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Welcome to Changemakers: Why are we doing this?

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When I was asked to develop this series, I was excited about talking to people who were thinking outside the box to create businesses that meet the needs of today’s world. The people you’ll meet here work in very different industries, but they’ve all combined creativity and sheer hustle and tenacity to apply real world approaches to tackle issues that are front of mind. Some of them — by just having a seat at the table — are disrupting their industries.

Kelly Peeler is a Harvard-educated CEO who wants to help empower students as they manage their college finances. Fanshen Cox and Aimée Felone are pushing Hollywood and the British publishing industries, respectively, to act on their promises of becoming more inclusive by creating tangible goals. Arlan Hamilton owns a venture capital fund that invests in businesses led by underrepresented founders and Bertha Jimenez is addressing the issue of food insecurity by creating flour from spent grain breweries.

And yes, all of the people featured are women, to shed light on a group often underrepresented in business. And there are many other stories to tell at another time.

Our change makers are creating a double impact —  but not in the way that the term has come to be known in investor circles. They’re not purely focused on investing in businesses to generate strong financial and social returns. Instead, they’re using traditional business models and in some cases subverting them — by creating services for people who are often ignored, or creating products that can address a basic social need.

I hope you enjoy the thoughts of these women as much as I enjoyed talking to them — women who in their own way showed me how to think differently about the relationship between social good and money.

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