VHH Recap: CEO Nancy Lublin On The Benefits of Being Serial Social Women Entrepreneurs

In Take The Lead’s April virtual happy hour, Nancy Lublin, CEO of Crisis Text Line and creator of Dress For Success, shared how philanthropy is changing the world and offers solid office for women entrepreneurs. The author of several books, Lublin, has won awards for her contributions to the nonprofit sector.In Take The Lead’s April Virtual Happy Hour, Nancy Lublin, CEO of Crisis Text Line and creator of Dress For Success, shares how philanthropy is changing the world and offers solid office for women entrepreneurs. The author of several books, Lublin has won awards for her contributions to the nonprofit sector.On her journey, and why she does what she does:Nancy Lublin has been creating “Not For Profit Organizations” (as she likes to call nonprofits) since she was 23. A native of Hartford, Conn., what she calls the country’s insurance capitol, Lublin grew up with a Republican father and a Democratic mother, both who were committed and vocal in their views. Participating in all the dinner debates, Lublin developed a strong set of opinions and a sense of herself. She was involved in social activism from her early days, including initiating a Nuclear Freeze mission as a freshman in college. She’s about not pausing and thinking, but doing. A born entrepreneur, she likes to build things with people.On Dress For Success:While a student in law school, Lublin received an inheritance from her deceased grandfather. Simply receiving that amount as a result of losing her grandfather, Lublin says she didn’t feel like she deserved the money. The idea for Dress for Success was brewing in her mind and she went ahead pursuing it. She eventually dropped out of law school, but the lessons she learned while at Dress for Success have been the most invaluable ones – the ones she learned from her clients. She met women entrepreneurs who were truly busy and juggled jobs, children, homes, unsupportive or absent partners, and yet never complained. “Complaining is a wealthy white woman privilege,” she said.On changing gears from Dress for Success to Do Something, Inc. and more:As a role model for women entrepreneurs, Lublin says she gets bored easily and loves to do new things. She also has what she calls Founder’s Syndrome as she never wants to stick to long enough to haunt her own initiative. Lublin says she believes in leaving from the top, after bringing in maximum value to the organization. Lublin says she sees a great idea with bad execution, and dives in to change that. She also says she feels with her stomach, and so leaving Do Something, Inc. behind, because she loved the mission and working with young people, made her sick. But she had to move on. Her wish would be for for entrepreneur residences to be established, where people devoting time to the nonprofit world, can have a paid layover, while they contribute to other people’s work as well as mull on their next idea.[bctt tweet=““We don’t need new nonprofit organizations, we need better ones.” @nancylublin”]On starting new nonprofit organizations:“We don’t need new nonprofit organizations, we need better ones,” Lublin said. She encourages people to be intrapreneurs first. If you have an idea, go ahead and see if a similar one exists and see how you can better it. If it doesn’t exist, ask yourself, “Why?” Is there genuinely a need for it, or is it for your own self? Lastly, go ahead and do it. Try doing what is needed within your target and see if it gets traction. If not, then stop. Sometimes there’s nothing wrong with the target, it’s your idea or execution that is wrong.On the best way to collaborate with out of the box nonprofit leaders:Lublin says innovation and collaboration don’t always go hand in hand, especially in the nonprofit sector. But it’s always a start to find these circles of out of the box leaders among women entrepreneurs. What she says is much needed are mergers and acquisitions. “We all chase the same money and almost the same goals. We should care about social change, not social organizations.”Gloria Feldt, co-founder and CEO of Take The Lead, added that there is a lack of engagement in the political process. There needs to be some grassroots mobilization to get people involved in the issue to initiate interest in the process.(Take The Lead is hosting the 50 Women Can Change The World Program in Arizona, which supports women leaders in the nonprofit sector.)On a turning point in her career that made her realize her initiatives will be successful:Lublin says an entrepreneurial journey is like a flickering light bulb, never just on or off. As women entrepreneurs, you may take 2 steps forward, 1 back, and 3 sideways. Business models are built, but always subject to pivots. This is especially hard in the nonprofit world, where the funders don’t encourage change and go by projections. Ventures don’t work this way, and this doesn’t encourage honesty and transparency. What should be done instead is to demonstrate belief in the idea. Fund ideas and people. Crisis Text Line is a data company that deals with people’s lives. It uses data to make the venture better, using technology for people in pain. This is what makes investment a crucial part of the model to design success of the mission. Lublin says more businesses should operate like nonprofits as there is a lot to learn from passion for a cause.[bctt tweet=“Businesses should operate like nonprofits as there is a lot to learn from passion for a cause.”]On the monetary negotiations of being employed in the non profit world:Often people mistake working for a non profit as a less valuable thing. This is the saddest myth. The causes of every nonprofit are worthy of respect and dignity, and so should the people working behind it. We should start by respecting ourselves. (Read more about Equal Pay in our newsletter Take The Lead This Week)On how she stays focused and inspired:Never complain. Lublin says she earned this early on from the experiences of her clients at Dress for Success. She likes to be busy, and is good at saying no. She doesn’t really plan life, just lives it. That’s what makes it fun.Leadership Takeaway:[bctt tweet=““Someone else doesn’t have to lose for you to win.””]Power Up Song: “My Shot” from the Broadway play, “Hamilton:”“I am not throwing away my shot!I am not throwing away my shot!Hey yo, I’m just like my country
I’m young, scrappy and hungryAnd I’m not throwing away my shot!”Stay tuned for The May Virtual Happy Hour when Felicia Davis moderates “Knowing Your Own Worth.”Resources:Virtual Happy Hour linkThe XYZ Factor: The DoSomething.org Guide to Creating a Culture of Impact