Beverly Schwartz, author, "Rippling: How Social Entrepreneurs Spread Innovation Throughout The World"

Beverly Schwartz joined Ashoka as senior marketing counsel from Fleishman Hillard, an international communications agency.

At Fleishman, she built and helped manage its social issues portfolio, using her expertise in social marketing as the foundation for the portfolio. She also developed and directed Fleishman’s domestic and international social impact portfolio and was project director of the non-advertising portion of the Office of National Drug Control Policy’s “Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign.”

Schwartz´s interest in social issues spans most of her career. In the mid-70s she was executive director of the Minnesota Association for Nonsmokers and was instrumental in passing the nation’s first state law banning smoking in public places.

Subsequently, at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, she helped design and manage the first U.S. education/prevention campaign for HIV/AIDS, “America Responds to AIDS,” and simultaneously directed the Office on Smoking and Health’s public information function. In other lives, while at the American Academy of Ophthalmology, Schwartz developed a project that provided free eye-care for the indigent elderly, along with the Reagan White House, Apple Computers, and the Mitre Corporation (the project is about to mark its 20th year of operation).

At the Academy for Educational Development, she worked globally on the problem of education reform, with an emphasis on getting and retaining girls in school in developing countries, on civil society issues, and on changing health and environmental behaviors.

Schwartz is dedicated to promoting the field of social marketing. An associate editor of the Social Marketing Quarterly, she is also a Steering Committee member of the annual “Innovations in Social Marketing Conference.” The focus of her Master of Science degree while at the University of Minnesota and the City University of New York was behavioral science. Learn more here:

The Road From Garbage to Gold

June 2013, Be Inkandescent magazine — Much like Malcolm Gladwell’s “Tipping Point,” my forecast is that Sheryl Sandberg’s title “Leaning In” will become a business and social concept that we’ll be referring to for years.

Consider Melissa Lawrence’s discussion of this in her “I’m Just Sayin’” column on

“Success doesn’t mean staying in a game that’s not for you because leaving connotes failure,” she writes. “Rather, it’s having the courage and self-confidence to go for what you want, and the forbearance and maturity to accept the consequences.”

I’ll go with that—as I can easily relate to it from all the work I do with social entrepreneurs around the world.

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Beyond the Bottom Line: Lily Thapa's Women for Human Rights

May 2013, Be Inkandescent magazine — What impressed me when I read “Wild Company,” by Mel and Patricia Ziegler, was that their story of innovation, risk taking, determination, persistence, and bold action is certainly fascinating, especially in view of their wild success.

That story aligns with the stuff of entrepreneurial endeavors. Have a dream, take a courageous leap, encounter trials and tribulations, learn lessons, hopefully succeed and grow.

But how does entrepreneurship work when success and growth isn’t measured in monetary terms—but in lives saved and the extent to which centuries of social inequities are exposed and restructured?

That is the world that a particular type of entrepreneur—social entrepreneurs—inhabit. Their world shares some of the same challenges, problems and pains of the Ziegler’s world, but it sometimes doesn’t tally well on a spreadsheet of accounts.

Case in Point: Lily Thapa.

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Where Does Power Come From?

March 2013, Be Inkandescent magazine — This month’s Be Inkandescent magazine theme, Women in Power, has a double meaning when it comes to Ursula Sladek’s “green power” movement.

By her own admission, Sladek (pictured above) was “just a housewife” when she decided to create a power company that has become one of Germany’s largest eco-electricity providers—and the largest that is owned by citizens. In 2011, her publicly owned company was worth 90 million Euros, or approximately $120 million in US dollars. Her goal is to serve more than 1 million customers.

How did she go from housewife to power mogul?

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Cheers to the UN's Resolution on Entrepreneurship for Development

January 2013, Be Inkandescent magazine — Break out the bubbly—any bubbly—in every country, in any language.

Here comes a New Year’s resolution that will resonate with entrepreneurs near and far. We can collectively raise our glasses and toast! By a vote of 129 to 31, on December 7, the United Nations adopted a resolution on “Entrepreneurship for Development,” which will encourage all member states to increase support for entrepreneurial endeavors by reducing financial, policy, and regulatory barriers that inhibit the growth of small and mid-size businesses worldwide.

For entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs everywhere, this is great news.

Okay. Maybe you’re scratching your head and thinking that this isn’t really a big deal to you and it really won’t affect your life at all. Well, you’re probably right. But step back for a moment and consider the larger picture.

It’s nice to be acknowledged for something most of you already know. Small and medium-sized businesses like the ones you run are getting the attention they—and you—deserve.

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Creating an Empathy Movement

November 2012, Be Inkandescent magazine — How we relate to others has a lot to do with behaviors we see, what we experience, and how we perceive and interpret the environment that surrounds us.

As the world is forced to open its eyes to increased violence and aggressive behavior from the youngest children to the oldest nations, two questions cry out for attention.

What is fueling this closed-minded and aggressive (both physical and psychological) behavior? How can we deactivate the anger, the hatred, and the violence and instill, develop, and build tolerance in each person that carries forth over generations?

Lack of acceptance and understanding for the lives and emotions of others, and unwillingness to accept the differences between ourselves and our neighbors, are sadly becoming commonplace, whether fueled by religious intolerance, governmental aggression, extreme poverty, or other incendiary conditions. Anyone can name a million causes, but how many can name even one solution?

Mary Gordon, shown above, is one of those rare people who can name a solution.

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Re-Thinking Work, the Workplace—and Juggling Acts of All Sorts

October 2012, Be Inkandescent magazine — Being divorced with no children, I read Anne-Marie Slaughter’s article, Why Women Still Can’t Have It All, with much compassion.

However, I come from a totally different life perspective.

Many things in her article rang true for me. It made me review my own journey down a similar, but equally frustrating path—as a single professional who often had to accommodate my schedules, workload, and a host of other things for my colleagues with children.

Earlier in my career, as a non-parent, no-spouse professional, I sometimes felt oppositely harassed when I was expected to sub-in for colleagues who had to attend to their children.

I rarely felt that they were taking advantage of me, though, to be honest, I occasionally resented it. But then I realized how much I value my colleagues, and it seemed like much less of a sacrifice.

I knew they were doing the best they could, and I respected the way they juggled their personal and professional lives. I wasn’t too sure I would have been able to do as well.

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A New Generation Needs a New Way to Learn. Just Ask Aleta Margolis

September 2012, Be Inkandescent magazine — Ever think about how you became an entrepreneur? Where did you learn to take risks? Who taught you to think out of the box, and to solve problems on your own?

It’s a fair guess to say that creative thinking and taking calculated risks was not on the teaching priority list of your elementary school, junior, or even senior high school.

More than likely, you learned how to sit still, be quiet, color between the lines, and not be a disruptor.

Sound familiar? Well, not a whole lot has changed over the past 20 years. Teachers teach to the test, kids learn for the tests, and reading and math are still king.

But there are those who know that things can be different.

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How Social Entrepreneurs Spread Innovation Throughout the World

August 2012, Be Inkandescent magazine — “Currently, social entrepreneurship is as much a field as it is a movement,” explains Beverly Schwartz in the introduction to her new book, Rippling: How Social Entrepreneurs Spread Innovation Throughout the World.

“A whole new generation of ethical change agents—whether in business or academia or the media—is building a new sensibility about the way we live and interact,” she says, noting that these social entrepreneurs “begin by having a clear picture of the end in mind—the end being the creation of an emerging social phenomenon that cannot be reversed. They do what I always hoped I could do—confront difficult issues and actively pursue a more just, secure, and sustainable world.”

The movement, and Schwartz’s book, are garnering plenty of praise.

“With Rippling, Beverly Schwartz has advanced thinking and practice about entrepreneurial endeavors that strive to transform systems,” says Pamela Hartigan, our August 2012 Entrepreneur of the Month, who is the director of the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at Oxford University’s Saïd Business School. “Her key contribution lies in the practical aspects of becoming a changemaker, whether or not one sets out to start one’s own venture, or join the growing ecosystem of organizations springing up around the world to support these pragmatic visionaries and their teams.”

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