“LIFE is about the PEOPLE you meet and the RELATIONSHIPS and EXPERIENCES YOU CREATE with them.”
Dorota Sobieszczuk fights daily for a better world. An entrepreneur, she co-founded The Good Cards – a real life game for individuals and organizations to achieve collective goals that can help create a better world. Dorota lives in Bali now and her mission daily and is willing to go above and beyond to transform businesses for the better and encourage, assist, develop and empower other women across the globe. I had the pleasure of interviewing Dorota Sobieszczuk and the interview was just as amazing as she is.
Why did you choose to “create art” instead of just doing “business as usual”?
This is an interesting question because when I was younger I loved the arts, photography and painting. I thought I could be an artist and create art by dancing. But then I went to the University of Economics in Poznan (Poland) and joined AIESEC, an organization that develops leadership potential. It’s the biggest international student organization and thanks to all of my experiences with them, I realized art can be created on a variety of paths including business. I found my own entrepreneurial path by creating and building things with other people. A huge influence on me was a book recommended by a team leader – Maciej. The book is LinchPin, by Seth Godin. He defines art as “a personal act of courage, something one human does that creates change in another.” I found this definition to be very accurate. I understood that my art is to create the product or services that have true potential to change/transform people in a meaningful way so they can become better, grow more, and be happier.
What role did AIESEC play in developing your desire to create better businesses and eventually a better world?
AIESEC had a huge influence on shaping my worldview. At the beginning, I joined because I knew I wanted to travel and go abroad. I truly wanted to overcome my fear of speaking English. But when I tapped into AIESEC’s mission and culture, I learned a lesson – that working with purpose on your life’s journey leads you to a life of meaning. At first, I was part of a project organizing a workshop for students from all over the world who came to volunteer in Poland. The workshop was mostly for kindergarteners, and I was amazed to see how these children were influenced by the relationships and interactions they were having on a daily basis with people from completely different cultures. I was so moved by the experience that I continued to work at AIESEC for another 3 years, taking part in leadership development such as team member and team leader programs. I was truly happy helping enable young people experience the power of international exchange. Leading your own team gives you a lot of self-awareness, which is essential for growth as a human. Thanks to AIESEC, I gained a lot of self-awareness, which I’m grateful for. Before AIESEC, I wasn’t aware of how my past influenced the way I pushed myself and others – in a very demanding and results-focused way. After experiencing a huge conflict in management style with my team, I understood that I can’t lead people in a good way if I don’t take care of myself. I understood that the best culture is a balanced one that focuses both on people and results. If people are unhappy at work, there is no success in the long term. For the end of our journey together, my team gave me a birthday book – How to be Idle by Tom Hodgkinson. It was a humorous gift to remind myself how important it is to simply enjoy the present moment and the journey with the people you “travel” with. From that experience, I figured out that I want to help companies to lead better and be socially responsible towards their employees and the external environmental. When I met Pawel, The Good Cards idea was born and I knew it was my first step on this mission
I know that you are passionate about empowering women, can you share why you decided to give back by helping other women?
You know, during my AIESEC experience, due to some things I experienced, I really started to doubt myself and my leadership skills. I thought that I wasn’t good enough and I should have never gone for the things I really wanted. Fortunately, I looked for help by talking with more experienced professionals and reading books. Having conversations about leadership styles and personality types helped me understand my strengths and weaknesses and fully accept them. At the same time, I know that there is a lot of work in front of me as I continue to develop my people skills and emotional intelligence. I also read a powerful book about women and careers written by a very inspirational woman – Lean In by Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg. She inspired me to boldly help other women believe in themselves and take risks more often. I promised myself to give back by empowering women. I always dreamt about going abroad and volunteering in less developed countries. In 2016, the UN was working on their Sustainability Development Goal 5, which was achieving gender equality for all women and girls. I decided to take part in the women’s empowerment volunteer project in Sri Lanka. I moved there and helped with workshops for children at a Sri Lankan school. This journey was very powerful because I witnessed the transformations of people around me, as well as myself. Gratitude, self-love and self-reflection are essential for women who want to succeed and be happy. Volunteer work experience gave me much more clarity and confidence about my path.
What advice would you give to other young women?
First of all I would advise them to accept the fact that failing is ok. And everybody fails. Failing is a necessity for growth. I would advise other women not to give up. I know it’s easy to say, but if you are afraid of failing, think about the choice of LOVE vs. FEAR. Always choose light and hope instead of negativity. I’m struggling all the time with different thoughts because an entrepreneurial journey is sometimes very difficult and tiring. There are moments when you are weak and when you are strong, and it’s totally ok. That’s why it’s important to have support from other women. Reading Sheryl Sandberg’s book and women’s stories in the book was crucial. One of my biggest discoveries was that women often think they are NOT READY, to apply to a better job, to get promotion, etc. But it’s only in our minds. My message is it’s ok to take a chance to do things even if you’re not ready, because by experiencing and making mistakes you learn faster. Last but not least, make yourself a priority. SELF-LOVE is the best LOVE. 🙂
So what is your vision for a better business ?
Better for the World
Hmm, there are few things on my mind. First of all, I truly believe that the future of business is social entrepreneurship. I believe that we can find balance. The perfect combination is to have a positive impact on the world and communities but at the same time create a constant value that people are willing to pay for. I believe businesses should help develop a more sharing economy. They should still drive innovation and push the world forward, but at the same time give back and share more, so we can create a more sustainable and better world. I think the future of business is to increase and incorporate Corporate Social Responsibility as an essential strategic priority. Most importantly, I dream that leaders will put generating positive impacts on an equal footing with generating profits – and not merely have revenues in mind. I think eventually that will make employees happier because they will feel connected to the mission of the company and it will bring more meaning to their life.
Better for the Employees
I imagine workplaces as happy communities. Due to my past experiences, I know that happiness is the new productivity. Of course, some leadership styles are more focused on results and some are more focused on people, but there should be a vision of striving for balance. I think if leaders could focus more on building relationships with people and really examine the internal culture of their organizations, it would benefit everybody. As a leader, you need to love yourself to be able to LEAD yourself better everyday – and eventually lead people and organizations better.
If we had a culture of giving and of questioning things like the status quo, I bet innovation would flourish. How beautiful it would be to hear more often: “How can we help you?” instead of “What can you do for me?” The more you give, the more you receive. If we spend almost a third of our lives working, the workplace should be an awesome place where people can grow, build relationships with others and feel fulfilled by achievements, growing and everyday happiness.
Better for The Women
Last but not least, I believe that better business is better for women. I truly think that better business means an environment where we women are treated equally with men and there is gender equality. Where we have equal opportunities, and equal pay. I believe that one of the positive changes we need in society is more women in leadership positions and more gender diversity within teams.
You’ve mentioned before that you see The Good Cards and the whole Good Game Prime program as one of the ways to transform business for the better ? Can you tell us more about it?
I see The Good Cards as a way to transform businesses for the better, according to the philosophy “do good and do well” at the same time. The core idea of the game is very simple: people are sent on a “good deed mission” and they share the story in the mobile app. The app is connected with The Good Card – a biodegradable plastic card that users pass on to other people, challenging them to keep the good going. On the app, everybody can track how the card travels, learn what other people are doing, and see the current location of the card on the global map.
The app can be customized for use by brands, and adjusted to their vision of their social impact. It can be used as a tool to do more good, collectively, with all of their employees and customers. I would underline three main aspects of the magic of The Good Cards for businesses:
Making their internal culture more kind and loving
Co-creating social impact with their customers
Increasing their bottom line
It all starts with the leader. Imagine a CEO doing good by challenging employees to do something good as well – and later customers are also challenged to do something good and everybody contributes to the brand’s collective goals that are aligned with their CSR strategy.
We’re entering an era where communication of a company’s impact is not enough. Today, people want to be part of the brand experience and social impact is becoming a more and more important factor for customers when it comes to choosing the brands they stick to. What is personally important for me is that brands have the power to shape their customers’ behaviour and create global trends. Imagine what would happen if doing good deeds became very trendy and customers were engaged in playing The Good Game through their favourite brands – and then they got rewarded for it.
At the end it’s all about our Good Game Prime philosophy, which is win-win-win for the world, customers and companies (to read more about The Good Cards visit www.thegoodcards.com or thegoodgameprime.com)
If you feel like you want to support the vision of Better World – feel free to support The Good Cards campaign: https://goo.gl/lb3jEF
The interview by Christy Omeally
Strategist, Change Maker, Business Idealist, former AIESEC President and Dancer. Smiling a lot. Passionate about leadership development, harnessing the power of business to do more good in the world and women empowerment.
Latest posts by Dorota Sobieszczuk (see all)
- How to find your inner Change-Maker: Story of Dorota - July 11, 2017
- Last Gasp Kickstarter Alert! - July 11, 2017