Cover art for podcast Activate World

Activate World

40 EpisodesProduced by Jon MertzWebsite

What makes business leader and CEO activism more impactful? Today’s business leaders have more power to solve societal issues than any elected official, and Millennials and Generation Z expect business leaders to speak up on issues that are important to society. Activate World, hosted by Jon Mertz,… read more

40 Episodes | 2018 - 2019

Building an Engaging Social Movement for Good

October 22nd, 2019


Derrick Feldmann, millennial and cause influence researcher and author, discusses how to engage in a social movement for good. Many are belongers in social causes. The goal is to move people from belongers to believers. …

Galvanizing Workers for Workplace Change

October 15th, 2019


Jess Kutch co-founded in 2013 as a platform for employees to advocate for change in the workplace. She saw the opportunity to provide …

What Business Leaders Can Learn from Nonviolent Resistance (and Sociology)

October 8th, 2019


Professor Sharon Nepstad’s research covers topics including social movements, and nonviolence and civil resistance studies. She notes that business …

How Characters and Storytelling Drive Social Change

October 1st, 2019


Professor Francesca Polletta researches the role of storytelling in social movements. She says stories can do three things: get us to care about an …

Social Principles Transforming Businesses

September 24th, 2019


Greg Satell managed a news organization during Ukraine’s Orange Revolution and saw the power of social movements. The same principles underlying …

Social Activism Showing Up in Social Entrepreneurship

September 17th, 2019


Dr. Jerry Davis, professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and associate dean for Business Plus Impact, is finding more ways …

Season 6: A Learning Tension between Social Movements and Business Leadership

September 10th, 2019


We are excited to share with you thought-provoking conversations with people engaged in social change as it impacts business.

Do you consider social entrepreneurs as activists, or are you curious about how social …

Social Enterprise Startup: Empowering Energy Equity through Solar! - S5 Ep 7

June 11th, 2019


Solstice deploys “community solar,” enabling households to subscribe to shared solar farms. Co-founder and CEO, Steph Speirs, highlights their …

Social Entrepreneurship: Startup Challenges with Added Value - S5 Ep 6

June 4th, 2019


Applying entrepreneurial principles to serve the poor and protect the planet is the definition of social entrepreneurship at Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship Santa Clara University. Dr. Thane Kreiner, executive …

Employee Ownership: Gaining Engagement through Transparency and Responsibility - S5 Ep 5

May 7th, 2019


Loren Rodgers, NCEO’s executive director, shares his perspectives on employee-owned companies as the basis of a new economy focused on broad-based prosperity, limited wealth inequality, shared sense of ownership, and …

Collectives: Delivering Transparency and Decision-making - S5 Ep 4

April 30th, 2019


Bud Caddell founded NOBL, a worker collective consulting firm in 2014. Worker collectives make decisions by practicing direct democracy versus …

Sociocracy: Achieving Results in Circles (Learn, Do, Measure) - S5 Ep 3

April 23rd, 2019


Joe Garrison co-founded worker cooperative, Blue Scorcher Bakery Café 15 years ago in Astoria, Oregon. The co-owners wanted equal ownership and decision-making by consent which led them to Sociocracy. A small group …

Cooperatives: Blending Business and Community - S5 Ep 2

April 16th, 2019


Leslie Watson works for a cooperative of consultants whose co-op clients are primarily in the natural foods sector. By definition, “a cooperative is …

Holacracy: Achieving Clarity and Productivity - S5 Ep1

April 9th, 2019


What happens when a company transitions from a traditional business model to one with distributed authority? At this brought work to the forefront and allowed it to guide the organization’s structure and …

Intro to Season 5: Business and Organizational Models for a New World

April 2nd, 2019


During the 5th season of the Activate World podcast, we will explore if different business and organizational models create more activating dynamics for teams and individuals. Today, cooperatives are being reconsidered …

Women in Tech: It Takes Focus, Data, Collaboration, and Intention - S4, Ep 6

February 26th, 2019


How do you create a more diverse tech industry with greater numbers of empowered women? According to Debbie Forster, you stop talking about it and …

The Power of Diversity-Centered Design - S4 Ep 5

February 19th, 2019


Phim Her is a Hmong-American refugee who uses art and design to impact sociocultural innovation. Her interests are in helping people from diverse …

Getting a Seat at the Table – DEI in the Workplace - S4 Ep 4

February 12th, 2019


Christine McCarey has developed diversity, equity, and inclusion programs for her former employer, RetailMeNot, and her own consultancy, Impact DEI. …

Bringing Meaning to Diversity and Inclusion at Work and in Community - S4 Ep3

February 5th, 2019


Michaela Ayers shares her experiences on diversity and inclusion as a lead with the Diversity Task Force at Payscale, a compensation research company. Objectives include teaching people the language needed to talk about …

Taking a “Goodish” Approach to Becoming a Better Leader - S4 Ep2

January 29th, 2019


Dr. Dolly Chugh discusses research on the psychological constraints on the quality of decision-making with ethical import, a phenomenon known as …

We Need Social CEO Celine Schillinger Engages Change Leadership - S4 Ep 1

January 22nd, 2019


Change leadership presents challenges as Celine Schillinger, an expert on organizational change, corporate activism, and social networks, knows well. Celine discusses her experience working at pharmaceutical company …

AYA Founder Ben Brown Gives Young Americans a Political Voice

December 18th, 2018


Although you probably heard of the AARP, representing individuals who are 50 plus in age, you may not have heard of the Association of Young Americans. Ben Brown started the Association of Young Americans to insert the …

McCombs School of Business Professor Sekou Bermiss on Political Misfits in the Workplace

December 11th, 2018


Do you discuss politics at work? How do you feel if political issues are discussed in the workplace? With limited research on how an organization’s …

Creative Startups co-founders Alice Loy and Tom Aageson on the creative economy revolution

December 4th, 2018


The creative economy opens many doors for entrepreneurs, businesses, and communities. An empowering capability of the creative economy is discovering unexpected benefits in unexpected places. Creative Startups sparks a …

Good Returns President Kyle Lukianuk Innovating Business Impact Investing

November 27th, 2018


Corporations seek innovative ways to create social and environmental impact with the most effective giving solutions to mission-aligned challenges. …

New Politics Founder Emily Cherniack Discusses Midterm Election Outcomes

November 20th, 2018


How do you create a community of servant leaders who run for political office?  A new organization – New Politics – is engaging former military and …

Social Venture Partners Dallas CEO Tony Fleo Engages Good Leaders to Do Good

November 13th, 2018


When a business leader begins to look for opportunities to give back, options range from charitable organizations to social ventures. Organizations, like Social Venture Partners, exist to engage business leaders and …

Princeton Professor Keith Whittington on Campus Freedom of Speech

November 6th, 2018


Free speech on university campuses is approached inconsistently. While some colleges get it right, others limit free speech in governing what is …

Doesn't work

October 30th, 2018


We explore how businesses make a statement by the media channels they choose to run ads and when they decide to pull ads. During the past year, …


October 23rd, 2018


Journalism plays a critical role in preserving democracy. Although currently under attack, it is important to understand the role of journalism and …

MIT Lab on Social Media Polarization

October 16th, 2018


Although there is a lot of conversations about the role of social media and polarization, few have investigated it as this team from MIT Labs. Using …

Early Radio: The Story of Fighting Bob Shuler

October 11th, 2018


Jennifer Petersen, Associate Professor of Media Studies, University of Virginia, continues the conversation by highlighting one of her favorite early radio stories and personalities. The character is Reverend Bob …

Professor of Media Studies Jennifer Petersen

October 9th, 2018


When radio first was introduced, there was a trajectory of adoption, concerns, and regulations. History provides an interesting perspective when we …

Yikes Co-Founders Mia Levesque and Tracy Levesque

October 4th, 2018


Starting a business is always a challenge. Starting one with a conscious mindset adds motivation and a place to enjoy the work. Business can do good, and Yikes started with this ideal. Through their work, organizational …

B Lab Co-Founder Jay Coen Gilbert

October 4th, 2018


The benefit corporation form was first created in Maryland in 2010. Later, Conscious Capitalism became a movement based on a 2013 book co-authored by …

Association of Corporate Citizenship Professionals CEO Carolyn Berkowitz

October 3rd, 2018


Corporate social responsibility includes elements of philanthropy and sustainability. Corporate social responsibility or corporate citizenship …

GreenBiz Chairman Joel Makower

October 3rd, 2018


Sustainability is the singular initiative that comes to mind when speaking of corporate social responsibility. While sustainability has proven its …

We the Corporations Author Adam Winkler

October 2nd, 2018


Corporations have been some of the most important innovators in American law, shaping it positively and often negatively. Many are unaware that corporations gained civil rights faster in the U.S. than African Americans …

Center for Responsive Politics Director Krumholz

October 2nd, 2018


Businesses have long used lobbyists to influence business and government leaders to create legislation or conduct an activity that will help their organizations. Lobbying is typically focused on legislators or members …

Activate World Trailer

September 26th, 2018


Weber Shandwick and KRC Research conducted a study on CEO activism and found that 47 percent of Millennials believe CEOs have a responsibility to speak up on issues important to society. In the 2018 Edelman Trust …

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