Organizational Psychologist, The Wharton School of Business; Bestselling Author; Host: WorkLife, a TED Original Podcast
Blake Mycoskie turned conventional wisdom on its head by putting philanthropy at the heart of his business model. Through the TOMS family of companies, Mycoskie has helped untold thousands of people with direct fulfillment of basic needs. Events that celebrate the positive social impact of smartly run businesses turn to Mycoskie for inspiring keynote speeches.
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Some companies do the occasional good deed—business speaker Blake Mycoskie put charity at the center of his business plan. As a brilliant keynote speaker, Blake Mycoskie shows how business and philanthropy can bring out the best in each other.
Firstly, Blake Mycoskie is a successful entrepreneur whose TOMS family of companies has made him a paragon of socially responsible business. The idea behind TOMS, and Mycoskie’s One for One business model, is straightforward. For each purchase, the company provides direct assistance to a person in need somewhere in the world.
Mycoskie got the idea while traveling in Argentina. After meeting family after family who struggled just to keep shoes on their children’s feet, Mycoskie arrived at a solution. He would found a for-profit business whose revenues were directly tied to efforts to alleviate the suffering he had witnessed.
TOMS launched that same year. Within three years, Mycoskie was being introduced by President Bill Clinton as “one of the most interesting entrepreneurs” he’d met. People magazine named him one of its Heroes Among Us. Bill Gates also cited him in a Time magazine article, “How to Fix Capitalism.”
By 2020, TOMS Shoes had delivered more than 86 million pairs of shoes to needy children. Its success inspired TOMS Eyewear, which restored sight to nearly half a million people in its first ten years. TOMS Roasting Company sells coffee and helps provide millions of gallons of safe water each year. TOMS Bag Collection supports training and delivers supplies that have helped thousands of women give birth safely.
In addition, Mycoskie shares his vision and experiences in the 2011 bestselling memoir Start Something That Matters.
If the lifeblood of an entrepreneur is the idea, the oxygen that can sustain them is the belief that their ideas can change the world for the better. As we navigate life searching for purpose and meaning, and chasing conventional notions of success in the process, ideas come and go from our consciousness, but some stick, and if we are lucky enough, or perhaps brave enough, we act on those ideas and they become something transformative. The power of ideas is what drove Blake Mycoskie to start TOMS (and give over ninety million pairs of shoes to kids in the process), to write Start Something that Matters, to take on various social causes through philanthropy, and most recently to start his latest company, Madefor.
In this visionary talk, Blake Mycoskie shows you how to succeed in a new era of relentless competition and heightened social awareness.
Why is philanthropy your best competitive advantage?
How do you make money and do good simultaneously?
How are the two acts intertwined?
At TOMS — a self-sustaining, for-profit company — the act of giving is the cornerstone of its business model, integral to its financial success. In a behind-the-scenes look at how it all works, Mycoskie shares counter-intuitive ideas (“In tough times, give more”) that you can apply to your own business. His bold, winning strategies are proven and have been talked about by Bill Clinton, the Obama administration, and the hundreds of thousands of customers that have joined the TOMS Movement by buying a pair of shoes.
Inspired, inspiring and most of all practical, Mycoskie presents a new direction for business; offering TOMS as his prime case study. After hearing him speak, you will know why giving just makes sense.
We welcome your ideas and suggestions for what you’d like to ask Blake about during the Chat – and here are a few topics to get you brainstorming:
Entrepreneurship – and the entrepreneurial mindset
Building your team – selecting the right people for the job
Work and life – striking a balanced blend
Creating a powerful brand
Storytelling as a way to cultivate customer engagement and loyalty
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