Devin: Laurie, what is your superpower?
Laurie: I think if I have—I’ve succeeded in anything to a certain extent, I think it is by helping to start movements. You know, social movements, professional movements, educational movements.
Laurie Lane-Zucker’s success comes from his ability to build a movement. After 30 years working in sustainability and a decade after launching his Impact Entrepreneur network, he’s launching his latest effort with Impact Entrepreneur Magazine.
Patiently building an audience of 30,000 people has given him a platform to successfully stand up the new enterprise. He’s proven his superpower.
Laurie began his impact career at The Orion Society, a nonprofit he headed that published a magazine about place-based education. Over 14 years in that seat, he grew the organization dramatically and the field it championed even more so.
In 2007, he was struck by the potential of a new movement to change the world. The intersection of for-profit entrepreneurship and the investors who back them caught his attention. In that year, B Corporations were launched, and the term “impact investing” was coined. He immediately recognized the opportunity and dove in.
He launched Hotfrog as a B Corporation and completed a funding round supported by impact investors in 2011. He then started the Impact Entrepreneur network, built successfully around a Linkedin group that now has 30,000 members.
Over the past decade, he’s produced content in various ways, including via webinars for which he successfully charged admission. That track record has helped him establish a reputation that made assembling a team to launch Impact Entrepreneur Magazine possible during a global pandemic.
The new magazine features quality, accessible content written primarily for an audience of entrepreneurs. The site is beautiful and operationally well-designed. A key feature is that all content is tagged to one or more of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. If an article can’t be tagged to a goal, it won’t appear in the magazine.
It is another evidence of Laurie’s ability to build a movement.
How to Develop Building a Movement As a Superpower
Laurie was careful never to accept the label of superpower in our conversation. Still, he noted that 15 years after leaving Orion, he gave the keynote address at a conference on place-based education, a field he helped create and saw how large it had become. He recognizes that he is now building a second movement successfully.
While he said he couldn’t “bottle up and sell” instructions for building movements, he did have some observations that suggest a path. He reviewed some of the tactics he’s used over the years and noted their impact.
First, he got into the impact entrepreneur space early. His business was among the founding group of B Corporations and was the first mission-oriented business to raise money on Mission Markets, an early crowdfunding site for impact investors. Being early is essential to building a movement.
Second, he adopted Linkedin as his primary social media channel. He built the group as his principal tool within the platform. He’s on Twitter and Facebook, but for over a decade, Linkedin has been his tool. Linkedin works because he’s building a business-oriented movement. Again, it also helps that he got there relatively early in the life of Linkedin.
Learn from Laurie. If you want to make building a movement your superpower, join his group, subscribe to his magazine and learn from the master.