Sam Davidson is a storyteller, social entrepreneur and leader. As president of Cool People Care, a company that connects people who want to do good with nonprofit organizations, Davidson has honed in on his passions, talents and ability to meet the world’s needs. Davidson spoke at this year’s final Belmont and Beyond event on Monday, April 13 and asked students not, “What do you want to do for a living?” but instead, “What do you want to do for a life?”
Davidson‘s charismatic and engaging ability to tell stories further aided his analogy of taking his 3-year-old daughter to the grocery store. He asked her, “Do you know what makes ice cream even better?” While she thought ice cream couldn’t be improved, Davidson described sprinkles. Cool People Care, for Davidson, is the brightly colored, princess sprinkles on top of his career, because as he explained, when one aligns his or her passions and talents to impact the world, an already great career can become even better.
Davidson started his company in 2006 when he discovered the need for a online nonprofit presence. Nine years later, the company has grown to include a successful merchandise line, though this process did not happen immediately after his college graduation. There was a period of time where he had to work “bill-paying” jobs and ask the difficult questions about what he was looking for. His advice for getting through this time is the Social Enterprise Success Model, finding the spot where one’s passions, talents and the needs of the world overlap.
“I knew I needed to find these three things in life to be happy,” said Davidson.
For passion, he said, “What do you love doing?” “When do you lose track of time?” “What must you do every day?” and “What do you think about the most?”
For talent, “What are you good at doing?” “What are you known for?” “What do you value doing?” and “What is your favorite thing to do?”
Finally, to find an area of impact, ask, “What needs changing?” “Who needs help?” “What makes you angry?” and “What could the world look like?”
Davidson mentioned the following nonprofits as great examples of people using their talents to fill a need:
- Nakate, started by Shanley Knox, which helps bring jobs to jewelry makers in Uganda.
- Playing By Air, started by Jacob Weiss, which provides free entertainment programs for the community every time performances for corporate events, team building, etc. are booked.
- Start Some Good, started by Alex Budak, which serves as a fundraising tool, similar to KickStarter, for nonprofit causes and organizations.
- Headbands of Hope, started by Jessica Ekstrom, which donates a headband to a girl with cancer and $1 to childhood cancer research for every headband purchase.
Davidson ended his talk by inspiring the audience with a Mary Oliver quote, in which she asks a butterfly, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
To learn more about Davidson, click here.