In this session of Startup Saturdays we present a different type of a startup – one with a social cause in fact – a non-profit. Started by Wendy Hong in 2009 the Foundation for Global Collaboration and Peace aims to create on-going dialogue between communities worldwide, in order to better collaborate on a global scale to achieve and maintain peace holistically.
1. How did you come up with the idea to launch the “Foundation for Global Collaboration and Peace” and what are your goals?
Considering my own experiences with prejudice, knowledge of human behavioral psychology and understanding of how bigotry, prejudice and ignorance are used to mobilize genocide and war and the lack of a central repository for universal human commonality knowledge, I thought building such a virtual library that required global collaboration would be a great way to give support for the human race to thrive together. Since its inception on October 13th, 2009, the idea has become more robust and inclusive, as you can see from our Vision Statement and Mission Objectives.
2. Any milestones that were specifically memorable that you would like to share?
Quite a few, actually; In mid December of last year we discovered that we’d received over a thousand responses to our ““What is Your Primary Self-Identifier” survey”, furthermore publishing the survey results was exciting as well.
In the first week of this year our first volunteer Crystal began working with us, and on January 20th we began forming our Advisory Committee.
On February 11th, the Founder and President of Genocide Watch joined the Advisory Committee.
3. Can you tell us a bit about the team? How did you come together?
Our current permanent team members include a serial entrepreneur and business strategist with MBA degrees from both Columbia and London Business School (Wendy W. Hong, Founder and CEO), Senior Vice President of a well-respected hedge fund, with 16 years of IT experience (Stephen R. Payne, Board Member), and a seasoned marketing professional with both for- (W Hotels) and non-profit (Brooklyn Public Library) experience (Lillian Wang, Board Member).
In addition to her two MBAs, Wendy holds a BA in Political Science and French (Columbia University) and another in English Literature ( Baruch College, CUNY). Her 15 years of work experience spans the banking, consulting, journalism, non-profit, publishing, social-networking, sports and travel sectors. She has lived and worked in seven countries across four continents and has a working knowledge of Chinese, French, Italian and Spanish. In addition, she has a keen interest in human behavioral studies, psychology and the sciences in general.
Stephen graduated from Cambridge University with a BA in Computer Science. He relocated from the UK to theUS eleven years ago. Stephen is also an amateur photographer and has a general interest in psychology (Jungian) and science in general.
Lillian is a PR professional with an MS in Marketing from Baruch College. Previously, she lived in Milan while taking graduate courses in International Health Care Management at Bocconi University. She also holds a BBA in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Baruch College. Lillian is fluent in Mandarin Chinese and knows basic Italian and Spanish.
4. Any difficulties you’ve experienced during the startup process of your social enterprise that you would like to share, any mistakes that you made which others could learn from?
Expecting things to happen a lot quicker than they actually do. This brings on a lot of unnecessary stress and paves the way for bad decision making. My advice for dealing with this is to realize that things will not get done any faster if we get stressed out and that we’re both hurting ourselves and our organization in the long run by getting all worked up about things over which we have no control.
For those people who need to see progress to feel accomplished, I would suggest starting several mini projects (of one business) with varying deadlines and/or progression speeds at the same time. Then if one thing stalls, you can turn your attention onto another.
The other, better personal solution, is to work on maintaining a personal life outside of our business. No matter how noble we think our cause may be, we are more likely to burn out and lose those who are important to us if that is the only source from which we derive personal satisfaction, connections with others, financial security, etc.
5. Any additional advice to pass on to budding social entrepreneurs?
As you can see, this question inspired a lot of advice. I will also post this list on the Foundation’s FAQs page. Thanks for the inspiration!
1) Figure out the most meaningful goals to YOU in life.
2) As a McKinsey senior partner once said, ruthlessly prioritize your time.
3) Find the right people to help you (Which involves first getting to know yourself very well, the positives and negatives, in order to know which personalities you get along with and what skills you need on your team.).
4) Be clear, with yourself as with others–don’t expect people to read your mind or intuit the meaning behind your words.
5) Trust your instincts.
6) Believe in actions, not words.
To read the rest of the best practices – click here. And if you would like your startup featured on f3fundit’s Startup Saturdays please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org