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Dr. Sam Collins

Interview with Dr. Sam Collins, Founder of Aspire, Author, and Champion of Leadership for Women

Listen to the Interview with Dr. Sam Collins

Meet Sam

Dr. Sam CollinsThis episode of the Innov8social Podcast features an interview with Dr. Sam Collins. She is an accomplished leader, social entrepreneur and global voice for women as catalysts for change. Originally from the UK and now living in Los Angeles, she has been named one of the  ‘Top 200 Women to Impact Business & Industry’ by Her Majesty, The Queen among other accolades.

Dr. Sam is also a best-selling author of the book Radio Heaven. And she is the founder of Aspire, an award-winning convener of leadership events and 1-on-1 coaching for ‘MAD’ – ‘making a difference’​, which involves women leaders who inspire and empower change in life, workplaces and local communities.

What is particularly exciting, and what will be great to dive into more today, is her goal of make a difference to one billion women by 2020. Incredible!

 

Find Out More

 

More About Sam

  • Dr. Sam’s bio, as listed on the Aspire website
  • Sam’s video on her pivotal moment in turning to being an impact leader
  • Article, “Women Altrupreneurs Set to Change Face of Business” on HuffingtonPost on Sam’s views on the potential of women leaders to shift leadership paradigms
  • Sam’s book, Radio Heaven

 

More About Aspire Foundation

  • Website: http://www.aspirewomen.co.uk/index.php/
  • Value proposition: “Our programmes provide leadership coaching and training and empower women in 80 countries. We have already impacted over 1 million women since we began in 2001 and our goal is to see more women in leadership and to challenge organisational culture and society to be more authentic and inclusive for all.”
  • Video,  Dr. Samantha Collins talks about her vision for the Aspire Foundation
  • Article, “The Billion-Woman March Begins With You” on HuffingtonPost about the billion woman goal
Nyna Pais Caputi, social impact filmmaker and entrepreneur
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Interview with Nyna Caputi, Director, Petals in the Dust and Founder, The Expat Woman

Earlier this month we had a chance to interview Nyna Pais Caputi, a director of the upcoming social SF_Docfest_Petals_official_movie_posterimpact documentary Petals in the Dust: Endangered Indian Girls which is set to have its world premier on June 6, 2015 in San Francisco.Petals in the Dust examines themes of gender discrimination and violence against women—through the lens and stories of incredible individual women from India and across the diaspora. The project has been one of passion and commitment by Nyna, taking over 7 years to make into reality.

Meet Nyna

Nyna Pais Caputi has the incredible knack of taking Gandhi’s quote “be the change you wish to see in the world” to heart. When her own journey led to her to explore adopting children from India, she was confronted with stark gender inequality norms and difficult realities such as infanticide. Instead of standing by, she began the epic project of writing, directing, producing, and releasing a documentary that explores the layers of gender inequality in India—and also tells the stories of women who have found ways to overcome difficult realities.

As she researched her film and learned about atrocities such as killing of women and girls in India and globally, she took a bold step to galvanize attention and community by founding the Global Walk for India’s Missing Girls. Now in its fifth year, it has become an inNyna_cameraternational awareness campaign on the violence and genocide of Indian women that has taken place in over 25 cities and five countries.

And again, when she moved to San Francisco and couldn’t find a group for international women interested in pursuing entrepreneurial endeavors, she took it upon herself to launch “The Expat Woman” as a group where women can hear from other women, can showcase their own ventures and products, and (soon) can pitch their startups in a “Shark Tank”-like pitch event.
I had the chance to speak on one of Nyna’s Expat Women panels focused on the experience of entrepreneurship in the SF Bay Area.
Nyna has been recognized for her leadership and tenacity with honors including selection as a “2015 Woman of Distinction” by Soroptimist International of Diablo and was selected for a “Women of the Year” award by the California State Assembly in 2015.

Listen to the Interview with Nyna

See the Trailer for “Petals in the Dust : The Endangered Indian Girls”

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Storify Recap of VLAB January 2015: Transforming Entrepreneurship – Women Under 30 [PHOTOS]

VLAB January 2015: Transforming Entrepreneurship - Women Under 30It’s incredible to think that this blog post on a fascinating VLAB event on crowdfunding in June 2012 was the first connection point with VLAB. Fast forward two-and-half years and it’s been continually enriching to become immersed in disruptive technology, learn about emerging trends, and—especially for our work in exploring social innovation—better understand those points of nexus that connect the vast potential of entrepreneurship with impact.Tonight’s VLAB event featuring five accomplished entrepreneurs and skilled moderator was no exception. The theme of this evening was “Transforming Entrepreneurship: Women Under 30” and featured the Founders, Co-Founders, or CEO’s of tech startups TRUSTe, Entefy, Revel, BitWall, Enplug, and Locket.Here is a social media recap of the event that features posts about the panel, advice shared by the panelists, soundbytes, and reflections from attendees and organizers. Enjoy :)

 

 

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Recap and Photos: Women Social Entrepreneurs Panel, Hosted by GABA WIB and Kiva

Over fifty women and a handful of men gathered at the eco-chic offices of Kiva in downtown San Francisco on Tuesday, February 12th 2013 to discuss social entrepreneurship. The panel of experienced women practitioners and mentors in the field was organized by Linda Cleary and Barb Krause of Women in Business (WIB), a subgroup of the Northern California German American Business Association (GABA).

GABA Panel of Women Social Entrepreneurs @ Kiva
Women Social Entrepreneurship Panel, hosted by GABA and Kiva

 

While the panelists—from IndieGoGo, Kiva, Santa Clara’s GSBI program, and social enterprise startups— explained their work and organizations’ missions, they made the gathering uniquely personal by sharing their individual stories and journeys in the field.

Moderated by Britt Huber of Kiva

 

Seven panelists shared the stage and were hosted by the evening’s Moderator Britt Huber, Kiva’s VP of Human Resources. Britt outlined the role Kiva has played in expanding microfinance, noting that repayment rate for the organization’s micro-loans to borrowers in developing countries is over 95%. Kiva, a 501(c)(3) non-profit,  has expanded it’s presence to 67 countries since its inception in 2005 and is powered by over 100 employees and 400 volunteers.
GABA Panel of Women Social Entrepreneurs @ Kiva
Moderator Britt Huber

The speakers sat on stools in front of the audience creating an informal, intimate setting.  Each gave a brief introduction, and then Britt posed a few questions spurring anecdotes and candid reflections before opening the session up for Q&A from the audience.

  • What was the trigger motivation that shifted your interest to social entrepreneurship?
  • What are you most proud of? What keeps you up at night? (See below for their responses)
  • How do you define a nonprofit and for-profit social venture? How should a social entrepreneur decide?

Meet the Panel

Panelist Dr. Laura E. Stachel, Co-Founder of WE CARE Solar.
After fourteen years practicing obstetrics-gynecology medicine, a back injury took Dr. Laura out of the daily practice of medicine and on a path to pursuing policy through a Masters in Public Health.  She redefined her connection to the medicine following a trip to Nigeria. The purpose of the travel was to study and support local physicians in a region with high maternal mortality rates; however, she discovered a very essential problem limiting medical care at the facility. Light, or the lack of it. Because of the region’s sporadic electricity, doctors and nurses were using makeshift lighting methods such as candles and headlamps to administer surgeries and intensive care. Dr. Laura emailed her husband, a solar energy innovator, and the seed of a social enterprise was planted.  Together they developed prototypes and researched need for a solar-powered off-grid electric system that was portable.  Five years later, and WE CARE solar suitcases have been delivered to medical facilities in countries including Sierra Leone, India, Sudan, Nigeria, Liberia, Uganda, Malawi, Thailand, Burma, and Somalia. Organized as a 501(c)(3) non-profit, WE CARE Solar has received recognition, awards, and multiple grants facilitating its growth and scalability.

What she is proud of: Creating an impact on women’s healthcare.
What keeps her up at night: The daily challenges of running a business.

Panelist Lesley Silverthorn Marincola, Founder and CEO of Angaza Designs
Lesley’s background in human-centered design stems from her study of product design and mechanical engineering at Stanford and hands-on work on the first three generations of the Amazon Kindle. She co-founded Angaza Designs in 2009 after living in Tanzania and experiencing first-hand the local dependence to kerosene-powered light. Lesley and a small team were compelled to innovate a design-oriented solution. She shared the iterative ideation process Angaza Designs has gone through in developing an off-the grid energy solution that is also affordable. The team’s initial product was a high-powered light bulb with relatively steep up-front costs. Realizing that it wasn’t affordable for the populations they were trying to serve, Angaza pivoted to create a low-cost pay-as-you go solution. The product that resulted was the
GABA Panel of Women Social Entrepreneurs @ KivaSoLite3 Solar Home System that emits bright LED light and also charges cell phones, which is supported by a unique payment platform allowing for small-sum payments. Her company is a for-profit social venture, with an emphasis on keeping up-front costs low.

What she is proud of: Being okay to fail.
What keeps her up at night: Fundraising—you need to be really resilient as a social entrepreneur, passion is not always enough.

Panelist Dr. Lee Ng, Director of Social Venture Technology at Siemens and Mentor at SCU’s Global Social Business Incubator.
In a humorous, candid style, Dr. Lee imparted sage advice to social entrepreneurs and would-be social entrepreneurs based on her years of experience and mentorship in the field. Her day job at Siemens keeps her close to emerging technologies in cleantech, and as a mentor at SCU’s GSBI program for the past seven years, she has been able to impart valuable knowledge to entrepreneurs from around the world who have a social mission for their venture. She emphasized taking a practical approach to deciding on a social entrepreneurship structure—consider first, the type of funding your organization will be seeking and then evaluate the formation structures with that in mind.

What she is proud of: Her mentees who have succeeded in their social ventures.
What keeps her up at night: Her teenagers :)



Panelist Michelle Kreger, Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives at Kiva.
When Michelle joined Kiva in 2006, after volunteering with the organization as a translator, Kiva serviced $2M in micro-loans to borrowers fighting poverty in developing countries. Seven years later, the non-profit has serviced over $400M in loans. The exponential growth in participation in  microfinance has also changed the landscape and needs of the industry. In 2011, she joined an emerging group at Kiva dedicated to exploring new loan products to serve the influx of new players in the social impact world. One main constituencies she focused on was social entrepreneurs. Kiva has partnered with over 30 social enterprises to fund projects and support their work. These new partnerships span fields from education, innovative agriculture, clean energy, water and sanitation, to transportation and health. Her team recently partnered with Strathmore University in Kenya to create student loans payable in 10-12 years.

What she is proud of: Consciously deciding to break a model that works to create new models.
What keeps her up at night: How to find people who are social entrepreneurs and don’t know it, and how to use Kiva’s network to support their work.

GABA Panel of Women Social Entrepreneurs @ KivaPanelist Erica Bliss, Past Manager at Technoserve and President of Women Entrepreneurs at Haas.
After gaining experience as a business analyst, Erica discovered Technoserve as a way to leverage her consulting skills to support social enterprises in developing countries. She spent two-and-a-half years as a TechnoServe Consultant and Manager in Uganda assisting local farmers develop partnerships and products to increase local market share. She also served as a consultant to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Africa before returning to California to pursue an MBA with a focus on social enterprise. She shared a unique experience working with local farmers to create a mango juice sourced from local mangoes to parallel popular juices imported from other countries.

What she is proud of:  Building a cohesive team in Africa that continues the work they started together.
What keeps her up at night: The massive population of youth under the age of fifteen in Africa and the challenges, such as job creation, that they will face in the coming years.

Panelist Juli Betwee, CEO, Pivot.Point Partners and Mentor at SCU’s Global Social Business Incubator.  Juli has over twenty-five years of experience in business consulting and strategy. Recently, she partnered with the GSBI at Santa Clara University to leverage her knowledge and experience in business to support social entrepreneurs. New to the field of social entrepreneurship, she offered a practical look at the industry from the lens of corporate growth and scalability. About how to measure social impact, she noted that assessing social impact engages a three-dimensional way of thinking which calls on looking at predictive analytics rather than historic analytics and focusing on trends, patterns, and correlations rather than simply numbers.

What she is proud of: Impacting and influencing over 100 women entrepreneurs.
What keeps her up at night: How to move more quickly to make greater impact with social entrepreneurs.

Panelist Erica Labovitz, Director of Strategic Programs at Indiegogo.
Erica admitted to the audience that she hadn’t considered herself to be a social entrepreneur before speaking on the panel, but in sharing her personal history in engaging in education and policy work in the U.S. and abroad it became clear that she wears the title well. Erica studied in Economics in college and pursued a Masters degree at Northwestern’s School of Education and Social Policy. While on a volunteer trip in Africa she received an email from the founders of IndieGoGo asking her if she wanted to join their team. She was one of the first four employees at the popular crowdfunding platform. She is interested in finding creative ways to leverage the potential of crowdfunding platforms and enterprise tools to serve social impact. IndieGoGo is a for-profit corporation.

What she is proud of: Generating esteem-building through job creation.
What keeps her up at night: How to create a level playing field for startup entrepreneurs.

GABA Panel of Women Social Entrepreneurs @ Kiva

 

 

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Infographic: State of Women in the World

The recent spotlight on crimes against women in India and around the globe has engaged a broad discussion about how legal and social infrastructures impact women‘s health, education, safety, and status.This infographic, published by Armchair Advocates and posted to visual.ly, gives a broad overview of education, career opportunities, and health of women in different areas of the world. 

Preeti Khanna
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Q & A About Crimes Against Women in India with Attorney Preeti Khanna

Violence Against Women in India

Of his 23 year-old aspiring physiotherapist daughter, Jyoti Singh Pandey’s father told press last week, “I am proud of her. Revealing her name will give courage to other women who have survived these attacks. They will find strength from my daughter.”Jyoti and a male friend were attacked on a bus in South Delhi, India in December 2012. She passed away two weeks later from severe injuries resulting from the gang rape and impact from a metal rod she endured. Six individuals have been charged for murder, rape, abduction, and other offenses.The crime has incited millions worldwide, and has put a spotlight on the crime and punishment for crimes against women in India and elsewhere.

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Knowledge, a Path to Constructive Change

Knowledge can form a path to constructive change, and awareness and communication get us there faster.

With renewed focus on the pervasive issues of crimes against women in India and other countries, there is an urgency to understand the legal and legislative structure in India.

Meet Preeti Khanna, Attorney from New Delhi

Preeti KhannaTo facilitate knowledge-gathering on this issue, Innov8Social interviewed Preeti Khanna, an accomplished Indian attorney who studied and practiced law in New Delhi. She provided valuable insight about crimes against women in India and the potential for new legislation and implementation to impact change.

Preeti graduated from the University of Delhi with a B.A. in Psychology, with Honors, before pursuing a law degree from the same university. In her career as an attorney, she has actively litigated cases in the Delhi High Court and Indian Supreme Court with a focus on criminal, employment, and administrative law cases.

She recently completed her Masters in Law (LL.M) at the University of California, Berkeley in Business and International Law and is now working as a research fellow at Berkeley Law School.

Read the Interview

Q & A About Crimes Against Women in India with a Attorney Preeti Khanna

Q1 | Innov8Social: How are crimes against women prosecuted in Delhi/India currently? Is there leniency if a perpetrator marries a survivor of a sex crime?

A1 | Preeti Khanna, Attorney: India is a common law jurisdiction, with a partly federal and partly union structure. Furthermore, juries were abolished in India in 1961 or so, and trials are conducted under the adversarial system.

Sex crimes are defined under the Indian Penal Code for instance in:

  • Section 376 (Punishment for rape)
  • Section 354 (Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty);

and other statutes such as:

In addition, there are some state specific laws as well. Furthermore, even though not yet codified under statute, sexual harassment of women at workplace is criminalized under a scheme set up by the Supreme Court (Please refer the 1997 constitution bench Supreme Court decision in Vishakha case).

Prosecution of sex crimes proceeds much the same manner as prosecution for any other crime.

Prosecution is governed by the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CRPC) and begins with an aggrieved person filing a first investigation report (FIR) with police, which is the primary investigating authority. Police conducts an investigation – records statement of victim, visits and collects evidence or inspects the scene of crime, evidence/statements of other identified persons are collected, medical and forensic examination takes place etc. After completing investigation, the police submits a chargesheet and its report, and trial commences in the court. A Court /judge/ magistrate may also take suo-moto cognizance of an offense and direct the police to carry out an investigation and submit a report to the court. All detailed procedures are specified in CRPC. Prosecution and defense evidence is led and trial is held.

As for leniency – this depends on facts.

The willingness of the girl is the important factor here. The court will attempt to separate sham transactions and lift the veil. Offer to marry a victim of crime cannot be allowed to become a way to bail consequences. If the interests of parties are found genuine, and not resulting from any oppression or coercion or not found sham, it may be a mitigating circumstance – and treated as a sort of a compromise or settlement. The benefit to the victim is the key factor. After all, one of the objects of punishment is to redress the grievances of the victim.

Q2 | Innov8Social:  What are the steps required to enact new legislation changing the law in India? How long does it usually take?

A2 | Preeti: Again, India has a Westminster parliamentary scheme of government, with a bicameral legislature. Law is enacted by legislature. If legislature is not in session, and there is any sort of urgency, the executive is not without power.
On the advice of the cabinet, executive (president) can pass an ordinance – which lasts for upto 6 months, and can be extended by the executive. It may also be voted into law. As for time, an ordinance can be passed in a day, and some bills never become law.
So it is difficult to determine a normative time, but time is not the constraint, political will is. Moreover, personally in my opinion, India has mature, good laws. The greater problem lies in their implementation.

Q3 | Innov8Social: From your practice of law and policy on related issues, what are the key changes you think would create the most impact in safety for women in Delhi (and India)?

A3 | Preeti: This is a big one. A multi-pronged approach is going to be effective. So in no order of importance:

  1. There needs to be greater social awareness of women’s rights and safety, and sensitivity to the plight of victims of crime – not just sexual crime, but other equally rampant crimes such as domestic violence etc.
  2. Victims of crime need greater support and need more protection. Often women victims and their families are threatened by the accused.
  3. Awareness should also be directed at changes in attitudes. For the most part, crimes against women simply go unreported, as victims are not comfortable coming forward and reporting.
  4. More effective policing is needed. More quantity of, better trained and more sensitized personnel, a quicker investigation by the police, reduction in corruption
  5. The judiciary is overburdened. A trial in a rape case for instance, should take no more than 6 months, and an appeal no longer than 6 months either. Reality is that it takes 5 to 10 years for each, which makes justice even if delivered,somewhat illusory. Trials have to be expedited. Technology is greatly under-utilized in process redesign. Everyone focuses on having more judges, but in my opinion, we can leverage our existing judges a LOT more, we can focus on the process efficiencies and focus on getting better co-operation from lawyers and the bar in expediting processes.
  6. Greater community involvement, and most importantly the social values and the approach to the place of women in society is the most important factor.
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Crowdsourcing Change for Crimes Against Women in Delhi, and Beyond

The facts are grim and disturbing. It’s mid-December 2012, and a twenty-something year old physiotherapy student and a guy friend, both originally from the Indian state Uttar Pradesh but now living in Delhi, catch an evening movie at an urban cineplex in South Delhi. They then board a 9pm-ish bus home. The bus veers from its route, and the driver bolts the doors. What transpires over the course of the next hour has catalyzed over 10,000 protestors, broad public outcry, and a crowdsourced demand for change.

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Crimes Against Women in Delhi

According to Reuters, New Delhi has the highest number of sex crimes of all major cities in India. A rape is reported to Delhi police every 18 hours. Many women’s rights groups claim that due to underreporting, the true number of sex crimes in the city is far higher. And, according the New York Times, even when rape cases are reported, the perpetrators are often not found or arrested.

Six individuals were taken into custody for gang rape and assault charges. The female student remains in critical condition. Though she has been under intense hospital care, she has worked with police to report what happened.

Mass Protests

Protests have cropped up at New Delhi’s historic India Gate and across the country, reaching a fever-pitch with tens of thousands of individuals seeking more serious, expeditious treatment of the over 100K crimes against women reported in the nation’s capital and across the country. Mass protests in Delhi have been met with governmental resistance—the Delhi government passed a late anti-protest ordinance (which has been largely ignored), city officials closed various transportation routes leading to India Gate where the protestors gathered.
The protests began peacefully but have also seen rowdy behavior including the overturning of a Parliament member’s car and provoking police. The police have responded with their own intensity–including tear gas, water cannons, and arrests.

The Call to Social Innovators

For social innovators, the news in Delhi is especially tough. India is one of the hotbeds for meaningful and innovative social impact initiatives. From new education measures to experiments in local farming, creative and driven thinkers in India forge new paths ahead.
The history for social entrepreneurship in India has been sometimes-inspired by the likes of prominent humanitarians within the country such as Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Theresa, and great entrepreneurs such as Tata and Birla.
The victims’ calls for help weren’t answered in time. But the protests, responses, and online coverage is an active call that seeks response. It may be time for social innovators to support legislative changes that can help address issues of women’s safety, but also to think beyond the government to architect new ways that all people can be made more safe to study, work, and play in any city they find themselves in.

3 Things You Can Do, Now

1. Sign Online Petitions
2. Read 

The Great Inequality: What it’ll take for a Brighter Future for Women Worldwide (SocialEarth)

3. WatchIndian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh:
Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit:

Jaya Bachchan, Actress/Politician: