Productive Flourishing
Productive Flourishing
133: Small Business as a Vehicle for Social Change with Pam Slim

133: Small Business as a Vehicle for Social Change with Pam Slim

As entrepreneurs and small business owners, we can help create solutions that create positive social change - promoting diversity and inclusion, distributing wealth, creating opportunities, and promote flourishing. In today’s episode, Pam Slim joins Charlie to talk about how small business owners can lead the way for this change. Tune in today to hear their discussion and ideas!

Key Takeaways:

[3:51] - They share a love of supporting the small business market, specifically those that are the lifeblood of communities - founded on passion and dreams. As social dynamics change, how can we continue to support this small business sector?

[7:10] - Pam shares her work with her new business - a physical place to foster growth. Through her previous travels, she gained great insight into communities coming together to connect, and this spurred her to work to create a positive experience in her own community - specifically focusing on the Native American community as well as other marginalized communities in Mesa, AZ.

[11:43] - In what ways can one be involved in these kinds of conversations? One of the biggest things for Charlie and Pam is being more intentionally inclusive and working to expand diversity in speaker panels and leadership boards. In addition, this creates spaces where more people feel that they belong and have something to contribute.

[16:10] - From a small business perspective, there has been a tremendous amount of opportunity and growth in the small business sector, as well as within certain markets and demographics.

[20:33] - Pro-big versus pro-small camps: While there is the argument that the big companies generate wealth, the small companies distribute wealth. We need both, especially considering the opportunities small businesses can offer to vulnerable youth, recent graduates, and even older seniors wanting to get back into the workforce. These opportunities could be life-changing for some groups of people who are feeling rejected or unwanted in the workforce.

[25:47] - Bouncing off the creation of new businesses and spaces, how can existing businesses be intentional about providing an atmosphere in which people with various backgrounds can work?

[29:12] - There’s constant learning, and also such great change and innovation that can happen by beginning to ask questions and make some of these intentional shifts. Pam talks about expanding the definition of success to include not just personal financial gain, but also the health and well-being of the surrounding community. 

[31:40] - It is a limiting belief that focusing on some of these changes is going to cost a lot to execute. When you do the work, it doesn’t, and the gain is huge! People from diverse communities actually seek businesses and organizations that support their communities.

[36:25] - We all have work to do in our communities, but there’s never a bad time to start the work that needs to be done.

[37:00] - Charlie talks about his experiences when he first moved to Portland to connect with some of these communities (not just online). He got connected with the investment community and learned about how decisions are made within companies, and was able to apply this knowledge to more of the native communities in Portland.

[39:12] - Since starting this venture, it has really encouraged Charlie to focus on simple, but universal messages that apply across communities. Thinking about this can change the approach of discussing some topics with different communities of people.

[45:55] - Perhaps our goals in terms of charitable giving should be looking into how we can be doing the work with other people as equals.

[48:04] - Charlie and Pam talk about hiring locally versus looking outside of our communities or even the nation for hiring. There is great discussion of different considerations from both sides!

[51:26] - The point is to start asking questions about how you are intentionally making choices in your business that benefit your local, national, and global communities. Our benefits come from thinking outside the box of a self-gain model.

[54:03] - Pam’s invitation for listeners: look at your community, notice and celebrate which people are participating in your community, ask yourself who is not here, then ask yourself why they are not there. Then, ask yourself how you can begin to build bridges to people you want to be there. What small step can you make in the next week?

Mentioned in This Episode:

Creative Giant Campfire Facebook Group

Escape from Cubicle Nation


Body of Work: Finding the Thread That Ties Your Story Together

Escape for Cubicle Nation (Book)

one n ten

Malcom Gladwell: The Tipping Point

The Creative Giant Show: Episode 1

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Productive Flourishing
Productive Flourishing
Productive Flourishing (formerly the Creative Giant Show) explores how to do the work that matters to become your best self in the world. Host Charlie Gilkey and occasional co-host Angela Wheeler take listeners on a deep dive into the lives of leaders, changemakers, creatives, and entrepreneurs who are thriving in life and business by doing work that matters. Listen in to see how they cultivate meaning, success, and happiness as well as their approach to productivity, business, health, and the challenges (yes, even the deep, dark ones) that show up in their lives.