Real Leaders

Keep it Real Series: A Conversation with Simon Mainwaring

PODCAST PEOPLE: A Summary from the Real Leaders Podcast

“So what does it mean for your business? It means that you show up as a whole human being. You’re not just a job title with a skill set. You’re showing up with your heart and your hands and your head. And your work is an expression of who you want to be and the difference you want to make in the world.”

Simon Mainwaring is a brand futurist, global keynote speaker, and best-selling author of We First: How Brands and Consumers Use Social Media to Build a Better World. He is also the founder and CEO of We First, a creative consultancy helping companies build brand reputation, profits, and social impact.

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The following is a summary of #1 of the Keep It Real Series from the Real Leaders Podcast. This is a conversation with brand futurist and global keynote speaker, Simon Mainwaring. Watch, read, or listen to the full conversation below.

Meaningful Work

Simon discusses the importance of fulfillment in any given career, and consequently shares how he has found success to be an “inside-out” kind of job:

“There’s a big fundamental difference between people who go to work to do a job, and people who go to work to give their gift, to give their skills. The way that you’re fulfilled is that you fill yourself up from the inside, through what you give to others. You don’t get filled up by what others say about you from the outside. And that sounds very simplistic, but I swear to God, it is transformative in your life.” 

Listen to #1 of the Keep it Real Series on Spotify, Anchor, Crowdcast, and Apple Podcasts

Rethinking the Business Model

Simon discusses the need to re-distribute our global business model. He emphasizes, however, that capitalism reimagined could be essential for improving the world on both a societal and ecological level.

“I am a deep, deep believer in capitalism. But I think the benefits of it need to be distributed more evenly so that it’s actually sustainable. And what you’re seeing right now is a breakdown, you’re seeing the natural ecosystem breakdown through climate crisis, ocean acidification, loss of biodiversity, and extreme weather and all these things that fall out of it. And you’re seeing that global social fabric breakdown, and Black Lives Matter, and all of these issues are a function of that.”

Responsibility comes with this new business opportunity, and it will have to be a gradual process of evolution:

“Only when you’ve got that coalition of all the different key players, can you start to build out a viable alternative to the way capitalism is being practiced. And a lot of people talk about how we’re trying to switch out the engine of capitalism as we’re hurtling down the road. But until we have all the parts, we don’t have an engine, it can’t actually operate as a viable alternative. And so I do think we will change where there’s sufficient pain. There’s a sufficient coalition, stakeholders that want the same things, and that we’re collaborating in new ways to make that happen.”

Environmental Optimism

The interconnectedness of environmental issues is a cause for hope in healing our planet:

“The same way all these issues are connected from climate, the same way they hurt us more because they’re connected, they can help us if we do the right thing, because they’re all connected. If we start to treat the planet more effectively, that’ll have a better effect on the environments in which we live and the species and biodiversity out there, and so on and so on. This connectivity can work in our favor, not just against us.”



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