Kathleen Kelly Janus is a social entrepreneur, author and lecturer at Stanford University. An expert on philanthropy, millennial engagement and scaling early-stage organizations, her work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, Stanford Social Innovation Review, Tech Crunch and the San Francisco Chronicle. She is the co-founder of Spark, the largest network of millennial donors in the world. Based in the heart of the Silicon Valley, her forthcoming book, Social Startup Success, features best practices for early-stage nonprofit organizations based on a five-year research project interviewing hundreds of top-performing social entrepreneurs.
Please tell us what your new book, Social Startup Success, is about and what motivated you to write it.
Social Startup Success is the playbook that I wish I had when I co-founded Spark, a small nonprofit in San Francisco that engages millennials to support gender equality. The book outlines the strategies that some of the most impactful organizations of our time - such as Kiva, Teach for America and charity: water – have used to become successful, and my hope is that readers will come away with a strong understanding of what it takes to make this world a better place, whether they work for a nonprofit organization, are a board member, volunteer for social causes or support nonprofits through philanthropic giving… Social Startup Success will give you the tools to make a difference!
You are a social entrepreneur, author and lecturer, as well as an expert on philanthropy and millennial engagement. What does a day in the life look like?
My time is balanced between meeting with and mentoring social entrepreneurs and students, writing about topics that excite me, and board work for the various nonprofit boards where I serve. Given that, I live in San Francisco I also spend a lot of time in the car commuting to Stanford, when I love listening to podcasts.
What's important to you about being a female leader in business?
I don't think much about being a woman in business versus a man in business, except when it comes to being the best role model I can possibly be for my kids. I am excited that they will have a strong example for what it looks like to be a mom as well as to do work that feeds my soul and makes the world a better place.
What is one piece of advice you could give to a student who is interested in becoming a social entrepreneur?
Anyone who is interested in being a social entrepreneur should first go and work for someone who has been successful in the business.
What are some useful resources such as apps, websites, or podcasts that you'd recommend to a student entrepreneur?
Stanford Social Innovation Review and the “Masters of Scale” podcast by Reid Hoffman.
Our readers are the next generation of changemakers. What are the new challenges they face that may not have existed in the past?
The clock is ticking on pressing social problems, which makes social entrepreneurship urgently needed. But at the same time, there is so much potential out there because more than ever, young people view it as their duty to make the world a better place. I truly believe the future is bright.
First thing you do when you get home from work? Play with my kids
Favorite book? Social Startup Success ☺
Favorite TV show or podcast lately? “Call Your Girlfriend” podcast (for a hilarious and witty feminist take on the world)
Women who are inspiring you right now? Nadine Burke Harris, Center for Youth Wellness
Keep up with Kathleen by clicking here!