Hope • David Williams

Summary

If we look, we can see missing hope in all kinds of places. Some parents lack hope because their child struggles with chronic illness, some families don’t even know if they can buy groceries next week, and some don’t even have a home. Throughout his career, David Williams has become an expert in giving people hope, and he’ll share what he’s learned so that all of us can be better at building hope in others and ourselves.

About Our Guest

David Williams has served as the Executive Director of the Houston Food Bank, COO of Habitat for Humanity, CEO of the national Make-A-Wish Foundation, and CEO of GenesisWorks. He currently works as CEO for Shelters to Shutters, a national organization addressing homelessness through the real estate industry.

Useful Links

A minute with David Williams: David Williams discusses what it takes to deliver inspiration to families with children faced with illness.

What Melts Your Butter is David Williams TEDx Talk about Hope.

GenesysWorks: GenesysWorks provides pathways to career success for high school students in underserved communities through skills training, meaningful work experiences, and impactful relationships. Our program consists of 8 weeks of technical and professional skills training, a paid year-long corporate internship, college and career coaching, and alumni support to and through college. 

Batkid Make-A-Wish: It all began with a new superhero who rallied the entire world as he confronted evildoers in San Francisco. Today Batkid is a symbol of everything that is right and good with the world.

Houston Food Bank: Founded in 1982, the Houston Food Bank is a certified member of Feeding America, the nation’s food bank network, with a four-star rating from Charity Navigator. We distribute fresh produce, meat and nonperishables and prepare nutritious hot meals for kids in our state-of-the-art Keegan Kitchen.

National Make-A-Wish: An Interview With Make-A-Wish President &CEO David Williams.

Shelters to Shutters: We seek to change the trajectory of those experiencing homelessness in our country by providing two critical components- housing and employment.

Charles Snyder developed a psychological framework for hope, using ideas like pathways-thinking and agency-thinking.

About Merit Leadership

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Transcript
David:

We live in a high rise apartment, a little kind of Western suburbs.

David:

We live on the widest stretch of freeway.

David:

In the country.

David:

So it's interstate 10, which goes Jacksonville to, uh, to Los Angeles.

David:

So it's a stretch, a freeway in the world, total of 26 lanes.

Aaron:

Oh my gosh.

David:

When I get on that thing, I feel like I'm getting on a NASCAR

David:

track because you're in Texas, everybody's driving a pickup truck.

David:

People who drive pickup trucks.

David:

I think it's cause they sit up a little bit, you know, man it's so

David:

aggressive and it just feels like I'm taking my life in my hands.

David:

Every time I get on that freeway.

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Hi, I'm Aaron Miller and this is how to help a podcast

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about having a life and career of meaning, virtue, and impact.

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This is season one, episode, three, Hope.

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How to Help, is sponsored by Merit Leadership, home of The

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Business Ethics Field Guide.

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I teach at a university where every year over 30,000 students show up to

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work their way towards a college degree.

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It's a really funny time of life for them.

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Most of them couldn't even tell you where they're going to be

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living just a year from now.

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It involves an incredible amount of uncertainty.

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Their futures hanging in the balance while they sit through lectures, grind

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through homework, apply for job after job and all while paying tuition for

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the privilege of doing all of this.

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So why do they do it?

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Well it's because they believe it will lead them to a future that they

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want, a job they enjoy, and something that provides a good living to.

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There's no guarantee of course, that it will get them where they want to go.

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So why put in so much effort?

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Well it's because they have hope the future they see for themselves

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inspires them to keep going and finding their way through.

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But not everyone feels hope like that.

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For a wide range of reasons many don't have hope for a well-paid

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job or even a job they enjoy.

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If we look, we can see missing hope in all kinds of places, some parents

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lack hope, because their child is struggling with a chronic illness.

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Some families don't even know how they'll buy groceries next week.

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Some don't even have a home.

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Today we're going to chart a career of offering hope to people.

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David Williams.

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I started out as the executive director of the Houston Food Bank at a time

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when it was on the brink of failure.

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From there, he went on to be the chief operating officer of Habitat

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for Humanity, then CEO for the national Make-A-Wish Foundation.

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He went from there to Genesis Works, a cutting edge, social venture

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operating throughout the country to help teenagers go beyond high school,

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to college and to successful careers.

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That's where he was at the time of this interview with him.

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But he's now taking a new role as CEO at Shelters to Shutters an organization

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that transitions individuals and families from homelessness to self-sufficiency by

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using the real estate industry to give employment and housing opportunities.

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Over his career David has become an expert in giving people hope.

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And I'm so excited to share this interview with you so that we can learn

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a thing or two about why hope matters and how we can share it with others.

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To begin our hopeful journey, let's start with a story about Hector.

David:

So at Genesis Works, we work low income high school students.

David:

Through training, a paid internship, and mentoring, help them break

David:

the cycle of poverty and help them achieve career success.

David:

We work with what we call the quiet middle.

David:

Again low-income students, predominantly students of color, and students

David:

that are typically in that B to C range in terms of their grades.

David:

And all of that is to say that these are students that do not necessarily have.

David:

A vision for their future in place.

David:

That would include things like college and professional career.

David:

Hector was someone who was one of the first graduates

David:

of the Genesis Works program.

David:

And he told me his story and his story essentially was, you know, he grew up in

David:

a pretty tough part, East side of Houston and, and through his school learned about

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Genesis Works, applied, was accepted and

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initially decided he wanted to participate, but then he needed the money.

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His family needed the money.

David:

And so he turned it down because he got a job working at Subway making sandwiches.

David:

Unfortunately, or fortunately, a couple of weeks later, uh,

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Hector was robbed at gunpoint.

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At which point it made him rethink , the decision that he had made.

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And so he went back to Genesis Works and said, Hey, I would really like to apply.

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I would really like to be in the program the long and the short of it

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is he was put back in the program.

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Did his internship as a result of the mentoring, training and internship,

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he decided to go to college.

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He did not think he was college material.

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He went and was accepted.

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While in college, heard about an internship, a college

David:

internship with Hewlett Packard.

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He applied, he was accepted that internship led to an offer from

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Hewlett Packard, which he took.

David:

And as I was speaking to him that day, he had just resigned after a

David:

10 year career with Hewlett Packard, because he took a position with

David:

a technology company in Austin.

David:

He showed me a picture of his wife and his son and his new house, but he also showed

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me a picture of the house that he grew up in and the house that it was still goes

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to visit when he sees his mom and dad.

David:

And of course, when he goes on those visits, he sees a lot of the guys that

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he hung out with in that neighborhood who are still there and whose stories

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are not as inspiring as Hector.

David:

They're in a very, very.

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Different place, than he is.

David:

And, and his comment to me was, you know, if not for this program,

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their story would be my story.

David:

He is a person who was able to very quickly in a, in a five minute

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period of time, just talk about how his life had totally changed.

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That the trajectory of his life was so different than what he could have

David:

possibly imagined 15 years earlier.

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The main point was, and let me tell you, my son's childhood and

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my son's future is going to be very different than what mine was.

David:

And to me, that's when it all came together of the power of

David:

this program, of what hope for a better future really means.

Aaron:

Yeah, that is an amazing story.

Aaron:

That's awesome.

Aaron:

And good for Hector.

Aaron:

And you know, when you think about it and it's not stopping

Aaron:

there with his son, right.

Aaron:

I mean, this change in his life has cascading out in all kinds of ways

Aaron:

that, that he probably doesn't even see.

David:

That's exactly right.

David:

And that's the power of impacting one person you're really

David:

impacting more than one person.

David:

And a lot of times, you know, and a lot of times you don't.

Aaron:

Yeah.

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That story about Hector is a great illustration of the power of

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hope, but I want to lay a groundwork.

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So we have an even better understanding of what hope really is.

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Psychologist, Charles Snyder describes hope as a kind of pathfinding.

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We use hope to discover and pursue a better life for ourselves.

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People who hope generally have much better outcomes in their lives.

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This by the way is different than mere optimism.

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While there's definitely an overlap Snyder's idea of hope is bigger

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and it gives us deeper insight.

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When we hope, we can not only see a better future for ourselves, but

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we also see a way to get there.

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Snyder calls this pathways thinking.

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When Hector got at Genesis Works was the ability to see a new path,

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not just an imagined destination.

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And notice that he didn't have to have the whole path at once.

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He simply had to see a promising path that he had confidence he could follow.

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The thing about the Genesis Works program is that the path is tried and true.

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It works for pretty much every kid who participates, they really

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do become different people.

David:

So the question that I always ask students, is if I had

David:

met you a year earlier, tell me the person I would be meeting?

David:

You know, they will talk about, Oh, I don't know if I would even be confident

David:

enough to carry on a conversation, you know, with the CEO of Genesis Works.

David:

You know, I just, I was.

David:

You know, just much more reserved, kind of quiet, shy, just not, not

David:

very confident in my abilities.

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Now this doesn't mean the path is easy.

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The program is very demanding and it requires the students to give

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up a lot of the free time that teenagers typically take for granted.

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More than that, though, they do it while still carrying the heavy reality

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of living in low-income conditions.

David:

First of all it's competitive.

David:

So people have to apply.

David:

I participated in the interviewing process last year.

David:

And so one of the students I interviewed who was, it was an interesting

David:

conversation because one of the things that we test for is resiliency.

David:

Because as you just said, this is a tough program.

David:

These kids are not hanging out at the mall during the summer and during

David:

their school year, because it's, it's an all-in type of program.

David:

And so my question was, tell me about an obstacle that you had to deal

David:

with over the past year and kind of what you've done to overcome it.

David:

And, you know, she actually started crying and, and then she began to share, you

David:

know, the kind of challenges that she was going through from a family standpoint.

David:

And it was just a reminder that, you know, some of the, some of the

David:

things that these students are dealing with are just, you know, you just

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kind of don't appreciate some of the serious challenges that they are.

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This idea of pathways thinking is so deeply rooted in Genesis Works.

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That it's part of the founding story.

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David explained to me how the organization got its start and how it's grown.

David:So Genesis Works started in:David:

The founder, a gentleman by the name of Rafael Alvarez was in an interesting spot.

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He was in strategic planning for Compaq computers.

David:

Maybe some of your older listeners will remember Compaq computers.

David:

I certainly had one a long time ago.

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And, but he was also on the board of a charter school in Houston and, and

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he saw challenge in, in both worlds.

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The challenge at Compaq computer was how they were struggling

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with finding the talent that they needed as they were growing.

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At that time, they were growing tremendously, acquiring talent at all

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levels was, was a real challenge for them.

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At the same time, being a member of the board of this charter school.

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He was seeing that students were graduating and not being successful

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afterwards, either in enrolling in college, persisting in college,

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or if college wasn't their route having a successful career.

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Statistically nationally, it, it bears that out.

David:

I mean, right now there.

David:

Approximately 6 million jobs are open.

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We know employers have challenges finding the talent that they need.

David:

And at the same time we have in our country about 6 million, what I

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would term opportunity youth, youth that are not engaged in school.

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That are not engaged in a sustainable wage and where they can support

David:

themselves and their family.

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You have these two worlds that exist.

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Genesis Works, acts as that bridge, of helping students and underserved

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communities be able to have a career.

David:e started the organization in:David:

In Houston, Texas was very successful in, this city.

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Most of the jobs are in the area of technology.

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Technology tends to be an area where finding talent is, is

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challenging for a company.

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It's not just technology companies.

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And so after a number of years of Houston decided to expand where Genesis works,

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went to the twin cities, Minneapolis St.

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Paul.

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Opened a very successful program there and then proceeded probably

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every other year to open a city.

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And so it went next to Chicago then to the Bay area, then to Washington DC.

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And last year we launched in New York city.

Aaron:

Oh, that's awesome.

David:

Serve just a little less than 4,000 students, are training and mentoring and

David:

internship program in those six cities.

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Another thing about hope.

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Is it a generator, cascading benefits acting hopefully, or in other words,

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using pathways thinking leads to new opportunities for Genesis Works, students.

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It often leads to employer paid college degrees.

David:

I'll tell you the ultimate compliment.

David:

I think.

David:

Is that one of the things that we're seeing is that more and more companies

David:

at the end of these internships are actually going to the students

David:

saying, look, we really like you.

David:

We like your work ethic.

David:

We pay our employees

David:

I used to further their education.

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If you want to work and go to school at the same time, we would be

David:

interested in having a conversation.

David:

And more and more that is happening where students are staying at the

David:

places where they're interning, they're still going to school.

David:

We all know about student debt.

David:

These are low-income students that can't incur that type of debt anyway.

David:

And it's a very, very cool thing to see.

David:

And again, it's kind of a, win-win both for the company and

David:

particularly for the student.

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I have so much more to share with you about David's career.

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This is all just from his current job, but here's the story that really stuck

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with me for how it summarizes both Genesis Works, but also the other important

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aspect of hope, something Snyder calls, agency thinking hope means not only

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seeing the path forward, but believing that we're capable of walking it.

David:

One of the first things that we do.

David:

And this, this is going to sound odd to some, some of your listeners is

David:

we actually teach elevator etiquette.

David:

Right.

David:

And it always, our offices, for example, in Houston are on the 39th floor of a

David:

big building and in downtown Houston and, you know, the students that go

David:

there for their first day to training their, they're taking pictures of,

David:

you know, the view from the 39th floor of that building because it's

David:

just something they didn't envision.

David:

They've always seen the Houston skyline, right.

David:

They never envisioned them being in a place where they would be

David:

working in one of those buildings.

David:

And it's an amazing transformation.

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So has this power that moves us to action and that

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leads to growth and opportunity.

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It's pathways thinking and agency thinking.

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But what if the future we want is truly out of our control.

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That's exactly what it feels like for a family where one of their children is

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seriously ill life-threatening disease can come out of nowhere for these families.

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Here's David talking about his time as CEO at the Make-A-Wish foundation.

David:

You know, when that.

David:

Day comes when, a parent gets a diagnosis that their child has a life-threatening

David:

illness, everybody's world turns upside down parents, obviously child siblings,

David:

and all the focus is on, you know, is our, child's going to be able to get better.

David:

And so I think the unique role that Make-A-Wish plays is typically the

David:

last thing that anybody's thinking about is doing something that is what

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some people would call either, you know, a nice to have or something

David:

frivolous everybody's first wish.

David:

It was for that child would be better.

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Granting a wish, just brings a lot of joy to a struggling family.

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There is some amazing, inspiring stories.

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Do you remember Batkid we'll share some links about him in the

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show notes, but what happened?

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There was incredible.

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This is a boy where his wish was to be Batman for a day.

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And thousands of people in San Francisco turned up to help.

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You cannot watch this video and not feel hopeful and happy.

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But what good is hope in the face of life-threatening disease?

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Medical science takes time and sadly advances can come too late

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for some families, hope doesn't magically produce treatments or cures.

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While it may not produce a new treatment.

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It turns out that hope is a treatment one that medical science is now

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beginning to more fully appreciate.

David:

I think that one of the things that we're seeing is that a wish

David:

experience is actually now becoming part of the treatment protocol.

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Doctors are seeing the, positive impact that this kind of an experience

David:

can have on a medical outcome.

David:

Which is honestly amazing to think about.

David:

And so the conversation is now becoming much more like, listen,

David:

your child has some leukemia.

David:

You're going to go through 12 months of chemotherapy, or you're going to

David:

have six months of radiation, or you're going to have this type of surgery.

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If your child does everything we tell them to do, you're going to

David:

be eligible for a wish experience.

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And, and that's an experience where you could meet anybody you would

David:

want to meet, go anywhere you'd want to go, have anything you'd want to

David:

have, or be anything you want to be.

David:

And so a child starts thinking about the future and not just the

David:

future, but something that they've always wished they could do.

David:

And it's a really powerful, it's a really powerful thing.

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Just how powerful could hope be from a health perspective,

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Anna Cottrey and her coauthors did a review of 12 different randomized

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control trials that involved what are called psychosocial interventions,

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things like Make-A-Wish experiences.

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They found that these "interventions are effective at reducing anxiety

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and depressive symptoms, as well as improving quality of life."

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They also "have a positive impact on physical symptoms and wellbeing,

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including a reduction in procedural pain and symptom distress."

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journal of quality of life research, study kids being treated for cancer.

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The children who are granted a wish experience, "exhibited a significant

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reduction in general, distress, depression and anxiety symptoms."

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These kids also had improved health-related quality of life.

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The researchers discuss how the anticipation of the wish experience

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explains much of the benefit.

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So the research shows that kids who get wish experiences are not only happier, but

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by multiple measures, they are healthier.

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David in fact has this great story that illustrates the physical power of hope.

David:

And I'll tell you just a quick story of one young

David:

man who had a life-threatening condition that involves seizures.

David:

And, and treated at the children's hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

David:

And so, and they couldn't figure out the, kind of the reason for

David:

the seizures, the reason, I mean, they have multiple seizures in

David:

the course of every single day.

David:

So anyway, he became eligible for a wish.

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They figured it out and his wish was to meet the basketball player.

David:

Chris Paul, who at the time was playing for the San Diego Clippers.

David:

And so.

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As the doctor that Dr.

David:

Patel is the neurosurgeon who treated him.

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And as he tells a story there, he's all set to go on his wish and he

David:

goes, and has a great time with Chris and all things in San Diego.

David:

And a couple of weeks later, he comes back and they, Dr.

David:

Patel sits down and asked them.

David:

So, so tell me how many seizures have you been averaging over the

David:

last, you know, three, four weeks.

David:

And the answer that came back was none.

David:

He had not had a single seizure since his last visit.

David:

And so Dr.

David:

Patel was like, you have got to be kidding me.

David:

What in the world are we looking at?

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And, and it prompted him to do a study of kids at children's hospital in Columbus.

David:

Those who had received a wish, those who had not.

David:

And, and what the outcomes were and it just, and again, it showed that that these

David:

wish experiences actually had medical impacts on these, on these patients.

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This story just illustrates the scientific truth.

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That hope is an effective treatment.

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It's impressive.

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And even a little surprising, but David pointed out that

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we shouldn't be surprised.

David:

It's now part of the treatment protocol, but that, and then medicine is

David:

seeing the value of, of a wish experience that a wish experience is actually doing

David:

something that medicine alone can't do.

David:

I mean, we know it from a negative standpoint, we know that we can

David:

make ourselves sick with worry and anxiety and all those kinds of things.

David:

We know that impacts our health negatively.

David:

We just have a harder time believing when it, when it's from a positive standpoint.

David:

But I, I think it's there.

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It's not just the sick kids who benefit from the hope

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that a wish provides, it also helps families stay together.

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Here's another story about what a granted wish can do.

David:

That's one of the defining principles of Make-A-Wish that

David:

right from the beginning, when the organization started, the principle

David:

was this can't just be about the child.

David:

It's gotta be about the entire family, because it's actually

David:

the entire family is impacted.

David:

And a lot of times you don't realize the impact, for example, on siblings.

David:

That all the attention goes on that child.

David:

And a lot of times siblings can kind of be pushed off to the side.

David:

And that's why the wish experience involves siblings too, that it

David:

brings families together and, and you know, the impact on a mom and a dad.

David:

It's hard on any, on any spouses.

David:

I don't care how good your insurance is.

David:

I don't care how strong your marriages.

David:

It is devastating.

David:

And so as a result, it's experience to help a family heal.

David:

And I mean, I've met parents who, who have said, you know, the wish experience.

David:

We didn't realize how far apart we were growing.

David:

People deal with grief in a lot of different ways and, and, and

David:

said, look, this Make-A-Wish experience saved my marriage.

David:

We literally had a national board member who it was kind of funny.

David:

His son, Brandon had a wish for, to go on a train ride.

David:

And the dad was like, seriously, I mean, about the Super Bowl, how about,

David:

you know, going to some exotic place.

David:

And yet this train ride, which lasted, you know, I don't know, four or five

David:

days he said, what it did, was it allowed he and his wife and family

David:

to, to just sit and process what had happened to them or last year.

David:

And he said, you know, that wish saved our marriage, that we, I just

David:

didn't realize how we had grown apart.

David:

And so I I've met brothers and sisters who, you know, for them, it was

David:

about seeing, they're seeing their siblings smile for the first time

David:

in nine months feeling like they got their, their brother or sister back.

David:

And so it's powerful for everybody in the family.

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I really love that story.

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And I love how he sees these things.

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That really matter if it's not obvious by now, David

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Williams is a remarkable person.

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Like I said, at the beginning, he got his start at the Houston Food Bank,

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which is currently the largest food bank in the world, but it didn't look

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anything like that when David started there, he's back in Houston now with

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Genesis Works after a long time away.

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And it's fun to hear him remember, what it was like at the start of his career path.

Aaron:

I bet it feels a little surreal being back to, sort

Aaron:

of the origins of your career.

David:

I'll tell you.

David:

I thought I was in a Back to the Future movie when I first went

David:

out to the Houston Food Bank.

David:

So that's the world's largest food bank now.

David:

And, Oh my goodness.

David:

I mean, I, you know, when I first started, we could fit the staff of the food bank.

David:

It might Toyota to Tercel.

David:

And I don't know if, you know, if you know what a Tercel is . It was a small car.

David:

And now 350 employees.

David:

And I mean, it's just a massive, massive operation.

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Like me.

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You've wondered how David got started at the Houston Food Bank.

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I asked him to tell that story.

David:

So, you know, I, I grew up in a home where we.

David:

We weren't wealthy, but we weren't poor.

David:

We never worried about whether I was going to eat a meal.

David:

And so when I moved to Houston, Texas, and worked for an oil company,

David:

I became aware of the food bank.

David:

And really what I became more aware of was that.

David:

There were people in the United States of America that actually did

David:

worry about having a meal that did not have enough money to be able

David:

to, to ensure that they and their in their family ate and ate well.

David:

And I was, and I was just blown away by that.

David:

And so I got involved as a volunteer and, and totally loved it.

David:

What I saw was.

David:

How, how powerful it was for, for people to get something as simple

David:

as a bag of groceries, to, to help feed themselves and their family.

David:

And so I think I just saw firsthand when people were able to receive something

David:

so simple, something that I didn't even think about on a daily basis.

David:

And the hope that that brought that it's okay, we're good.

David:

We're going to get through this week and we're going to be better off.

David:

It was, it was actually very humbling, but a very powerful experience.

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Like I said, at the beginning of the episode, the Houston Food

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Bank was near the brink of failure.

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When David took over, this was not an easy job.

David:

It was really hard.

David:

So I had been executive director of the Houston food bank for 11 years.

David:

We, we took it from a very small organization that had actually been

David:

shut down by the city of Houston Health Department kicked out of

David:

the national food bank association.

David:

We didn't have any fruit, any money.

David:

Uh, other than that, everything was great.

David:

And we were able to take that to the fourth largest food bank

David:

in the country at the time.

David:

And it was, it was hard work, but it was, it was so much fun.

David:

Uh, it's very gratifying.

David:

I guess that would be the best way to say.

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I find it interesting that David hear called it gratifying work.

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Work, feeling gratifying is usually something you feel

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after the fact, not beforehand.

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And so the question is what kept David going during those hard years

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before he got to the gratifying part?

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Well, it should be obvious by now that David is a very hopeful person.

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In fact, you might've heard the saying that hope isn't a strategy.

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Well, it's worth reconsidering that.

David:

I'm very fond of, uh, so there's this quote, I'm sure

David:

you've heard it many times.

David:

Hope is not a strategy.

David:

I think that was a, I think it was Vince Lombardi that said that.

David:

And I think that from an organizational standpoint, I think that's true.

David:

You know, you don't, if you have a problem, you can't just hope it goes away.

Aaron:

Right.

David:

You need to have a strategy.

David:

I will say from a personal standpoint, I would disagree with that.

David:

I think, I think hope is one of the most powerful things in the world.

David:

And without hope we, I think we as human beings ceased to strive for greatness

David:

and for change and a better tomorrow.

David:

And so anyway, it's one of the, so Vince Lombardi is still wondered why

David:

I think he was an amazing motivator, amazing leader was able to get

David:

people to do things that they never thought they would be able to do.

David:

But that's a quote, you know, disagree with him a little bit personal level.

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So David left the Houston Food Bank after his 11 years there to

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take on a new and big opportunity as Chief Operating Officer for Habitat

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for Humanity International, and he needed the personal hope strategy.

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He just described even more during his time there.

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If the Houston Food Bank meant hard work well, then Habitat was nonstop.

David:

And, but it was a local, you know, it was a local food bank.

David:

And the role that I went into is a Chief Operating Officer of

David:

Habitat for Humanity International.

David:countries around the world,:David:

just in the United States alone.

David:

And I was working for the founder of very charismatic, amazing individual,

David:

but we had a, we had a phrase within Habitat that Millard had

David:

the vision and I had the nightmare.

David:

And, and it was true.

David:

It was, he had, he had 10 ideas a day, and the key was to try to find the nugget.

David:

That was truly brilliant.

David:

But you know, when I left 11 years later, instead of being in 48

David:ere at a hundred hundred from:David:I think:David:

should have been in 200 code, that it was just that kind of mindset.

David:

So it was, it was very challenging in every way.

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The thing that's most striking about David is how he sees himself.

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He's obviously incredibly successful in his career, but he doesn't consider

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himself to be anything special.

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I asked him what he would say to someone who felt like they couldn't

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really make a difference in the world or have much to offer anyone.

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Listen closely to what he had to say.

David:

You know, so many Bill and Melinda Gates, foundations out there, or Warren

David:

Buffett's, it's easy to look at any kind of problem and say, well, gosh,

David:

is this really solving it in the end?

David:

What's it, what's it going to do?

David:

I just think that we're all called to make our world around us

David:

better with the, with the talents and the resources that we have.

David:

We can't do more than what we're capable of doing, but I think that that's

David:

where the richness of life can come in.

David:

I think there's a multiplying effect that happens whether we're aware of it or not.

David:

And I just think you have to, you have to believe that I certainly do, because,

David:

you know, I think that there were people invested in me in different ways that

David:

I would like to think I've been able to take and pass on to other people.

David:

Some of those people are.

David:

No longer on this earth, some of them are, but regardless,

David:

they probably don't know that.

David:

And, and so I think, I think the short answer is even when we're

David:

just impacting one to one, it's more of an impact than we are we think.

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That's the kind of hope we can all have.

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If we'll let ourselves believe it, we all have things to offer and we never fully

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appreciate how powerful that can be.

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The cascading effects of helping one person is the heart of Genesis Works.

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I asked David what his hope was for the organization.

David:

So, hopefully with Genesis works is that we would be able to impact

David:

more students across the country.

David:

We're only in six cities right now.

David:

And I believe that every city that has a strong business community as a

David:

need for the students that we serve.

David:

And that, every city of that size has a population of, quiet middle students

David:

that are not sure about their future.

David:

Who we as a country need to have engaged in having successful careers.

David:

And so we want to be able to have a, have a greater impact and frankly, you

David:

know, to, in a sense, turn it into a movement, we're providing an opportunity.

David:

And I think every person, I think, deep down in their soul wants to,

David:

wants to make a positive impact.

David:

And they just don't know how.

David:

And I know in my life, the people that have invested in me in all kinds of

David:

ways, I would not be doing what I'm doing today without just altitude of people

David:

who believed in me when maybe I didn't believe in myself who provided hope.

David:

When I was feeling pretty hopeless, we all need those

David:

types of influences in our life.

David:

And so I, I firmly believe that that Genesis Works is onto something in terms

David:

of being that bridge between education and a work experience and being able

David:

to, to be able to bridge those two.

David:

So that's, that's our hope for Genesis Works going forward.

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So where does all this hope come from?

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I think we each find it in our own ways and we can learn so much from each other.

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I loved learning from David, how he finds hope and all that he does.

Aaron:

So the last question is how has your own hope mattered to you?

Aaron:

And have you maintained that?

Aaron:

I guess it's two questions.

Aaron:

How have you maintained it, in the face of the big challenges that

Aaron:

you've tried to tackle over the years?

David:

Yeah.

David:

That's a great question.

David:

You know, for me, from, from a hope standpoint, I certainly

David:

rely very much on my faith.

David:

I believe that that's as a Christian, this is what got me involved

David:

in this work a long time ago.

David:

And, and so as I, as I'm dealing with tough challenges, certainly in.

David:

In, the work environment, I realized that I've been, I've

David:

been blessed with certain gifts.

David:

I think there's a responsibility of those who have gifts to be able to

David:

use them for the betterment of others.

David:

I know that I've had, I've just been, I've been given a lot and I think.

David:

To whom a lot of has been given, a lot is required.

David:

And I think that that's, so I think that there's a responsibility

David:

that I, feel very deeply and it's, it's actually not a burden, even

David:

though it might sound like it.

David:

I think it's a privilege.

David:

And, and frankly, it's a, it's a joy.

David:

I think, you know, I think sometimes we, when we look at.

David:

The people sometimes that we admire as a, as a, as an idea

David:

of celebrities, celebrities that have power, fame, money, and just

David:

everything at their beck and call.

David:

And we think, gosh, with all of that, they must be the happiest people on earth.

David:

I mean, you're famous.

David:

You're rich.

David:

You're beautiful.

David:

You're.

David:

You know, you got the world by, by the tail.

David:

Obviously you must be the happiest person.

David:

And yet we know that so often, not only are they not the happiest people on

David:

earth, I think in some cases they're the most miserable they're there.

David:

They're just, they're not happy, which, which kind of blows our mind.

David:

And yet I would submit.

David:

That the happiest people, the most hopeful people are the most joyful people that

David:

I've ever known are people that are about, they're not, it's not about themselves.

David:

It's about others.

David:

They're very other focused and they're just through the living, how they live

David:

their lives, they impact other people.

David:

And I think that I, and I've always felt as I've met people like that.

David:

And, and it really happened early on in my life, which I'm very fortunate

David:

for both personally and also from a career standpoint that as I met

David:

those people, I, just, I hoped and prayed to be a person like that.

David:

So that's something that I strive for.

David:

I think it's bringing our best self to the workplace and to our personal lives.

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I hope that this has been time well spent for you.

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I hope that has helped you see how to find a path and to help others do the same.

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And I hope that you've come to better understand the power of hope in our lives.

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Hope is vision hope is medicine and hope is how we find a way to do more

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and to be more and to walk a path that brings us to wonderful places.

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Many many thanks to David Williams for taking the time to talk with me.

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I knew I wanted to talk to David about hope before he

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even agreed to our interview.

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Well, it just so happens that David gave a great TEDx talk on this

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very topic, something I didn't even know until our conversation.

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We've linked to that in our show notes.

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And I encourage you to check it out.

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If you enjoy How to Help, please take a moment to give us a positive review.

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In your podcast, directory of choice.

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It really means a lot to us and it helps other people discover it too.

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Also, please check out the How to Help newsletter you subscribe to it.

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And then it shows up in your email inbox once a week.

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I use it to highlight effective organizations and to share thoughts about

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how we can have more impact in our lives.

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Make sure you listen to the next episode with Tyler Schultz.

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He's one of the principal whistleblowers at Theranos.

Narration:

You probably heard about the company in the news and the massive fraud

Narration:

that they perpetrated against their shareholders and customers.

Narration:

We're going to learn about Tyler's experience that their nose and

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everything that he had to go through to do the right thing.

Narration:

We're grateful to merit leadership who sponsors this podcast and thanks to our

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production team, which included Cindy Hall, Travis Stevenson, yours truly.

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And Eric Robertson, who did the editing and the music.

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And music comes from the Pleasant Pictures, Music Club.

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If you want to use their music in your projects, you can find a link

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and a discount code in our show notes.

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And this has been How to Help always for listening.

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