We already have enough nonprofits fighting for many causes. It’s time to do more than donating the occasional check and actually get involved in balancing people, planet, and profit. In this episode, Deb Alcadinho, founder of Business 4 Social Good, discusses the importance of sustainable development goals for women. Deb shares her insights on how sustainable development can help address issues such as poverty and gender inequality, and the key role that business owners can play in achieving these goals. Deb also provides practical advice on how individuals and organizations can support sustainable development efforts that benefit women and the broader community. She explains how business and profits can work together to help solve pressing issues for humanity and our planet. Through this engaging and informative conversation, you can gain a deeper understanding of the critical intersection between sustainable development and women's rights and be inspired to take action towards a more equitable and sustainable future for all. Tune in now and learn how you can contribute to building resilient communities where we can live, work, and play.
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Exploring The Intersection Of Women's Issues And Sustainable Development Goals With Deb Alcadinho
Welcome to this episode. Our special guest is Deb Alcadinho. Her business is Business 4 Social Good. Can you please tell us first, about you, and then second, about Business 4 Social Good and what that is, what it means, and why you do it?
Thank you. It’s great to be here with you. I am a social entrepreneur, a social impact expert, and the Founder of Business 4 Social Good. I have been in the space for a long time and formally, the last couple of years designing and creating Business 4 Social Good.
What is it? What does it mean?
At a high level, we are a social impact training and consulting company. We are located here in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. We serve an international audience of women entrepreneurs who have this deep desire to balance people, planet, purpose, and profit and operate as a force for good. Our work is rooted in sustainable development goals. For those that don't know what those are, the sustainable development goals were created by the United Nations in 2015. It is the world's to-do list.
We help our clients to develop the social purpose for their business. We then teach them how to envision the social impact that they want to create to develop a cause alignment, how to engage their internal and external audiences, and then how to integrate, amplify, and measure their impact. If we want to condense that all into three things, it's to help our clients find purpose, create impact, and change the world.
Is it B Corp? Have you heard of B Corp? If not, how not, and how so? How does it relate to the B Corp and conscious capitalism?
We are in the conscious capitalism or conscious consumerism realm, for sure. We are not a B Corp. B Corp is a very stringent certification process that business owners would go through in order to have a label or a certification that they are operating as a social impact or a social good company. We are the precursor to a B Corp. For the entrepreneurs and the business owners who maybe have an understanding of B Corp, or they don't, but they are not there yet, there are a lot of things that a business has to have in place first before they could ever apply for B Corp certification. We are the precursor to that.
Let's look at KeenAlignment, my company. KeenAlignment works with organizations to shape, lead, and nurture healthy, intentional, and high-performance organizational culture. By the virtue of the name, KeenAlignment, my organization helps CEOs operate and live at work, but in life, too, in alignment with their biggest vision and calling for themselves and what they value and believe in.
How would your organization help me? I'm a woman business owner. I feel like everything I'm doing is for social good. I feel like it, but that doesn't mean it is. To be honest, we have heard from a lot of people who say, “I can't afford what you guys do, but I want it.” That's a second part question. There's only me, and I have a few amount of consultants. We scale up or scale down based on our projects.
I didn't tell you I was going to ask this question, but it hit me. I own a domain called For Social Good, which is where we give scholarships to people to participate in our women's leadership programs and not pay for it. It's not a real company. It's that for social good, we are giving this to people. How could you help me be more in integrity with my business which is about working with people who are conscious, aware, and awake that we are all having an impact every minute of every day? That’s whether we are an employee or the employer, doing what we say we are going to do the way we say we are going to do it and living and working with integrity. Hopefully, I'm not asking you too many ping-pong questions.
Thank you for asking that. You are probably halfway there. You already have an awareness because you have your for good component. The fact that you are offering a scholarship is amazing. When we start working with a company, the first question I ask them and I would ask you as well is, “What is that thing in the world that you want to see changed?” Is that a social, environmental, or humanitarian thing that you have a burning desire to want to change? That might be gender equality or social justice. What is that issue when you look around your community of the world and you are like, “Somebody needs to solve that thing and the world would be a better place.” That's where we start with people.
My answer for that would be there are so many people and companies going through the motions where they put their hearts on the shelf. There's even the guy, Tim Ferriss, who wrote The 4-Hour Workweek. He's like, “You are never going to find a job that fulfills you.” I think people can find a job that fulfills them.
I don't think they have to give 80 hours a week to any job. That's why I'm reading the book, The 4-Hour Workweek because I do think that as long as you produce results, it doesn't matter how much you work. That model is long gone, the, “I have to trade time for money.” Somebody got mad at me once because I said, “I'm not a women's libber. I'm a people's libber.” My calling is people are liberated. That includes all people, men, women, and anybody that is gender ambivalent.
You raised an interesting point a couple of sentences ago on that. It was this issue of finding meaningful work. It comes back to purpose. When we, as humans and individuals, know what our purpose is in life, and if you are a business owner, the purpose of your business, then that changes everything. To your earlier point, when we lead with integrity and we know our values, our purpose, and why we are here, then that drives everything that we do moving forward. In all of the work that we do with our clients, that's the foundation that we start with. It's not clear to everyone.
When we lead with integrity and know our values, purpose, and why we're here, then that really drives everything that we do moving forward.
That's ultimately why I started KeenAlignment. I was in a business deal. My ambition with that business deal was to make a lot of money. It was a good idea. It was bringing consciousness into hiring. A lot of CEOs, small business owners, and even large business owners grow because of gut instinct. They got where they were because of gut instinct. When you start hiring people, that instinct sometimes doesn't bring the right people, or depending on what you are dealing with that week or that month, you will attract that which is your lowest vibration.
This hiring process of conscious hiring was supposed to transform how companies hire. I went into it with, “I want to build this up, get a lot of clients, and then walk away with a couple of million so that I can then help CEOs run the companies they want to run.” You can hear my intent. It was pure intent, but my approach was for the money. I wound up attracting probably the lowest-level human I could.
He has since been ousted by his own board for lack of integrity. When we were building the company, he fired my business partner who was asking him good questions about, “How are you paying people? How are we operating this thing?” He told me, “If you question anything, I don't need you. I have your son. I have your intellectual property. I own you.” I eventually left.
My whole point was when I started KeenAlignment, it was so that I could help people never be in that situation again. CEOs, especially what I have learned by working with so many of them, their passion starts the business, and then it grows beyond something that they can control. The business has this life of itself. It takes over and they lose sight of their true purpose, even as an individual, their calling and/or the ultra-intent of the organization, and then the value. Is the first work that you do helping a company identify its mission, vision, and values?
Yes, and I say that with some hesitancy because of the mission and the vision most companies that we work with would already know that. A lot of companies don't think about their purpose. That's where we provide the first element of clarity. I started Business 4 Social Good because I recognized four things. They are the pressing social and environmental issues of our time cannot be solved by government and philanthropy alone. There's this rising tide of women entrepreneurs who are driven to make a difference in their communities.
The second thing and this relates to a point you made, is that businesses are challenged with attracting and retaining top talent and building and retaining customer loyalty. When a company has a strong sense of purpose and is a socially impact-driven company, they attract this top talent and build customer loyalty. That's that whole conscious consumerism and conscious capitalism model.
The third thing that I recognize that nonprofits are struggling with is consistent funding and resources, which I believe affect the fiber and the resiliency of the communities where we all live, work, and play. The fourth thing is this growing shift in the desire of customers, employees, and businesses to balance this people, planet, and profit. You are asking about what we would do for KeenAlignment and what we would do for any other companies.
We have an ultimate intent, which is forever liberating the human spirit at work. People have agency, autonomy, freedom, and empowerment at work. It’s not just words. The bosses are taking their hands off the wheel and letting the genius emerge. That's why we call it emergent culture. How could you help me? I'm asking not tongue-in-cheek. I'm asking how could you help me move this forward from one business owner to the next.
I would say by deepening a few things for you, helping you stand out as even more of a leader in your industry than you are, and helping to differentiate your brand. There are other businesses doing what you do as there are many other businesses. Being a social impact company or a social good company would help you differentiate and stand out as a leader in your industry. We'd help you experience top and bottom-line growth and contribute toward solving whatever pressing issue that we help you align with.
How do you do that? Do you look at our sales process or our website and say, “You should have the badge of Social Good here.”
No. We go back to you. It all starts with you. The foundational work that we do with the founder or the business owner is introspective work in the beginning. We are getting clear or getting to the root of why you do what you do. You have already articulated that quite well, not everyone can, specifically. You'd be a little ahead of the curve to where some business owners are at.
Let me switch gears on that. What had you say, “This is it for me. This is what I'm doing to be liberated and live my calling.” What was the precipitous?
It's been decades in the making. My first business was when I was ten. It has been over decades of owning businesses, working for companies, working for nonprofits, and being employed in government. At the root of it all, I have always had a philanthropic heart, but at some point, I realized and embarked on my own quest to have more impact than writing a check.
The issue that resonates for me is the issue of ending violence against women and girls. When I started to look at this issue and think, “I haven't moved the needle forward on this at all,” even though I have done so much in the last couple of decades, it wasn't until I realized that I could have more impact on this issue when I focused on one part of the problem rather than the whole issue.
You could have more impact on an issue if you focus on one part of the problem rather than the whole.
You think of violence against women and girls as the top of the umbrella, and all the ribs of the umbrella are contributing factors or areas of focus. When I realized that this is such a big thing as such a big problem, what part of that resonated the most for me? For me, it was human and sex trafficking. That's my cause. That's the cause for Business 4 Social Good to bring awareness and be our social good component. We are moving that issue forward through advocacy.
Do you give a percentage of your revenue to sex trafficking or human trafficking?
What’s the nonprofit that you work with? I have donated to OAR. I don't know if you have heard of that.
I haven't heard of that one.
They focus out of Thailand.
You are located in the States, aren't you?
Yes. I'm in California, but I keep running into people from British Columbia. I'm in an autonomy course, which they do for the social good. They are about bringing love into a business. There's a woman in there and she makes these love medals. She's on your island. It's a great connection. You probably would love to get involved. Are you involved in the Soroptimist, too?
I want you to talk a little bit about that. Back to my other question, what's your charity?
The organization that we work with is a Canadian organization called the Joy Smith Foundation. I will tell you a little bit about the Joy Smith Foundation. You asked me about how we contribute. The training that we do with our clients is more than writing a check. It's based on four things. You are creating clarity around the issue that lights you up, and then you are creating an alignment. Our alignment is with the Joy Smith Foundation.
We are then looking at ways to help that organization more than writing a check because anybody can do that. It's advocacy, awareness, financial contributions, time, talent, and resources. It starts with having a conversation with that nonprofit to find out what they need because we can't assume that all they want is money. I'm sure no nonprofit would turn that down, but we are not living their world. We need to first start with that conversation of what they need as an organization. As business owners, we can create massive change for the organization that we choose to partner with.
At Business 4 Social Good, we facilitate all of those things. We are raising awareness through advocacy and awareness of their programs, services, and a full suite of products per se. The Joy Smith Foundation deals with extraction and the extraction of individuals involved in the sex trafficking field. It is for those who want to be extracted because not everyone does. That's important to know. They do that as well as raising the vibration of the work that they do. We contribute financially through a percentage of our Social Good Academy training program. A percentage of each enrollment, 5%, goes toward the Joy Smith Foundation.
What is the Social Good Academy training program?
Our work with clients is either consulting or training. I developed the Social Good Academy early on in the development of Business 4 Social Good. It's a sixteen-week incredibly immersive and in-depth training program for business owners. It walks them through those six elements that I described early on in our conversation. It is envisioning the impact that they want to have in the world, engaging their internal and external audiences, their employees, and their customers, developing a contribution plan, creating the alignment with the nonprofit or charity, and then amplifying, integrating, and measuring their impact.
How many hours a day is that class?
It is 16 weeks for a 90-minute class once a week. It’s live online. There are a couple of hours of homework each week as well.
What does that cost?
I couldn't agree with you more about how important this is. It’s not like, “We donate X amount of money,” but having people get involved. One that we want to partner with and are partnering with in some ways but not at the level you are talking about is Soroptimist. I still have yet to get to the one in San Jose, and then the Climate Ride. My background is flowers. Normally, I have a green screen. I spent twelve days in the jungle doing plant medicine. I have got the plants and the marigolds to surround me.
I have done a lot of work on getting over my childhood. I had a great mom. I had a great dad, too, but he suffered from drug addiction. That meant violence and abuse for my mother, not for me that I remember. During part of my journey in the jungle, some things came up about my childhood that I had suppressed and forgotten about.
Kids, honestly, I don't think should ever have to be raised. Imagine from birth to six years old, this is where all of our beliefs get programmed subconsciously. We don't even know we are programming them. I'd love to find a place that helped kids be empowered as 10, 9, or 8-year-old girls before they hit the teens. It’s to understand and look at who they are and what they want their life to be about because I don't think that's available.
I'm doing the forever liberating the human spirit. We are getting them when they are 30, 40, 50, and 60 and they have got a lot of baggage, clogged arteries, or clogged emotions. I'd love to have a social component to my business to get them when they were younger boys and girls, not just girls. When I hear about my brother and his experiences of being raised in that house, it's heartbreaking. If you know anybody who does that, I don't want to start my own nonprofit.
I advocate for our clients to not do that. There are enough nonprofits and charities out there that are doing the work that we feel impassioned to solve. We have got a business to run. We don't need to start another nonprofit. That’s why connecting with and aligning with one that holds the same space in our hearts as what we want to solve is so important.
There are already enough nonprofits and charities out there that are doing the work that we feel passionate about solving. It’s better to get involved in their causes rather than starting another nonprofit.
I share your story. I experienced more than my fair share of sexual violence as a young woman. This issue of ending violence against women and girls is extremely important to me, which is why I was drawn to Soroptimist a number of years ago. I served as a volunteer and was deeply involved in our local club for a long time. I have taken a bit of a pause for the last couple of years while I build out Business 4 Social Good, but I'm never far away. I'm always in the wings working to support them. I would encourage you to get involved with the one in your local area. Can I share a story about one of our clients?
One of our clients owns two businesses. The reason I wanted to share a client's story is that it might help our readers afterward to put this into a bit of a container for some of the things that we have been talking about. One of our clients owns two businesses. One is here on Vancouver Island. It's a digital marketing agency. The other is a liveaboard diving expedition tourism company in the Solomon Islands, which is an archipelago of islands off of Australia. It’s important to know that she's also a master scuba diver herself. She's a fiercely independent woman.
In our training course, the Social Good Academy, she learned that not only is the sustainable development goal number fourteen, life below water, important to her, but also number five, gender equality, is as well. That was not on her radar. Over this training program, what I'm going to share with you is the end result. With her digital marketing company, she's working with a local Vancouver Island nonprofit that provides education and scuba diving training to youth. That's what the organization does.
When she wanted to work with the company on a local level, she said, “Here is what I do. I am a digital marketing firm. I can help you with your advocacy and your awareness. I can help you amplify your training and resources. I can help with funding to bring about change and awareness on the importance of ocean conservation.” They both had a similar love, and that was ocean conservation. Through her business, it was a natural fit. She could help them amplify, get the word out, help them with their training materials, and so on. That was a bit of a no-brainer.
With her tourism company, I want to share more about this one because this helps illustrate the level of social impact that she was able to create. With her tourism company, they were already doing one aspect of social impact. In the training course, she was like, “I never even considered this part as social impact.”
They are a liveaboard dive vessel. They have all of their linens, bedding, and that type of thing. They have a lifespan. They are a hotel. They had been repurposing their retired linens and bedding at a local girls' boarding school. They have been doing that for quite some time, but they weren't talking about it. They weren't sharing the needs of the children and why their contributions were so meaningful. What I mean by that is they weren't coming at it from the aspect of, “Aren't we wonderful? We are recycling. We are repurposing our linens.” That's not what I'm talking about.
When I say they weren't talking about it, they weren't sharing, “These are the needs of the children in this boarding school. Here's what we are doing, and here's why it's important.” For instance, the sheets, as one small part of it, weren't important from a modesty perspective. They were helping to prevent malaria. That's a good story. That's a good thing to share. It brings about awareness. She also realized that they could have a greater impact if they started to think about their scuba diving training at a leadership level to the young women in the villages who were entering the workforce.
I want you to bear a couple of things in mind when I share this part. The Solomon Islands are small villages. They are incredibly traditional. Women's roles are incredibly traditional. Women in the past have had one track as far as a woman's role in the village. You have children, and that's where it ends. Like a lot of countries, the chiefs of the villages are becoming more aware that this has to change.
Her company already had a good relationship with the village chiefs. They started having conversations with them about, “We could take our scuba diving training.” They are providing this on a luxury basis to visitors, but they were like, “We could take this training and work with young women who you, being the chiefs, could identify. We could give them life skills and work skills that would benefit their families. It would benefit young women. They could take those skills anywhere in the world that would increase their standard of living.” As is often the case, they send money home, which would then increase the trajectory for the family as well.
The chiefs were excited about this and are excited about this. That's what they have done. They have created these employment opportunities in non-traditional fields for young women. It gives them this opportunity to take their education and spread it out to other young women and girls. It increases their earning potential and gives them new skills in this sports-related field that they have never had before. It changes so many things. That relates to the gender equality piece that she learned was important to her and that she never thought about. It contributes to her other sustainable development goal, which is life below water.
It's interesting. That's a great story. My brain is fast-forwarding to what my company could do. I might be in one of your upcoming classes. Someone here might be in one of your upcoming classes from my company. People all want meaning and purpose. It could be the meaning and purpose can come from the organization that your organization supports like with this scuba diving situation.
The other thing I wanted to say that's equally as important to this whole scenario that I have shared is when she shares, “Here’s what we are doing,” her vendors and suppliers get excited. They are like, “Oh,” and their hands get raised. They are like, “How can we help you do this?” It becomes a machine-like movement. They are coming on board saying, “We will help you with free training materials and free equipment.” It becomes this thing that is so much larger than what the business owner initially anticipates.
You are doing great work. It’s a boots-on-the-ground way to put your actions where your commitments are. In wrapping up, what's the most fulfilling part of your job? What liberates you?
The impact that others create. It’s when I can be witness to something like this story that I shared. It’s when I can be witness to this, and I have a faculty that works with me as well in the academy. We are all witnesses to this. Business owners come in and they are like, “Maybe this,” and then their mind gets blown in the training program or the consulting. It opens up. The angels sing when I can experience that with my clients.
Do you have any upcoming webinars? How do you get people into the class? Do you do promo webinars? If so, when is the next?
Thank you so much. I wish you lived closer. I'd love to meet you. It doesn't matter where anybody lives because we can all do business remotely.
Thank you to COVID-19. Thank you so much, and have a great rest of your day. We loved learning about Business 4 Social Good. It’s all part of the liberation process. When we can contribute and give back, we are liberated.
That is so true. Thank you so much. It was lovely to see you.
About Deb Alcadinho
Deb Alcadinho is a social entrepreneur, social impact expert, speaker, educator, and consultant. Deb is the founder of Business 4 Social Good™️ and the creator of the Social Good Academy™️ and the Social Purpose Playbook™️.
She trains and guides women entrepreneurs how to use business as a force for good and make a profit with purpose, by placing values, purpose, cause and impact at the heart of business, so their employees, customers and the community know it, feel it and see it. When done right, social impact results in easier employee retention & acquisition, increased customer loyalty and community engagement, and increased profit.
Her proprietary framework rooted in the Sustainable Development Goals provides a deep step-by-step way to envision, integrate, amplify & measure social impact so companies can be a vehicle for change, working toward solving social, environmental, humanitarian or cultural challenges important to them, in their community or around the world.
Deb Alcadinho, CIO
Business 4 Social Good