Each season of Just Stories has a different eight-episode theme. The show kicks off with “Recycled Dreams,” featuring eight CEOs who have woven giving back into their business strategies.
These episodes will give you a blueprint for doing the same in the most efficient way possible, which is making their learnings your reality.
Solutions to problems tackled on this episode:
1. You want to start giving back as a business but it seems like too hard
2. You think just because you aren’t necessarily a “green” brand that you cannot give back to the planet
1% For The Planet is a Global non-profit that is doing so many amazing things around the world, I wish I had a 100 episodes to talk to CEO Kate Williams about all they are doing! It’s hard to have a series called “Recycled Dreams” that focuses on giving back and not highlight a company like hers. In this podcast you will get to know the person behind this global force for good and hopefully come away motivated to get involved giving back! We talk about teenage nuclear disarmament think tanks (what were you doing in high school!) and pursuing one’s dreams…this episode truly has it all!
Be sure to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts and never miss an episode.
Brett Thornton: Okay, so welcome back to another episode of just stories with Beatty. This week, I am so excited because I have an amazing guest that is going to blow you guys away, especially because we are in the middle of the recycled dream series, which is really focusing around companies, entrepreneurs, CEOs, people who have based their business model around giving back or organizations that are receiving that and then what they’re doing with it. And so, there’s no better person to talk about this than Kate, who’s the CEO of 1% for the planet. So, thank you so much. Welcome to Just stories.
Kate Williams: Thank you. I’m so excited to be here.
Brett Thornton: Yes. So generally, when you go into a podcast, right, the first part of the podcast is this whole get to know you tell the audience about where you’re from a little backstory, but what I’ve learned is that sometimes people don’t know where to stop with an intro. So, it goes for like a half an hour on this intro tangent. And so, because of that, I am going to introduce you today. And then when I’m done, you can tell me what I missed. Sound good?
Kate Williams: Perfect. I love it.
Brett Thornton: Okay, so world, me, Kate, the CEO of 1% for the planet, and I’m going to intro you in 30 seconds or less. Are you ready?
Kate Williams: Yes.
Brett Thornton: Go. Okay, so she was born in Boston. She grew up in a house that her parents lived in for 47 years, was very draughty. She has two older brothers. As a kid, a pivotable moment for her was she learned that she could run really fast, which led her into doing many different sports, including singing in the choir, and writing for the school newspaper. She was extremely busy her first job; this will blow you away. Because mine was like, you know, delivering pizza or something. Her first job was being a research assistant for a think tank focused on nuclear disarmament. We’re going to get back to this trust me. For college, she went to a small school. No one’s ever heard about called Princeton. Yes, she’s very smart history major. For career path. She did different things focusing on do I protect the planet do I fight for the planet, all these types of things that obviously eventually led her to 1% for the planet. She has an amazing spouse is she married in 1992, which led to two children, one born in 1999, Anika and in 2002, Theron, they are the love of her life. And a big year was 2014, which is when she went to 1% for the planet as a director of partnerships. And then it took her a whole long time to become the CEO actually took one-year 2015. And then in 21, she was on the just stories, podcast.
Kate Williams: You got everything. Nothing was needed.
Brett Thornton: Nothing more. Right. There was nothing, no gaps there. So let’s backtrack a minute. And you have to tell me about this. Out in the world as a teenager, did you get involved in nuclear disarmament?
Kate Williams: I know it’s such a crazy first job. And I have to say, it was like a senior project in high school. And then I turned it into a summer job. And I honestly nearly went a little crazy, because the guy I was working for is really nice, and but I was pretty restless and it was so quiet. I remember CES building with all these people thinking all the time, and I’d have to like go outside and like walk around the block several times. So, it was fascinating, great opportunity. But I think it probably would have been a little more fun to scoop ice cream or deliver pizza, honestly.
Brett Thornton: Yes. And have you always been, you know, just focused on, you know, sustainability or the planet or giving? Like, how did that come about?
Kate Williams: I think probably two things like my family spent a lot of time outside. So, you know, I remember my parents taking us camping, we had one of those like smelly old Canvas tents that people had back in the day, and I remember going on like camping trips, and my dad was from the west and so we would drive across the country in our VW van and those were just like, awesome family memories. So that was a big part of it is just like fun I didn’t think of it is like being outdoors or anything. It was just like a fun thing that you did as a family.
Brett Thornton: Yeah.
Brett Thornton2: So very fortunate for that and then, like more of a moment was when I was a teen and spend some time in the mountains and just had this like incredibly intense, awesome experience and culminating in a moment where I was just like, I love this. This is what I want to do with my life. But I didn’t know exactly what I meant. But that was a moment that definitely set me on the path that led me to where I am now.
Brett Thornton: Yeah. And before you got to 1% for the planet were you doing were any of you their jobs or what led you to that? Like how did how did you get 1% from the planet?
Kate Williams: Yeah, I mean, I have my career kind of had two chapters broadly, which sounds like I knew that going into it, if you know just want to make clear upfront that like most of life, for me at least has been like figuring it out as I go and not being really clear if the step I’m about to take is gonna lead me exactly where I want to go and but when I look back, it’s all kind of hung together. So, looking back kind of two big chunks one, being an outdoor educator for about 10 years after I graduated from college, just because I had these wonderful experiences and realize like, well, I want to connect other people to having these experiences, because then they’ll fall in love with the outdoors, and they’ll fight for it. So, and I loved it, like it was awesome to spend a bunch of nights outside every year and, you know, great relationships with people along the way. So there’s that chapter, and then I did want to stop spending all of my nights outside and I also felt like I wanted to kind of be doing the work to protect those places. So I shifted over to environmental nonprofits and that, you know, ultimately led me to 1% I would say, for me, like most things happened as a combination of like some preparedness, and then some serendipity. So in the case of 1%, I live in this really small town in Vermont and 1% of the planet happened to be based in this small town, we’ve now moved to Burlington, Vermont, which is our big city with like, people. But um, but at that time, when I was like, looking to make a change from my former job, I was talking to the people I want present for the planet who are right across the street and kind of one thing led to another and I was able to shift over there, which is a really great opportunity, and definitely some serendipity there.
Brett Thornton: Yeah. I mean, that’s life, though, right? I mean, we take one moment, and it leads to the next moment, you never know, you know, and at the other day, I think you look back and you realize that, you know, the investment you make in the people in the relationships on the way is usually what catapult you to something new and I think that being that you’re on a podcast, especially, that’s a lot of people in this, this mattress kind of sleep world will listen to a lot of these, these people may never heard of 1% of the planet, you know, so if you could, like, let’s do imagine, it’s just it’s a 60sec overview, right? Like, what is the like, Hey, here’s what we’re about, here’s how we do it, just so everyone can kind of level set on, on your organization.
Kate Williams: Absolutely. So, 1% for the planets, a global network of members, we have businesses and individuals who are members, primarily businesses right now. and the way a member is that they commit to giving back 1% and the 1% is of their sales and, that’s a big number, it’s a real number. But we help do that. So we help companies learn how to figure out their giving strategy, who to give to how to make it an integral part of their business, how to become part of our community, and have a lot of fun doing that and then we certify that giving so everyone who has that brand, is, you know, is a certified, give back company, which is amazing. Or give forward.
Brett Thornton: Give forward. I love that and that’s perfect. That’s a good level set and you guys are all around the world. Correct.
Kate Williams: Now we’re global. We’re actually, as of last year, we became a little more international than we are us. We were founded in the US and kind of had a lot of growth there. But now we’re about 52% International, which is pretty cool.
Brett Thornton: Wow, that’s amazing. Okay, so we’re gonna get back to that later. Like, I really want to wrap my head around the giving part and how you connect with these businesses. But like I said, I really want to get to know you better, right? Like, we want to know Kate, the person and how Kate the person became Kate the CEO and so I love to do that through stories, and I would love to hear from you. You know, if you think back at your career, you know, what is something one or two stories that you could think of that were really funny, like things that just happened to you that you know, when you look back now and you love it or you love to tell it?
Kate Williams: Yeah, this is a fun one to think about. Because most of them were like, like thinking about the embarrassing moments in my life. So, I was like, alright, which ones am I willing to share? So, one is actually not a super embarrassing one. It’s just a really funny experience. I my first job out of college was working for was a six-month internship with a newspaper in Paoli, Colorado, which is in the western slope of the Rockies, really great little fruit growing town and it was working for this newspaper called High Country news. And so, they did a, like an intro of the interns. I was an intern in the paper and so after that intern article appeared, one of the readers reached out and said, hey, interns like come paddle West water Canyon with us. As a great Yeah, yeah. And of course, and then the other interns were like, now, you know, we’re not going to and, but one of them was like, okay, you can go along, like you’re a young woman, I was like, well, then you have to come with me. I mean, I’m going so, um, so he came with me, and we paddled West water and it was really fun. We just showed up and there were these readers of the newspaper who provided everything for us and we just like had our little bags and hopped in the boat and it was so much fun and it’s a you know, there are definitely some wild sections of that river and we, that my fellow intern Devlin and I were in the boat coming into this one rapid called the room of doom and it’s a pretty big one.
Brett Thornton: It was always a good sign when you’re heading something.
Kate Williams: Yeah, and you could like see it, it was this like, carved out root room and the wall of the canyon that had this big swirling Eddy in it, where you could just get trapped and so that we had been building up to this one and building up to it and our guide was awesome and you know, we’re paddling hard, and, you know, everything was focused on like, don’t go into the room of doom and so, you know, Devin and I were like, paddling our hardest and then all sudden, we, our guide wasn’t yelling at us anymore and we’re like, oh, like, we must be doing a great job and then it was like, really silent behind us and we’re kind of heading toward the room of doom and so we look back and there’s no guide, he was, like, gotten bounced out of the boat and, you know, I know that that happened. Like that’s in itself is not that funny, although actually was hilarious to see like him kind of flying through the air. But what we did we just, we could not stop laughing like, I was paralyzed, we couldn’t even paddle like, we were laughing so hard that we were like, headed toward the rim of doom and him falling out of the boat and fortunately, we just barely sort of, you know, bounced off the far edge and continued downstream, and everyone’s fine in the end. But um, like, honestly, that was like, my only injury was I like, pulled out like muscle in my abdomen from laughing so hard while paddling. So that was a really fun one, and just a great memory of laughing and then one other just like really brief story, which is more embarrassing about me, because I feel like that, you know, that’s always good to like, reveal those. But I’ve always had dogs and when I was in graduate school, I actually had a job and this was in downtown Boston, and I was putting out my dog in the morning before like running to catch the bus because I took public transportation everywhere and so the dog, of course, I had a like, big presentation or something and the dog was of course being like, naughty. So, I like got her and like, got her inside and then like ran down and like just barely made it onto the bus and then I was like, somebody smells like, smells bad and I was kind of looking around and other people were kind of looking around, and I looked down and the dog had like rolled in compost and it was smeared, like all over my leg. And I was going into this like, job and presentation and like I was on the bus there was like no going back and like nowhere to go. So, I just, like smelled like compost that whole day while doing like this important presentation showing up. So that’s me.
Brett Thornton: Did you get any weird looks? Or do you think people just played it cool?
Kate Williams: Well, it was a funny moment and like, you know, in the weird way that people don’t say something like, that’s really disgust, which was, you know, and I sat there thinking, like, should I own this? Like, I saw, like, it’s my dog and I didn’t so it’s just this like, funny, awkward human moment of like, people being people in weird ways that we are together sometimes.
Brett Thornton: Yeah. it’s that, like, decision of like, well, if I own it, then at least it’s out there and it’s cool. Or I can just totally play it off and maybe no notice,
Kate Williams: It’s just and look at that guy being really awkward next week and find like amusement in that so yeah, that was a funny one.
Brett Thornton: That was awesome. I like I talked to people I work with a lot or people on my team. There’s this movie that came out back in the day with a m&m Eight Mile on if you’ve ever seen it, but, so he, you know, he’s underground hip hop artists and he does these rap battles where they battle against people and the very last one, he finally makes it, and the whole movie is a struggle, and he gets to the end, he’s doing really well. He’s going up against the main other like rapper, you know, and they’re going against this hip hop battle, and he goes first and he gets the mic and instead of like rapping about this guy, or whatever, he says, all the things that he thinks the guy’s gonna make fun of him for. So, he’s like, my mom lives in a trailer park, like my buddy shot himself, like, the all these different things and then he gives the mic to the guy and he’s got nothing to say. Like, he doesn’t, he just sits there. He doesn’t. He’s like, he took all my stuff. He took all my ammo and I always tell people, especially for interviews, you know, I always like to say like, hey, if there’s things that you think people are going to be concerned about, about you just say, bring it up, you know, and then take that away from them, then let them know why that’s not an issue or whatever, you know, generally people, okay, because sometimes if you just let it hang up, if you have no idea, is it an issue as well they bring it up or they not you know what I mean? so we’ll never know, you know, people want to go home, and I’d be like, Oh, my gosh, this Kate, she smelled real bad.
Kate Williams: Yeah, like she laughs really hard when approaching near death.
Brett Thornton: So, I love it. okay, so, changing gears. That’s great. A lot of highlights. You know, we learned a little bit about you, but I’d love to hear about, you know, you don’t get to be a CEO of a global organization without some setbacks and some failures and some struggles, you know, and I’d love to hear from you a time. When that happened to you, know, and how, why? And then what happened after how did you get past? or What did you learn from it?
Kate Williams: So I have like a personal one and a professional one, they kind of like come together in a way so that, um, so first one is my mom who an amazing woman, I’m very close to her. I’ve, as you mentioned, I have two older brothers. So, I’m the only girl my husband only has brothers like, I definitely feel like I’m kind of always around a bunch of bunch of guys and my mom has just always been this incredibly bright light in my life and she was an amazing kind of groundbreaker. She was ordained as an Episcopal priest when I was in eighth grade, which was, you know, very, sort of unique then and she was awesome. She wasn’t a proselytizer, you know, she was always the kind of live the questions person, but just chooses this amazing, radiant person and when my daughter was born, and my husband’s mom has actually said, you’ll only have boys, and I’m super stubborn. So, the second she said that it’s like new, my, you know, good to have a girl, and starting out her first child was a girl and so when she was born, you know, felt like this kind of great lineage with my mom. But that same year, my mom started showing signs of some really early dementia and so for most of, you know, the process of raising my kids, I was also losing my mom and three years ago, she passed away and that was, you know, I was CEO 1% of the planet at that time and, you know, it’s just a really big moment, because she, you know, to be gradually losing someone who’s really important to you over time, while also building your family life and for me, my professional life, you know, it was extremely hard and when she died, it was a really interesting moment for me, because there were some challenges that we were kind of working through at 1% and I just had some really powerful moments of realizing like, okay, like, my mom’s gone, and I’m feeling this big hole where she was, and what she would tell me right now is to pull through all of the things that were amazing, like she had given them to me. So, you know, really, that became such a moment of strength for me, because I realized like, Oh, she’s not there to be the radiant person in the room, I need to bring that forward, or she’s not there to be the one. She was awesome. That conversation like she would always she was terrible at small talk and awesome at, like, real conversation. So, you’d always ask those real questions, like, tell me more about that. And so, I just really focused more on channeling that, and it’s been pretty amazing to feel like, how the opportunity to just incorporate her in me, and I guess, you know, I realized like, you don’t have to wait until your mom dies to do that. But it was such an important step for me to take in and now informs who I am as a leader, like very much kind of how she showed up in the world. You know, we’ve always people always said we were very similar, but I feel way more intentional about bringing that forward and in the last year, we had, there were some, like challenges that, you know, are kind of the challenges that you have when you’re running an organization, you know, personnel types of things, and just her like integrity and radiance and the way that she navigated the world and, like, asked real questions, it was honest about herself, like, that, definitely informed who I am and how I show up. And I think where I am to because she was, so she’s always so encouraging of like, you know, you can do anything like live your dreams and figure out your dreams along the way.
Brett Thornton: Yeah. Love that. So, in honor of Your mom, I would like you to tell me more about this. Because, you know, how did you navigate? So here you are, you’re CEO, of a big company, it’s growing obviously, fast. You’re expanding internationally, you’re doing things and then, like you said, and your mom is slowly, you know, declining and, obviously, at work, everybody’s counting on you. Right? Like how in those moments, like, how did you balance that? How did you balance the two, you know, how do you have the strength to carry on one side over here? and as you’re going through this?
Kate Williams: Yeah, that’s a really great question. I appreciate you asking that and I, you know, there are definitely times when I felt like wait a second, like who do I get to lean on you know, and it is real challenge and, you know, I guess a few things. One, I’m very fortunate to be really close to my immediate family. So my husband and my two kids are awesome and so, you know, they My husband is always been like such a big champion. So he definitely, like, understood what was going on and was able to just, you know, say keep, keep going and you know, we got you and my brother, I’m really close to one of my both my brothers, but one of them in particular. So kind of like using my resources of people like that was huge of, you know, just being honest and I wasn’t always good at this, but being honest about what I needed to be, like, propped up at home and, and accessing that. So that was one. The other thing is I’m, you know, I’m a big, like runner, and like, go do long, hard things outside and I definitely tapped into that during this time, unfortunately, I live in a place where I can go on, like a long trail run or a, you know, long ski or, you know, something like that and that, you know, it was huge, just because I would feel like I could kind of get back in my body and like, get focused and like, big round and then I think, you know, in my, my better days, I think I would see the opportunity in like, you know, not so much feeling like I have a staff that’s leaning on me, but more like I have this amazing staff that I love that I get to connect with. And so it’s like not taking energy from me, it’s like, give it to me and I would say, you know, that’s been the really positive transition, in terms of sort of seeing leadership is yes, of course, people are depending on you, but it’s not a it’s a two-way thing. Like I get so much from the relationships with my staff and learn so much from them and, you know, just love and appreciate that. So there’s such a lift in that. But it’s a great question, because that is a challenge that I know many other people navigate of like, feeling like you’ve got so many things that are that are asked of you, and where do you how do you build a well?
Brett Thornton: No, I, and that’s a great response. You know, I was just listening to podcasts the other day and this lady was talking about imposter syndrome and then she interviews all these different CEOs, and they all talk about it, like, hey, I’m just this person, you know, and I’ve elevated it, but I’m still just this person, you know? and so sometimes they think like, Oh, my God, how can I? How can I do all this, you know, and the thing that I hear a lot, is that it keeps coming back to this team, right? Like, so if you have a great team around you and you know, what are you built that you came into, or whatever, it seems like the problems are always like, Hey, we’re gonna find a solution to make it through together and then as opposed to people who seem to struggle, it’s like, they try to put the weight on their shoulders, you know, especially a lot of CEOs early on, like, I got to do all that I got to prove I can do I get you know, and then that usually ends up, you know, often about the knees at some point, you know, because you can’t not one person can do it all, you know and then what you said about getting outside, I mean, I think that, you know, I, we will always look back at this, this, this 2020 this pandemic, right? It’ll be imprinted in our brains for our whole lives in our kids lives, right? Just like 911 you know, everyone knows where I was what happened, you know, you just have it, this is the same thing this year and so I do on Sundays, when I’m a single dad and my, my kids are always with me on the weekends and Sunday afternoon, we always do this journal, and they write in a journal, something that they’re thankful for that week and then they have goals and this different stuff. So what we did at the end of the year, in January was we went and looked back at the last basically seven months since we started doing it, and just that what they were thankful for and we actually tallied what they said, and so you know, there was you know, family and different things here and there, whatever, but the main thing was the beach, it came up, you know, 20 weeks of last year, whatever their biggest thankful was it was around surfing or be on the beach, or their cousins or whatever, because that was our outlet during the pandemic, was we went to the beach every weekend, all day, Saturday, all day, because there was nothing. What else could you do? That was the thing and the kids. It’s crazy, because they look at 2020 as one of their favorite summers they ever had, because all they did was go to the beach and serve what is what they’d love to do. Right? and they were very fortunate, you know, because they could and we weren’t locked in or whatever. But I just think for me personally, and like you said, you know, like, I needed that time, I needed an hour and a half or two to go surfing disconnect, like and just you out there in nature, you know, and that’s what, when I started surfing when I moved to San Diego in 1998 to go to school, that was the game changer I found is that I’ve always been connected to the environment, but never like that. Surfing brought it to a whole new level, you know, and so I always want to be a part of Surf rider or whatever it was just because you’re like, Oh, this is a connection, you know and so that’s what one of the things I love about 1% from the planet is all these different organizations that are involved, you know, in so many different ways, you know, because the planet affects us in in a million different ways and for everyone is different. That just was happened to be what resonated with me, you know, but I, my friends who mountain bike or hike or whatever, you know, everyone has this thing and it’s like, there just seems to be a different energy that that you get when you’re in nature. You know.
Kate Williams: I think when you’re in nature and you know, you mentioned surfing and you have to be like totally focused and singular, and like in the moment when you’re surfing, right, and, you know, same for me, like when I’m trail running and so much of our lives as you know, in our professional lives, we’re holding together a whole bunch of things and some things due in two weeks, and we’re like, in all sorts of different like, times, our head and so the, you know, the power of nature, both in terms of just the nature itself, but also the way we get to be out there, which, for me is like in the present, and, excuse me, I just think that’s super powerful and important and that’s like a palate cleanse for the brain and the heart.
Brett Thornton: So tell me one last story. You know, what, when was the moment like, what’s a story, you could tell us around a moment, when you realize like, Oh, my gosh, like, I’m having success, or this company’s having success, or like, we’re heading in the right direction, you know, like, is there like, one pivotal moment, you can think back and be like, wow, like this, this is happening?
Kate Williams: Yeah, I mean, I’d sort of, I would slice it into like two parts. Because in a way, for me, there was a moment when I realized like, that I wanted to lean into like creating that and then there was a moment of realizing, and now it’s happening. So I’ll like answer both of those, because my former job as executive director of a smaller nonprofit for 10 years, which is awesome and by the end, I was kind of burnt out, like, I’d been 10 years of running a small nonprofit, and kind of making payroll and all of the things that you kind of hold together, and so I was ready for change and that was when, like, planning plus serendipity led to 1% for the planet and I started as director partnerships, which was kind of stepping out of the ED role, but at a bigger organization. So, I was like, Okay, this will be great. Like, maybe I’m like, kind of turning a corner and doing some different things and, then during that year, they want some planet was doing a CEO search, which I found out about a week after I started. So, it wasn’t something I known going into it and, a really important moment for me was, you know, some people saying, well, Kate, are you going to apply? Like, of course, you would apply? and I was like, well, I don’t know. Like, I have to figure that out and so I thought through it, and sort of fortunately, unfortunately, it was a really long and drawn-out search process. So I had plenty of time to think about it and I the sort of pivotal conversation moment was the board search committee, I decided, Okay, I’m going to just like feel this out. There’s another internal candidate who’s great, and I don’t want to like muddy the waters for him, but I kind of want to just get a sense of where they are. So, I went to the board search committee and said, here’s my resume, like, I could apply, but I want to know, like, are you behind this guy? and like, you know, are you supportive of his candidacy? Because if you are, I’m, I don’t want to run I don’t want to, like, get in the way of that and they said, Yeah, you know, he’s a strong candidate, but you can make your own choice and so I decided, like, you know, what, I’m just gonna keep doing my job. So I, they carried on, the search process played out, they actually ended up offering the position to the other internal guy, but it had taken so long that he had found something else and though in a matter of just like a quick turn around, they kind of came back to me and said, Hey, you know, we saw how you handled that and we were really impressed that would you be interested in the position and 48 hours later, I did take the position and so for me, that whole process was just a realization of like, kind of being true to where I was being sort of, you know, I felt like acting with integrity, and like, just how that all came around and landed me and an opportunity that I was that I was then ready for, which, you know, I sort of needed that year to kind of get ready for so that’s like, part one of my answer and then, you know, and then the really hard work began, just because the year of transition is hard on an organization, so we kind of had to get ourselves back up, you know, get up on top of the water again, and I would say, interestingly, it felt like last year 2020 was when it just became clear to me that we had people in the right places, the right strategy, the membership engagement, that, you know, really helped move us forward. And it was just really interesting, because it was happening in this year when everything else was feeling like it was completely like, not what we expected. But it was just amazing to see how sort of people and strategy and action came together last year, and I just really felt like, I’m exactly where I should be and we’re doing, you know, we’re doing such great work, and I feel really psyched about it.
Brett Thornton: Well, that’s awesome. Love that. Yeah, I think that you know, from people I’m talking to colleagues, friends, and even my own story I started at avocado Korean brands last year. January. So I came in thinking, Oh, yeah, it’s gonna be exciting all these things I’m travelling, we’re gonna open these stores all this exciting stuff and then, you know, two months in, it’s like complete shutdown. But I feel like I wouldn’t trade it for the world as far as timing. Because the relationships built and forged through tough times are, I think, way stronger than you can’t manufacture it, you know, like, we went through so many different hurdles, and came through the other end and now we all have this, this newfound appreciation for one another, you know, and I sound like that probably happened to you guys as well. Right?
Kate Williams: Definitely and I do think, you know, when we’re challenged, we have the opportunity, we don’t always step into it, we have the opportunity to kind of be our best, most creative, most like, we got this self and one of the mottos that I really believe in is that, like, every challenge is an opportunity and, you know, last year it felt like, all right, like, we’re using a lotto again.
Brett Thornton: Yes, but we really have opportunity.
Kate Williams: Yeah, exactly. We really did, like, see it that way. So, you know, we plan to do this, but we can’t do it. Okay, what’s the opportunity in that and, and you start to see, that’s not just, you know, a bunch of words, it’s actually really true that we, you know, when we kind of stripped down what we thought was going to be the right thing, we start seeing what actually could be the right thing in the circumstances and, you know, that’s true all the time. We don’t need to wait for things to get as challenging and sort of pivot filled as last year, you know, all the time, we should be looking at, like, what’s the real opportunity here? So, and last year, just brought us right to that all the time, which is great.
Brett Thornton: Yeah, no doubt. So tell me, I want to get a little bit into the obviously the giving back strategy, right and so a lot of guests I’m talking to are, you know, have businesses where they’re talking about their give back strategy, right. But this conversation is unique because you are the giveback strategy for a lot of people, you know, and so what I want you to like be able to share with the audience is, is what happens when companies put that 1% logo on their, you know, packages, their box, their website, whatever it is, like, what’s happening in the psyche of the consumer, that that they need to know about?
Kate Williams: Love this question. So, our fundamental belief is that everyone has a 1%. And we believe that like, literally, but also figuratively, and, and so when that 1% of the planet logo is on a product or service, you know, a consumer comes across it, like what happens in that moment between the bearer of the logo, the member, let’s say, a company, let’s say mattress company, and the consumer is there’s this moment to kind of step into that. So for the consumer, they’re able to say, okay, like, I need a mattress, I need shampoo, I need life insurance, I mean, the list goes on, we have so many memories, but I need a mattress like practical matter and, you know, while I’m at it, I get to be doing good for the planet through this purchase, I don’t have to additionally go somewhere else to do good for the planet, I can, but I get to have this like amazing package of goodness by buying a great product that is also giving back. So, there’s really powerful consumer opportunity there and consumers see it like there is a ton of data about how consumers are really interested in having their purchasing dollars, drive solutions in a variety of ways. But like the vast majority of the vast majority of consumers, every are saying in some way, shape or form, we want to know that our dollars could go towards things that are solutions and we want to believe that and we want it to be credible, so 1% for the planet, one of the things we worked really hard on is sort of imbuing that brand and we work hard on that with our members, our members are part of telling that story, that it is credible commitment, every single solitary member who is bearing that logo has been certified by us annually, they’re giving 1% of their sales. So that’s like the consumer side on the business side. It’s really, really great that you know, that everyone has a 1% is really powerful in that it can be really overwhelming and companies, you know, often want to come up with a big strategy or you know, the you know, some huge thing to make a difference and it can be paralyzing to be hard to figure out you like how do you fit it in and while you’re still like running your business and what 1% does is creates a very real commitment and 1% of sales is a big deal. It’s not nothing any company who’s doing that is making a significant commitment and you can wrap your head around it, and it’s repeatable and you can break it down in a bunch of different ways. So you know, 1% really creates a way that Companies can step into or extend their positive impact in the world, in a positive, repeatable improvable way. One of the things we’ve said a lot to a lot of our members or companies that were talking to us, it’s like it’s about progress, not perfection, because what we look for companies that are stepping in and kind of seizing the opportunity to create change over time, and when you make that commitment, just like when you surf every day, or run every day, you get better over time, and it becomes part of who you are, and you can’t do without it and that’s what happens with our, you know, members who get started and then stay with us is they learn, they repeat, they adapt, they continue, they start doing more things beyond even what we’re certifying, but like they can’t resist, and then five years down the road, they’ve given, you know, in some cases, millions of dollars, or in some cases 10s of 1000s of dollars, in some cases, just several $100, but it’s all 1%, everyone’s fully engaged at the 1% level and they continue to do it and it adds up over time and then the last thing I would say too, is you get to be part of a really fun community. I mean, our community members are amazing and smart and have great ideas and are tackling different problems in different ways. So it’s not at all infrequent for us to connect one member to another member who are trying to figure out something similar, or one member may get inspired by another one. And they forge a connection and create a new idea together. Like there’s all sorts of stuff that I don’t even know about. I’m sure that’s happening as our members connect with each other.
Brett Thornton: That’s awesome. I love that. It’s, it’s, there’s a phrase I’ve used for the last I guess four years, and this fits right into it and it’s maybe sometimes uses in the past, but I call it experiential giving and so you know, essentially, you’re connecting the consumer, the company, the salesperson, whatever it is, whoever’s talking to them and, and this donation or giving or whatever it is, you’re linking them all together in an easy way. You know, so that’s why, you know, that’s why things like TOMS shoes with a buy one, you know, buy one give one is, it’s that completing that circle, hey, I’m gonna buy shoes anyways. The bond shoes, I like these ones, and I know that I buy these shoes, and then someone in need is gonna go shoes. Great. So now I feel good about it, as well as if I’m selling it. I’m like, Hey, this is great, I feel good, I hope this person and also this other person, like everyone wins. You know, this is like, and what I’m seeing and I don’t know if you see this, but it just seems like as the millennials are really taking over and that 3035-year-old now they’re hitting their peak in their careers and always losing, it seems like working with companies who are giving back is a major part of what they want and so with them gonna eventually be the major buying market, do you think that that’s just going to continue to grow?
Kate Williams: Absolutely, especially because they’re, you know, where it used to be kind of like some niche brands are like maybe you could get like, you know, a jacket, or, you know, some tea or something like a few random products, you could get that word was sustainable in some way. But now like almost anything you choose to spend money on, you can do this or that and it’s not even that they’re the most expensive products or something like that. So it’s, it’s becoming more choice that more people can make in all of their buying decisions. You don’t have to go to a specialty store, you don’t have to go to the health food store, you can go to the, you know, regular grocery store and find products that are making a difference, whether it’s 1% for the planet or other commitments that they’re making to give back or pay it forward or invest differently in how they’re building their business.
Brett Thornton: Yeah, exactly. So there’s. So last thing I want to ask you about is you just teed right into it, which is perfect. So I would say right, this is just from someone outside looking in, like you just talked about how the sustainable market organic, this is just exploding, it’s grown so much in the last 510 years, it’s become much more accessible, right to everybody from a product standpoint, but also business standpoint, the knowledge of how you do things is growing and I would say that, you know, 1% for the planet probably aligned with a bunch of companies early on, and that’s slowly grown. But what would you say to somebody so there might be people listening out there that you know, own some type of retail store or something that’s not like naturally catered towards, hey, this links with the environment somehow. How would you explain to them? What is the benefit of partnering with 1% for the planet, even if it’s not like kind of write up our niche market?
Kate Williams: That is such a perfect question because that like, really the first thing I would say is like, You’re our perfect new member, because, of course, the members who have already, you know, in their hearts decided that it’s right to give back to the environment. Of course, they’re members like that makes sense that they’re not really creating news for anyone, they, you know, 1% of the planet is important because it gives them a way to enact that, but you have an opportunity to step into a new story that only adds to your brand that only adds to your power with your consumers and you don’t have to create that story yourself, we can help you to figure that out. So you’re good at doing retail. You’re you know, psyched about reaching an audience that you know, is out there that wants to purchase from you and to also have that purchase, do something good for the planet. 1% for the planet is where you can like, start or continue that journey, we can meet you wherever you are, and help you get to the next level. So we really do find that, you know, moving beyond the choir, so to speak to, you know, people who there are many who are psyched to figure out how they reach that really powerful audience, because it’s good business and we actually love it. If someone’s like, I don’t know that much about the environment. But I know it’s good for business. It’s like, that’s great. You don’t have to be a card carrying environmentalist. You know, we want to get dollars going to the right place for the planet, we want you to have a stronger brand and 1% of the planet can absolutely do both of those things.
Brett Thornton: Yes, I love it. So tell the audience listening, let’s say someone’s like, hey, this sounds good. I’m interested in this. How would they get involved? What is the disk or the website? What’s the best way for someone to even just do some research on it?
Brett Thornton2: Yeah, super simple. Go to our website, which is 1%, for the planet.org. All spelled out in letters and there’s a lot of information there. If you’re just like so sold that you don’t really want to read a lot of stuff, you just want to join, you can click on our link to just join and fill out a simple form doesn’t commit you to anything, but it will set you up to hear from someone on our team and we’ll take next steps and you could be a member the following week, you don’t have to give your 1% upfront, we’ll help you to do that. But you can get started right away.
Brett Thornton: Awesome well thank you so much Kate. This was a blast I got an absolutely love this and I love the idea. What is the benefit of partnering with 1%? For the planet? Even if it’s not like kind of right up our niche market?
Brett Thornton2: That is such a perfect question because that like, really the first thing I would say is like, you’re our perfect new member, because, of course, the members who have already, you know, in their hearts decided that it’s right to give back to the environment. Of course, they’re members like that makes sense that they’re not really creating news for anyone, they, you know, 1% of the planet is important because it gives them a way to enact that, but you have an opportunity to step into a new story that only adds to your brand, that only adds to your power with your consumers. And you don’t have to create that store yourself, we can help you to figure that out. So you’re good at doing retail, you’re, you know, psyched about reaching an audience that you know, is out there that wants to purchase from you and to also have that purchase, do something good for the planet. 1% of the planet is where you can like, start, or continue that journey, we can meet you wherever you are, and help you get to the next level. So we really do find that, you know, moving beyond the choir, so to speak to, you know, people who there are many who are psyched to figure out how they reach that really powerful audience, because it’s good business. And we actually love it. If someone’s like, I don’t know that much about the environment. But I know it’s good for business. It’s like, that’s great. You don’t have to be a card carrying environmentalist. You know, we want to get dollars going to the right place for the planet, we want you to have a stronger brand and 1% of the planet can absolutely do both of those things.
Brett Thornton: Yes, I love it. So tell the audience listening, let’s say someone’s like, hey, this sounds good. I’m interested in this. How would they get involved? What is the discord, the website, what’s the best way for someone to even just do some research on it?
Kate Williams: Yeah, super simple. Go to our website, which is 1%, for the planet.org. All spelled out in letters. And there’s a lot of information there. If you’re just like so sold that you don’t really want to read a lot of stuff, you just want to join, you can click on our link to just join and fill out a simple form doesn’t commit you to anything, but it will set you up to hear from someone on our team. And we’ll take next steps and you could be a member the following week, you don’t have to give your 1% upfront, we’ll help you to do that. But you can get started right away.
Brett Thornton: Awesome. Well, thank you so much, Kate, this was a blast. Like, I absolutely love this. And I love the idea. And I just kind of want to, you know, finish on this note that that cages made, which is, you know, whether it’s 1% for the planet, or it’s something else, you know, at the end of the day, people buy more and more numbers every single day are going to want to work with businesses who are giving back, whether that’s their community, whether that’s the planet Wait, ultimately, that’s going to be up to the individual person on what really gets them excited. But at the end of the day, I think not having to give back strategy is not going to be a strategy in like five years, because I think it’s like you’re going to have to do it. And so I would encourage people to jump in, like, hey, if you’re not sure what to do, like, this is something you could do. And it goes on your site, and it goes on your products and people respected and they know where the money should go. And so, it makes a huge difference. But if not this something right?
Kate Williams: Absolutely. Everyone has a 1% you get to choose how to how to deploy it.
Brett Thornton: Awesome. All right. Okay. Well, thank you so much. I really appreciated your time. I know you’re extremely busy. And I wish you guys at 1% of the planet and you , personally an amazing year. And thanks again.
Kate Williams: Thank you. Thank you, fun,
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