Purpose-Driven Leadership: The Power of Storytelling with Nate Mook & Vincent Stanley


In our season three debut, host Gautam Mukunda speaks with purpose-driven leaders Nate Mook and Vincent Stanley on the importance of storytelling for inspiring change and accelerating impact within organizations and society and the world more broadly.

Good leaders change their organizations. Great leaders change the world.

But even the best leaders, committed to making the world a better place, can face an uphill battle with constant, expected tradeoffs between purpose and profit. How can leaders navigate purpose, profit, and impact? How can they drive change in the world while also unlocking long-term, sustainable value for stakeholders?

In this episode, host Gautam Mukunda speaks with purpose-driven leaders Nate Mook and Vincent Stanley on the importance of storytelling for inspiring change and accelerating impact within organizations and the world more broadly. Nate Mook is a tech entrepreneur, storyteller and documentary producer who now serves as the CEO of World Central Kitchen, a non-profit NGO dedicated to providing nutritious food to people in the wake of natural disasters. Vincent Stanley is the co-author of "The Responsible Company" and Patagonia’s Director of Philosophy.

The way you tell a story also becomes, in a way, the strategic discipline of the company.
Vincent Stanley
If you really want to look at systems change and changing the world for the better, and addressing major, major challenges that we all face right now, you have to think bigger. And I think that's really about making people connect with those stories of why you are there.
Nate Mook

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Guest information for Purpose-Driven Leadership:

Nate Mook is the CEO of World Central Kitchen.  Nate began his career as a tech entrepreneur and later worked as documentary producer, leading film productions around the world for the UN, USAID, and World Bank.  He produced the film Baltimore Rising for HBO.  Nate previously developed and spearheaded TEDx events in numerous countries, and was selected as a Gates Foundation “Change Hero” for his work with TEDx elevating voices in underserved communities. Nate began working with José Andrés and World Central Kitchen in 2012, and together they produced a PBS/National Geographic documentary on Haiti in 2015. Nate led World Central Kitchen’s food relief efforts in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria in September 2017, ultimately becoming WCK’s CEO in early 2018. Since then, Nate has led the organization’s dramatic growth and strategic shift to its current work using food as a solution to humanitarian crises around the world.

Vincent Stanley, co-author with Yvon Chouinard of The Responsible Company, has been with Patagonia on and off since its beginning in 1973, for many of those years in key roles as head of sales or marketing. More informally, he is Patagonia’s long-time chief storyteller. Vincent helped develop the Footprint Chronicles, the company’s interactive website that outlines the social and environmental impact of its products; the Common Threads Partnership (precursor of Worn Wear); and Patagonia Books. He currently serves as Patagonia company philosopher and is a resident fellow at the Yale Center for Business and Environment. He is also a poet whose work has appeared in Best American Poetry. He and his wife, the writer Nora Gallagher, live in Santa Barbara.

Episode transcript:

Gautam Mukunda (00:15):

All leaders change their organizations, great leaders change the world.

Vincent Stanley (00:23):

We've never told a story that everybody else was telling.

Nate Mook (00:27):

I think leaders should embrace being small in many ways because you can fly into the radar a little bit and do things you can be a little bit disruptive.

Vincent Stanley (00:36):

I think size and scale are abstractions that people hold onto when they're afraid of taking a particular step.

Speaker 2 (00:44):

World Reimagined with Gautam Mukunda, a leadership podcast for a changing world. An original podcast from NASDAQ.

Nate Mook (00:51):

Time after time and after time again we've showed that it is possible.

Gautam Mukunda (01:01):

There's a storm coming. In a few hours Hurricane Maria will make landfall on the shores of Puerto Rico. It will be the costliest storm to ever hit the island. It will destroy thousands of homes, knockout power for almost a year, cost $90 billion in damage and take 3,000 lives. Five years later it will still stand as the worst natural disaster ever to strike this part of the Caribbean.

Gautam Mukunda (01:41):

In Maria's wake, thousands of aid workers all over the world will rush to this island to help out however they can. That's going to include doctors, engineers, search and rescue specialists and in one particular case a Washington DC chef and his friend, a documentary filmmaker.

Nate Mook (02:00):

I connected with Jose and he said he was headed down to Puerto Rico. Really, without thought we jumped on a plane just to see what we could do, really without knowing what to expect. And we arrived on the island, I think with the very first flight that had landed after Hurricane Maria hit. And what we found was a part of the United States that was really on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe, something maybe you would expect to see in far away countries, but here it was right here in our backyard.

Gautam Mukunda (02:31):

Nate Mook is a serial entrepreneur, turned documentary producer, turned CEO of World Central Kitchen, a nonprofit NGO dedicated to providing food, good nutritious food, to people in the wake of natural disasters. When World Central Kitchen's founder, Jose Andres was headed to Puerto Rico in 2017, he called up his filmmaker friend to ask if he knew where to get hold of a satellite phone, his friend did him one better.

Nate Mook (02:59):

And so we just started to get to work and ended up jumping right in and building this model, we just started cooking. We started small and started identifying who needed food, word started to spread. We built this amazing team of local chefs and food trucks. And Jose says, and we say, that it wasn't us that fed Puerto Rico, it was Puerto Rico that fed Puerto Rico. We just kind of came in and Jose with his energy and just kind of was that spark. And we started cooking and served over 4 million meals in Puerto Rico in the months that followed the hurricane. And that model that we built, I've now taken that and we're now all around the world. We've got to teams right now in Madagascar and Brazil and on the border and just in Columbia. And I just got back from Fiji and Toga and it's just been an incredible journey. But it all really started right there on that flight down to Puerto Rico with Jose.

Gautam Mukunda (03:54):

Four decades before Nate got on that flight to the Caribbean, a modest climbing supply come company called Patagonia was operating out of an old meat packing plant in Ventura, California. That company has since grown into an apparel giant, that's been recognized again and again for its activism. It donates millions of dollars to environmental causes and even has gone so far as to sue the federal government over the reduction of protected land. Vincent Stanley is Patagonia's director of philosophy and has been with the company since the beginning, leaving a few times here and there only to eventually come back. Vincent, it seems, can't stay away from the great outdoors and sometimes nature even returns the favor.

Vincent Stanley (04:37):

It's interesting for Patagonia, by the way, can, I've got somebody doing tree trimming next door.

Gautam Mukunda (04:43):

I was wondering what that was.

Vincent Stanley (04:44):

So I don't know what it's doing to the sound.

Gautam Mukunda (04:47):

Vincent is partially responsible for a friend of mine calling Patagonia, a climate and environmental advocacy group that sells shorts. And he's joking, sort of. But it gets at the heart of an important question. How do leaders commit themselves to purposeful positive change? And once they've done that, how do they stick with it?

Vincent Stanley (05:08):

I've been with Patagonia nearly 50 years. So I do remember when we were very small and I remember people saying, oh, we're too small. Somebody would propose something interesting and say, oh, we're too small to do that no one will listen to us. And now I've heard more than once, oh, we're too big to make that change. I think size and scale are abstractions that people hold onto when they're afraid of taking a particular step.

Gautam Mukunda (05:40):

Vincent and Nate represent two organizations committed to making a better world, but especially in their industries, that's an uphill battle. Consider food. According to the EPA in 2019, agriculture contributed a full 10% of the planet's greenhouse gases. Meanwhile, clothing is responsible for more annual carbon emissions than all international flights and maritime shipping combined. Surely in those industries there must be trade offs between mission and profit. So how does one face the challenge of entering into the food or apparel in and thinking we've got to do better, I've got to do better.

Vincent Stanley (06:22):

I think that 15 years ago, we would've been at Patagonia we would've looked at this question of what is the balance between purpose and profit? Where do we spend the money and where do we make it? And that there were different animals, but I'd say now that it's really, we look at things very differently. And I also think that we're not a nonprofit that happens to make clothes, because I think it's absolutely critical to our mission as a company that we make the best possible clothes and we do it in the right way and that we apply what we learn in that business. That's what, in a way, keeps us real. And what we've found over the last 10 years is that the constraints that we place on ourselves lead to innovations, that then become the business model. So increasingly the business is really reliant on the actions that we take politically, environmentally and socially. Rather than a kind of trade off, it is the basis of what we do.

Vincent Stanley (07:28):

We have changed the way we make clothes we've changed the way we relate to the customer because of the actions that we've taken. So I often tell people, ask what about this trade off between purpose and profit and I think my sense is that if it is a trade off you've lost half the battle and that you need to move out of that place as quickly as possible. So that the entire organization really arises out of that purpose. Now it's a little bit different with World Central Kitchen, because you've got a couple of different operations and you should talk about your own business, but that's the case with Patagonia.

Nate Mook (08:08):

I really like that framing of, it's not a versus. It's not a purpose versus profit. It's all part of it. And that as feeds into the profit if you're doing it right. And I think for us, it's similar. I don't think our team really looks at some of the challenges that we face as necessarily trade offs or sacrifices, but sort of how are we always striving for improvement? And after a disaster, things are never perfect, you're always adapting. This is at the core of who we are and what we do when we show up somewhere because every situation is different. So if we sort of try to prepackage a response, we're just going to trip over ourselves.

Nate Mook (08:58):

So we have to go into it really with an open mind and look at, okay, what are the resources on the ground? What are the things that we might need to bring to the table? And when I say resources on the ground, it's a number of things. It's human power people that are there that can support, it's food in our case, it's kitchens, it's other types of equipment, vehicles to get food to where you need to get the food delivered to. And you sort of look at the landscape of what's there and you kind of, in real time you start building out the plan of how you're going to respond. It's not always perfect. You're not always going to have access to the same things in different places. And you're always troubleshooting, you're always problem solving. But ultimately I don't think our team sees it as sacrificing, as having to give up anything or to trade off things to do the work. Just, okay, how do we continue every single day to do better and to improve?

Nate Mook (10:02):

And if we end up somewhere and maybe in the early days we don't have compostable utensils for example, as a very specific example. It's not okay we're making this trade-off by using plastic utensils with our food for now. And that's just the way that it is because it's a disaster. It's all right. This is what we can get moving immediately because we need to get food to people who are hungry and do it in a way that's dignified, and culturally appropriate and all of that.

Nate Mook (10:35):

What can we do tomorrow? What can we do the next day? How can we keep improving what we do so that every day we're better than we were yesterday? And one of the things that we found in this approach to the work, I think probably very similar to Vincent and Patagonia is with that mindset of just constantly striving to do better. And yes, we're a nonprofit but I think in many ways we look at ourselves. You have to look at your self like a business too, just a different type of business.

Gautam Mukunda (11:07):

Nonprofits, like World Central Kitchen are supposed to be purpose driven. Most companies aren't. But as Patagonia shows us, they can be. And when they are, it's a powerful tool. When Steve Jobs was launching his first Mac, he was famously annoyed by how long it took to boot up. He pushed his engineers to make it faster. Instead of casting it in terms of profits and losses though, he said, "I've been thinking about it. How many people are going to be using the Macintosh? A 1,000,000? No, more than that. In a few years I bet 5,000,000 people will be booting up their Macintosh's at least once a day. Well, let's say you can shave 10 seconds off the boot time, multiply that by 5,000,000 users and that's 15,000,000 seconds every single day. Over a year, that's probably dozens of lifetimes. So if you make it boot 10 seconds faster, you've saved a dozen lives."

Gautam Mukunda (12:07):

That's really worth it, don't you think? That was a much more powerful impulse than dollars and cents. After all, who wouldn't want to go to work knowing they were saving dozens of lives a day, even from behind a desk. And that notion of motivating people not with carrots or with sticks, but with narrative, with purpose, the idea of creating a story they want to be a part of, is a powerful one.

Nate Mook (12:35):

At World Central Kitchen, I really see stories being intertwined with our work. And I'm definitely biased because I come from that background before I started doing documentary film work. I spent time working with an organization called Ted familiar with Ted Talks and that's really how you package up an idea and share it in a way that this idea comes off the stage or out of a computer and implants itself into somebody's head and spark something new and has this magical moment all because of how you're telling that story.

Nate Mook (13:11):

And when I went down to Puerto Rico with Jose originally my thought was, "Well, I'm just going to go down with Jose and help him tell share a little bit about what he's doing." And unexpectedly the storytelling became really central to the work. Here we were in the aftermath of this massive hurricane where communications were cut off and people didn't know the status of their loved ones, people didn't know what was happening on the ground, people didn't know what the needs were. We found ourselves almost being reporters from the scene, sharing. We'd go out into other parts of the island and then come back where there was connection and Jose would share. We were here or people would contact us and say, "Hey, can you go check on my family?" All of a sudden we became almost a connective lifeline to what was happening in Puerto Rico.

Nate Mook (14:03):

And we also realized that with our work as a nonprofit and as our work began to grow both across the United States in response to wildfires in California, or floods, or tornadoes or all around the world, that we had this responsibility to tell the stories of the places where we were serving and not our stories, not, "Look at what we're doing and look at how great we are." But rather, "Here are the stories of the people. Here are the people we're meeting. Here are the challenges they're facing, and here's the work that's happening to try to respond in these moments."

Nate Mook (14:43):

There's been times when this is very extreme. In September of 2019, a massive hurricane hit the Bahamas, so I think still the largest hurricane ever to be in the Atlantic. Due to our changing climate these storms are getting bigger and more frequent. And Hurricane Dorian hit the Bahamas and just devastated many of the islands. We were there as the storm was hitting, safe outside of the main direct hit area. We were in Nassau. But when we got on the ground, we were the only people there for many days, World Central Kitchen, and Jose, and our relief team. And so we were telling the stories of what was happening and it just became so central to our work.

Vincent Stanley (15:26):

I think it's interesting when one of the things that struck me about what Nate said is that it's not only key for telling the story on the ground, but it's also key for your employees. I think if you're trying to make a change in the world you have to explain the change you want to bring about and why. And I think you have to bring everyone along. You have to bring along the employees, the suppliers if you're a business and you have investors. Everybody has to understand how they see themselves in this picture and whether they see themselves in the picture.

Vincent Stanley (16:07):

Storytelling has always been critical for us because we've never told a story that everybody else was telling. We've always been out there trying to explain why we were making the climbing equipment we made, why we were making the clothing we were making, why we were starting to give 1% of sales to environmental organizations, why we were suing the president over the rescission of Bears Ears National Monument. So storytelling became key.

Speaker 3 (16:43):

This is World Reimagined with Gautam Mukunda.

Speaker 4 (16:54):

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Gautam Mukunda (17:29):

Stories have the power to shape our organizations and our world. We think in stories. Our brains are wired to believe them, to give them more weight, even we should give them less. For example, psychologist Danny Kahneman and Amos Tversky did an experiment where they told people about Linda. She is 31 years old, single, outspoken and very bright. She majored in philosophy. As a student she was deeply concerned with issues of the discrimination and social justice and also participated in anti-nuclear demonstrations.

Gautam Mukunda (18:06):

Then they gave people two options. One, Linda is a bank teller, and two, Linda is a bank teller and is active in the feminist movement. Then they ask people to say which of the two options is more probable. A majority of people chose option two. That's a story that makes sense. Someone with Linda's background seems likely to be a feminist, but wait, think about it. Option two is an included case of option one. Logically option one must be more probable than option two, because if Linda is active in the feminist movement, option one is true. But if she isn't, option one is still true.

Gautam Mukunda (18:50):

We believe stories. They have the power to shape who we are so much so that the great British humorist, Terry Pratchett once quipped that the formal name for our species shouldn't be homo sapiens, which means wise men. No, we should call ourselves Pan narrans, the storytelling chimpanzee. Those stories we tell, they can start small, but over time they can have a huge impact.

Vincent Stanley (19:18):

So the first moral dilemma we faced or where we were conscious of doing something that was actually hurting the sport and desecrating the rock was we discovered that these hard steel pitons we made that climbers use for protection were actually damaging the cracks on the major routes, because as climbing became more popular and everybody knew climbers would use the pitons, they'd expand the cracks slightly. And the dilemma we face is this, the pitons were the major part of the business. We were a tiny company doing less than a $1,000,000 a year at that time.

Vincent Stanley (20:03):

And it was a huge effort to find an alternative, to find a different way to climb, which we did. We borrowed from the British the use of these aluminum wedges that you could place in a crack without using a hammer and torque them in gently, and they would hold under weight. But that was a major effort to persuade American climbers who were used to the reassuring feel of hammering hard steel into a granite crack, that this tiny little wedge was going to hold them in place.

Vincent Stanley (20:34):

And it was a huge investment for the small company. But what we did is we produced the wedges called shocks, but we also came out with a catalog with a 12 page article that was part manifesto and why climbers should switch from pitons to shocks. And then part instruction manual, teaching people how to use them. That was major for us. I mean, we didn't do anything like that for another 50 years, I think until we made the switch from conventional to organic cotton, but it was very successful.

Vincent Stanley (21:08):

The climbers responded... I give you an idea of the speed of response. The catalog went out nine months before I came to work in March of 1973. When the catalog went out, pitons were 70% of the business. And when I came to work, shocks were 70% of the business. So we really learned from that if we communicated to customers as friends and equals and shared things that we had learned and talked about the kinds of changes we were making and why we needed to make them, that we could bring our customers along. And I think that's been the basis of a lot of our communication since then.

Gautam Mukunda (21:49):

It's no accident that Vincent is unofficially credited as Patagonia's chief storyteller. In 1985, Patagonia's founder Ivonne Chanard launched 1% For the Planet, a self-imposed tax that donates 1% of all their annual sales for the preservation and restoration of the environment. This idea has been copied many times over by organizations all over the world and is a massive force in the fight against climate change. And it started in its own way with a story about climate trucks. Stories are central to purpose driven organizations. They help to inspire people and to govern them. A powerful story is a constant reminder to every person in the organization, this is who we are, and this is how we behave. But how do we build these narratives? It's easy to say that's something that can wait till later in your career when you have some clout and can really make a difference. But as Nate points out, World Central Kitchen isn't just built around a celebrity chef. It isn't shaped by just one person. And neither are stories.

Nate Mook (22:58):

When I look at World Central Kitchen's work, we're not the Jose Andres Foundation, right? It's not about an individual, although Jose certainly is a big personality and we love to see him out there, but he intentionally wanted this organization to be more than just about him. And oftentimes isn't about him at all. He likes to come to the front lines and be out there serving meals. And recently, a few months ago out in New Orleans, after Hurricane Ida. And down in Haiti, after a big earthquake in August, and he's out there. He's driving through the flood waters and flying in helicopters out to remote villages to see how we can support and get food or support the community to provide food for itself.

Nate Mook (23:49):

But it's really so much bigger. I like to think of World Central Kitchen in many ways as a platform, as a tool for so many to plug into and to shape this area of work. How do we make food, ultimately, a universal human right? How do we make sure nobody goes hungry at the end of the day? And how do we make sure whether that's in moments of crisis or whether that's in our own cities and in our backyards. And so to do that, I think it's so critical to articulate that vision, that what are we here to do and what am I part of and how can I plug into it and play a role? And as a leader, that's how you build. That's how you build you... You can't do everything yourself. You can't go out and go tell everybody what to do and jump out there. And leading with empathy.

Nate Mook (24:41):

I know Patagonia as well has core values. And we've learned a lot. I've learned a lot, certainly from following Patagonia's evolution and really being at the forefront of so much of thinking how business can be part of the greater good. But for us, our core value that stands above all is empathy. And that really is how we go, how we move forward in the world and with our work. And so I think as you set that, and as you tell the stories and interconnect your mission and your values to the work itself, you want others to really be part of that. And that's how I think you build a movement. That's how you build something that's bigger than an individual, that's bigger than even an organization because you're going to hit limits at some point of what you can do. But if you really want to look at systems change and changing the world for the better and addressing major, major challenges that we all face right now, you have to think bigger. And I think that's really about making people connect with those stories of why you were there.

Vincent Stanley (25:48):

If I can interject, I think that's such a wonderful story about showing up and then explaining what you're doing. And then also connecting to the people you're involved with. It's really true that if business is going to be one sector of society, along with government and civil society, that has to address the major environmental and social crisis that we face. The Pope called it, I think it's one crisis with two faces. And the ability to connect and to not just start a movement, but to see yourselves as part of a larger movement of people who have similar concerns and are delighted to have the chance to act, that's critical to any enterprise that is trying to meet social and environmental needs.

Gautam Mukunda (26:43):

Stories have power, but that power goes beyond what they can do for your customers, or even for the people you're trying to help. They can wind up keeping you honest with yourself as well.

Vincent Stanley (26:55):

I'm vocationally a writer. And when I came to work at the company, certainly not as a writer, I was customer service and then sales manager for a long time, I was really struck by mountaineering literature, how wonderful it is. I think mountaineering stories have a natural arc where you're going up the mountain, you're overcoming difficult situations and going through some kind of change. So it was easy for me as a writer to apply those stories or to apply that story arc to what we were doing as a company.

Gautam Mukunda (27:31):

So when I think about the stories that you're both telling, they're central to the organization's identity, right? You're building an identity for your organizations as leaders, the one that loops into your people, your employees, but also your clients or your customers. It's this sense of self that almost seems like a central organizing principle for the way you're organizing your work. Is that right?

Vincent Stanley (27:51):

Yeah. I mean, I think that the way you tell a story also becomes in a way the strategic discipline of the come. If you tell the same story over time, in the same tone to all of your stakeholders, and people trust you for that, that kind of holds your feet to the fire. You're making commitments that you have to live up to. And that becomes what you're known for and that becomes what people come to you for.

Gautam Mukunda (28:21):

Sometimes leaders need someone to hold them accountable, to keep them sticking to their guns and their ideals when the trade offs start to look tempting. Stories have the power to help everyone in the organization do that. By pushing forward with a belief, by not compromising your principles, amazing things can start to happen.

Nate Mook (28:43):

When we went down to Puerto Rico in 2017 and started cooking fresh, nutritious, hot meals for folks, a lot of people said it couldn't be done. They said it couldn't be done at scale. They said, "You can't do that. We just need to take a bunch MREs we have in warehouses." MREs are meals ready to eat. These are things our government stockpiles by the millions. This is what our military eats out in conflict areas. And they certainly have their use cases for sure. I'm not saying MREs are terrible, but this was-

Speaker 5 (29:09):

I've eaten plenty of MREs. They are terrible.

Nate Mook (29:12):

They are pretty terrible. This is the standard, right? And so people said, "You can't do this. What you're trying to accomplish is impossible." And Jose said, "Well, then I guess we'll just have to show you how to do it." And after Puerto Rico, people said, "Well, Puerto Rico is unique because it was this crazy situation. Yeah. You guys were able to do this thing, but you can't really do that all over the place." And time after time and after time again, we've showed that it is possible.

Gautam Mukunda (29:39):

After hearing the stories that Nate and Vincent used to infuse their organizations with purpose, it was time to hear who had helped them write their own. Who in their lives had most impressed them and why?

Vincent Stanley (29:53):

Yeah. I hate to give a kind of predictable answer to this question, but because of the long association, it would have to be Emotion Art, and-

Vincent Stanley (30:02):

... it would have to be emotion art and with a full disclosure he's also my uncle. I remember at the age of six, watching him forge pitons when he was 19 in the backyard of his parents, my grandparents' house. But I came to work at the age of 20 at the company intending to stay six months, and got engaged by this little enterprise and then further engaged by what we were trying to do that it was different from what other businesses were doing.

Vincent Stanley (30:36):

There was something that Yvon really, the company's never been sold. Yvon and his wife, Melinda, really set the kind of tone and also insisted that wherever we could change our practices for the better, that we do so, often regardless of what looked like the effect on the bottom line, though in general, the bottom line became positive. So that's been a lifelong influence and he's also not ... He never told us how to do stuff. He just pointed down the path.

Speaker 6 (31:13):

Oh wow. And Nate?

Nate Mook (31:15):

Oh, that's such a tough question. I've had the opportunity to learn from so many people and continue to learn from so many. And obviously José would be an obvious choice to mention from the moment I first met him and as he was just starting World Central Kitchen with these big dreams and this passion. But who I really want to mention is actually my grandfather, Calvin Larson. And Cal had the fortune to grow up pretty close to him, outside of Washington, DC when my family moved to a brand new town called Reston, Virginia, back in the early 1960s, one of the first planned communities in the United States when Robert E. Simon sold Carnegie Hall and bought this little plot of land called in Wheeling, Virginia, right outside of Dallas Airport.

Nate Mook (32:02):

And one of the things growing up with Cal, he was somebody who was always in service with his work. He was an attorney, but as a lawyer, a lot of what he did was bankruptcy law. And at the time, when I was growing up, he did a lot of, most of his legal work when he passed away shortly before the pandemic, he was completely broke. And really his whole life, he was pretty broke. And he spent most of his life doing a lot of pro bono work and especially bankruptcies for many suffering through the AIDS epidemic and working closely. He worked closely with the Whitman-Walker clinic here in DC and was recognized for that work. And he always put impact and service first.

Nate Mook (32:53):

And that really, I think, being surrounded, being around that growing up, I think really shaped the way that I saw the world and the way that I thought about the work that I was going to do. And even though I did not become a lawyer, that approach and that mindset was I think so important to me.

Nate Mook (33:10):

He also, he was such a hard worker, too. Some of these big challenges and things that he would come up against, he didn't just say, "Oh, that's just too hard." He tried to solve them in so many different ways. And he was relentless in his energy. He was, I think probably the oldest. So he, up until I think he was 84 years old, he delivered The Washington Post. He was a paper boy, delivered The Washington Post every morning to a number of communities in Reston. And yeah, I think he was 84 when he finally retired as a paper boy.

Nate Mook (33:47):

Growing up, I used to go on the paper routes with him and deliver the paper and getting up at 3:00 AM in the morning to go deliver The Washington Post when, well, a lot of people still received the paper. So yeah, so just, he was just an incredible individual. And I think really, probably in either directly or indirectly, really helped shape a lot of the way that I see the world in a lot of my work now.

Gautam Mukunda (34:10):

Let's go back to the beaches of Puerto Rico.

Gautam Mukunda (34:15):

This place is amazingly beautiful, particularly here on the water, and it deserves more help than it's received. No matter how heroic Nate and World Central Kitchen's efforts are, they can't save this place single-handedly, any more than Vincent and Patagonia can stop the climate from changing. Those challenges and others like them are going to take more than one organization, however dedicated it might be. They're going to take all of us, every country, every company, every nonprofit, every leader. It will take dedication and resolve because we must be the poor. We must stop the oceans from rising. But it won't be free or easy. So if you're going to be part of the solution, you'll need a sense of purpose.

Gautam Mukunda (35:01):

And that's how World Central Kitchen and Patagonia really can save the world, by showing the rest of us how they did it, how they infused themselves with the purpose to do the right thing, no matter how hard it is, no matter what it takes. Their stories aren't finished. The question for leaders around the world, and non-profits and companies and governments is if it's just their story or the beginning of all of ours.

Speaker 2 (35:31):

World Reimagined with Gautam Mukunda, a leadership podcast for a changing world, an original podcast from NASDAQ. Visit the World Reimagined website at nasdaq.com/worldreimaginedpodcast.

Speaker 7 (35:51):

Gautam Mukunda does not speak on behalf of Rose Park Advisors, LLC, or any of its affiliates and is not soliciting investments or providing invest advice.

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