Sustainability is a Competitive & Social Advantage with Steve Schmida, Founder & Chief Innovation Officer of Resonance

In a world of 10 billion, sustainability is going to be central to business.

Steve Schmida is the Founder and Chief Innovation Officer of Resonance, an award-winning global development and corporate sustainability consulting firm with more than 100 consultants and offices in Vermont, Washington, D.C., Seattle, and Manila. Resonance clients include Fortune 500 companies, international donor agencies, and leading nonprofits and foundations.

His writings have appeared in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, Medium.com, The Huffington Post, and The Moscow Times. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

Steve joined host Raj Daniels on the Bigger Than Us podcast to discuss the steps Resonance takes to get clear on how businesses can solve “wicked problems,” lessons he’s learned about business and life, the link between poverty and sustainability, and more. 

By helping businesses and organizations solve problems to benefit their bottom line and society and embracing his power to make a difference, Steve is having an effect that is Bigger Than Us.

Take me to the podcast.

Sustainability is a Competitive & Social Advantage

Excerpts from a conversation with Steve Schmida on the Bigger Than Us podcast. These quotes have been edited for brevity and readability.

Sustainability is going to be a competitive advantage in four or five key areas. [There’s ] ESG, the investor component.

The second component is customers. Depending on who your customer base is, the best customers are going to be demanding that you’re mindful of these things. So that’s going to be really important. The top tier of your customers will be demanding this.

Then another key element that often gets overlooked is your employees. Most companies are in a battle for talent to get the best people they can to work for them. I think particularly with the younger generation, with Millennials and Gen Z, but even going into Gen X, I would say, you can attract better talent by showing that you’re committed to sustainability.

I would say the fourth reason, to think about sustainability as an opportunity is, the UN is estimated about a $12 trillion market for the Sustainable Development Goals. That can be tapped into. So it’s a massive potential upside market opportunity.

And then lastly…you can differentiate your company in the marketplace, not just vis a vis, existing customers, but raise your brand value as well. 

Collaborative Problem-Solving for Greater Impact

We look at what the company’s capabilities and resources are, and then start mapping that against other stakeholders.

Once a problem becomes really well understood and goes from a wicked problem to just a simple or a complicated problem where there’s a known solution set, I think that that’s where we see others coming into play roles. We see ourselves constantly as the ones really tackling the really hard thorny problems.

And by problem, I don’t just mean a negative. Sometimes problems can be negatives. Sometimes it can be opportunities.

Have [the companies] gone through mapping their business and really understanding where the sustainability issues are? Creating some sort of benchmarking. A lot of companies have done that initial work very often.

But then the next step is, what are the things that we can solve ourselves? And what are the things that the company is involved with?

We look at what the company’s capabilities and resources are, and then start mapping that against other stakeholders. Those could be international donor agencies, development finance institutions, non-governmental organizations, host governments, foundations, impact investors, and starting to map all of that together to see okay, where do we have gaps in our ability to get something done to solve this issue? And where can others come in who might also see this as an opportunity, or have this as a problem that they’re trying to solve?

Why Corporate Success is Good for Humanity

We can’t have a world of poor people and a sustainable planet.

The data suggests as incomes rise, a number of environmental impacts start to lessen. Because consume more of certain types of resources, but they also consume less of others, and systems become more efficient.

Countries have more money to invest. If you look at what’s happened in China, just in the last decade, 10 years ago, the stereotype was sort of Beijing constantly covered in smog. Today, not saying Beijing’s air is perfect by any stretch, but there’s been a huge shift there. And a large part of that is because as they’ve developed a middle class, the middle class both demands it and creates the tax base to clean it up.

I think the inner linkage between poverty and sustainability is really important to understand. We can’t have a world of poor people and a sustainable planet. We’ve got to bring everybody as much as we can, help everybody unlock opportunity, and come along with us on the journey.

Shaping the Future Through a Positive Outlook

There are so many ways with whatever skill set you have that you can be part of the solution.

The way I look at it is we don’t want to throw the baby out with the bathwater. There are things we have to change and work on. But there are so many wonderful things that have happened, whether that’s eliminating so many of these horrible childhood diseases, getting kids into school.

I think thinking about the world as, yes, we have a lot of problems we’re facing, and they’re serious ones, but always keeping in mind that we do have the opportunity, and we’re empowered in so many ways to solve them.

I think it’s important for young professionals, in particular, to be very, very intentional, as they’re picking their career paths. Because if you want a better world, you have to position yourself — you don’t have to go out and be an activist, although that’s a great thing to do. I’m not degrading being an activist. But there are so many ways with whatever skill set you have that you can be part of the solution. And I think thinking of yourself as having a role in the solution to some of these challenges is really, really important because then that gives you the energy to drive forward. It gives you a more optimistic and positive outlook.

The Full Transcript: Episode 143 with Steve Schmida

This transcript has been lightly edited.

Host Raj Daniels 02:02

If you were asked to share something interesting about yourself, what would it be?

Steve Schmida 02:07

I was born in the US, but I spent my entire professional career working on things overseas. I’ve worked directly in about 50 countries. My company works in about 90 in total. So it’s a little bit of a different career path than I think for a lot of folks.

Host Raj Daniels 02:38

Can you give me an example of some of the countries you’ve worked in and some of the projects that you’re doing there?

Steve Schmida 02:42

Sure. Before I founded the company, I spent about 10 years…well, let me go back to the beginning. I was a Russian literature major. So I was set up to be gainfully unemployed. But then the Soviet Union collapsed while I was in college. 

I ended up spending the first 10 years of my career more or less living and working first in Central Asia, in Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan, and then later in Russia. Working on projects, mainly to help with the transition from a planned economy, to a market-based democracy in those countries with varying degrees of success.

Ever since founding the company, I’ve gone on to work basically all over the world, a lot of work in Subsaharan Africa, Southeast Asia, South Asia, a little bit in Latin America. I’m not a Spanish speaker, so it was a little bit less there. 

The types of projects we typically get involved in, are we like to say we solve wicked challenges, right? We hope companies, governments, communities come together around a problem and try to solve it. And that could be an environmental problem. It could be a social problem, it could be an economic problem.

Host Raj Daniels 04:05

So let me rewind a bit. Can you tell me about the decision to become a Russian literature major?

Steve Schmida 04:09

I was sort of a nerdy kid and was always had this interest in the broader world. In the latter stages of the Cold War in the late mid to late 80s, when I was in middle school and then in high school, just caught the Russia bug and had the good fortune — this was during the sort of glasnost and perestroika period of Gorbachev — to go on a student exchange to Moscow and then what was known as Leningrad, which is now St. Petersburg. And that really whetted my appetite. I’m a big lover of Russian culture, Russian literature, Russian art, and really just enjoyed living in that part of the world.

Host Raj Daniels 04:58

Are you a fan of the Russian Banja System?

Steve Schmida 05:00

Oh, the Banja. Yes, yes. I’ve spent many, many hours in Banja, getting beaten by birch branches and jumping out into ponds or into the snow. Yeah, for sure.

Host Raj Daniels 05:16

And the vodka shot to round it off?

Steve Schmida 05:19

Yeah, it’s one of those activities that’s right on the line between pleasure and aggravating.

Host Raj Daniels 05:28

I know what you mean. So you know, you mentioned your company, can you give the audience an overview of Resonance and your role at the organization?

Steve Schmida 05:35

Sure. Resonance is a global development and corporate sustainability consulting firm. On the global development side, we work with international donor agencies, folks like the US Agency for International Development. We’ve worked with the Inter-American Development Bank and some others. And then on the corporate sustainability side, we tend to work with Fortune 100 companies, names that you might know, like, PepsiCo or Microsoft, Cargill, that sort of thing. 

What we do is help those companies and those organizations tackle really big challenges. So for example, we worked with, say, PepsiCo and USAID on empowering women in PepsiCo’s supply chain, particularly among their smallholder farmers in places like India, Colombia, and some other places. 

We come in, we help the partners sometimes identify these problems, help define approaches to solving them, helping them identify partners that they can work with, and who can maybe perhaps co-fund or co-invest in a solution together. And then once they’ve got the partnership together, in some cases will come in and help manage the implementation. We do this in areas around climate-smart agriculture, we do a fair amount in natural resource management and climate change. We also have done these partnerships in health, education, renewable energy, pretty much in almost every industry vertical you can think of.

Host Raj Daniels 07:18

Let’s take the example of a smallholder farm you mentioned, why is a smallholder farm somewhere in Asia important to PepsiCo?

Steve Schmida 07:27

It’s a great question. It’s one of these things that seems counterintuitive. However, if you’re the CEO of PepsiCo, one of your largest growth markets right now is in Asia, right. And specifically, South Asia is a major growth market. 

In a place like India, for example, as the middle class grows, the demand for products like crisps, right? Potato chips are beginning to really grow rapidly. But in a country like India, you’re very much reliant on smallholder farmers to provide the supply of potatoes. It’s not really — especially in many countries, importing staple crops like potatoes, grain, or rice, a lot of countries want to avoid that. They trying to maintain their domestic production. 

So if you’re the CEO of PepsiCo, and you’ve got a growing demand in one of your fastest-growing markets for potato crisps, and you need more potatoes and agricultural production in India, the productivity is declining because of climate change and due to folks migrating from villages into cities. You have to tackle that, right? That becomes a really big problem. Because if you can’t get those potatoes, you can’t meet your growth targets that you need to deliver to Wall Street. 

So there’s a very direct business link between that smallholder farmer sitting and working in rural India and a CEO in a Fortune 100 company. It seems a little tenuous at first, but then once you start to think about where is the growth coming from for most companies? A lot of it’s coming from emerging markets. And then once you start to think through supply chains, you can start to see the linkages.

Host Raj Daniels 09:21

You know, I think people like you, that take a holistic view of the world realize that everything is connected.

Steve Schmida 09:31

I think you start to appreciate that not only is it connected, but we can all contribute in different ways. And I think that’s really important whether you’re that smallholder farmer in India. They have a valuable role to play in the global economy, and we should never neglect that. Just because the CEO of a big company gets more publicity, that’s important too, but that we all have roles to play.

Host Raj Daniels 10:01

Absolutely agree. Let’s get tactical for a moment. You know, let’s take the PepsiCo example. When does a client like that call you in? Maybe you can give us a framework or a lens through which to view the work you do. How do you help them when they have a problem or situation like that? Or let me rephrase in your words, a wicked problem?

Steve Schmida 10:20

I’ll say, traditionally, how companies have come to us have been, they’ve already recognized they have a wicked problem and they’re trying to tackle it. 

These companies have a lot of resources, tremendous expertise, access to capital markets, and that sort of thing. They tried to tackle it on their own, and sometimes they struggle with that, and they don’t get the results they’re looking for. 

That’s usually when our phone rings. There’s been a recognition that they have a persistent problem in the sustainability or impact realm, and they can’t quite get at it. They need other partners, other players to come to the table. And so very often, what we will do with the client is, first things first get very crisp on the problem definition. What is it we’re trying to solve? 

And by problem, I don’t just mean a negative. Sometimes problems can be negatives. Sometimes it can be opportunities. So I don’t want to frame it all as dealing with negative issues. It can also be opportunities as well. 

We get very crisp on that. Look at what the company’s capabilities and resources are, and then start mapping that against other stakeholders. Those could be international donor agencies, development finance institutions, non-governmental organizations, host governments, foundations, impact investors, and starting to map all of that together to see okay, where do we have gaps in our ability to get something done to solve this issue? And where can others come in who might also see this as an opportunity, or have this as a problem that they’re trying to solve? 

For example, in the PepsiCo case, I was talking about. The reason PepsiCo was approaching USAID is USAID has a major focus on empowering women, generally, and makes major investments in agriculture. So they had both the interest in smallholder farmers and in empowering women. 

For PepsiCo, that was a natural fit because they were also dealing with this issue of increasing agricultural productivity. And where they landed on empowering women was really interesting. Their team did some research on smallholder agriculture. And if you look at it, the number one way to increase productivity yields an income for smallholder farmers worldwide — this is pretty universal — is increasing the role of women in decision-making on the farm. That’s financial decision-making, but that’s also things like planting, how resources are being used, and that sort of thing. And so that became the genesis of this partnership. 

That’s how PepsiCo was able to go from a problem to working very actively on what I believe is a $25 million partnership together to try to solve the challenge.

Host Raj Daniels 13:37

That’s amazing. You know, you mentioned some very well-known names, PepsiCo, Microsoft, I believe you said, Cargill, also, these Fortune 10 of Fortune 50, 100 companies have a good amount of resources to put towards sustainability. ESG, SDGs, from the UN. What about the middle market? Where do you see the opportunities in the middle market right now and going forward?

Steve Schmida 14:02

As we come out of this pandemic, I think middle-market companies, this sustainability question, that has gone from being sort of a nice to have maybe it was something that big companies brought to Davos to the World Economic Forum — to now something that investors, employees, customers are asking about pretty intently. I don’t see this going away. 

What we can bring to the table is to help middle-market companies recognize that some of these issues they don’t need to tackle totally on their own. That they can work in collaboration with their communities and with other organizations that have shared interests. Particularly when tackling some of these issues in sustainability that are quite complex, having other actors in to work with and to share resources and share risks and that sort of thing can be really powerful. 

The middle market we’re seeing, I think we’re going to see sustainability move very much to the center of the agenda over the next four or five years.

Host Raj Daniels 15:13

So if there’s a middle-market CEO, or you know, C-level executive listening to this podcast, if they reach out to you, do you have a framework or perhaps some kind of guidelines that will help them at least start looking or learning about these areas?

Steve Schmida 15:29

We do. In fact, one of the things that I think we would say to that CEO is hey, look, the first thing is, let’s understand, have they gone through mapping their business and really understanding where the sustainability issues are? Creating some sort of benchmarking. A lot of companies have done that initial work very often. 

But then the next step is, what are the things that we can solve ourselves? And what are the things that maybe it’s a problem that is sort of outside the factory fence, but that the company is involved with? 

So for example, let’s say maybe it’s early childhood education in your workforce in a factory in Brazil. Or maybe it’s an issue around the way an extractive facility is creating noise or pollution in surrounding communities. Then it becomes what we’re going to be able to do is help that CEO understand who else are the other stakeholders, map assets, and then start to work on figuring out who’s going to be the best, who are the best partners so that you’re not just making partnerships. 

Because maybe the CEO knows the head of a local nonprofit, and they golf together. And very often, when you see some of these collaborations between companies, and nonprofits, or companies and governments, I call them golf course partnerships. And those aren’t always bad, but they’re usually risky. At the end of the day, they’re risky, because they’re obviously, they’re not data-driven necessarily. They’re relationship-driven. 

So what we do is give frameworks for clients to be able to make data-driven decisions around who to partner with how to partner, and then how to set metrics for success.

Host Raj Daniels 17:29

And to tee off on something you said earlier regarding not always problems and sometimes opportunities. I think, reframing some of these challenges around ESG, or SDGs going forward, these companies can look at these as opportunities to differentiate themselves, perhaps from the competition. I had someone on recently, where sustainability can actually be a competitive advantage.

Steve Schmida 17:53

I think sustainability is going to be a competitive advantage in four or five key areas. We’ve already talked about the ESG, the investor component. 

I think the second component is customers. Depending on who your customer base is, the best customers are going to be demanding that you’re mindful of these things. So that’s going to be really important. The top tier of your customers will be demanding this. 

Then another key element that often gets overlooked is your employees. Most companies are in a battle for talent to get the best people they can working for them. I think particularly with the younger generation, with Millennials and Gen Z, but even going into Gen X, I would say, you can attract better talent by showing that you’re committed to sustainability. 

I would say the fourth reason, to think about sustainability as an opportunity is, the UN is estimated about a $12 trillion market for the Sustainable Development Goals. That can be tapped into. So it’s a massive potential upside market opportunity. 

And then lastly, I think, it’s also, to your point, an area for differentiation, right? You can differentiate your company in the marketplace, not just vis a vis, existing customers, but raise your brand value as well. And so I think those are some of the ways that it can be not just additive, but even transformative. 

Host Raj Daniels

I like that additive and transformative. So I’m going to switch gears here and get to the crux of our conversation, which is the why behind what you do. You know, you mentioned the Russian lit major, fluent in Russian, lived in 40 countries. How did you come to start Resonance and why did you do it? What keeps you going? 

Steve Schmida

I would say what led me to start it wasn’t a series of small epiphanies. It wasn’t one aha moment. 

When I was working in Kazakhstan and then later in Russia, I was working for an American foundation. We were being approached by multinational and local companies to manage their sort of corporate philanthropy programs. Maybe it was a program for an orphanage or a scholarship program for kids. All good stuff. But not very transformative or impactful. It was all sort of corporate philanthropy work. 

But then over time, what happened is those clients would come back to us, and they’d say, “Hey, you know, we saw that, in addition to this work you’re doing with us, you work with entrepreneurs, and you develop small and medium enterprises. We have a problem with local suppliers at our facility in Siberia, or, you know, any other location. Can you help us?” 

And that was a real epiphany for me, where I saw that the tools I had been developing as a professional in global development, had relevance to core business issues. That was the insight that led to the establishment of the company. 

And so essentially, what happened was, in 2004, my family and I were living in Moscow, as expatriates. We packed up and moved to Vermont. I had family in New England, but not in Vermont specifically. So, it was sort of kind of coming in cold to Vermont literally, because it was also coming to winter. Had looked at the market and had recognized nobody was looking at this. 

Now, this was back in 2004. So we were a little ahead of the curve, so to speak. But in hindsight, it turned out to be a good thing. Because I was coming out of the nonprofit sector, I had a lot to learn about running a company, a lot to learn about consulting, and was able to hang on and learn as the market was sort of slowly shifting towards the way we were looking at the world. 

The question of what drives me, I would say, I look at it as like, we’re in a race. The global population is going to hit 10 billion, roughly around 2050. For this to be a habitable planet, we’re in a race to try to figure out how to help markets and businesses head in the right direction around sustainability. 

I think this is the type of thing where, very often it’s presented as an adversarial thing where you have folks saying, it’s businesses and companies causing all these problems. And that’s not true. It’s all of us collectively, first of all. And second of all, over the last 30 years, more people have come out of poverty worldwide than at any other time in human history. So we’re getting a lot of things right. 

But if we don’t reduce our impact on the planet, in some way, shape, or form, and in a pretty serious way, we’re in deep trouble. And so that’s what kind of drives me is, how can I use Resonance as a platform to help others tackle these issues? That’s the way I look at things and kind of what gets me out of bed in the morning.

Host Raj Daniels 23:32

You know, you mentioned poverty a couple of times, and you said, reducing the impact on the planet. Why is heading in the right direction important to you?

Steve Schmida 23:48

The data suggests as incomes rise, a number of environmental impacts start to lessen. Because consume more of certain types of resources, but they also consume less of others, and systems become more efficient. 

Countries have more money to invest. If you look at what’s happened in China, just in the last decade, 10 years ago, the stereotype was sort of Beijing constantly covered in smog. Today, not saying Beijing’s air is perfect by any stretch, but there’s been a huge shift there. And a large part of that is because as they’ve developed a middle class, the middle class both demands it and creates the tax base to clean it up. 

I think the inner linkage between poverty and sustainability is really important to understand. We can’t have a world of poor people and a sustainable planet. We’ve got to bring everybody as much as we can, help everybody unlock opportunity, and come along with us on the journey.

Host Raj Daniels 24:52

I don’t know if you’re familiar with Hans Rosling, but he had some great TED Talks regarding the same thing you just talked about. How when incomes go up people’s life actually get cleaner and how we’re moving in that direction.

Steve Schmida 25:05

I have. I actually had the good fortune of hearing him give a talk before he passed away, at the State Department. It was one of the most fascinating conversations I’ve ever got to sit in on. He did all the data bubbles and, and all of that. 

I think people so focus on the negative of what’s happening in the world, that they don’t take a step back and really look at it — we’ve made so many huge advances as a society. It’s almost unbelievable, where we are today. 

The way I look at it is we don’t want to throw the baby out with the bathwater. There are things we have to change and work on. But there are so many wonderful things that have happened, whether that’s eliminating so many of these horrible childhood diseases, getting kids into school. 

Most kids in the world go to school today. That wasn’t true, even 30, 40 years ago. But most kids are in school, almost all kids are in school. And that’s remarkable progress that I think we don’t give ourselves collective credit for. And I think we should. I think Hans Rosling did a great job of sort of calling this out.

Host Raj Daniels 26:20

He did some great work, because. So if my math is correct, 2004. So you’re 16, 17 years into your journey? What are some of the most valuable lessons that you’ve learned about yourself?

Steve Schmida 26:37

Well, I like to say I have the most expensive MBA. I don’t actually have an MBA, but I’ve got the most expensive MBA in the world, because of all the mistakes I’ve made. I’m fortunate that the company has survived them. 

Some of the biggest things I’ve learned are really the importance of hiring the best people who are also good people so that they have the right skills, but they also align with our values and our vision. That’s really important. 

I’m a big believer in — and this is somewhat the nature of, of consulting so it’s somewhat obvious — but the importance of relationships beyond transactions. So if there are ways we can pay it forward, and help somebody out, even if they’re not an existing client, we will usually try to do it to the extent we can, and that’s an important part of who we are as a company. 

I would say the other things I learned as an entrepreneur were that I’m really not good at a lot of things. In my case, what happened was, as the company started to grow, my wife gradually got more and more involved in sort of running the back end of the business, if you will. At a certain point, she was just like, “You need to get out of any running of the company. You need to go do your thing. You need to be out with clients, you need to be out working with people designing solutions, and things like that. You’re not the best at running HR, or understanding our accounting issues and stuff like that.” 

And so my wife actually became the CEO. And I think she has been incredibly important in our growth because I think we would be probably 10 people right now if it were me because I would be making lots of silly business systems and processes mistakes. She’s really helped us build the systems and processes and the culture to scale.

Host Raj Daniels 28:49

Well, I’m glad she’s on your side. You mentioned earlier about hiring good people. How do you identify good people?

Steve Schmida 28:58

It’s an evolving area. First, there are competencies and skills. Those are sort of baseline and relatively easy to track. 

Then I think what we look for are, what are those soft skills? You know, we look for things like does this person have empathy? Empathy is incredibly important in our work. 

Do they seem to have contextual intelligence? In other words, can they place a problem in a broader context? Because often that’s really important for us to help a client place a problem in a broader context so that we can bring others to the table. 

Authenticity. We’re trying to bring folks together to collaborate, but it means being very authentic in your signaling and with people so that they understand where they stand with you, and vice versa. And I think that’s incredibly important. 

And then lastly, we do look for folks who because of the nature of the work we do, just have this impulse to roll up their sleeves and help out. Who are the types of folks that say, “There’s a problem? Oh, how can I help?” That for us is incredibly important. It’s very powerful inside of our corporate culture. It’s 99% positive. The 1% negative is that folks can get spread really thin, right? Because they want to help out everybody. And you can’t do that. That’s something that we sort of have to tackle and manage on an ongoing basis. But I would say those are some key things we look for.

Host Raj Daniels 30:38

I can see your hiring ad right now. Wanted: Wicked Problem Solvers.

Steve Schmida 30:45

Yeah, you know, but it’s, we’ve discovered wicked has different meanings in different contexts.

Host Raj Daniels 30:50

It does, it does. So let’s move into the future here. It’s 2030. What’s next? What does the future hold for Resonance? What would you like to see how you’d like to see Resonance in 2030?

Steve Schmida 31:03

I think maybe start that question with what we’d like to see in the world. And then where we fit into?

Host Raj Daniels 31:08

I love it. Take it from there.

Steve Schmida 31:10

I think what we want to see in the business world is that sustainability has gone from nice to have to really important to have to really central to corporate strategy. Because, to be honest, in a world of 10 billion, sustainability is going to be central to pretty much everything a business does. 

If by 2030, most businesses have started to recognize that they have to have sustainability central to what they do, I think we’re off to a really good start. 

And then I think where Resonance fits in on that is helping companies that are dealing with what I would call leading-edge problems, things that are new that they haven’t encountered before, are around sustainability and impact. And where we can really help out. 

I think once a problem becomes really well understood and goes from a wicked problem to just a, you know, a simple or a complicated problem where there’s a known solution set, I think that that’s where we see others coming into play roles. We see ourselves constantly as we’re the ones really tackling the really hard thorny problems to solve.

Host Raj Daniels 32:24

I like that you take care of the thorny problems. And once you can systemize it, you pass it on.

Steve Schmida 32:29

Yeah, yeah. And, it keeps us on our toes.

Host Raj Daniels 32:33

Absolutely. Absolutely. Steve, last question. And this could be professional or personal. But if you could share some advice, and, you know, while you were talking, I can really sense enthusiasm, and also optimism, just the way you’re reframing some of your answers, especially around problems and opportunities. But if you can share some words of advice or wisdom with the audience, what would it be?

Steve Schmida 32:53

As I was saying before, I am an optimist. I think thinking about the world as, yes, we have a lot of problems we’re facing, and they’re serious ones, but always keeping in mind that that, we do have the opportunity, and we’re empowered in so many ways to solve them. 

I think it’s important for young professionals, in particular, to be very, very intentional, as they’re picking their career paths. Because if you want a better world, you have to position yourself — you don’t have to go out and be an activist, although that’s a great thing to do. I’m not degrading being an activist. But there are so many ways with whatever skill set you have that you can be part of the solution. And I think thinking of yourself as having a role in the solution to some of these challenges is really, really important because then that gives you the energy to drive forward. It gives you a more optimistic and positive outlook.


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