like full out into, uh, into a puddle and I was like, hell yeah, like it just like brought me back into childhood. Like this is, this is so fun and be able to, to be able to do this and still just find the joy in life and rainy days and puddles and whatever it might be. So, yeah,
Sebastian Naum (02:25):
That’s great, man. That’s great, man. That’s, that’s really cool. Most people would get really upset about it and now they get their feet wet. And that was the allium moment for you. That kind of shows the personality you have.
Mark Horoszowski (02:35):
Hell yeah. It’s 2020, right. We’ll take, take what we can get a puddle man. That’s awesome.
Sebastian Naum (02:41):
Mark. Your company moving worlds, um, has been hired by major companies, names like SAP, Microsoft, um, E-bay the Kellogg foundation. The list goes on. So before we get into why these companies are getting involved with purpose driven movements, I wanted to ask you why you decided to into the social enterprise, uh, areas and like, was there a tipping point for you that caused you to go that route?
Mark Horoszowski (03:06):
Yeah. You know, great, great question. And it’s a, it’s a bit funny answering that question right now, like during, during this recession during, during these crisis. Cause it was actually in the last crisis during the great recession where, where this whole journey started for me, you know, coming out of college, I had started in accounting, um, and had some early career successes that I largely attributed to work that I was doing in my volunteer experience. But at the same time that I was joining and jumping into busy season at, at Pricewaterhouse Coopers, um, I was also a volunteer with American cancer society on their national leadership training team. So it was like flying around actually the, the country training communities and staff on how do you fundraise digitally? How do you mobilize communities? Uh, both staff and volunteers and, and I, and I’d had some early career successes.
Mark Horoszowski (03:58):
And I think a lot of that experience came from the fact that I had all this extra like volunteer experience too. And when I, when I joined the corporate sector, many companies were even talking about like, yeah, we really, we, we care about society and we care about social. Good. We want you to volunteer. Um, but the second that it conflicts with like busy season, like kind of a seminal moment for me was I, I had to ask if I could use a weekend to go to an American cancer society event where I was a volunteer and I couldn’t because we were too busy and I get business, right. I get the bottom line. But just knowing that I was like now kind of in this place where profits rains cream, and then you’re coming out of the great room out of the great recession and you see income inequality widening, you see environmental deregulation and degradation as a result happening. And I was like, there has to be a different way than just pure profit driven companies in order for, you know, a, the economy to operate, but for be in a place for me to work with. So yeah, I took off, I spent a year traveling and volunteering with a new type of entity, a social enterprise that was using the power of market right business, but for the sake of some larger social and environmental cause
Sebastian Naum (05:12):
That’s great. And that actually, um, that leads right into my next question of why should for profit companies, there’s listeners thinking I have a for-profit company. Why should I care about social enterprise? And you know, beyond that, is it only applicable to entrepreneurs or founders of companies or does it also apply to big multinational corporations?
Mark Horoszowski (05:37):
Yeah, it’s a, it’s a great company. I mean, look, I, I also lecture on this stuff at the university of Washington, literally the topic is corporate social responsibility and it doesn’t matter what stage of entity you are at like investing in your community, your employees, your ecosystem partners, the right, all of these investments, right? Not only help create an organization that is better for communities and employees and for the environment, but they also create a more stable organization, right. They retreat, they recruit better talent. Uh, they have more stable supply chains, right. And you’re seeing this, I think, exaggerated during the crisis, right. Where if you’re a company right now that doesn’t care about issues like racial equality, racial equality, and social justice, like it is hard to keep your high-performing talent. In fact, they are leaving companies, even during recession. People are leaving companies. If their values don’t align with that company. Um, that’s such an interesting point, right?
Sebastian Naum (06:43):
That the top talent really cares. I was recently actually just doing a little piece of content, um, about the importance of taking a stand and how it’s no longer like okay, for companies to just be Switzerland and to be, be vanilla or just be right in the middle. You don’t need to do that anymore. So if your company actually resonates truthfully authentically with a cause, then speak up about it.
Mark Horoszowski (07:09):
Yeah. Yeah. It’s usually true. Right. I think, you know, pre COVID you, you started to see the rise of what was called, like the employee activist, right. Employees saying, you know, these are people within Amazon, within Google, right. Within Facebook who were saying, look, our company is actually doing some things that aren’t in the best interest of society and we understand why we’re doing it. Right. It’s profit driven. We understand the power of the market. But if you want to keep me here, I care about these things too. Right. And guess what our consumers care about these things too. Right. And it’s, and you have to adapt to consumer demand
Sebastian Naum (07:43):
And we’ll close the circle a little later, but it’s so interesting. Cause it’s not just about the consumers of the environment it’s so much has to do with the people inside the company. And that’s what you were mentioning. You know, people losing some of those top performers when, if their companies don’t
Mark Horoszowski (07:55):
Actually, you know. Yep. Yep.
Sebastian Naum (07:58):
Super interesting. Mark, what is impact investing? Is it harder to get funding for impact driven companies? Is it easier? What, what does that whole world like, uh, enlighten the enlightened us a little bit on this whole impact VC world.
Mark Horoszowski (08:14):
Sure. So impact investing is, is certainly a lot of buzz right now around it, right? Like what is it, how do I get into it? How do I access it? Um, here’s the core premise of it, right? Which is saying if I have money to invest, right. I know I can invest it into the stock market. We know what the stock market does. Right? Quarterly returns, maximize value for shareholders impact investing says we’re going to invest in companies that are measuring things that are more than just profits, right? This usually includes issues like environmental and other social good issues. Right? So this is carbon. Uh, this is pay equity. Um, in fact, there’s, there’s five kind of main categories that you’ll kind of see within like, um, solid businesses, including governments and, uh, uh, communities where you invest, um, the environment, your employees, then how you make profits, think about like your, your supply chain, your distribution chain.
Mark Horoszowski (09:07):
So impact investors are saying, Hey, I’m going to invest in companies that kind of measure their, their, um, not only their profits, but also their social and environmental impact across these categories. Now there’s, there’s this kind of wide array right there, there are companies like, um, in some funds, even Apple can be listed as like an ESG fund, environmental and social governance fund. Um, and this is where you’re looking at like huge, like BlackRock, Goldman Sachs style, major asset class investing in businesses like an Apple, like a Microsoft who are making big bets on sustainability. Right. Uh, all their, all their servers are, are in server farms that are managed on renewable energy. Right. So there’s some level of investment there. Okay. Now on the other side, you’ll have social enterprises, right? So these are, these are groups that are saying, I might not be able to get market-based returns.
Mark Horoszowski (10:03):
Right. But I am going to actually create more social and environmental good through my core operations. Right. And so investors may invest it with like a different instrument, like a, a revenue based equity buyback, right. Which is, uh, as a company makes revenue, a predetermined percent of that revenue will go back to the investors until they purchase back all of the, all of the equity that was part of the original investment, um, sometimes lower return. Right. Um, but you can feel really good about that return because you know, there’s no degradation of the environment, um, or, or, um, uh, uh, uh, the, the companies themselves, aren’t like fostering issues say like gender inequality or income inequality as a result. So it’s really quite a wide spectrum. And I think the gold standard here, if you will, is like, there are some global assessments that really spin out of a group called B labs or benefit corporation where you actually, any business can do this small, big, um, if you’re the owner, you’re not, you can take the assessment, you can see where you stand. And if you get over a certain score on that, they essentially say like, yeah, you would qualify for like the impact investing, uh, assets.
Sebastian Naum (11:15):
Interesting. And that’s is that directly, that’s directly related to certified B corporations, but on the investment side. Yes.
Mark Horoszowski (11:23):
So they have a, they have a rating system that spun out of that, that benefit corporation assessment that’s called their global impact investment rating system. Um, and it’s almost a mirror of it, but it’s essentially using that, that same methodology. Right. And then what you would do is like, let’s say you’re a small business owner or an entrepreneur, or just start a startup. You could take that. And you would actually give you kind of a printout of like, Hey, here are things that you should do to improve your business. Here’s some gaps. But when you go to investors that can actually qualify you for huge new asset, right? Because increasingly investors are moving their money into impact investing vehicles. So having that certification actually opens up new investing doors for you. Now there’s other challenges, right? You have to manage more than just your profit margins now, which is challenging. Right? However, it does open up new connections from partnerships. And that’s true for investors as well as business partnerships.
Sebastian Naum (12:16):
Hey guys, I just want to remind you that you could get more content like email@example.com. That’s Sebastian N a U m.com. And you can also get a ton of other marketing resources from myself and my agencies ranging from SEO to social media, influencer, marketing, branding, animation, web development, and more, again, that’s a bastion nom.com. Thank you. And enjoy the rest of the show. So while we’re talking about money, ROI is super important. So we’re looking at ROI. Are there, can you have, do you have like an example of a company that either implemented, uh, you know, social good or a purpose into their company that actually increased their ROI, or just simply, you know, any example of a company that you saw ROI actually be greater because they are a social animal.
Mark Horoszowski (13:02):
Yeah. It’s a good question. Um, so I’ll, I’ll rattle off a couple of big examples, maybe a small one too, right. So look, I think you can look at Microsoft now they’re making major plays in accessibility, right? And that’s for people who have speech impediments, hearing impediments, eyesight impediments, right. They’re making huge plays on accessibility, which you would argue is a social good. And you can see them winning huge contracts with governments, right? Aiden government, United States, government. And they lead oftentimes with that accessibility place, you’re actually seeing this from there. So they’re saying, Hey, we’re incurring the cost of becoming more responsible. Now, Microsoft, you’ve got to say, Hey, look, there’s still kind of a very profit driven company. Give me, give me a different example
Sebastian Naum (13:49):
Example though. So it’s interesting though, to see a big company, cause most people don’t think about it that way, but so then you’re saying they’re using little items here or there, and that’s actually helping them gain big contracts
Mark Horoszowski (14:01):
A hundred percent, right. Retreat recruit, better employees, right. Retain, retain their top talent. Right. Build Goodwill with governments, build Goodwill with, with, with bigger stakeholders. Yep. Um, you know, and then, and then I think you can go, you can go mid tier. Right. I feel like Patagonia is probably a little played out, but, but they’re recognizable. Um, right. They literally expose their entire supply chain and they say, this is what’s good. This is what’s bad. Right. And, um, they’re, they’re they’re CEOs. Um, uh, you know, and there’s been a couple, I think their third is entering now. Um, right. They’ve all stated that when we make investments for the benefit of the environment, our business actually benefits. Um, and for anybody who’s kind of newer into this world, they’re curious, there’s a great book. It’s called, let my people go surfing by, by Yvon Chouinard.
Mark Horoszowski (14:49):
I’ve really kind of outlined this the way you source to the way you treat your employees. Right. Um, but I think, I think you also have to look at small companies, right. Um, there’s really cool startup, uh, here, just, just in Seattle called humanly, um, it’s a, um, AI bot to help recruit and enter employees or future employees into screening processes. Right. Um, and you know, a lot of different things that they could do, especially during, during a crisis. Right. And where they decided to double down and invest on was how do we actually make our hiring process? How do we make our AI bots more equal? Right. So it doesn’t matter what college you come from. It doesn’t matter what the color of your, um, of your, of your LinkedIn photo is. It doesn’t matter what groups or associations, you’re a part of. You’re not going to get screened out for racial issues anymore.
Mark Horoszowski (15:40):
And they’ve made that a core part of their technology. Um, and so as they do that, and as they’re, as they’re selling, well, look, what’s happening now, right? We’re seeing a massive rise for social justice and racial equality here. You’ve got a company that was built, social positive, right. For the quality in processes. Right. And they’re growing like crazy as a result. So, you know, I think a lot of different, different levels, but you see these investments time and time again, they pay off. And I think what’s, what’s hard when you’re operating on a bottom line is to say, I might not realize those profits, you know, this month or this quarter, right. From a longterm play, uh, you know, it’s, it’s to quote Paul Pullman, the former CEO, former CEO of Unilever, you says addressing inequalities and the environment is the biggest business opportunity of all that, that we have ever experienced. It’s a $12 trillion market opportunity on a yearly basis. If we can, if we can address income, inequality and environmental issues. It’s massive.
Sebastian Naum (16:41):
Interesting. Wow. That that’s, that is massive. Yeah. And it’s so important to, to look at it in a long-term perspective too, because at the end of the day, it’s never healthy to look at shorter term and it’s not even about just companies and ROI, anything in your life, usually isn’t there. Yeah. Yeah. That’s great, man. That’s awesome. Um, so you, do you do large scale consulting for, for these big companies? It’s that impact consulting? It’s probably something that a lot of people don’t really, there are very aware of, but, um, one of those things is that people from multinational corporations and they actually, the corporation sponsors them to go do volunteering programs with you guys. Now it’s not just about the volunteering itself, but you guys are actually teaching them skills about social impact, which is awesome. So what are some of those skills and are people taking those skills back into these big corporations and actually, you know, creating change because of what they do? Yeah,
Mark Horoszowski (17:42):
Yeah, yeah. Such a good question. So, you know, to, to, um, like I mentioned, this, this organization, like as an example, right. Okay. So I’m in Seattle, they’re based in Seattle. This is a very, very resource rich area. But around the world, there are, there are really cool startups like this that are figuring out their own local solutions to their own problems. Right. And this can be, um, you know, this can be a distributed solar energy panels for rural communities, right? This can be distributed education, um, or, uh, education systems, um, for, for, for slums, right? This can be water, sanitation or toilet, uh, hygiene issues in different areas around the world. You’re seeing all these cool social enterprises, people, locals, people from communities spring up and saying in my own community, I can solve our own problems using the power of business. I don’t have to wait for some like foreign aid or some philanthropists to come by and, and, and tell me how you know, that, that I’m living in poverty and tell me how to fix it.
Mark Horoszowski (18:44):
Right? People are creating their own solutions and they’re employing people in the process of it. And oftentimes with these organizations and these innovators need is access to expertise, right? So maybe they’re, they’re building a cloud app or they need to train their team on, on data science, right. Or they need to improve some of their marketing and they don’t have access to the resources that you might have if you’re a closer to a major city. And so what we’ve set out to do is get skills-based volunteers. We call them expertise to equip these organizations with the skills that they need to scale up and grow. And what’s interesting is these organizations are innovating at like the very first and the very last mile of supply chains. Right? So in the way that we’re maybe harvesting crops, like let’s say coffee beans, right. Or in the way that we’re distributing this and maybe employing people, um, you know, at the, at the very end of that distribution chain, um, these, these innovators are also solving problems for very big companies, right.
Mark Horoszowski (19:44):
And companies are figuring out like, how can I empower them? Right. How can I bring more people into the economy? How can I make our supply chains more sustainable and more resilient, especially during times of crisis. And so we’ve partnered up with a lot of companies who are saying, yes, I want to volunteer, but I’m doing it really strategically. Right. I’m sponsoring people to volunteer, to support organizations, right. That are a part of a global value chain in some capacity. Right. And so, as an example with Microsoft, right, Microsoft knows that, that the world needs more, more engineers. Right. And so they’re partnering up with universities, with startups, with innovation hubs and more across, well, honestly, every continent, but this program specializes on the African continent, um, right. To help teach employability skills in engineering. Right. And so people might be coming out of school school with, you know, fantastic, uh, uh, knowledge of, of like core, fundamental principles, but software engineering in the cloud is so rapid, right.
Mark Horoszowski (20:43):
There’s like a new framework every six months. Right? So here, you actually have people practicing in the profession who are, um, who are then able to volunteer with new college grads or with new entrepreneurs that are building on this technology. And so, as an example in the Microsoft program, they’re saying, Hey, let’s volunteer with these universities. Right. Let’s, let’s support them. Our employees want to do it cause they want to see the power of our products in the market and how they exist, not just for profit, but for actually empowering people to do more. Um, so let’s sponsor people that do that. And then when people go in, they start to see and better understand the world where their product or their business operates. Right. They learn a ton in the process. Right. So, so one example is, um, like facial recognition software, right. I know this is a whole bunch of issues around facial recognition, software, um, and, and, you know, personally for whatever it’s worth, I think it needs regulation.
Mark Horoszowski (21:37):
Right. And, and, uh, and there’s a lot that goes into it. Um, but like one example, right. Is like, you know, uh, one of the stories that was, that was shared with us was, um, a person was, was, um, uh, on the African continent, right. In Kenya showing off this facial recognition, AI app. And it’s like, it’s super powerful, right? Like if you put it up on me, if we were sitting face to face, you put up on me, it’d be like 38 year old, white male. And if I was drinking coffee, you would even label it like, you know, drinking coffee, like crazy precise. You puts it up on a black person, 27 year old female. It’s like 42 year old man. And he’s like embarrassed. Right. He’s like, Oh crap. It puts it on a guy that’s like another 10 years off on his age.
Mark Horoszowski (22:17):
And he’s like, Oh, our tech is the Texas racist, like right. And it was built by who, right. Not, not black people. Right. And so he’s like, we gotta go, we gotta go back and fix it. So he goes back, he fixes it. He says, I’m part of an accessibility team here. Or I’m not part of this company like puts his job on the line. Right. Gets involved, helps the company fix the tech gets involved on like the sales and evangelism. Right. And now he’s like one of the biggest, uh, advocates of, of, um, of accessibility in software, not just in who can access it, but like in the core algorithms, which quite frankly, is like a massive investment that companies need to make to get that. Right. You know, so, you know, and there’s tons of examples like this that we have. Right. And so I think once people really understand the magnitude of their, of their work product, whatever that is, but like on a, on a human scale, they’re inspired to make sure that it’s really doing right by the world.
Sebastian Naum (23:11):
And that came from a volunteer project, essential anchor project. Yep. That’s awesome. That’s really cool, man. That’s gotta be, this is gonna make you proud to see that change. W what, what changed that? Because it was such a one little thing caused that big change,
Mark Horoszowski (23:25):
Little bit of insight goes a long way. Right? Absolutely.
Sebastian Naum (23:28):
That’s awesome. So how important is having, so there’s there’s skills and then there’s also, you guys are empowering people by having them be connected with, you know, important networks of mentors. Right. So what’s the difference there? How important the networking and the mentors versus just the skills as well, you know, um, can you provide, like, can you provide an example where a network connection, so you just provided a great example of skill where like somebody like, you know, the network or connected with someone or mentored that, you know, generated an impact.
Mark Horoszowski (24:00):
Yeah. Yeah. Great question. So, um, you know, so that was, that was the example that I was referencing was, was with one of our corporate programs. We also operate a program that’s called the moving worlds Institute, which is essentially a professional development program for, for individuals, right. Where we say, Hey, for anybody that wants to advance their career and create more impact in their career, we are going to put you into a cohort of like-minded professionals in a six month fellowship. And in that really give you a crash course in impact investing in social enterprise and human centered design. So you can understand the tools and frameworks to really make an impact. Now, as part of that, like we know that journey is hard. It’s lonely, it’s scary. Like one of the, like, I don’t know for anybody listening, right. If, if you’re starting to like, you know, kind of be like, I want to do more good.
Mark Horoszowski (24:49):
You like talk about to your friends. And they’re like, like, what are you like a bleeding heart? Like, like, what is like, what do you mean you want to do that? Like, cool, like good for you. Um, I think people even tend to tease like are more like giving friends, right? And, and so it is a little bit, it is a little bit lonely. And I think by being connected into a peer group of people that are, are going through that, there’s a lot of value in that shared experience. But what we’ve also found is let’s say you have an idea, right? Like, let’s say you, you are coming back into a company or starting your own thing, and you’re trying to do something that, that is more impactful. Like you need support on that. Right. And that’s where mentors can really come into, into play.
Mark Horoszowski (25:27):
So, um, you know, as an example, we had, we had one person, uh, her name was Heather. She was, um, you know, on a, on a fast track for pre IPO tracking to IPO, um, uh, B2B marketing technology company. She herself was a director of marketing newbie business to business marketing, but was just like, I need to give back, like, I need to figure out a way. And, and she was like, I’m joining the Institute and I want to go join a nonprofit. And we’re like, cool, that’s awesome. Really glad that you want to use your career for impact before you just like, quit everything and go join this nonprofit. Let’s just like test a couple of things out. Right. That’s great. Some assumptions and hypotheses you have about your career. Um, and then let’s see where that might go. And one of the best way to test out your assumptions and I, the CS about your career, it’s like get out of the building, right.
Mark Horoszowski (26:10):
It’s to go spend time in impact organizations. So she spent time at a small social enterprise that also had a partnership with the big nonprofit. She saw the differences in supporting these two different types of organizations and was like, wow, at least for me. And the way I were being in a big non profit, when I’m used to such like rapid iteration innovation and scale would actually be like really hard for me. So she ended up starting her own consultancy, um, to support social enterprises, kind of bring like the best of like modern B2B and digital tactics to the social enterprise and startup sector. And so here, you’ve got someone again, who’s saying I’ve got this wealth of experience that I’ve picked up in the corporate sector. It’s super important. It can be leveraged for good. And a lot of ways for her that way was let me actually help and make these, these leading technologies and, and marketing strategies available to more organizations so that they can scale more effectively.
Sebastian Naum (27:09):
Great example. Yeah, that’s really awesome. So Mark moving worlds is doing all kinds of things in terms of conscious business externally to the companies that consult with you to all kinds of different people in your, uh, in the institution, um, into these different programs that you’re doing. What are you guys doing internally, Mark? How are you practicing conscious business internally to all the stakeholders within your company?
Mark Horoszowski (27:35):
Yeah. Such a good question. Look, I love that question because, um, I think so often we look at the nonprofit sector and say like, Oh, Hey, look at this great thing that they do for, you know, this beneficiary group, right. Or these end users. Right. And we say that must be great organization. Right. And then if you look at their Glassdoor reviews and you often see, like, that’s not the case, like it’s really hard to work there. People, people can’t build their careers. They’re right there. They’re stressed or unhappy, like exactly. There’s a lot of people that work in social work as an example that they have to have their own, like, you know, psychologists and therapists and therapists, because it’s hard work. Um, and, and that is super true in, I think startups in general, but especially in, in social impact startups. So, um, look, I’m going to be the first to say that we’re not perfect.
Mark Horoszowski (28:20):
Right. But, um, but, but we try and there’s a number of things that we do for that. So very early on, like we created at like an employee guide, but can I have sounds kind of lame, right. Oh, cool. You got a guide book. Right. But like really diligent, like, do we have equity statements? Do we have things to do in case of somebody who is like in theory at a higher level has an issue, right. Is there a direct line to the board or somebody outside the company where employees can go and access, if there is an issue, do we have feedback mechanisms for managers so that we can make sure that input can be a transparent and then be socialized? Um, we’re very transparent with, with, with our, our salaries, uh, our employees know what our revenues are. Um, they know what percentage of our revenues is going to salaries.
Mark Horoszowski (29:04):
They have a very open, uh, view into how salaries are calculated for every person it’s based on, uh, on, uh, on like literally we call it our calculator model so that we know it’s equal. So even though we’re a small team, we’re still able to ensure that everybody feels that they’re equal in their salary. Um, uh, as soon as COVID rolled out, we rolled out Friday, monthly, mentally, or I’m sorry, monthly mental. So the last Friday of every month, um, which is a practice that we’ll be keeping forward is just like, it’s a monthly mental, like, do what you need to do. Uh, we, we, um, we talk about, about mental health. Um, we give people leave for health or our mental breaks. Um, so I think like the, um, I mentioned earlier that the B impact assessment, if any company takes that, one of the pillars is how do you treat your employees?
Mark Horoszowski (29:54):
And a lot of these issues around like pay transparency, um, gap between the highest paid though is paid statements in terms of like equity, equality, justice, um, uh, escalation paths, like these are actually covered in there. So even if you’re not like officially in charge of a company, you can actually still take that B impact assessment and get insights into things that you should do for your business. So it’s a great way to like, learn if you’re like, Oh, I think we should do something. Like, even if I’m a manager, like not even business wide, but even just on my team, it actually gives like really cool examples and insights and ideas of what you can do even at, at, at just your kind of own micro level. But yeah, it’s super important
Sebastian Naum (30:33):
Salary transparency. Is that ever, is that, is that challenging? Honestly, sometimes Mark, like, you know, you’re like, well, I can, we’re charging our consultancy fee for this, you know, as a, a hundred thousand dollars and like this trickles down to like, you know, me getting 5k out of it or something like that. Yeah,
Mark Horoszowski (30:47):
Yeah, yeah, yeah, look, it is right. And I think similar to our conversation earlier, it’s like, it depends on the timeframe, like in the short term, it is right. But in the longterm it pays off and I think it pays off tenfold. Right. It means that there’s more, there’s more trust in the organization. Right. People are going to stay longer within the organization. Um, and so, yeah, like it’s, it’s weird. Right. And I remember like, it, it was, it was, it was actually our, uh, our huge, our, our, our lead engineer who kind of came on and was like, Hey, I think we should roll out price transparency. And I was like, it’s crazy. There’s no way, like, I, like, I can only imagine what it’s going to do. And he’s like, just try it, like ask everybody to do a survey. Right. Of just like, what do you think everybody in the company is being made like is getting paid.
Mark Horoszowski (31:31):
Right. And he’s like, people already know, like we already know that there are pay gaps. Right. And, um, I think what’s important about it is okay. Maybe it’ll expose the next issue, which is like, okay, well, we don’t really have transparent performance reviews, so let’s build that, but let’s do that together. Right. And let’s do that in a fair and equitable way where more voices can be at the table. So a hundred percent, I think it’s super challenging, but the longterm benefit of it is like a easier decisions in the future. What I can also share is like, when we’ve been hiring new people, we just say like, Hey, look, here’s your offer first and final. This is what it is. And it’s fair in the company. And they go, Oh, that’s fair for the company. Cool. Love it. Right. That’s awesome. And so it just, and it just makes everything going forward easier. Right. If you have money for a bonus, it’s easier to distribute because everybody’s already aware and fairness has kind of built in to everything that you do. So
Sebastian Naum (32:21):
Just out of curiosity, when people made those guesses, were they pretty much on, or were they off like maybe were they actually totally overestimating what upper management was actually making or were they pretty much on?
Mark Horoszowski (32:32):
I think so we’re pretty close. I was overestimated, uh, because actually during that time, um, and Derek, my other, other co-founder, we were actually, uh, we were lower paid on the, um, on the, uh, we, we to go back further in time like this, it goes back, I don’t know, six years, but after we raise our impact investment dollars, we actually like kind of ran through that. We were in a really, really tight spot. And so we committed to suppressing our own salaries until the team was rebuilt, uh, because we decided to raise and keep more equity for employees instead of doing another round. Um, and so, so yeah, that was, that was, I think kind of the biggest rise is that like, um, you know, kind of the founders or, you know, me as the, as the CEO is actually getting paid less than, uh, almost everybody. I mean, we were a small team at the dive. Right. But, um,
Sebastian Naum (33:18):
That’s great. Well, congratulations with everything that you’re doing, Mark, um, you’re definitely helping create and inspire conscious leaders and your conscious leader yourself. What do you think are the two most important traits that a conscious leader must embody today?
Mark Horoszowski (33:34):
Oh, today? Um, today, today during COVID is like, it was, I have to ask this question like every week to get it look, I think there’s two things that I found myself leaning on the most during the last like six months. Right. So I’m going to say today, let’s couch this in like a major health, environmental and economic crisis, um, is, is staying principled, right? Like, you know, earlier today we were talking with, with one of our big corporate clients, um, who’s, who’s newer, right. We’re still in pilot stage. Right. And they wanted something done one way. And we wanted, we were standing by our social impact organizations. Right. And we were saying, Hey, look, I understand that you want this to happen faster, but that’s actually not in the best interest of our organizations. And for us to be partners, this is why you chose this.
Mark Horoszowski (34:27):
That’s really important. Um, and so we can, we can co-design and we can partner together to develop a solution that takes into account all our stakeholders, but we can’t just like rush this through. Um, and so I think staying principled during these times is, is super, super important. Um, and so doing that self work on what are your personal principles and what are your organizational principles? Right. Um, like earlier I mentioned like price transparency or some of the things that we do for our employees, like that does not come naturally to me. Like that is not where I go in when I think of company building. Right. I think of scale, I think of processes, right. I think of innovating on behalf of our end users. Um, but as, uh, when I look at it from a principle perspective of do I think that people working deserve to be paid fairly across the company, um, and themselves be able to like take care of their own mental and physical needs during this time, like a hundred percent.
Mark Horoszowski (35:24):
Right. So, so we gotta stick to it, even if it’s hard. And then I think the second thing is which I found probably the most challenging during this time, right. Is it’s this idea of like, never let a good crisis go to waste. Right. And it’s like, I think it’s super hard being a leader right now, caring for all these things. Right. The social wellbeing, the, the, the, the mental wellbeing of your team, the profits, right. The margins, like keeping clients, right. There’s so much uncertainty in the market partners everywhere. And, and you’re just trying to stitch these things all together. Right. Um, and especially in smaller organizations, it’s so hard to then also say, what’s next what’s one year, two years, three years down the line. Right. And, um, but I think, especially in like the, the social impact space, thinking of like, how are we going to rebound from this and help create a world that’s more equitable and more environmentally responsible and, and, and pushing ourselves to use this time to also build a future that we all want.
Mark Horoszowski (36:27):
And like, it’s hard, it’s super hard to even have the mental space to do that and be like, can I even expose myself to more risks during this time? Um, but to me, those are like, it’s almost been my weekly mantra, right. It’s like, am I able to hold onto, what’s important to, to me and our organization from a principle standpoint and like, am I giving myself some time and space in conversation and like insight gathering to like, build for the future so that we can actually use this as an opportunity to grow. Uh, and I think that that’s going to be the real Mark of success for, for, you know, I’ll kind of say the social enterprise sector at this time, but I think it, I think expands beyond that, if I had to say
Sebastian Naum (37:07):
Sum that up in one word, I would have to say, it’s resilience. There you go. Or, or, or, or, or a combination of resilience and innovation, uh, resilience and creativity, meat in order to, to make it through.
Mark Horoszowski (37:19):
Yep. And, uh, and a lot of coffee,
Sebastian Naum (37:22):
A lot of coffee that I’ve been on that one too. That’s great. Mark. Well, Mark, where can people find, uh, moving worlds or yourself working, they follow you, find you.
Mark Horoszowski (37:32):
Yup. Um, check us out, uh, moving world.org. Uh, if you want to connect with us on Twitter or Instagram, our handle is expertise bring, um, and then if you want to find me, um, Twitter, LinkedIn, uh, at Marco Shefsky, but, but good luck spelling that. So I guess is you have to look down in the cliff notes.
Sebastian Naum (37:49):
Exactly. All the they’ll all be there. Well, thank you so much for being on Mark. You’re definitely a conscious leader and, uh, so just keep doing you and, uh, best of luck with everything. Thanks again.
Mark Horoszowski (37:59):
Awesome. Thanks Sebastian. Really, really appreciate it.