Author: Real Leaders

Confessions Of A Recovering Capitalist

The emergence of a new business model, effect marketing, promises to blend the needs of people and planet into a new form of capitalism. The feature-length documentary Koyaanisqatsi, released in 1983, became an iconic, cult movie that aimed to show the relationship between humans, nature and technology. The title, meaning “life out of balance” in the indigenous Hopi language of Northeastern Arizona, was also filmed without dialogue or narration and has many interpretations. The overall effect was to raise awareness among viewers about the wider world in which we live, creating a consciousness around our shared plight on a planet that now houses over 7 billion people. One of the seemingly out of place people in the audience was Mike Martin. Martin’s career started as a real estate investment banker at Citibank on Wall Street. “I was basically just doing deal structuring and engineering every day,” says Martin. One weekend his best friend put on a James Taylor concert for the benefit of a wildlife organization, focused on stopping the human extinction of species. “I looked at the purity and long-term importance of that and compared it with how I was spending my days. I reflected on Koyaanisqatsi recall thinking just how out of balance I was. I left a very lucrative career to focus my business knowledge on how to convert capitalism into capitalism for good.” Coming from...

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Jessica Alba: Hollywood Heroine To The Rescue

Better known for her role as the Invisible Woman in The Fantastic Four, and being voted “Sexiest Woman in the World” by FHM in 2007, actress Jessica Alba has an entrepreneurial side that aims to redefine the idea of the family brand. In 2008 Alba became the mother of a little girl, Honor, and three years later gave birth to her second daughter, Haven. Call it maternal instinct or a new insight on life; Alba felt her priorities in life shift immediately. “I felt this intense responsibility to create the safest, loving and healthiest environment for my children,” says Alba. Her inability to find baby products that didn’t have toxic chemicals in them, or even diapers that weren’t tainted with dyes and nasty substances that caused allergic reactions alarmed her as a parent. Alba experience this first-hand one day when she did a load of washing, using “baby safe’ laundry detergent, and broke out in a rash. Knowing that this couldn’t be good for her baby she began educating herself about untested chemicals found in baby products and household cleaners. She found alternative, “safer” options, but they still contained other chemicals that were unsatisfactory. She calls this a “social injustice” and was determined to create a range of products that made it easier for her, and others, to find safe and attractive products that worked. She met Christopher Gavigan,...

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Extinction Inspires A New Breed of Human

We have a front row seat for the Sixth Great Extinction in the history of the Earth, and the only one caused by humans. Let’s face it, the planet will long outlive our fragile species, so any focus on “saving the planet” misses the point. We need to protect the delicate ecosystem that humans need to thrive and survive. It’s all about “nurturing our ecosystem in order to save our species.” Can the clothes we buy make a difference? Peruvian, Eduardo Balarezo thinks it can. A small cluster of islands off Ecuador, with no history of an indigenous population, had one resident that inspired a Eduardo to start a business around his legacy. It began with a tortoise. After living in Ecuador for over 10 years and visiting the Galapagos Islands on several occasions Eduardo Balarezo came across Lonesome George – a 100 year-old resident of the island and a famous worldwide conservation icon. As the last surviving Pinta tortoise, Lonesome George’s cautionary tale of extinction became evident to Balarezo as a result of human actions and mismanagement of scarce resources. Lonesome George died last year but Balarezo was so inspired by his story he began Lonesome George & Co., an apparel company with a youth development academy, to educate tomorrow’s youth about environmental issues and to prevent other Lonesome George situations from happening at a time of frightening and increasing...

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The Art of Addiction

Whether you like it or not, you’re affected by addiction. Do you have more than four employees, four friends or four family members? If so, the odds are that you’ll encounter this problem sometime in your life. Statistics show that one in four families are touched by addiction, meaning that most of us will need to face ongoing challenges with this growing epidemic. A unique drug rehabilitation center in Italy is giving the world hope by showing spectacular results, by transforming lives through creating amazing art and businesses that fund much of their overhead. Drug addiction can be a lonely and desperate place for a young  person, caught in a spiral of self-loathing and rejection by society. Many degenerate into crime, either from a need to financially fuel their habit, or because bad company and drugs always seem to find each other. This drug rehabilitation center in the Rimini province of Northern Italy is showing that traditional ideas around the treatment of addiction no longer needs to be about deprivation or punishment. San Pantrignano runs its free rehabilitation program like a business, and the human dividends are showing. The organization welcomes young men and women with serious problems linked to drug addiction, completely free of charge. They do this without requesting any kind of contribution from their families and without any state funding.  The organization also practices no ideological...

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Tyra Banks, Harvard Educated Venture Capitalist?

A serious businesswoman lurks beneath the former supermodel, who has launched a venture capital firm and wants to teach girls how to fiercely pursue their ambitions. If you thought all models were only into their looks and had selfish, unlikeable personalities, think again. Television personality, actress and supermodel Tyra Banks has adopted a no nonsense approach to promote and empower women in business. Under the slogan “Fierce, Fearless, Flawsome,” Banks established the TZone in 1999, a leadership development program for girls, and more recently, venture capital company Fierce Capital LLC, that has a preference for funding start-ups that are predominantly female-led or focused. The word “flawsome,” coined by Banks, is a combination of  you + your flaws + awesome = flawsome.” She explained the concept was tied to her years on America’s Next Top Model where she and producer Ken Mok cast over 70 percent of participants. Debate raged about what constituted beauty and Banks came up with the word as a way of expanding the concept of what beauty means. “Perfect is boring,” says Banks. “Flaws are awesome.” Banks is a vocal critic of fashion magazines that show models who appear to have eating disorders. She saw models backstage, during her modeling days, who abused their bodies to maintain a certain weight and feed into commonly held ideals of what perfection and beauty was. In her early 20’s...

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