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Wonder Women Entrepreneurs! This is the place to join conversations with thought leaders who amaze, astonish and inspire you. Listen each week as entrepreneur and host Kalika Yap explores the challenges, wisdom and breakthroughs of extraordinary people. (An Entrepreneurs’ Organization production)

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Aug 24, 2017

Kathy and Amy Eldon, co-founders of Creative Visions Foundation, channeled their grief-energy into a foundation that creates awareness of critical issues through creative activism. Today on the EO Podcast, Kathy and Amy discuss how their foundation allows for exponential levels of impact by catalyzing change in a way that only media can. Tune-in to learn how Kathy and Amy, a mother-daughter team, supported each other after Dan’s death, found love, handle their differences, and work together towards a larger creative vision.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:10 – Kathy and Amy’s Journey
  • 01:26 – Kathy was a teacher, then mother, then started writing books and telling other people’s stories
  • 01:45 – She’s had an unpredictable life which forced her to be entrepreneurial
  • 2:10 – Now they help others use their entrepreneurship to create important media and art projects to catalyze change
  • 02:44 – Amy’s brother (Kathy’s son) was a war correspondent, activist, and artist who went to Somalia and was killed
  • 04:45 – Parents responded with forgiveness and used the tragedy as a force for good
  • 04:58 – This is how Creative Visions Foundation was born; to help nurture other sparks like Dan
  • 05:13 – They’ve worked with more than 260 projects and productions, with a global reach of over 100 million people
  • 05:38 – The impact of a media company is exponential; it is storytelling to ignite action
  • 06:09 – Investing in media creates a huge impact; it’ll engage people
  • 06:52 – Project examples: The first project
  • 06:54 – Gave a small amount of money to brothels in India to document children in brothels
  • 07:30 – They discovered that they could do more good creating a fiscal sponsorship program for people to create projects and embrace them
  • 07:55 – The Creative Activist Program: Over 260 people that they’ve counseled and guided
  • 08:17 – How do you build something out of a tragedy?
  • 08:38 – Kathy, as a mother, had to channel the energy towards something good
  • 09:10 – She wanted to make a film to share the lives of the young activists like her son, so she already had a mission
  • 09:43 – Taking the energy of grief and pouring it into something else is very constructive
  • 09:53 – This week, Kathy is launching a “Noisy Spirits Club” as part of the sponsorship program
  • 10:12 – She’s met people all over the world who have taken grief and channeled it towards projects for good
  • 10:57 – It can be used to celebrate people, too
  • 11:15 – What does the world need more of?
  • 11:17 – (Amy) Empathy: we need to understand the plight of others and act on it
  • 11:50 – Kathy is concerned that kids aren’t as empathetic as they used to be, but Amy disagrees
  • 12:23 – Kids were involved in foreign news more in the past, the news now doesn’t touch on international news as much
  • 13:20 – “Be Fearless Be Kind” short films that they did for Hasbro
  • 13:27 – Scarlet Lewis, a mother of a boy named Jesse who was killed at Sandy Hook Elementary, decided to take the approach of empathy, compassion, forgiveness, and love
  • 13:49 – Her curriculum in schools across America brings the spirit of embrace into schools
  • 14:00 – She saw the shooter with awareness of his pain
  • 14:33 – Bullying is more painful for your psyche than any physical damage
  • 14:50 – How can we teach children to be more empathetic?
  • 14:53 – Exposure to different kinds of people who aren’t like us; Amy went to the International School of Kenya where everyone was different
  • 15:26 – Children model their behavior from adults; if adults are mocking/judging, children will too
  • 15:51 – It’s up to us to model loving behavior
  • 16:20 – Kathy is working with Maya Soetoro-Ing who came up with a “Peace Studio”
  • 16:48 – Books and projects coming up
  • 17:15 – Amy felt like she was starting to lose memories of her brother Dan and her mother suggested she write in an “Angel Catcher,” a book to store memories
  • 17:50 – The book “Angel Catcher” was born out of their own need to search for purpose and maintain memories of their loved one
  • 18:06 – “Soul Catcher” is a guided journal to find out and become who you really are
  • 18:32 – They wrote “Love Catcher” to find the male love in their lives and a friend connected Kathy with her now husband, and that man connected Amy with her now husband
  • 19:40 – Amy brought some apple crumble pie to John, her now husband, who was living next door
  • 20:00 – That was the beginning of their relationship; both of their husbands are incredibly supportive and wonderful
  • 20:40 – Kathy believes strongly in the power of vision, hence the company name and logo that is from an ancient Chinese divination meaning “the power of the creative...that transforms the world around it”
  • 21:13 – The film
  • 21:20 – Kathy moved to LA and started going through his journals to generate the store
  • 21:55 – After 16-17 years she felt discouraged but had a director, script, and new CEO encouraging them to complete it
  • 22:16 – They pulled together the money, had an excellent producers, and shot for 8 weeks in South Africa the film “The Journey is the Destination” which incorporates Dan’s journal pages
  • 22:45 – It won best film in the Garden State Film Festival and was just shown at Harvard Law School; it is compelling, moving, and inspiring
  • 23:03 – It took Kathy 20 years to make and is a tribute to her steadfastness
  • 24:00 – Be patient with people who hold fast to a vision and work to find angles that help them and support them
  • 24:40 – Amy was always supportive of her mother and they had to learn how to work as a team
  • 24:55 – How is the family dynamic?
  • 25:08 – They are very close, but very different; Kathy is an “Insane Visionary” whereas “Amy” is more about planning and predictability
  • 25:50 – Kathy couldn’t be with anyone like herself for very long; Dan had a noisy energy so they always bounced off each other
  • 26:15 – Amy lives next door to Kathy; Amy loves how Kathy honors everyone, Kathy loves Amy’s “flow”
  • 27:30 – Advice for women entrepreneurs
  • 27:45 – Amy wishes she had more discipline; she hears of CEOs that wake up at 5am and she can’t, she is more effective when she sleeps
  • 28:08 – Meditation is something Amy is working on, the mindfulness makes her more effective
  • 28:25 – Kathy reads two newspapers daily, she’s very curious, and believes openness is important; we must read, experience, speak to others, and live
  • 29:00 – Sometimes entrepreneurs can be too in their heads about achievements that we lose the chance to serendipitous and synchronistic opportunities, and LIVE
  • 29:15 – They are an all-women, mostly young, company
  • 29:40 – They mentor their interns and the interns learn to problem-solve in a way that many can’t experience
  • 30:18 – They are very proud of everyone within their business and perceive them as grown-up and capable
  • 30:39 – Their CEO will be running the company with a more of a business-style; Kathy and Amy weren’t trained in company management
  • 31:00 – Kathy and Amy brought in people skilled in certain aspects of the business in order to grow it; nurture the entrepreneurial spirit in others and delegate;
  • 32:00 – The culture at their company is warm and welcoming and maintains a high level of humanity, even though they are metric-driven and desire growth
  • 32:34 – Kathy believes the company is magnetically attracting extraordinary people from around the world that want to connect
  • 32:39 – “Connection is the solution”
  • 32:50 – Entrepreneurs can bring their business brains to help their people that are in the trenches trying to make a difference
  • 33:10 – Entrepreneurs are creative in their own way; they solve problems
  • 33:35 – Sundowners May 18th at Creative Visions 18820 Pacific Coast Highway
  • 33:55 – Activists from all over the world come and connect and make magic

Key Points:

  1. We need to be more empathetic by understanding the plight of others and acting on it.
  2. Be patient and supportive towards people who have a vision, even if you can’t see it yourself.
  3. Be open to the world so that you can see opportunities, synchronicities, and serendipitous event when they happen.

Resources Mentioned:

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Welcome to the EO Wonder podcast, where each fortnight we bring you news, interviews and much much more about women entrepreneurs shaping the future. We delve into topics that discuss the future of women entrepreneurs, the highs and the lows of running a business and also the interesting things happening within EO!