“It’s one thing to be a thought leader but another to be a doing leader.”
Maggie Miller is direct like that. For Maggie, you can talk a good game all you want, but companies who say they have a higher purpose need to do more than write a flowery purpose statement or passively signing a check to a charity. Maggie is the co-founder of Digital Union, who enables companies to get beyond philanthropy by combining their core services with a focused social purpose and platform for impacting people, communities, and organizations.
We started working with Maggie and her partner Hector Dominguez two years ago, when I started thinking about taking the few small things we were doing to the next level. Maggie has an incredible energy – she fills any room she’s in with her passion. (Maggie’s official title isn’t “Chief Troublemaker” for nothing.) Their mission: to help companies make money with an evolved sense of purpose.
What does “evolved” mean? Ask Maggie, and she’ll tell you that leaders come to her with several types of needs.
“The idea of purpose and impact isn’t silo-ed inside of businesses anymore. The conversation about doing good used to be the responsibility of a person or small team that were very separate from the rest of business — whereas now corporate impact should be fully integrated into strategy. These days, social impact is key to marketing and building trust and relationships with consumers – and you can thank younger generations for that one.” We’d agree – the economic crisis of 2008 opened a raw wound of distrust and suspicion of the system, one that particularly affected the young – but now, there’s a megaphone.
“Social media has brought about a responsibility revolution,” Maggie says.
Maggie meets CEOs also searching for fulfillment – and not just for themselves. They’re finding that even when they’re making money doing something they love, the internal engines of the company need to be humming. When a company team is performing the work for the company, there needs to be a connect to the real impact of their work on real people. This ignites passion in teams and develops new conversations inside companies.
These CEOs may be looking for something like what Digital Union has developed for us – a social impact program called “Far Reaching” that started because we were starting to talk about creating entrepreneurial heroes, and we wanted to see what that looked like if we extended that to our community.
“Take your mission,” Maggie says, referring to Far West Capital – “growing entrepreneurs to achieve their goals. That’s the business mission. That’s the profit side of the company. Now, look at the purpose side of the company. That mission – Far Reaching – is to galvanize entrepreneurial heroes. They’re not really that different. If on the one hand you want to fund… and on the other hand you want to galvanize, to enable – that’s essentially the same conversation.”
Every day people say to Maggie: “That’s cool, but you only can help so many people.”
Yet, the team at Digital Union doesn’t feel that way. If you can create conscious leaders whose purpose is melded with their product, then every employee, customer, or client influenced by those leaders becomes part of an exponential impact. 51% of the world’s economy is business, not government – and 71% of business leaders reject profit as the sole measure of success.
Digital Union’s core purpose is to inspire greatness in people. That’s why they’ll exist 100 years from now, and it powers what they’ve done with Far Reaching as equally as it powers our everyday deals.
What can your company do that extends your core mission to make an impact? Have you tried anything similar to Far Reaching? Tell us your results in the comments below or on our Facebook page.
All Images Courtesy of The Digital Union