Driving Culture Change and Staying True to Your Beliefs

Interview by Billy Shore

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Where do the most effective social change agents focus their efforts? Soupergirl founder Sara Polon and Community Wealth Partners CEO Amy Celep join hosts Billy and Debbie Shore to discuss their motivations and strategies for changing the world. Celep works at the systems level helping other organizations accelerate the pace of social change. She cites KaBOOM!, the national nonprofit dedicated to children’s play, as an example. “We helped [them] say, ‘what we need to do is not just build playgrounds and the infrastructure for play, we need to shift the cultural norm in this country,’” she explains. Polon started Soupergirl to shift the cultural norm through individual decisions. By using only plant-based ingredients sourced largely from sustainable local farms, she is giving consumers better choices that could help fix our broken food system. “Our mantra is changing the world one bowl of soup at a time,” she says.

Both guests are story-tellers who changed careers in order to drive change. Formerly a stand-up comedian, Polon knew she wanted to shift to fixing the food system after reading Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma. “We’re trying to be so careful about what we put in the soup. Knowing where the food comes from, who grew it, what’s the story of it… we work every day to make sure we stay true to those values,” she says. Celep was formerly a television news producer. “I wanted to tell stories, but the stories you tell on local news were not the stories I wanted to tell. I wanted to tell stories about people changing the world,” she says.

Listen to these two dynamic, purpose-driven women share their stories about why and how they are changing the world.

Resources and Mentions:

Sara Polon

Founder and owner of Soupergirl. A former stand-up comedienne turned soup-maker, Polon decided to get involved in the local food movement after reading Michael Pollan’s book, the Omnivore’s Dilemma. She teamed up with her mother to bring locally inspired, nutritious, and delicious soup to the hungry citizens of Washington, DC and beyond. Polon started the company with the idea that the food system is broken and getting people to eat more responsibly is the way to fix it. They prepare soup the way it was meant to be made, from scratch and cooked slowly with fresh and seasonal ingredients.

Amy Celep

CEO of Community Wealth Partners. She guides the organization’s strategic direction and oversees the team’s efforts to support partners in solving problems at the magnitude they exist. Amy was named to this role in April 2010, and since then has led the organization in developing and implementing a new strategy for greater impact, while achieving significant revenue growth and securing a marquee list of partners. Celep served in various consulting and management roles with Community Wealth Partners for eight years before moving into her current position. Prior to joining the organization, she worked in the nonprofit sector as a marketer and fundraiser and in the private sector where she served as a producer for a CBS affiliate’s award-winning evening news. In 2011, Celep was honored as one of The Washington Business Journal’s 40 Under 40, which recognizes the region’s brightest young business leaders. Celep is a member of the Leadership Greater Washington Class of 2012. She received her M.B.A. from Georgetown University and her B.S. from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

No Kid Hungry

Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign is ending child hunger in America by ensuring all children get the healthy food they need, every day.

Soupergirl

Makes healthful, plant-based soup from fresh, local veggies, grains, beans, and other wholesome goodness. They have two stores in Washington DC and can also be found on the shelves of other grocery stores as well as Whole Foods and Costco. They believe in real, responsible food. Soupergirl supports the local farming community. They compost and use wind energy. They treat their staff respectfully and ask the same of their vendors. Their soups are prepared

Community Wealth Partners

Helps change agents solve social problems at the magnitude they exist. For 20 years they’ve helped diverse, inspiring change agents make lasting progress in their organizations and communities. Working side by side, they reimagine what’s possible and promote new ways of thinking. Through this spirit of intense partnership, Community Wealth Partners helps change agents accelerate the pace of change and carry their dream forward. As a Share Our Strength organization, we bring the successful practices of one of the nation’s leading anti-hunger, anti-poverty organizations to hundreds of change agents nationwide through leadership development and coaching, strategy and implementation, and community collaboration services.

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